Watching the London “riots” has been an interesting experience. My first instinct was that capitalism was at the bottom of this: people were sick of austerity measures, lack of opportunities, cuts in social spending, job losses, and a media that is shoving consumerism down their throats 24/7.
What apparently started out with the police shooting a black father of 4 in London has resulted in riots, looting, and protests across the country. The mainstream media has focused on the damage the looters have caused and on the general illegality and violence of the events, as opposed to addressing the root issues/causes. Here are excerpts from some articles I’ve read:
Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world (here).
Britain is becoming an increasingly unequal place. The pay gap is fast approaching Victorian levels and social mobility has been declining since the 1950s. Neoliberalism has only deepened a growing social crisis over the last 30 years. Its legacy was a global financial system which exploded so catastrophically in 2007-8. And the ruling class response to this? Austerity for the people, not for the real culprits – the bankers and big business. The story has been the same across Europe and in the United States, which are plunging into the biggest crisis since the 2008 recession (here).
All governments are kept in power by a combination of coercion and consent. The welfare state, though it only came about because of mass struggle from below, has given capitalist governments a veneer of legitimacy, as well as acting as a counterbalance to the corrosive effects of free market economics. Now that neoliberalism is sacrificing public facilities to save international finance and the banks, governments are resorting to ever more coercive measures (here).
So there are literally protests all over the globe, many of them economic in nature. What does this mean? Is capitalism finally crumbling down on itself? But then what?
Today’s youth have fewer opportunities & chances than our parents had, despite the crap we are fed that with time we have developed. We will face a huge economic downturn, increased consumerism, increased influence of the media, and hundreds of social problems. Xenophobia is increasing GLOBALLY, and governments & states have more power than ever before. Oh, and the earth is disintegrating.
Protests in Chile, Israel, England, Egypt, Tunisia – everywhere people are beginning to stand up to capitalism. It’s about time.