More from the bluebird of snappiness
The rioters in UK in £100 trainers organising things on their £300 Smart-phones claim to be in poverty
This disturbing phenomenon has to be understood as a conflagration of aggression from a socially and economically excluded underclass. A disaffected criminal fringe, made up of people who feel they have no stake in society, has decided to exert itself on the streets. Alienated young men and women, some of them barely more than children, have taken this as an opportunity to steal, riot, burn and to generally kick against authority.
Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, said yesterday that the rioters have been trashing their own communities. Yet this is surely a misunderstanding. As the founder of the charity Kids Company, Camila Batmanghelidjh, pointed out on these pages yesterday, many of these jobless and under-educated youths simply do not feel that they belong to a community. They have formed parallel groupings instead, defined by a shocking lack of morality and an immunity from shame. It is this criminal, marginalised and sometimes mentally disturbed underclass that Britain has seen in action in recent days.
Riots by youths in the suburbs of French cities in 2005 were blamed on the physical segregation between rich inner cities and the deprived outer neighbourhoods. But what is clear from the events of recent days in Britain is that segregation is not just a geographic phenomenon; it can happen in the mind too. These youths live in the heart of wealthy British cities, but they do not feel part of them. The warning signs have been flashing for many years, particularly in London. They were visible in the motiveless murder in 2000 of Damilola Taylor in Peckham. It could be seen in the reports of mobs of youths "steaming" commuters on London trains and buses to relieve them of their valuables. It has been visible in the resurgence of knife assaults and gang shootings, even while the overall level of crime nationally continued to decline.
The great state departments of education, welfare, health and housing have failed these groups. Far too little has been done by successive generations of politicians and public servants to integrate these individuals into normal society. The fuse for this explosion has been burning down for years, perhaps even decades. If any good can emerge from the horrors of recent days it will be that we finally face up to the shame of our excluded underclass.
you are I take it claiming that the independent is wrong
A look at this analysis in the Financial Times of the sources of the UK violence shows why Americans have cause for concern:
In the 1980s there was generalised distrust at many levels between a police force that too often lived up to its racist reputation, and a local community divorced from those who were supposed to protect it. Today, relations between police and community figures in places such as Tottenham have improved, at least on the surface. But, underneath, relations with young black men, and especially those who are economically disadvantaged, have actually worsened.
Black youths in London’s most deprived areas are now more self-reliant and inward-looking, even more than their counterparts in the 1980s. A minority rely on drug dealing and petty theft. The social cohesion that once came from youth clubs and churches has too often been replaced by the structure and sense of “belonging” of a gang – a social role with its own morality and self-esteem, but at least one that counts for something in a world of limited prospects. This is a crisis not of straightforward police racism, but of communities facing external economic pressures that, in turn, have exacerbated internal divisions.
This analysis fits many American inner cities and runs parallel to the arguments I’ve been making for some time that the poor urban Black community is in a deepening crisis of social dislocation and economic marginalization and that while the national conversation has moved past the issues of the inner city, those problems are becoming more dangerous.
Gradually, the press is taking more notice; unlike the French riots of 2005, the UK riots of 2011 are a wake up call to the United States. Britain Today, America Tomorrow? asks Raymond Bonner at The Atlantic. The old liberal position — that it was racist to raise this possibility — seems to be morphing into a new conventional wisdom that the existence of this possibility shows how racist America really is. The conceptual leap that turned the unspeakable into the inevitable appears to be the connection of violence with austerity: once responsibility for any inner city riots can be laid at the Tea Party’s door, the subject can safely be discussed. Indeed, it must be discussed.
Read more: http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/08/11/urban-warming-and-racial-climate-change/#ixzz1UszacMMt
What about us? One in five Americans are between 15 and 29-years old. And one in five of those Americans are unemployed. For minorities and the under-educated, the picture is much worse. Black teenagers have an unemployment rate of 44 percent, twice the rate for white teens.
And yet, somewhat miraculously, crime has fallen in the U.S. through the Great Recession. James Q. Wilson offered four explanations: (1) More criminals in prison; (2) Better police tactics for finding and patrolling crime hotspots; (3) Better home security technology; and (4) Fewer drugs, including lead in our blood and cocaine. The long decline of American crime is one of the quiet miracles of the last 40 years. We're about to find out if it can hold up to American-style austerity.
BART's shut-off of subterranean cell phone service in its downtown San Francisco stations may have prevented a protest Thursday, but it sparked accusations Friday that the action stifled free speech and smacked of the kind of government intrusion employed by Middle East dictators.
"All over the world, people are using mobile devices to protest oppressive regimes, and governments are shutting down cell phone towers and the Internet to stop them," said Michael Risher, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. "It's outrageous that in San Francisco, BART is doing the same thing."
.While BART owns and controls the wireless network in its tunnels, it might not have the right to shut it off to halt a protest, ACLU's Risher said.
"Once BART opens a forum for expression, their authority to close it down becomes a little more limited," he said. "As far as I know, no governmental entity in this country has ever done anything like this."
BART spokesman Jim Allison said this was the first time the transit agency shut down the underground wireless system because of public safety concerns.
Fairow said that BART considered the free speech implications posed by the cell phone shutdown but decided that those rights were outweighed by the need to protect the public.
"It's the constant juggle," he said. "The courts have ruled that some inconvenience is OK (to protect free speech) but the courts have also ruled that public safety takes priority."
BART allows free speech - from protesting to proselytizing - outside the paid areas of stations. But it's not suitable inside the fare gates, and especially on the train platforms, he said.
But even some BART riders thought the tactic seemed very un-Bay Area.
"We don't want the government turning off cell phones in Syria, and we don't want them turning off cell phones here," said Patricia Shean, 72, of San Francisco. "We deal with things differently here.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/08/12/BAEU1KMS8U.DTL#ixzz1Ut1R31x9