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August 08, 2011


Ian C

A great post. I agree especially with the final paragraph: there's enough residual respect for basic norms and The Law (if not quite as much for the Police) to make this all shocking to most and unimaginably bad behaviour for nearly everyone. That said, social media do provide a new tool for cooperative mob violence; then again, as you note, mobs and low-life criminals can't cooperate properly.
As for neoliberalism, this is a triumph of a kind - even when you are confronted by a raging mob, all they want to do is empty Curry's of flatscreen tvs and try on looted trainers. They don't want to overthrow anything or propose a new order. This is rioting as an extension of the summer sales, and possibly a reflection of a deep longing to imitate the cash-and-burn methods of the elites who have brought the West to its current pass.

Will Davies

Well quite. The present economic crisis demands to be analysed in terms of the interplay of 'public' and 'private' property, and the blurring of the distinctin. Securitisation converted uncertainties into risk, to be owned, bought and sold by private banks - until it was discovered that such risks couldn't really be 'owned' at all, and entire societies would have to pay. So by this same standard, looting is a particularly aggressive form of shopping...

Dick Pountain

I think Debord and the SI's reaction to the Watts and Detroit riots (1965) probably belongs in here somewhere too. However exhorting "nihilists, one more effort if you would become revolutionaries!" would be rather lost on the rioting youth of today - they just want to tax an iPhone and a mountain bike...

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