Thursday, 18 August 2011


... I've read are Owen's CiF piece on the unbelievable plans to evict rioters' families (the brilliant first two paragraphs say it all), and Wayne's extended, coruscating post of yesterday: "Say Hi To The Bad Guy".

I realise in saying this I'm sorta replicating one of Wayne's major gripes (namely, the intra-congratulatory nature of the left-blogosphere), but fuck it. Passages like the following cut right to the bone:
After all, a mental disorder we all share is chronic narcissism. It's the ideological oxygen component of the neoliberal air we breathe (however toxic that air has become). Particularly when we are presented with a flattering youthful mirror image. The voices of protestors last year were given the respect and space (a key word here) rarely accorded to the (supposedly) less educated rioters of last week. Was it due to the recent uprising being unlikely to share your language? Even if it did: Could it be the niggling possibility that rioters were saying something you were reluctant to hear? It's funny how I rarely heard the word "solidarity" this time round; being quietly brushed aside for the time being. 
Also apparent in much Left commentary was adherence to party lines, ongoing hobby-horses, career interests, interpersonal loyalties, or if discussed in more mainstream media channels: mandatory lip-service to condemning "violence". The last was pretty much across the board if discussed in newspapers or on British TV.
I couldn't really agree more with this, though I feel a desperate need to append this question to Wayne's lacerating negative critique: just what is to be done about this? How can we re-suture the two halves of the country separated by Wayne's "huge dividing line"?

For myself I feel the pressure of a daily struggle not to get sucked into the world of a "volatile housing/education market and a monotonous, but no less rabid, media". Even with blogging (or perhaps especially blogging) we run the risk of inhaling big gulps of the chronic narcissism with every sentence. Just how the fuck do you escape from this trap? How can the left-intelligentsia cross over into meaningful, truly grassroots territory? Where's the fantastic hope in all of this? What can we do?

1 comment:

W. Kasper said...

Love the choice of image!

As for your closing question: I've no fucking idea. Although some would reckon they do, riots are a big way of saying "oh no you don't".

Personally, I reckon if it happened is Asia or South America it would have had a bigger chain reaction outside 'ghettos' ie. from local protest to riots to national protest AND riots. Sadly, it was crushed at stage two. Most of the British get more excited by 'clean-ups' than mass movement. Like shopping is the only human right worth fighting for. But I have been in a very bitter mood over the aftermath of this, so maybe I'm wrong.