London's Burning | The Jackal

9 Aug 2011

London's Burning

Mark Duggan and Son.
The blame game has already started regarding the England riots. Some say that it’s just people taking advantage of the situation to loot and the rioters deserve to be shot.

But the real reason behind England's most recent social disorder is far more relevant to New Zealand's societal make up. It's time to take a hard look at policies that drive social disintegration and not ignore the potential for a similar occurrence here in Gods own. 

Sure, there’s the obvious backlash because the Police shot Mark Duggan dead, but this is only one aspect in terms of people’s motivation for rioting. England has recently implemented many austerity measures that have further marginalised the poor, and in particular unemployed youth.

Similar to New Zealand with over 20% youth unemployment in England, these disaffected people have been abandoned and negatively impacted upon by Capitalism, which is increasingly proving itself to be a defunct system. This in my opinion is the number one reason we’ve seen continued violence and mayhem, and I’m not just talking about the London riots.

Those on the right will call for stricter measures such as more surveillance and restrictions on personal liberties, but the argument that Police should attain increased funding and powers will in no way deter such occurrences from happening again.

The simple fact of the matter is that repression leads to violence, and by repression I mean the huge difference between the impoverished and the wealthy, which has been dramatically increasing over the last few years.

It’s a common misconception by the political right that they can alleviate social disturbance by disadvantaging the already poor through further austerity measures or what I prefer to describe as subjugation.

Proponents of such rhetoric are quick to lay blame but just as quick to disengage from any debate that might point the finger at elitist ideals that have predominantly caused the dysfunctional dynamic in the first place.

I wonder if New Zealand’s government and Police will learn from England’s mistakes, or if they intend to continue to promote similar failed policies and court the danger inherent in their short sightedness?