Arab Spring seems to have hit London, is America Next?

Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2011 06:21 pm
Cool/spooky that i rely on Al Jazeera as a voice of reason over anything spawned from Murdoch's evil loins.

What's been missed in London?
As riots continue across the UK, we look at some of the misconceptions about the looters and social media's role.

Source and full story complete with examples! : Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera's ongoing coverage of the London riots has highlighted how mobile networks, particularly Blackberry phones, were used to mobilise looters. But social media has also been used to spread rumours, creating misinformation about what was happening on the ground.

One example from Stream contributor and Twitter user @LiveJ shows a widely-circulated image that appears to show a military presence gathering in London. One tweet accompanying the photo read: "The Army is assembling in Bank." But this image actually turned out to be a photograph from Egypt. Another photo, retweeted by Brian Stelter of the New York Times, seemed to show a tiger on the loose in the streets after escaping from the London Zoo. Stelter began his tweet with "Unconfirmed" and he was right to suspect it, as the picture was quickly disproven.

The spread of misinformation has seemed not to be limited to social media however. Some in the news media have described the looting in the riots as the work of organised 'gangs', but that has been disputed by several sources including a post from Gavin Knight of the Guardian – who pointed not to gangs but to cuts to youth services as a root cause of the unrest.

On Al Jazeera, Daniel Hind works to correct some common mistakes. "It is wrong to say that the riots are apolitical," he writes in an opinion piece. "[T]here is no single meaning in what is happening in London and elsewhere. But there are connections that we can make... We have a major problem with youth unemployment.… Economic inequality has reached quite startling levels…The same politicians now denouncing the mindless violence of the mob all supported a system of political economy that was as unstable as it was pernicious."

We spoke with Aaron Peters on The Stream about the riots and the role a programme called "Operation Trident", a unit of the Metropolitan Police in London that specifically targets gun violence in the city's black minority community. Peters highlighted the effect of "stop and search", which he claims is misused by police to harass young minority men. He also pointed out that the riots in London were not only a race issue, but also a class issue. "The tragedy in Britain is that in many areas, these are one and the same thing… Race often means class."
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Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2011 06:44 pm
hingehead wrote:

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
you are I take it claiming that the independent is wrong

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.

Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2011 09:24 pm
you are I take it claiming that the independent is wrong

Then you take it wrong. I simply posted some stuff from Twitter and have never read the independent article - nor have I commented on any of your posts in this thread.

I don't claim any knowledge of the motivations behind the unrest, preferring to see what actual UK residents are saying.

Chips. Shoulders. You got some.
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Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2011 12:05 am
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.


Claims of my lone wolf nuttiness again prove to be greatly exaggerated....
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2011 12:07 am
When even the Libby Bastion of San Francisco is getting in on the Middle East Dictators instruction manual on silencing citizen criticism can the Arab Spring protests be kept out of America for much longer??

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
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2011 12:42 am
Of course this is the same security force that last year had a member take out his gun and kill a man for no apparent reason, so I probably should not be surprised to see them operating like Murbarak thugs....to include using the line that they need to oppress the citizens in order to protect the citizens.
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Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2011 06:02 am
It would never happen here in America. We have too many gun toting rednecks.
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2011 08:02 am
Why do you think that? We have HAD a history of large scale riots before (Watts/LA, Detroit, Wash D.C., Miami). The same type of gun-toting anarchistic rednecks are around now... in fact there's MORE. After Katrina there was looting, shooting etc. here, too. A few years ago there was a small scale riot in NYC after Puerto Rican Pride day celebration. Sad to say this but these riots happen frighteningly often in USA.

You don't need to be a brain surgeon to anticipate and/or expect social unrest in the poor urban areas in the hottest months with the horrible financial climate (with social services less available). I hate to be a doomsayer but I'd be surprised if there wasn't a problem in the next few weeks.
Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2011 08:53 am
Yes but the US rioters were limited to small areas and for the most part contains fairly well.

I can remember one red neck trailer park being in the very middle of the riot area with fires burning all around them and not a problem of any kind in the park.

Of course the TV show ever trailer owner was sitting outside his or her home with firearms in their laps.

A rioter/looter who enter that property would had last as long as the few rats and mice who over the years gotten into my home that contain five cats did.

Of course there was the time when they corner one hell of a large rat and required that I did the honor of killing it.

After Hurricane Andrew hit south Miami the citizens openly arm themselves and my community for weeks was patrol not by the National Guard or the police but by the arm homeowners.

For the first week or so the main post office in that area had postal employees breaking Federal and state laws and displaying firearms in a very open manner.

Then there was the time when some of the so call black leaders in Miami stated that they was not planning on burning down their areas this time but was going to march on the Cuban and white areas instead.

Once more the citizens arm themselves openly and for some strange reason no riot of any kind occur.
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