[lbo-talk] London riots anew

Ferenc Molnar ferenc_molnar at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 16 06:20:27 PDT 2011

JH: "When I point out that the Socialist Workers' Party line is that the riots are the stirring revolution, See-less complains that there is no such line. But there is. It is here, on record, in the 13 August edition of Socialist Worker (http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/graphics/2011/2264/issue2264.pdf) There you can read that the riots are part of an Urban Revolt spreading Across Britain, and that they are part of the same wave of revolt as the protests in Egypt and Tunisia, no less."

FM: I liked Richard Seymour's take on the riots.  It didn't seem to me to be an example of an SWP party line or if it is I wish the SWP's distant U.S. cousin WWP had party hacks like Seymour working for them.  As for connecting the riots to the contemporary global uprisings against poverty, unemployment and government without representation I don't understand how anyone could not see them as connected.  I agree with Joanna that uprisings can have both positive and negative actors involved and an entire grey area in between them. 

I wasn't aware of the gay bookstore being targeted in the London riots.  I suppose you could argue that the LGBT movement has been so cozy with neoliberalism that the rioters saw the bookstore as an emblem of the enemy.  I think that argument is probably very wrong.  But what would be even more wrong would be for LGBT people to pledge ourselves to the security forces that did much to cause the riots in the first place and to champion them as our protectors.

There were certainly reactionary elements in the Egyptian rioting but the dominant narrative surrounding them was that they were provocateur's loyal to the Mubarek regime, perhaps that was not exactly the case?  Perhaps there was more of a grey area in the Egyptian uprising as well.  But what did happen in Egypt was that the intelligentsia somehow found themselves in the same battle as the street kids.  Perhaps they will not accomplish a revolution together in the classical sense but they have changed history for the better.

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