Thursday, 11 August 2011

The good, the badass and the ugly - London Riots

Mark Duggan, a Tottenham local, was shot a week ago in Ferry Lane as police officers attempted to make an arrest. At the moment, there is no evidence of Mark Duggan shooting at the police, and the post-mortem tests found that he died from a single bullet wound to the chest, shot by the police.  There are mixed stories about who Mark Duggan was: some stories portrait him as a crack-dealer gangster and other stories as a father of four who wanted to stay out of trouble.

"There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society with a large segment of people in that society who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that that have nothing to lose. People who have stake in their society, protect that society, but when they don't have it, they unconsciously want to destroy it."— Martin Luther King Jr.

'When you cut facilities, slash jobs, abuse power, discriminate, drive people into deeper poverty and shoot people dead whilst refusing to provide answers or justice, the people will rise up and express their anger and frustration if you refuse to hear their cries. A riot is the language of the unheard.'

If a local council introduces a curfew, then the police has powers to break up groups of kids and take anyone under 16 back to their homes or a safe place. Curfews can be introduced in areas where the police and the council agree that gangs have been hanging around and starting trouble or threatening people. Local councils can authorise the police to do this using powers from the 2003 Anti-Social Behaviour Act. The powers can last up to six months. After that, councils have to re-apply. 

What makes me disagree with curfews is the power they can have over me and other "innocent" people - who gives anyone the right to tell me not to go to a place at a specific time. We have experienced the police abusing the Stop and Search power, quite a few times, already! Anti-war demonstrators have been filmed and searched by the police numerous times, unfairly and with no obvious reason - these searches felt to simply be a statement of police power; The last thing I really want is to be controlled with a curfew; No sir! i want to cycle to see my friends any time i want; i want to sit in a park and talk rubbish with them. This is not a crime. And curfews simply criminalize our existence of being in certain places at a certain time.

As for bringing in the army, the rubber/plastic bullets... well... No, thanks. Fighting violence with violence is just like fucking for virginity. 

Besides, armies and curfews just oppress people. They will not solve the real issue. 

The other reaction was people cancelling plans and being fearful: Just like curfews, the fear becomes a barrier to doing what we usually do, and i found that annoying. So, i made the decision to continue doing what i usually do. The police nor the rioters can control me. No, sir!  

The thing that really worried me and upset me was the suffering that the whole situation brought to our cycling community. I mean, i don't care that much about a stolen pair of trainers from JD sports -  these big unethical chains can certainly afford it and have already spread alot of evilness (sweat shop products and all the rest, so go on and fight them!), but it does break my heart hearing that one of the nicest bicycle stores was also attacked. Micycle, a friendly bicycle shop and cafe in Islington lost most of their stock:

A youtube video of the Looting at Micycle:

News also traveled fast, that cyclists were  targeted in London Fields. Apparently cyclists were pushed off their bikes and mugged. An Evans bicycle shop was also broken into in Chalk Farm. 

Unfortunately, the cycling communities were not the only "innocent" ones to suffer. The burning of PIAS distribution centre brought damages to indie music and film labels.   

So, just to finish off, dear Rioters, please choose your targets wisely. Smash the system, Shut the City down, Mindfully Rebel.

Let the religious get religion, let consumers get a clue

Let scientists get perspective, let activists get their due

Let industry get a conscience, let the earth inherit the meek

Let the divinity of nature speak 
- Ani Difranco 
and for the final thought:
"I love the way that we call people who break into chainstores 'looters', yet the rest of us law abiding citizens get to loot the entire planet and are deemed peaceful. Instead of H&M, read rainforests. Instead of JD Sports, read oceans. Instead of Tesco, read soil. If you want to see a looter, look within, we're all looters. Just some are culturally normalised" ~ Mark Boyle