the riots target bastions of economic misery, not small independent businesses (UK)

25.08.2011 § Leave a comment

another gem from Infinite Thought today:

The false narrative that it was small and independently-owned businesses that suffered the most in recent unrest serves a useful media purpose – to further entrench the ‘us’ and ‘them’ narrative of ‘good’ (broom-wielding, ‘community-minded’, etc.) and ‘bad’ (‘purely criminal’) Londoners.

But anyone who walked around Brixton, Walworth Road, Peckham etc. will have noticed that it was overwhelmingly chain-stores and bastions of economic misery (banks, bookies, highly-exploitative loan shops, pawn shops, arcades etc.) that got their windows broken.

Riotwiki seeks to overturn the DeLoot etc. narrative and detail which shops exactly got targeted before people forget. Please help with this important project if you can, and undermine the dubious ideological discourse that would see those involved in the recent unrest depicted as ‘mindless’, and as somehow less representative of London than those who felt compelled to ‘clean it up’.

from the Riotwiki website:

A collective analysis of the 2011 UK riots.

In the aftermath of frenzied reporting and as tales of burning homes, personal robbery and damage to local independent business come to the fore, we ask people to show a spirit of solidarity, resilience and a continued questioning of the accounts that are being circulated.

The narrative of tragic community destruction is being deliberately deployed by the status quo to justify the continued vilification and repression of those that were rioting; a tactic that at the same time is turning communities against each other when what is really needed is a show of solidarity and strength. As photographs of kids posing with stolen bags of value range basmati rice and expensive xbox gear surface over the internet, we ask whether these riots should be framed in this way.

The targeting of parasitic bookmakers, pawn shops and daylight loan sharks that prey on the vulnerable goes largely unreported. It is no coincidence that the media and politicians are fixated on tales of muggings etc -it is a ideologically motivated and extremely cynical attempt to cover up, re brand and dismiss the deeper issues at play.

We would like to ask those that are so quick to insist that a mass insurrection, rioting, mass reclaimation or what ever you wish to call it, is to be treated as non political, what they consider to be a “valid” form of political expression and by who and what means this validity is legitimised. Let them then try and avoid this familiar conclusion preordained in a marketised discourse.

History is written by the victors. We urge people to begin to collect objective information on affected businesses, properties etc. from their local areas that could be pooled into a collective mapping, analysis and discussion of the riots to help us reach a less parliamentary convenient conclusion. We cannot leave this job to the police, career politicians and media.

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