Sunday, August 14, 2011


West Midlands Police appeal to the public by displaying pictures of suspected rioters outside the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham England Friday Aug. 12, 2011. (AP / Rui Vieira)

Two very strong pieces on the London riots – Paul Lewis’ first hand account of a journey through the riot zones and Jack Shenker’s broader context piece about youth riots around the world + GANG MAPS of London




UK riots: Paul Lewis's five-day journey

Paul Lewis charts the journey from the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan to civil unrest on a grand scale

‘It was just before 9pm on Sunday when I saw hundreds of youths head to the G Mantella jewellery store on Enfield high street, six miles north of where the disturbances had begun.

Police had earlier warned residents that the suburb would be on the "frontline" that night and filled a Tesco car park full of police horses in anticipation.

By late afternoon, a police car had been attacked in Enfield, and a handful of shop windows broken. The attack on the jewellers was over in seconds.

Minutes later I was stood on a side-street, where young men were knocking down garden walls and collecting bricks to hurl at police. I used my bottled water to wash the bleeding hand of a boy who looked about 12.

This was the opening salvo in what would turn into the second night of disturbances.’




How youth-led revolts shook elites around the world – Jack Shenker

From Athens to Cairo and Spain to Santiago, old certainties are being challenged after the Arab spring and financial crises

"Historically in any country and in any context it's young people who are at the core of protests. But at this moment in history we're seeing a shared sense of deprivation among the young, a shared sense of there being a democracy deficit across the world. In all these places neoliberal economic policies have intensified their hold and affected young people most directly, young people looking for employment, study, prospects. I think it has cut young people to the bone, and they're confronting it directly."

-Priyamvada Gopal, an English professor at Cambridge,

"Today there may not be a single unifying ideology of change among global youth protests of the sort that united people in 1968, but there is a common ideology embedded within our shared model of organisation – no egos, no celebrities, no one telling anyone else what to do and no one willing to take orders – one that lends itself to online social media and has captured people's imaginations." - Steve Taylor, a campaigner with UK Uncut.

UK gangs thrive in August riots

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press

Virtually every spot on the English map that suffered riots is home turf to one or multiple gangs, according to an interactive online map called London Street Gangs and related gang-mapping efforts by the Metropolitan Police and University of Bedfordshire youth-crime expert John Pitts.

One riot spot, Enfield in north London where a Sony distribution center was ransacked, hosts a half-dozen active gangs including Dem Africans, Red Brick Crew and Gun Man Down. The south London borough of Croydon, scene of the worst arson attacks and the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old man, is the power base for the Don't Say Nothin gang.


Camila Batmanghelidjh: Caring costs – but so do riots

These rioters feel they don't actually belong to the community. For years, they’ve felt cut adrift from society

‘Working at street level in London, over a number of years, many of us have been concerned about large groups of young adults creating their own parallel antisocial communities with different rules. The individual is responsible for their own survival because the established community is perceived to provide nothing. Acquisition of goods through violence is justified in neighbourhoods where the notion of dog eat dog pervades and the top dog survives the best. The drug economy facilitates a parallel subculture with the drug dealer producing more fiscally efficient solutions than the social care agencies who are too under-resourced to compete.’

See: Kids Company

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