Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Darcus Howe interview on the BBC

update: I think this video is better than the old one.
update no. 2: Lenin's Tomb, "The BBC vs Darcus Howe"

I'd never heard of Darcus Howe, before, and I note the linked wikipedia article seems to have been edited pretty extensively in the past 24 hours.

Somewhat coincidentally, I was reading Jack Crow's essay "Humiliation" last night when I came across a link via the comments from Justin:

"Why the Rich Fear Violence in the Streets"

Which inevitably made me think of events in Tottenham. (Justin is right, some of the comments at the WSJ link are genuinely malevolent towards poor people.) We may not know exactly what happened in Tottenham, but I'm struck by some things:

(1)Believing that precipitating conditions(like Cameron's austerity measures) are irrelevant while simultaneously condemning the rioters as morally reprehensible, less civilized, etc, and less worthy of empathy, is a little like believing in "free will for me but not for thee" while also being indignant at the putative sub-human Other for not possessing as much free will as you do, even as you may be part of the reason he has less freedom. (Or not possessing as much as you believe you do.) The belief in the sub-human other is rarely directly expressed of course, but it seems as if it comes to the fore pretty quickly.

(2) Automatically dismissing the possibility of agents provocateurs as having had a hand in the events, as opposed to being agnostic about the question without hard evidence pro or con, amounts to an ideological tenet. (I talked a little bit about the world of marketing co-opting the signifiers of radicalism and protest politics the other day; apparently www.agentprovocateur.com is an online lingerie seller.)

(3) Riots like this are opportunities for the elite to strengthen the loyalties of the middle class. Maybe this is thunderingly obvious, but relates to why I mention no. 2, above.

See also Will Shetterly, "Why rich people hate looters"

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home