8.10.2011

Wealthy, educated "Leftists" in condescension shocker

Pere Lebrun for the fucking win. I can't overemphasize how much I was waiting for that!

Let's start from the middle. Virtually anyone who has used the word "trainers" in their article or blog post or whatever about the riots is disqualified from further comment*. As PL suggests, do you really think that taste, of all things, in looted goods, has any significance unless your goal is to either restore the law-and-order you either love as a member of the right-wing or detested as a member of the Left until that order was broken in a way that didn't support your paternalistic view of what the working class should be up to?

Ironically, the same violence that is necessary for the right wing to justify further repression, further cuts is now being used to establish hierarchy on the Left. Did it ever occur to any of you that the reason these riots don't conform to a desire engendered by years spent leisurely poring over the latest missives from teachers at the European Graduate School is that there is, ultimately, no real place for the rioters in your theoretical non-neoliberal vision of the future as well? If you think sneaker thieves idiots now, what were your plans for them tomorrow?

Damage to property is not worse than damage to humans. The violence of the state is worse than anything done within the UK so far. Take your self-satisfied brooms and go to Libya or Iraq.

*What teenagers aren't status obsessed? Fashion obsessed? What would you steal if you were a looter? Rare vinyl? Some "cool" thick-white-plastic-framed sunglasses? Do you think the guy who stole a bag of rice stupid? I think him quite practical!

5 comments:

W. Kasper said...

Glad you agreed. I get the impression that British readers may be a bit more cautious with my 'stance', Americans not so much. But national blind spots are hard to avoid at times - I'm sure middle class Indians think their caste system is just dandy.

As for the endless mentions of trainers, TVs etc. They're not mentioning the theft of 'luxury items' like food, nappies and tampons as much. Of course young people wanna look cool and dress nice - SFW? Do you need a degree to look good now? To condemn them for this is as 'left' as chiding young women for wanting to be attractive and enjoy themselves. I'm sure some of these commentators managed to get laid at a protest march or two, so I'm calling bullshit on their 'moral example'. Like the Right, they're pointing the finger at everything except their own long-term failures.

To quote the Godfather of Soul: I don't need anybody to give me nothing (open the door and I'll take it myself).

:-p said...

I understand what you mean about it being easier to say all of this here in the US. And there are plenty of people on the side of good who have suffered greatly due to these riots. My apartment still exists, as does all of my stuff. The nearest corner store is still open.

But there is a mountain. Climbing that mountain may take the form of nonviolent resistance, the student protests, or the riots. Perhaps some forms are better than others. Ultimately, though, the peak has to be reached and the other side seen.

I don't think the violence is necessary. I think the resolve is. The UK Left should have just said "fuck it" and joined in. Who knows when the next chance will come. Fifty or a hundred thousand more people and just a bit of democratic organization and suddenly... suddenly there are choices to be made. Suddenly the desire for change has consequence. Suddenly a moment becomes a turning point.

W. Kasper said...

"The UK Left should have just said "fuck it" and joined in. Who knows when the next chance will come."

- I'd agree, but I'd be considered nuts for saying so. Can't shake the feeling that a whole 'misrecognition' has occurred. If anything, it would have built alliances with a very angry, and 'instinctively' radical, generation. This happened to some extent after the 1981 riots. Kids like that trust adults from very different backgrounds if they know you won't rat them out or demonize them. I think the British fear momentum really, and divisions are so stark that I think seasoned leftists would be too nervous to make that move.

:-p said...

I can understand. I would be too. But there aren't too many alternatives, are there? People keep talking about how neoliberalism is a dead ideology that persists because unchallenged. Well?

W. Kasper said...

The only thing that I'm surprised by is the lack of cheesy zombie metaphors applied to rioters. So, I'll be the first to mention Dawn of the Dead, social breakdown, racial phobias, surplus labour and consumerism here...

http://andwhatwillbeleftofthem.blogspot.com/search/label/Zombies

...then say those metaphors are just offensive bullshit under the circumstances.