Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: London's Burning

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  • Emma Hart, in reply to Jean Hughes,

    I remember we joked, yes joked, about there being no electrical plugs in stock all over London.

    Jean, my friend Heather is currently joking, about getting a bunch of friends together and heading to Knightsbridge to see if the looters make it as far as Harrod's.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4379 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Jean Hughes,

    the weather was very hot and humid then too, a combination that is explosive for those with no control over either.

    Summer of Discontent!

    First! Copyright!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Over at kiwipolitico, Pablo nails it 100%

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1825 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I suspect that whatever degree of coordination is present has something to do with the anarchist groups, who have always been fairly organised. Check this advisory flyer from Tottenham.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Reeves,

    Part of an email from a friend (whose partner is in hospital in Intensive Care---for unrelated reasons---in the middle of it all!):

    But as usual with Londoners, we're all planning our travel routes to avoid the burnt out cars and looted shops..."Hmmm, 276 will be diverted but I bet the 425 is still running..." Those of us who aren't clambering out of JD Sports carrying armfuls of sports gear are actually all being rather friendly and helpful to each other...especially in the travel advice area...blitz spirit?

    So sad to hear some of my old haunts are affected too.

    Near Donny Park, Hamilton… • Since Apr 2007 • 94 posts Report Reply

  • vangam, in reply to Rich Lock,

    How exactly does one die in custody from alcohol/drug abuse?

    By throwing up in their own throat in an unmonitored cell and suffocating on it.

    Does that answer your question?

    Not really. Your explanation implies that all the overdose deaths in custody occur within 12-24 hours of being caught, and I dont think that is the case.

    Rangiora • Since Jun 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich Lock,

    I've read something that suggests the police are having trouble containing this because it's opportunistic rather than organised - it flares up semi-spontaneously and randomly. They can't focus their resources because they don't know where it's going to happen.

    It's called rushing or zerging or blitzing. Works well against a strong opponent. I wonder what games these kids have been playing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • Mark,

    I think you might be drawing a long bow re apportioning blame on Piggy for the Queen Street riot. As I recall (in blunt terms) it was hot, many people were pissed (exacerbated by the heat), the police were being arseholes and DD was being a smart arse. Also Lange had already been PM for 5 months by that stage.

    Since Dec 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mark,

    I think the previous five or six years were relevant as a social backdrop, and I thought so at the time. Not least the police culture of the times -- Gideon Tait's team policing units have a lot to answer for.

    Alcohol was an issue, but the main cause was the staggeringly inept policing -- responding to a minor disturbance away from the crowd by closing the exit to Queen Street with a line of riot police then ordering the concert to stop wasn't just stupid, it was arrogant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston, in reply to BenWilson,

    indeed finding it so powerful that it’s hard to find any meaning in their lives when they’re not terrified

    You hit it there Ben - finding meaning in their lives.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 507 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I suspect that whatever degree of coordination is present has something to do with the anarchist groups, who have always been fairly organised.

    I reckon that's entirely post-facto. Militant anarchists might feel good about this, but there's little to suggest that there's been anything that follows their methods. No black-bloc style work, very little anti-capitalist intent actually on the streets.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2137 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Rich Lock,

    By throwing up in their own throat in an unmonitored cell and suffocating on it.

    Or, to put it another way, by the police failing in their duty of care towards those in their custody. It is largely a failure of police attitudes, of them not giving a shit.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1668 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I suspect that whatever degree of coordination is present has something to do with the anarchist groups, who have always been fairly organised.

    Yes... Well...
    They are known for their top heavy bureaucratic structure... aren't they.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4947 posts Report Reply

  • Jean Hughes, in reply to Emma Hart,

    If it is still going when I arrive there in a week or so time I think I'll head to Charing Cross for book and CD/DVD stores, oh and possibly Regent St - big, big Mac shop there !! just kidding

    Mangere • Since Nov 2006 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Jean, my friend Heather is currently joking, about getting a bunch of friends together and heading to Knightsbridge to see if the looters make it as far as Harrod's.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3631 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    Or, to put it another way, by the police failing in their duty of care towards those in their custody. It is largely a failure of police attitudes, of them not giving a shit.

    I did intend to imply that in my response, yes. But I also wasn't too impressed by the implication in Vangams original post that it was all a variant on the old 'falling down a flight of stairs' trick.

    And I hope you'll both excuse me if I'm a little snappy - I'm a little on edge because I'm in the same position as Craig, having family and friends living in several of the areas now getting mentioned.

    Witness David Francis reports rioting in Camberwell Green, South London. He says he was punched in the face by "what felt like very reals pearls wrapped around a masked rioters' fist."

    My old manor...

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Scotland Yard advises " Events inexcusable"

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6358 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to George Darroch,

    I reckon that's entirely post-facto. Militant anarchists might feel good about this, but there's little to suggest that there's been anything that follows their methods. No black-bloc style work, very little anti-capitalist intent actually on the streets.

    Agreed, but also it's not out of line with what Russell was suggesting. The modus operandi of a lot of the Anarchist groups (and also Socialist Worker) in the UK was to piggyback on the single-issue causes that they knew would be popular and attract numbers. There would be large numbers at Anti-Fascist and Anti-Globalisation* demos such as 'reclaim the streets'. They weren't involved in the organising or stewarding in any way: they just turned up and looked for opportunities. The leafleting is entirely typical in that respect, and about as organised as they got.

    *Yes, I know anti-globalisation isn't a single-issue subject. But that's an argument for another day.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Turner, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the anarchist groups, who have always been fairly organised

    ?????

    Since Nov 2006 • 204 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I deliberately brought up computer game warfare, because the organization in there is always totally anarchic. Essentially, small teams self-organize, a pack of idiots tend to zerg up, not realizing that the smaller teams can pretty much dictate where those packs go simply by communicating effectively.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8737 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    I reckon that’s entirely post-facto. Militant anarchists might feel good about this, but there’s little to suggest that there’s been anything that follows their methods. No black-bloc style work, very little anti-capitalist intent actually on the streets.

    Fair enough, sorta. I recall the local anarchists always being very keen to run the police, and to organize to do so, and I do think that's where that flyer will have come from. But otoh, Twitter says anarchist groups have been helping locals put out fires in Hackney.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Marcus Turner,

    the anarchist groups, who have always been fairly organised

    Anarchism <> chaos. Just because people oppose the state, coercion, and pretensions of "authority" doesn't mean they can't get together voluntarily to work towards their collective ends.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1668 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I recall the local anarchists always being very keen to run the police, and to organize to do so, and I do think that's where that flyer will have come from.

    Yes, but they would generally put themselves in a situation (that someone else had organised) where they thought they could engineer a confrontation, rather than organise the underlying situation itself.

    Essentially, small teams self-organize, a pack of idiots tend to zerg up, not realizing that the smaller teams can pretty much dictate where those packs go simply by communicating effectively.

    You're right. However, I'll go on record now and state that I will be very surprised if it turns out that there are small hardcore teams operating in the shadows, effectively attempting to carry out their agenda by zerging the packs of idiots. I think it's a lot more spontaneous and disorganised than that.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19116 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    My favourite comment (currently attracting 3500 likes) on the riots so far is from the Facebook page for TV show Ashes to Ashes: "Right Raymondo. Fire up the Quattro. London's calling."
    You can just imagine Gene Hunt pushing rudely past some woman, downing a quick pint then shooting off to the scene shouting obscenities. That'll sort it.
    The Aotea Square riot was sparked initially by some friends from Warkworth who were urinating off the canopy over the walkway next to the Post Office at 24 Wellesley St. When the police tried to get them down the crowd noticed and turned around. I was sitting on the statue in the middle of the square and had already seen gang members fighting in front of the stage earlier. There were initially a tiny number of police - about 20 and only about 60 maximum at the height of the riot. Afterwards every inch of the square was covered in broken bottles. I took a bus from Britomart to Onehunga at 9pm and was almost the only one on the bus not clutching looted cameras, clothing, stereos etc. It was my first concert - DD Smash were amazing!

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 292 posts Report Reply

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