I haven’t been paying much attention to the news. I’ve been busy. Poor excuse I know, but apparently they are rioting in England? And from what I understand it’s all over a guy getting shot by a police officer?
Obviously the continued angst of the riots isn’t purely the product of some random guy getting killed by a cop (not to down play the incident), but the Arab Spring was sparked by a man setting himself on fire in relatively obscure Tunisia. So the question I’ve been asking anyone that seems to know more about this situation than me (which is most of my intelligent friends at this point), is, what the hell is the mob demanding? What is the broader underlying issue that is driving the malcontent of the general (generally civilized) british population to take to the streets?
My thought, and again, I preface this with a heavy dose of – I have no idea what the hell I’m talking about – is that the global economic downturn and the broad conservative shift in politics (of which a blog post is hopefully in the works) has further marginalized a youthful, population that otherwise disenfranchised, and disempowered as they idle with unemployment or underemployment witness growing inequality as conservative politics introduces austerity measures, lowers taxes and cuts “discretionary” spending – otherwise known as social programs for the masses, (the debate about the term “discretionary” when used for social programs is too long to address here, suffice to say – I call bullshit!)
Of course, in a global economic recession, those already living on the margins, and disenfranchised take to the streets first – we have seen this in the Middle East with high rates of unemployment, and high proportions of youth, facing little opportunity or freedom.
Now, with austerity measures in full swing, we see it in England – the marginalized populations taking to the streets out of frustration because of a lack of opportunity, and a lack of support from the government to implement the simplest economic and socially suppressive tactic of all – GIVE PEOPLE JOBS!
My next thought then, is where will we see this next? We’ve seen it in Greece, and Turkey, now England…. the United States has largely followed the same path the UK has – cutting social programs, lowering taxes etc. And while better positioned socially and economically, are following a path towards further marginalization and disenfranchisement of massive populations through program and tax cuts…. the question is, at what point does the pain of such cuts, especially with the potential of going into a double dip recession cut so hard, that people take to the streets?
Think about this…. two thirds of tea party members in the United States are on Social Welfare, and an equally significant number are on, or know someone on medicare? At some point, the reactionary conservative politics that has moved the Western world, will pull the rug from under us, and put people in such dire and disempowered straights that they will take matters into their own hands ….. (what happened to keynesian economics?) time to connect with the people, find out what they really want, and do what it takes to give it them – a job!
That’s all. Forgive me for rambling. I’m drunk