Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Unknowing fascism: The rioters and their apologists.

If the riots are not considered to be apolitical, then they must be fascistic. The people whose jobs and homes have been wrecked as a result are predominantly working class. No attacks have (yet) been carried out on government buildings or officials. To use the word 'protest' now would be to show a very poor understanding of the English language.

The only people who do not seem to be furious, or at least ironic, about what is happening and spreading as I am writing this, are a clutch of middle class students and the rioters themselves.

The social networking response from most 'friends' has been witty or summary; from a minority, many of whom are postgraduates, there have been morally weird and logically blank status updates and links, loaded with conspiracy innuendo. (I can only assume those reading this will have a similar home feed right now.) The first thing to notice about the riots, wherever you stand (or sit) politically is surely the following; there is no connection, moral or logical, from the statement - Society has let us down - to the action of indiscriminately wrecking other people's lives. To suggest that there is a motive to the mayhem, despite the evidence of what has been ruined, not to mention the runaway silence of the perpetrators, requires complete intellectual dishonesty.

To complain about the statements made by police, council leaders or politicans - that, for instance, they have been reductive and unhelpful - is a self-abnegating position for any educated student to take. Maybe more people around the country would be enlightened if Boris Johnson began referencing Derrida or Marx to describe the looting. No - no, they wouldn't. But perhaps the longer a coward is educated at second-tier universities for (mine include Leeds and Sussex), the more right-wing and apologetic he or she becomes under left-wing banners of rhetoric. If you try to reason with these people - the rioters or the apologists - using facts, the response is either a fingers-in-ears or middle-fingers-up jump into a get-away-car of despair censorship. According to these people,I am a fascist, or merely a conservative, for condemning the riots. I think, pointing at history, I can safely reverse the accusation.

So why are young people blindly adhering to anything anti-Western (not necessarily anti-establishment - remember they don't like the BNP)? I used to be, roughly speaking, of this ilk: so I think I can try for an answer. It is far too easy to devote a paragraph of any essay, a chapter of any book, to Freudian interpretations of human affairs. However in the case of the new left wing, including many people who have a blind spot to the Caliphate-nostalgic, female circumsision and suicide-bombing corporations, usurpation of illusory authority and ignorance of far away Big Brother types seems to be a valid theory. I can't help but think that on some level my briefly lived vitriol against the 'fascistic' United States of America (scroll down Joey Barton's Twitter for help) was born out of a churlish reaction to authority of any kind, no matter how unintrusive, provident and nourishing. On authority, George Orwell in Inside the Whale is tutelary in a way I have quoted before on this blog:

People can swallow totalitarianism because they have no experience of anything other than liberalism.

I'm no expert on political history, nor do I mean to condescend, but the Labour movement has achieved so much for an oppressed working class since the nineteenth century. It has been betrayed in recent years, usually by white middle-class postmodernists who, when for instance thinking about our role overseas, are more concerned about oil and profit than the issue of psychopathic crime families enslaving their populations, or powerful figureheads of apocalyptic cults stoning or genitally mutiliating heretic women. Meanwhile secular socialists - true socialists - are desperately struggling for emancipation. As long as the record is anti-Western, young people who sell the Social Worker in the twenty-first century want it to play, preferably on their iPods.

There have been no demands made by any spokespeople. This is bankrupt terrorism, and now the indie flock are bound to start flinging the word 'Orwellian', incidentally without fear, all over the internet during the upcoming investigations. There is no redemption for those who torch innocent people's property - leaving it to brave firefighters - in a society which guarantees freedom of speech, benefits, healthcare, multiculturalism and human rights. The free Blackberry Messenger conversations and swanky videos being enjoyed at this very moment by the criminals are proof in more than one sense. It may be a cutesy cliche to refer to starving children in Africa. But consider that currently there is the worst drought in that continent in half a century: 10.7 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and 25% of the Somalian population alone has been displaced. Meanwhile, however underpriveleged, hundreds of young people here are looting shops for gin and sound systems. Maybe I'm being harsh. Perhaps all they're looking for is the Les Miserables soundtrack.


  1. Is it not possible to draw "connections" between an political / corporate class's disregard and active exploitation of the poor of society and the rioting, while also condemning the violence as immoral?

  2. Not to me. Because your question disingenuously takes for granted the consciousness of a faceless collective who disregard and actively exploit the poor when there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who are part of that 'class' who give to / work for / organise charities (just sticking with charities here) hellbent on helping to reduce poverty and thus the class divide. This is certainly true of the donators and professionals I speak to in my job, daily. Hence your question sounds dubiously irrational - in that sense, not even Marxist. Researching (as opposed to masturbating in paragraphs of moral relativism) the causes for the behaviour of rioters would be a more rationally left-wing approach in its proper regard to the issue. In my opinion, it is comprised of three different things: poverty of family values, poverty of (moral & intellectual) state education and materialism, promoted by media, through (anti-)cultural heroes - models, footballers and most of all rappers. (Predominantly vacant hedonism in each case.)

  3. The student, by the way, whose tax expenditure is disproportionate to their consumer activity, is part of that class you speak of. Doesn't matter whether you want to be an investment banker when you graduate or whether you're buying into big corporate players and fascist-apologists like Michael Moore, the student is still active. For one thing, the most amount of propaganda I've ever seen in this country is on the campuses of both universities I've been to. (Much of which condemned the emancipation of peoples in the Middle East, helped by Western governments for whatever motive, from dystopia.) This dangerously undermines the left-wing cause as anything other than an adolescent phase. Which, in truth and in history, it isn't. However, if excuses - BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE - are going to be made for fascistic actions in this country and elsewhere in the world, by 'the left', then I think intellectual honesty over what that term even means any longer, comes into it. Nick Cohen of the Guardian writes very well about this.