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Martin Luther King: "But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard."

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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 05:23 AM
Original message
Martin Luther King: "But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard."
Are the London rioters thugs or freedom fighters? It seems to depend on who you ask.

Over 45 years ago, on August 11, 1965 riots broke out in the Watts neighborhood of LA. They lasted for 6 days and resulted in 34 deaths, over 1,000 injuries and resulted in over $40 million dollars worth of damage.

To some the rioters were nothing more than thugs, but to others they were a rebellion against inequality, poverty and oppression.

The similarities between what is happening in London now and what happened in Watts then are remarkable.

Anarchy In The UK: London Riots Sparked By Police Beating Of 16 Year Old Girl

Peaceful protests over a fatal police shooting in London erupted into violence after several police officers beat a 16 year old girl.

News outlets are now reporting the UK is in a state of complete anarchy as riots 3rd day of rioting has spread into several neighboring London suburbs.



Tottenham riots: a peaceful protest, then suddenly all hell broke loose


Fire rages through a building in Tottenham, north London, on Saturday night during the worst riots since Brixton. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

What began as a gathering of around 200 protesters demanding answers over the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot dead by police on Thursday, culminated 12 hours later in a full-scale riot that saw brazen looting spread across north-London suburbs.


The Watts Riots


Demonstrators push against a police car after rioting erupted in the Los Angeles area of Watts, Aug. 12, 1965.

Watts Riots, 40 Years Later


To many, the events that began in Watts on Aug. 11, 1965, remain a riot, pure and simple a social breakdown into mob rule and criminality. To others, they were a revolt, a rebellion, an uprising a violent but justified leap into a future of black self-empowerment.


The riots that summer were sparked by the arrest of a black motorist, Marquette Frye, for drunk driving. When Frye's mother intervened, a crowd gathered and the arrest became a flashpoint for anger against police. The deeper causes, as documented by the McCone Commission, which investigated the riots, were poverty, inequality, racial discrimination and the passage, in November 1964, of Proposition 14 on the California ballot. That initiative had overturned the Rumford Fair Housing Act, which established equality of opportunity for black home buyers.

After nearly a week of rioting, 34 people, 25 of them black, were dead and more than 1,000 were injured. More than 600 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Thriving business districts, their stores mostly white-owned, were burned to the ground. Eventually, the National Guard put a cordon around a vast region of South Los Angeles that ranged as far east as Alameda Street, as far west as Crenshaw Boulevard, and from just south of the Santa Monica Freeway to about Rosecrans Avenue.


I have been unable to answer the question I asked above over the past several days. On the one hand, I am horrified by the violence and looting and destruction of property and when I focus on only that, I can say 'yes, they are nothing but thugs'. But there is so much more that I do not know and yes, the looting is wrong, the destruction of property, the burning of businesses, there is no question it all should be condemned. But then I wonder about the underlying causes that made it happen so quickly. Why was that man shot, the girl beaten by police? Would that have happened in a wealthy neighorhood?

So I wanted to see if Martin Luther King had spoken about the Watts riots, knowing he was against violence, I wondered what he might have said. And I'm glad I did:



Martin Luther King: The Other America

And so I want to use as a title for my lecture tonight, "The Other America." And I use this title because there are literally two Americas. Every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split at so many parts, and so every city ends up being two cities rather than one. There are two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. In this America, millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them. This America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, freedom and human dignity for their spirits. In this America children grow up in the sunlight of opportunity.

But there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this other America, thousands and thousands of people, men in particular walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist. In this other America, millions of people are forced to live in vermin-filled, distressing housing conditions where they do not have the privilege of having wall-to-wall carpeting, but all too often, they end up with wall-to-wall rats and roaches. Almost forty percent of the Negro families of America live in sub-standard housing conditions. In this other America, thousands of young people are deprived of an opportunity to get an adequate education. Every year thousands finish high school reading at a seventh, eighth and sometimes ninth grade level. Not because they're dumb, not because they don't have the native intelligence, but because the schools are so inadequate, so over-crowded, so devoid of quality, so segregated if you will, that the best in these minds can never come out. Probably the most critical problem in the other America is the economic problem. There are so many other people in the other America who can never make ends meet because their incomes are far too low if they have incomes, and their jobs are so devoid of quality. And so in this other America, unemployment is a reality and under-employment is a reality.


Im still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impractical for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.

But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.


And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nations summers of riots are caused by our nations winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.


Emphasis is mine ~

He then presented his audience with solutions, eg a guaranteed minimum income for all people, and for all families of our country, an end to the war that was allowing the Great Society to be shot down on the battlefields of Vietnam every day; eradication of poverty and real integration, (Integration must be seen also in political terms where there is shared power, where black men and white men share power together to build a new and a great nation.**). And he said that: In a real sense, were all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.

Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.

He had a way of balancing condemnation for what is clearly wrong with an understanding for the underlying causes of those wrongs and then offering solutions to prevent both wrongs in the future.

I am glad I read his thoughts on these issues. I think he answers the question perfectly.
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 05:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R!!!! n/t
bhn
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 05:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. K&R
and...

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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
26. I keep looking at this picture
and maybe because I am tired, I am not getting why you posted it in the thread?
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #26
63. Absolutely no reason
other than I couldn't stop looking at that picture, but wanted to K&R your post.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #63
74. Lol, okay! I was struggling to try to make a connection
between the picture and the OP topic and just couldn't so I thought I was missing something.

Anyhow, thanks for the explanation and the K&R :-)
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 06:07 AM
Response to Original message
3. K&R
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 06:38 AM
Response to Original message
4. This is one of the best and most thoughtful posts I've read in awhile.
Definitely the best personal reflection upon the riots. Thank you!
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:22 AM
Response to Reply #4
15. Thank you for your kind words ...
:-)
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Zywiec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 06:43 AM
Response to Original message
5. Also the language of the unheard sporting fan
Riots erupt in Vancouver after Canucks loss

Riot police fired tear gas, pepper spray and flash bombs in downtown Vancouver Wednesday night to try to disperse angry rioters who set cars on fire, looted stores and taunted police officers after the Canucks' 4-0 Stanley Cup final loss to the Boston Bruins.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/20...

and there are many other examples of mindless rioting after a team lose.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Are sports fans who go to such events subjected in their daily
lives to inequality and injustices, such as police abuse, eg?

Thanks for the post. It does show that some riots have no underlying causes other than pure selfishness as opposed to the two in the OP where there were problems with unfair treatment by the police on a regular basis and prejudice, poverty, unemployment etc. I have zero patience for sports fans who throw a temper tantrum because their team didn't win.
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disillusioned73 Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. But to equate "sports riots" to the ones
you reference is irresponsible and a bit of a distraction/deflection as far as I'm concerned.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:04 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Yes, I was not sure what the point was!
Maybe I will get an explanation! :-)
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #8
55. A riot by any other qualifier is yet a riot...
A riot by any other qualifier is yet a riot... :shrug:
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disillusioned73 Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:54 PM
Response to Reply #55
58. If you live in a black & white world..
I guess.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 06:20 AM
Response to Reply #5
48. Have you ever wondered why sports fans riot?
I mean seriously, what do they have to gain by rioting? Or maybe it is not really about the sporting event. Maybe it's about our society where we encourage obsessive loyalty to a sports team because we have nothing else to offer people. Maybe it's because the people involved have so little in their lives that a loss of a game can seem to be devastating. It reminds me a little of how the Romans use to control the unwashed masses with games and bread.

A society that puts so much emphasis on games that fans of the losing team, and even sometimes of the winning team, violently erupt. It's a fairly recent phenomenon. But one worth noting. Perhaps there is another underlying cause besides the loss of a game.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #48
60. I have never understood that either.
And I don't know what causes it. Britain has had a lot of sports riots, mostly when they lose a Soccer Game. People have even been killed, airc.

I can't even begin to explain it. But absent information we do not have, I don't put this kind of riot, sparked by a Police killing and the beating by them of a teenage girl, in the same category. The interaction of poor communities with the police seems to have been the catalyst for many riots. Rodney King, the Watts Riot, this one in Britain. There seems to be a common denominator there, the poor and the police.

Sports riots are, at least on the surface, simply an inability to accept that your team lost. Why would that be such a threat that you have to become violent over it?

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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #48
61. there are a LOT of hormones released during sporting events.
people don't recognize this, but it does have an effect on behaviour. Put them in a crowd, add some beer, and it's not surprising that things get out of control.

Humans are herd animals. We'd like to think we are 'above' such base instincts, but history proves otherwise.

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Frank1 Donating Member (41 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 03:09 PM
Response to Reply #48
77. Team Fealty
I have friends that are very involved in sports and I don't exactly get it but I don't think the anyone (ie. Romans) is controling any of them. I don't even think that society puts much emphasis on games. It is more probably just human nature. The phenomenon used to be called mobism or mobocracy.

However, there is also the thought that in order to try and fix bad behavior the education system tried to instill values like being proud of who you are, no matter what you are, that we have some of the most self adjusted criminals in the world now. Self esteem is good but only if it helps others and yourself behave responsibly.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #77
78. Interesting!
But I don't think I agree with the last part of your comment. Regarding 'self adjusted criminals'. The very act of engaging in criminal activity demonstrates a complete lack of self-adjustment, a lack of foresight and a lack of understanding that to engage in behavior that will most likely have an adverse effect on someone's entire life, seems to me, to be totally self-destructive, aside from the harm done to others. Maybe they THINK they are in control, but clearly they are not. It would appear to be delusional thinking. So something has gone wrong with that teaching. To be self adjusted means doing what is best for oneself. And being a criminal certainly doesn't fit that description.
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disillusioned73 Donating Member (963 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 06:58 AM
Response to Original message
7. K&R
Great post. Thoughtful, insightful and very well reasoned. MLK Jr. had a way of conveying what many feel, yet are incapable of expressing.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:03 AM
Response to Original message
9. And now the nationalists are getting involved.
Fucking great.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. Maybe they should have marched on Parliament
armed and prepared to take over the government? I guess some 'rioters are more equal than others' to you.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:12 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. You'd guess wrong.
As usual.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:11 AM
Response to Original message
12. Strongly recommended.
Thank you.
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
14. Excellent post.

K&R

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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #14
52. I'll second that!
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
16. True.
In almost every case, (I wouldn't apply the rule to post-sporting event acts of madness).

Recommended.
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NYC_SKP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 08:31 AM
Response to Original message
17. See also: May 1979, San Francisco:
I lived there at the time, just about to move to NYC.

Same situation, an under-represented and oppressed group just couldn't take it anymore.





:cry:

Between the Milk/Moscone murders and the Jonestown massacre, I thought the world was unraveling.

:patriot:
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #17
21. Thank you for the reminder of those riots also.
Edited on Wed Aug-10-11 01:34 PM by sabrina 1
I remember a few years ago reading about this kind of civil unrest in India and at the time, some observers of the Global Economy stated that those riots in India would spread to the 'first world' if things continued on the path they were going (during the Bush administration).



And they are still going on: Food riots as Indian poor revolt

FOOD riots broke out in one of India's poorest states yesterday, as prices soar and revolt deepens.

Reported the Gulf Daily News today: "Mobs stoned trains and jammed roads with burning tyres in the eastern Bihar state, trying to enforce a day-long shutdown.

"Shops, offices and schools remained closed yesterday, when official data showed that food prices in Asia's third-largest economy rose an annual 17.4 per cent in mid-January.

"At least 12 passengers were injured when angry crowds stoned a train in Hajipur town, while thousands marched in the street in different parts of the state asking shops to close."


We can and should condemn the violence and those responsible will most likely go to jail, but to ignore the underlying causes is foolish.

We don't see riots in upper middle class or wealthy neighborhoods, and there is a reason for that.
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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
18. My keyboard broke when I posted mine
I was gonna add more but even now I'm posting on my iTouch yours is better

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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #18
25. I would like to read yours too, Ichingcarpenter.
I am always interested in your take on things ...
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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
19. MLK's words do not condone
the violence, or excuse it.

He said condemn the conditions which promote/provoke riots as vigorously as we condemn riots.

He also said, quite perfectly:


There is no easy way to create a world where men and women can live together, where each has his own job and house and where all children receive as much education as their minds can absorb. But if such a world is created in our lifetime, it will be done in the United States by Negroes and white people of good will. It will be accomplished by persons who have the courage to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflict suffering upon others. It will be done by rejecting the racism, materialism and violence that has characterized Western civilization and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation and peace.

from: Nonviolence: The Only Road To Freedom
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?do...



There is a difference between understanding and acknowledging the circumstances which lead people to break the law, and excusing or condoning it.

I don't doubt that there are those in GB who are operating out of the position of frustration with injustice, but that doesn't excuse it, or make it something that any of us should condone or "get behind" as some people HAVE suggested.

Thank you for posting this-

rec'd.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
20. No, he did not condone it. But his point was made that
while great wrongs were done by the rioters which he condemned, there was another great wrong that also needed to be condemned.

I haven't seen anyone say people should get behind these riots, not saying they haven't, but to simply focus on the riots without at the same time, as MLK did, acknowledging the other issues would be wrong also.

This kind of civil unrest was predicted several years ago by many people who were aware of the Global Economic situation. When those predictions were made, they were not condoning them, but warning against the kind of policies that ignored the needs of popularions while putting so much money in the hands of so few.



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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I join you and everyone else in
condemning the issues that have lead some to respond with violence. Actually, I have seen people here on DU saying they were behind those who were rioting. And I've seen others join in to praise them. That is why I felt the need to reply as I did.

Way back after 9/11 some of us tried to point out a similar connection between the policies and actions of the US which contributed to the desperation and outrage that would lead people to do what was done, not as a way of condoning it but of understanding it- I really do understand your point.

I find it ironic and sad that the people who are being hurt the most by the actions which are occurring in GB are in large part, people who are not only suffering under the same oppression, but are being hurt further and betrayed by people who should be standing with them not attacking them.

I feel it is especially important that we not condone or legitimize the use of violence and destruction to bring about positive change. We lose when we do- And as MLK so beautifully said "adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars".

peace~
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. MLK had a beautiful way with words:
"adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars".

I'm sure many of those involved in the rioting will suffer consequences, as they should, for what they have done. It is too bad that in situations like this, with so much anger and resentment and energy under the surface, that someone could not have channelled it into more positive action. Sadly when riots like this occur, they do the opposite of what is needed.

See my post on India above where food riots have been going on for several years now. When the world's wealth is concentrated in such a small % of the world's population, sooner or later the poor will react, and rarely are those reactions rational. If we had wiser leaders, they would understand the consequences of ignoring the issues that right or wrong, will lead to these tragic events.

Thank you for your post, I understood your point btw, and agree. I can't imagine how MLK must have felt when the Watts riots occurred because it made his message of social justice all the more difficult to be heard.

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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
24. Thank you for posting this. I have been trying to communicate this, but I am no MLK. nt
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. Me neither ZombieHorde, which is why I wanted to
see what he might have said ... :-)
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
28. As always, it will be what happens after the riots wherein the pudding will be proved
What will the ruling class do about this? Will Britain come down with hob-nailed boots on rioters? Will this lead to a re-examination of the ordering of society? Will underlying problems be addressed or dismissed out of hand? No doubt some of the current situation is opportunistic hooliganism, but some of it is also a legitimate grievance against the way things are. Concentrating on one aspect while excluding the other is a sure-fire recipe for further unrest. As one of the young people pointed out, when 2,000 people peaceably marched on a government office, there was bupkis in the news about it. Some windows get smashed and some buildings get burned, and suddenly the undivided attention of the media is focused like a laser beam.

Will reform be perceived as reward for the wrong-doers? Will stubborn insistence that nothing change carry the day? What happens when the catharsis is over will go a long way toward determining whether another one is in the offing.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. 'What will the ruling class do about this?'
Good question. But we have previous examples to look at and if they are any guide, the ruling class will ignore the underlying causes, hire some Blackwater Mercenaries to protect themselves from the rabble, and continue to loot as much as they can, until it reaches a critical mass where the people of the world decide to unite and organize against them rather than erupt in anger like this, giving the ruling class an out as they rail against the criminality of the poor, while pointing away from their own.

India, eg, has been dealing with riots for several years now. Very similar to these. But even here on DU you can see that people are more angry at the poor looters than they are at the wealthy, despite the fact the looting being done by the wealthy is on a massive scale by comparison.

This post, eg, has been unrec'd almost more than any other I have posted. I assume that means that even on the left, the poor doing on a much smaller scale what the rich do on a massive scale and which in reality affects them far more directly, evokes far more anger. Maybe it's racism, or fear of the poor? I don't know, but whatever is the cause, I'm sure the major, wealthy looters are happy to see how it is working out.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. I don't pay much attention to recs/unrecs
An unrec is such an anonymous little bit of bile/spite that one can perpetrate, or that can be totally accidental. I pay it no mind. Certainly there seem to be any number of folks who will unrec a thread just on general principles.

Why might people reflexively condemn rioters? There may be as many reasons as there are folks who condemn. Heavier identification with property owners might be one. Racism is certainly an enduring reason, which is born out of fear. For some, any time the underclass gets too "uppity," there's bound to be a reactionary response. There's the Goldilocks Principle: A peaceful non-violent demonstration by thousands got practically no notice in the popular media, so that was too little. But torching cars, smashing windows, burning buildings? Well, that's too much. So what would be the "just right" way for the oppressed to get the attention of the oppressors? As voluble as some people are to condemn the rioters or dismiss peaceful demonstrations, they suddenly develop lockjaw when asked for the "proper" method of an effective petitioning for a redress of grievances.

I hope for a better result in England. There will surely be a vocal contingent yammering that any changes in society will be giving in to the blackmail of the rioters, but I think more sensible heads will prevail and make a calculation of just how much adjustment will be absolutely necessary to prevent a repeat of these troubles, or to sway enough of the public away from the grievances of the rioters. And then if there's a repeat, the mercs can be called in.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Well said:
they suddenly develop lockjaw when asked for the "proper" method of an effective petitioning for a redress of grievances.

What is the proper method? Looking at history, and even now across the globe, riots appear to the be the only way to get attention for the world's poor.

I will remember to ask that question from now on. In France, Greece, Ireland and here in the US, when the people by overwhelming majorities oppose these 'austerity' programs, their governments simply ignored them. Despite massive protests in many of those countries. Knowing full well that the people do NOT want their policies, Sarkozy eg, simply did what his real bosses told him and totally ignored the will of the people.

As for recs, not worried about them but it is interesting to see what gets unrec'd on DU these days. Any attempt to try to understand these riots is clearly not to be done now on the 'left'. Sad. I remember when we used to be able to talk about these kinds of issues. It doesn't mean condoning the methods, but it is equally wrong to ignore the causes which will only lead to more of them.

I hope you are right about England not ignoring the causes and taking positive steps to try to address the problems.

Clegg, eg, predicted this kind of 'social unrest' and 'Greece-like' uprisings if the current economic policies continued. It looks like he was right.
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #29
40. An unrec is a vote against peace and justice, a lack of strength.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #40
47. Yes, I suppose it is, at least in this thread.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
30. k&r
king had it right.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:41 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. Yes. He was murdered not long after he gave that speech.
Odd how those who see and dare to point out what is wrong in this country, publicly, especially if they have some influence, seem to die.
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #32
37. yes, very odd, isn't it?
paul wellstone is another :(
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #37
44. Yes, very. It's always the ones who are trying to
improve this planet who seem to die early deaths ...
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #32
53. It's also a commentary on the people who condemn
the violence of rioters, but ignore the violence against the working class and poor including their leaders or potential leaders.

Even on this supposed "left" forum, violence BY exploiters is condoned by a large group (I'm still not sure it's a majority, but it is a sizable group), but violence by the exploited is condemned.
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Zax2me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
31. Thugs or freedom fighters? Depend on who you ask? Okay...
I'll ask those hurt by it all - the shop owners, most who are far from being called rich.
I doubt they see freedom fighting in their stores being looted of all goods and destroyed.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. What I have wondered is, have there ever been riots
in wealthy neighborhoods? I agree that those who are the victims of the violence, and most people, including MLK, do not view these riots as noble. But that doesn't mean that society should ignore the facts, pointed out by MLK, that if a nation does not provide for all of its people, like or not, this is what happens.

I am just fascinated by the outrage, justified yes, at the poor criminals, by comparison to the lack of similar outrage at those who looted our treasury eg and continue to do so. And who intend to take away as much as they can of programs that barely keep the most vulnerable people alive.

I'd like to know why the vast difference in the level of anger directed at the poor as opposed to major criminals who are responsible for what has been described as the Biggest Bank Heist in History.
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Bluerthanblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #33
36. You know Sabrina-
reading through this entire thread again, I think I can say that for me- I do feel angry at those who are choosing to riot. I feel like they are betraying us.
That the rich and powerful oppress and abuse the common man is no great surprise. Hasn't that been the way of the world for centuries?


I've lived my life on the margins of society and found that honesty, generosity, compassion and kindness comes most often from
people who themselves have also suffered and struggled- those who understand choosing between buying a roll of toilet paper or a quart of milk- who know what it's like not to be able to afford seeing a dentist for 12yrs, or what it's like to clothe your family at thrift stores and rummage sales, how it feels to worry if winter will break before you run out of fuel.


Your wondering about how people could be so outraged by those who are rioting, made be stop and question myself.
I'm angry at the rioters because damn it, they know better. They know how it feels to be victimized, but just don't care. The need to vent- to act out- is more important than their neighbor. And that reality is especially demoralizing and destructive.
It destroys community- society. Those corporate and political powers doing things which impact the vulnerable the might not really understand the impact of what they do, or if they do, it's happening to some 'nameless' 'faceless' statistics- not to real live people with faces and lives and families and dreams- Some of them know exactly what they are doing, and just don't care.

Those who riot and destroy a neighborhood can't pretend that "nobody's really getting hurt". That leaves us with the depressing reality that they really just don't care. That the only thing that matters is "them"- Isn't that the kind of selfishness that we are struggling against???

The rioters can't hide behind polished desks, or billion dollar bonuses and be willfully ignorant of the reality of what they are doing.
they see the fear, the intimidation, the flames that consume the homes and livelihoods of people who are neighbors and friends.

Maybe this is part of why people are so angry about our Democratic leaders and politicians not being able to make the kind of changes that need to be made, or being able to push back against the right wing - tea party machine. We expect more from those we consider to be 'one of us'. Even when they are actually unable to stop what is happening.

sorry
I'm rambling- but you've made me stop and really think about things. thanks for that.

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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #36
42. What a beautiful post.
Thank you for taking the time to write it and for putting so much thought into this. I can't think of anything at all I disagree with in your comment.

I've lived my life on the margins of society and found that honesty, generosity, compassion and kindness comes most often from people who themselves have also suffered and struggled-

This is true and as you say, the rioters know how it feels 'to be victimized', they should know better. I agree. The only thing I want to correct is this Your wondering about how people could be so outraged by those who are rioting ... , no I do understand the outrage, I am outraged myself at what they are doing. But that presented a conflict for me, not because I, in any way could condone what they are doing, but because, and MLK expressed for me what I was having a problem with. That yes, condemn them, but, as he said, he could not condemn the Watts rioters without ALSO comdemning those who either helped create the circumstances that led to the riots or who are oblivious to them.

When people have dignity, something to work for, something they care about, they don't do this kind of thing. And I know that there is no excuse, yet it happens so often under these conditions that there must be some dynamic involved, while even though most poor people live their whole lives without ever doing anything like this, every once in a while something happens to cause this kind of eruption. And all I'm saying is that there is a responsibility for society as a whole to at least work towards not creating an underclass that is so alienated and marginalized, that as long as they behave themselves and no one hears from them, to assume that it's okay.

I don't know what they can do to get the attention they need. Protesting peacefully doesn't work. And rioting, while it gets people's attention, only alienates them further as MLK said.

I guess I just couldn't feel satisfied to just condemn them and leave it at that. That is easy to do considering the harm they have done, mostly to innocent people. People have to have hope to make life worth living.

As for the wealthy not understanding the dreams and hopes of people whose lives are far removed from their own, that is true, but it is not true of everyone. There are people who are capable of empathy for others even though they themselves have lived privileged lives. People like the Kennedys eg. Ted Kennedy used his position as a Senator to fight for the poor in his state. I used to watch him on CSpan and saw how angry sometimes he would be at Republicans for their inability to care.

Anyhow, thank you very much for the time and thought you gave to this. I don't know the answers, but there won't be any, if we just condemn and punish and then forget about this and it will happen again. That is what MLK was trying to say I guess. We're all in this together, rich and poor, even if many prefer to think otherwise.

I hope something positive comes of all of this. There are children in that neighborhood, they deserve a chance to do better than their circumstances right now allow. Mostly though, I do agree with you regarding the choices made by people who should have known better.



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Capitalocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #31
51. I heard an interesting interview with some of the rioters
They were literally saying they wanted to take a stand against the rich. And then they went breaking into the stores owned by their own neighbors, people who are only slightly richer than they are.

It's sad to see, but you have to recognize that both sides of this equation are present. You know what? You're right, they are thugs just causing damage and not actually making any difference for the better. But at the same time, they're angry and they want to stick it to the richest person they have access to... and it just so happens that the people who are really rich and really fucking them over are behind gates and guards and dogs and police and the protection of the entire justice system that the rest of society doesn't have access to.

I don't condone violence in almost any circumstance. But the most productive thing to do here is to discuss the causes, coldly and scientifically, and look for real solutions.
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swilton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
38. Thanks Sabrina!
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
39. I was inside Watts during the riots, seeing the truth and hearing
the lies. the lies coming from the TV and watching the truth with my own eyes.

Martin was spot on and it is just as important today, maybe more so.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 12:58 AM
Response to Reply #39
43. Well, that's the problem for those of us just watching all of this
from a distance. It's easy to condemn the violence, which is wrong of course, and just leave it at that. But for some of us, it's not that simple.

Interesting that you were there, thank you for commenting in this thread. I have a question, not sure if you know the answer, but did things improve afterwards? In the article I linked to it said there was a study done to try to identify the causes and the conclusion was, pretty much what MLK said, poverty, hopelessness, alienation etc. I just wondered if anything positive came of all of it.
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socialist_n_TN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #43
54. "But for some of us, it's not that simple."
As nadin said in another thread, "it's complicated"
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WHEN CRABS ROAR Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #43
65. Ah, yes yes, lets do a study and then state the obvious.
The area was traumatized, shocked and in my humble opinion, just like a rubber band, could snap right back today as if no one learned anything from this tragedy.
The King riots come to mind.
It just takes a spark at the right or wrong time.

But on another level as a whole we are not as racist as we once were.
MLK was right, Gandhi was right, we have to transcend ourselves, saying no can be very powerful.
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 02:07 AM
Response to Reply #65
72. No study should have been necessary, that is true, but apparently
an awful lot of people don't understand what you do and what MLK did. Look at the reaction to the London riots. From what I can see, and listening to the British PM today, he blames it on parenting, some blame it on Britain's social programs which in their view, is spoiling people, they have 'too much without having to work for it'. In their view, there was no reason other than criminality for the riots. Maybe when things settle down that kind of simplistic view of what happened will diminish. But if that's how it was after the Watts riots, apparently they did need a study to educate them.

But I agree that people will have to transcend themselves as you say, the question is can they? I don't know the answer to that question but at the moment, it doesn't seem hopeful.

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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-10-11 09:51 PM
Response to Original message
41. K&R nt
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Lucian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
45. It's just an excuse for those people to score free tv's.
:eyes:

:thumbsup: and K&R.
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Cherchez la Femme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:54 AM
Response to Original message
46. That's a perfect quote
Edited on Thu Aug-11-11 02:01 AM by Cherchez la Femme
I was thinking that earlier today.


But of course, here on DU we'll hear so much tut-tutting
and how destructive they are as if destruction was the absolute goal.

SO impolite!

You know, if they were pragmatic and just wanted to reach consensus they should have just went up and TALKED to the people in charge, THEN they'd Hey Presto! see CHANGE... but noooo, they're just criminals and we don't have any compassion for CRIMINALS, do we?!



It reminds me of the so-called logic of this crazy teabagger interviewed in --arrgh, my new computer just died & this computer won't let me access my Delicious bookmarks :(
Now my memory is getting worse and worserer so don't quote me--
but I think it was in New Hampshire,
definitely one of the New England States,
where this creep of a kid and his baby momma had their 2nd kid taken away from them by DSS/DCFS (Child protection/social workers);
this second one right after the baby was born.

There was a HUGE Teabagging stink
(amazingly, some kid in a Guy Fawkes mask actually showed up to protest too :eyes:)
and they all defended this poor guy

--a guy who had been big local trouble, loads of arrests, he was even kicked out of a new high school after being kicked out of his old one (I so recall) for making Columbine-type threats on his very first day! He was on total, I think, disability because he didn't have sight in one eye! Oh, the humanity! No depth perception but yet he had a number of ninja stars, rifles/shotguns and handguns

bought, of course, through the largess of the taxpayers of the US of A!
THIS, I guess, for teabaggers are OK expenditures for all of our tax dollars! :rofl:

His baby momma was no prize herself, but unfortunately I don't recall enough of why the first child was removed from the home (IIRC both of them were negligent in the extreme) so I better not commit to what possibly may be incorrect...

SO ANYHOW, they're interviewing the 'baggers and they get to this one woman who didn't think that the government should be policing the populace -- that private corporations, for-profit of course, should take over services like Law Enforcement, Firefighting, the Courts, ad nauseatingum (yah, deliberate misspelling).
It was amazing.

But what was even more amazing is her response to the reporter's question of, if police shouldn't interfere with the lives of the citizens, i.e. shouldn't exist at all but instead Mercenaries in Cop clothing and the full powers thereof (the interviewee's opinion -- or words close to that effect);

what should be done to stop a man from abusing his wife or child?

and her response was that thoe employee of the private corporation should just go and ask nicely for the man to please stop abusing them!
(I get the feeling that if this person of interest was a Librul, they just should have been shot, but that's MOO of course :))

I'm dead serious.
If anyone wants the links I *should* be able to access my bookmarks later and get them to you

--or if you know this story & have even more information, please send it my way. It was one of the craziest things I've ever seen,
and believe you me I've seen some crazy-azz shit in my day!!!



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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 03:34 AM
Response to Reply #46
73. The ignorance of some people is scary
Cherchez La Femme. That's a sad story though, that they actually believe a private mercenary army would be better than the police force. They should ask the people of Iraq about that. An army with none of the restrictions of the police and we see how even with those restrictions, how abusive some of them can be. Crazy is right, no pun intended :-)

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Cherchez la Femme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #73
76. Or maybe a U.S. just like the libertarian paradise Somalia would be better
After all, the wealthy can hire their own 'police' (body guards);

heck, with the population out of jobs and what jobs available paying next to nothing, they can afford all kinds of things even easier!

Man, I'd feel SO GOOD about this country

...if I were wealthy


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Creideiki Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 07:11 AM
Response to Original message
49. Fast forward to 2011 AMERICA--I'm seeing things in Chicago and Philadelphia,
possibly the Baltimore attack on the trans woman...

I don't think there are Two Americas, I think there are Three. The First America has the group that owns everything and is small. The Third America has the bottom 40 percent that own 0.4% of the wealth (not just money, but assets included in wealth) and are desperately poor. While I don't think that all the Third Americans are violent, I think that the bulk of the violent mob attacks are coming from that group. (Hint: Taxation without Representation; the "50% of Americans who pay no income taxes" because they've (very recently *we've*) been so poor that the personal deduction and EITC cancels out anything made; Youth unemployment (across all races) at or over 25%; Racial minority unemployment at or over 25% soaring to 40% in some communities)

I don't know of any other areas--I'll try to Google later on my breaks and come up with a stand-alone post later this morning if no one else does.

Norman Goldman referred to this on Tuesday's show as a symptom of Disintegration Nation--the country falling apart at the seams.

There's definitely energy there. We can try to channel it to some productive actual change (as MLK, Jr. and the leaders of the Black Civil Rights Movement did in the 60s) or watch the whole thing fall around our ears. Whose side are you on?
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #49
57. Well, I guess at the time MLK made that speech,
we still had a Middle class and he was probably placing them in with the group that had representation. He does blame them in that speech for not doing more about the 'other America'.

'Three Americas'. Do you mean the diminishing Middle Class? If so I would agree, they certainly don't fit with the wealthy class as they now have barely enough to survive on themselves.

Whose side am I on? I am for channelling the energy into positive actions to get attention for the plight of those who most need it. But what can they do to get that attention? Peaceful demonstrations are ignored, petitions, phone calls to Congress etc., all are ignored.

I don't have any answers, just questions.

Btw, I hope you do write that OP. I will try to catch it if you do.
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Capitalocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
50. What a condoner!
How dare you condone rioting by analyzing its root causes and proposing the kind of change that would prevent them? That's counterproductive! Time to crack some heads!

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding!
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #50
56. Sorry!
:-)
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JackRiddler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
59. From you to all who have not heard (we can hope). Thank you!
Too late to recommend.
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KG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
62. why can't they be pragmatic, and vote for hope and change?
:P
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NOLALady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
64. Too late to Rec.
Kick :kick:
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Nye Bevan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
66. "I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not
the way".

Absolutely.

Thanks for posting.
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butterfly77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
67. Kicked&Recommended!
:kick:
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saorsa Donating Member (93 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
68. Thank you for this. There is so much more depth to these things than
our 'handlers' would like us to talk about. Instead we get mostly the nauseating outrage of the biggest thieves & thugs in high places who have the gall to bleat about criminality and violence, especially when they are so very grateful for the diversion of attention away from their own latest smash and grab looting sprees. Listening to the radio today I heard a report about the threats by some authorities to go all out against rioters and include all the nasty tools the powers that be could get their hands on, including that old stand-by, rubber bullets. That always works out well....


David Cameron: This is not about poverty, its about culture. A culture that glorifies violence, shows disrespect to authority, and says everything about rights but nothing about responsibilities.


Nearly inhaled my coffee on that one. The pampered, precious wink-winkers who happily watch the blood run in the streets of whatever new 'failed state' they've sent their fighting boys off to in the name of you-know-what ( $$$$ ) while they slice, dice and sell off what is left of the working class support mechanisms back home that (once) kept the pesky poor off their backs. I guess shame really is just for poor people.


From
An Open Letter to David Camerons Parents
by Nathaniel Tapley

( this snip refers to the British MP's)
Can they really, as 650 people who have shown themselves to be venal pygmies, moral dwarves at every opportunity over the last 20 years, bleat at others about criminality. Those who decided that when they broke the rules (the rules they themselves set) they, on the whole wouldnt face the consequences of their actions?

Are they really surprised that this countrys culture is swamped in greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer goods of the most base kind? Really?

Lets have a think back: cash-for-questions; Bernie Ecclestone; cash-for-access; Mandelsons mortgage; the Hinduja passports; Blunketts alleged insider trading (and, by the way, when someone has had to resign in disgrace twice can we stop having them on television as a commentator, please?); the meetings on the yachts of oligarchs; the drafting of the Digital Economy Act with Lucian Grange; Byers, Hewitts & Hoons desperation to prostitute themselves and their positions; the fact that Andrew Lansley (in charge of NHS reforms) has a wife who gives lobbying advice to the very companies hoping to benefit from the NHS reforms. And that list didnt even take me very long to think of.

Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.


Sounds familiar to me....

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/08/11-9

Published on Thursday, August 11, 2011 by Nathaniel Tapley
An Open Letter to David Camerons Parents
by Nathaniel Tapley
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-11-11 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #68
69. I just watched Cameron on TV in Parliament and it was sickening
the way and his party refused to even consider the impact of their 'austerity' programs on the country. Members of the Labor Party brought up the cut-backs in the police, leaving too few to deal with the situation when it began. He dismissed that stating that they have enough police, they 'just weren't on the streets'.

He was desperate to protect their 'looting' of the country, and it was pretty obvious.

As always, here in the US, and apparently everywhere else also, the rightwing solution to everything is to 'militarize' the society. I didn't catch all of it, but it seems he may be using this as a way to get the military on the streets.

I have also read that the police were held back initially. Airc, that is what happened here in the US during the Rodney King riots. The rightwing Gov. did not call for the police early enough to stop it. It was theorized at the time that they wanted the riots to get out of hand so that they could then point to them as justification for why they had beat up minorities etc.

I hope there will be more thought given to all of this and that Cameron and his 'corporate looters' don't manage to turn it to their advantage cutting back even more and giving more to the already obscenely wealthy.

Thank you for your post and welcome to DU ~ :-)
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
70. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking post
:hug:
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 02:01 AM
Response to Original message
71. We may also find ourselves in their shoes soon -- !!!
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dana_b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 02:09 PM
Response to Original message
75. what a great post
and I'm sorry that I didn't get to recommend it.
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-12-11 07:44 PM
Response to Original message
79. Excellent OP. Can't rec but will surely kick.
and highly recommend that you send this to Rachel or Keith.
It's REALLY that good. :kick:
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-13-11 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #79
80. Thank you ~
I appreciate your comment Horse with no Name.
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