TUESDAY 9th AUG: As the day moves on a strange mood has hit the streets and estates of London. Traffic has started to die down and shops are being boarded up. Yet families are walking around as if nothing is happening. Stories of likely flash points are being banded around. Indeed police have just advised people in the building where our print offices are based to lock up and stay indoors as a riot is "expected shortly" in the street outside.
Of course the assorted government ministers on holiday have decided that it would be politically expediant to come back to Westminster. Parliament is being recalled for an emergency session. But what will they say and what will they do? 16,000 police officers will be out tonight in London yet many have complained that they did little last night, suggesting that they were more concerned with protecting the rich areas of London and were happy to let Lewisham and Hackney burn. The only response from the state has been a reactionary one. Instead of trying to understand and explain why this mood of anger has exploded onto the streets of our cities, they are strutting around talking about arrests and "paying the price." Needless to say the usual suspects on the right of the Tory party have raised such ideas as using water cannons, bringing in the army and even shooting looters. This has been rejected - for now anyway - but the police have already floated the idea of using rubber bullets. Clearly they see only one solution to all this - but should we be surprised? These riots have a social cause and reflect a growing mood of anger amongst working class youth of all races which has been threatening to explode for some months now. This is the direct consequence of capitalism - it is their system which is to blame. It is their system which has destroyed lives and communities and people have clearly had enough. As we have previously explained, the gang culture in cities such as London has developed out of the total neglect of working class youth who have been offered no jobs, no education and no future. Apart from when there is a shooting or knifing, these gangs have gone unnoticed - who cares about what happens to a load of kids on a council estate so long as they stay away from the middle class areas. Well now the problem has grown and got out of control. The riots can now no longer be just explained as the actions of a few gangs however. Other young people have come out and joined in and this may escalate - we will see in a few hours.
Whatever happens the problems which has led to these riots will not go away and we will see more such periods of social instability in the future. The cuts will only make things worse. The state may rub its hands now at the number of "trouble-makers" they have or will arrest. Evidently all the custody cells in London are already full. There will be trials where "examples will be set" as we saw in the aftermath of the student protests of last year. But they cannot arrest poverty. They cannot put inner city decay on trial. They cannot send unemployment to prison. The youth of our cities know this. Capitalism has failed them. It is noticable that the shops which have been most targetted are those which sell expensive consumer goods and flaunt this in the faces of those who cannot afford them. Of course we understand that looting and rioting on the streets cannot solve anything. Certainly capitalism cannot solve anything so far as working class people are concerned. That is why we must fight for itsremoval and replacement by socialism and a society which works in the interests of the many not the few. The only real road for the youth is a revolutionary one.