BY MIKE STIMPSON, Roundtree7
With Select Original Comments
Many, many moons ago, I heard a professor in a poli sci course glibly say socialists think everyone should finish a foot race at the same time.
I told him a better metaphor would be that capitalism is a party where everyone is invited with full knowledge that the vast majority can’t attend.
A large number of those would-be guests showed their displeasure and expressed their frustration recently in England. London streets were rife with rioting and looting, and the police had more work than they could handle for a while.
The proximate cause of the unrest was the police shooting of a black father of four, but no doubt the reaction wouldn’t have been so full of fury if not for the seething tensions in England’s lower classes.
For a few days, the unrest combined with bad days at stock exchanges to put a bit of a damper on the party that Britain’s rich had been enjoying at others’ expense.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the rioters were from “frankly sick,” not to mention selfish and criminal and irresponsible, segments of society.
Julie Hyland at WSWS.org has remarked that “such statements more properly apply to the prime minister himself.”
Hyland adds: “Cameron’s charge, moreover, applies equally to the ‘pocket’ of the City of London (the financial district), where the greedy, self-serving activities of the banks and super-rich have literally trashed the British economy. Billions of pounds have been looted from public funds and handed over to the City, without any bank, hedge-fund operator, financial speculator, or those supposed to have ‘regulated’ their activities, held to account.”
The gap between rich and poor has grown tremendously in the U.K., as it has in the U.S. and probably every other industrialized country, in recent decades.
Mr. Cameron’s harsh words against “sick” poor people may have been at least partly motivated by what an inconvenience the unrest presented to him and cabinet colleagues.
Reports NBC’s Martin Fletcher: “Cameron returned from his vacation in a (shared) ten thousand pounds a week villa in Italy where he was reportedly taking tennis lessons with a coach flown out from Britain.
“Home Secretary Theresa May cut short her vacation in Switzerland.
“Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg returned from his vacation in France.”
So it goes.
August 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm
Russell Brand had a wonderful post about this on his website yesterday, which is well worth the read. Basically saying what many of us are saying here in the US about us, the few that are wealthy are getting more at the expense of the many and how shameful it is.
“…That state of deprivation though, is of course, the condition that many of those rioting endure as their unbending reality. No education, a weakened family unit, no money and no way of getting any. JD Sports is probably easier to desecrate if you can’t afford what’s in there and the few poorly paid jobs there are taken. Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultra-violet consumerism and infra-red celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up.
I remember David Cameron saying “hug a hoodie” but I haven’t seen him doing it, why would he? Hoodies don’t vote, they’ve realised it’s pointless, that whoever gets elected will just be a different shade of the “we don’t give a toss about you party…”
August 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm
I liked Russell Brand before, I like him even more now.
August 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm
Me too Stimpson.
August 13, 2011 at 11:02 pm
Here is another piece that was written that is well worth the read. You could swap out British society with American society and it will be the same as it ever was. It’s shameful are the only words I have for it right now.
“..I cannot accept that this is the case. Indeed, I believe that the criminality in our streets cannot be dissociated from the moral disintegration in the highest ranks of modern British society. The last two decades have seen a terrifying decline in standards among the British governing elite. It has become acceptable for our politicians to lie and to cheat. An almost universal culture of selfishness and greed has grown up…”
Jack Jodell says:
August 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm
So the PM had to interrupt his important tennis holiday to come back and do his job? Why that arsehole—it is obvious that he is a stuffy elitist not up to the job. He exhibits a typical conservative attitude of seeing this as a law and order issue rather than what it really is. He would get along quite well with both Stephen Harper and George Bush: all are uncaring, ignorant fools who don’t want to be bothered with the truth!
August 14, 2011 at 12:11 am
Great job, Mike. We are of the same mind here.
Gwendolyn H. Barry says:
August 14, 2011 at 9:45 am
Ditto-ing Oso. The gap between just a very few and the rest of our planet is more realistic visual. While the UK and US at one time represented a higher stand of living which perpetuates an illusion of attainable wealth, this crumbles away and the bare bones of an over populated, badly misused workforce are revealed. It is possible to make a fortune… you can turn a fortune in a socialist society too… why is it ignored? Socialism has provided care for us … hard won social nets of care and assistance in returning to the workforce or making our way back into earning. Socialism cares for our elderly. For our injured. For our handicapped mentally, emotionally. We take care of our weaker or needier members of society. Well, we used to. I thought that was American “exceptionalism”. I was raised to think as much. We in some deep shit here friends and neighbors.
Which side are you on…. returns to asked.
August 14, 2011 at 10:17 am
Gwen brings up an excellent point in her comment. It is possible to have your fortune in a more Socialist society. It’s just that the others are presented with a minimum decent existence as well. Several people have stated the obvious…
Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.~Pearl S. Buck
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
But perhaps the most eloquent…
“…the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. ”
Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey
There is a vast disconnect with the leaders and the super-rich and the rest of the population. This is not a new condition… it’s happened throughout the history of man. Something the leaders may well take note of though…. it always ends badly for them.
REPLY to the above
PATRICE GREANVILLE says:
Maybe. And after many centuries of suffering by the masses. A better system must come into place to get rid fast of entrenched privilege, the very moment it begins to show its ugly face. A good prophylactic would be to simply block the accumulation of great wealth—by anyone. The idea that literally obscene, unlimited rewards are necessary for producers and inventors and other so-called key people to do their thing is an old chestnut propagated by the Right, down the ages.