This music video is Junior Murvin – Police & Thieves.
In Tottingham, London, England, fighting has broken out between mainly Caribbean immigrant young people and police, after police had killed a 29 year old father.
From London daily The Morning Star:
Sunday 07 August 2011
Well-heeled politicians have reacted as they always do when riots break out in deprived and alienated areas with words of condemnation and incomprehension.
In their simplistic black-and-white view of life, destruction and looting take place because of individual wickedness, not for more deep-seated reasons.
London Mayor Boris Johnson pronounced himself “appalled at the scenes of violence and destruction.”
As a Bullingdon Club member at university with David Cameron and George Osborne, he regularly indulged in mindless violence and destruction, but this was put down to student high jinks because his group paid compensation for damage caused.
They never robbed mobile phones, electrical equipment or designer gear from vandalised shops because such goods were readily available to them.
The young people who capitalised on the situation following the Tottenham march to protest over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by attacking and looting the Tottenham Hale retail park were not of their background.
Neither were they necessarily representative of the local community, most of whom hold down jobs and struggle for daily survival for themselves and their families.
But there is a significant minority, especially among the youth, which is denied the option of earning an honest living.
The understated official unemployment rate in the area is 8.8 per cent with 54 jobseekers chasing every vacancy, which means the prospect of a proper job is illusory for many local young people.
However, the issue – as with the riots in many cities throughout Britain in the 1980s – is not simply economic. There are complicating issues, not least racism.
The full facts surrounding the police operation to apprehend Duggan and the circumstances in which he was killed are still not known, although it is difficult to believe that police should find it impossible to secure a minicab and its occupants without the situation deteriorating into lethal gunfire.
Rumours and leaks are finding the light of day in the media and on the internet, but the truth remains elusive.
Despite several inquiries, recommendations and new initiatives, there are still widespread allegations of racism and police pressure that fuel feelings of alienation and frustration in many deprived areas.
It is not just the widening gulf between rich and poor in Britain but also the attitudes of entitlement and selfishness of the gilded elite who feel no empathy for those denied the chance of success.
Margaret Thatcher encapsulated this disavowal of social solidarity in 1987, declaring that “there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.”
She gave voice to an already growing trend that advocated everyone for themselves, putting number one first with no thought for others.
Looting, destruction and arson are another manifestation of this anti-social attitude, where anger at a perceived injustice merges with prior resentments to produce an uncontrolled explosion that lays waste to an already deprived environment.
The right-wing law-and-order posse will demand, and probably get, exemplary jail sentences for those said to be involved, but those chiefly responsible for social divisions and inequality will once again get off scot-free.
Unemployment-ravaged Tottenham, like many urban areas, will bear the brunt of the government’s cuts in jobs and services, including in police numbers, making a bad situation worse.
Such a short-sighted response has to give way to a more reasoned approach designed to heal divisions rather than exacerbate them.