Aside from the few heroes who smashed up Oxford Street at the London riots this year, people are too passive about the decisions made by governments and corporations who act contrary to their interests.

Elections aren't free choices because the majority of people don’t have enough information to make an informed choice. Right-wing propaganda rags like The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express have a readership about ten times larger than serious news sources. The majority of people are tricked into thinking that they are electing a government which acts in their interests, and not the interests of the moneyed elite—large corporations and financial institutions. 

So we have a government elected on false pretences that fools people into thinking that they need to pay the City of London’s bar tab for their credit binge that wrecked the economy. The government then appoints all of its mates like Lord Browne and Sir Philip Green to advise them on how best to introduce this new age of austerity, which funnily enough always seems to end up with cuts in public services rather than tightening the loopholes that allow billionaires to avoid paying tax.
 
Any hope of change through the ballot box is futile, since people are being scammed. What to do, then? A peaceful march like the one that famously halted the Iraq war? People march outside Downing Street every week of the year and it scarcely makes it onto the news. 

Or you can smash things up and really put a rocket up the arse of the political and economic elite. I don't know about you, but I don't see much point in protesting if you're going to conform to David Cameron's vision of what a protest should be. There is a very good reason David Cameron wants people to protest peacefully: because it will never work. It’s not much of a protest if you’re concerned about the person you are protesting against approving of your tactics.

I see things like the invading of Fortnum and Mason (which was non-violent, by the way) as a wholly positive thing. No, it would have been better if they had burnt the fucker down (while it was empty, of course). Why? For the very reasons Boris Johnson condemns the UK Uncut actions. He says they put people off shopping in the West End because they’re scared of walking into a battlefield. Good. I don't want more people to be shopping in the West End, lining the pockets of tax avoiding oligarchs. 

topshop_oxford_street.jpg

santander-bank-london-riots (1)_1.jpg 

In 200 years’ time, when people look back at how we organise society and how we distribute our resources, the owners of Fortnum and Mason and Harrods (a load of Saudi oil barons) will be viewed with the same contempt we reserve for Alabama plantation owners in the 19th Century. They are running a global trade in exploitation and inequality. While they earn millions a year and spend their time in sunny tax havens to avoid paying their debts to society, their workers are kept under constant CCTV on the shop-floor and treated with minimum respect or dignity.

 
So it's a simple equation: owners of huge companies and their mates in the government hog natural resources around the world and lend them back to us at inflated prices. Students and workers are the ones being screwed by the levers of power, which regard them as a number on a balance sheet. We can't vote them out of power because right-wing scare stories always hold more sway than the nuances of truth. Protesting peacefully is about as effective as taking the dog for a walk. So people smash things up to affect those levers of power in the only way they can.
 
I'm not saying that smashing the window of TopShop is going to make a huge difference to the global balance of power, but I'd sooner see TopShop and Barclays with smashed windows than see them with unsmashed windows.
 
When the owners of banks and insurance companies—who in my opinion are just as bad as banks, but aren't getting any of the flack—leave work, I want them to fear having their heads smashed in by an angry mob. I don’t want them to sleep easy at night. In America, the largest cause of bankruptcy is being shafted by medical industry after falling ill. That's a life wrecker, and somebody is profiting out of wrecking people's lives. If there was any justice in the world, that wouldn't happen, but it does and it's highly unlikely that it's going to change any time soon. 
 

I don't believe in violence, but if it's a choice between the head of Goldman Sachs and Sir Philip Green going home after a hard day's life-wrecking and relaxing in their hot tub, or leaving the office and being torn to shreds by Black Bloc, I say kick up the fire and let the flames break loose. It would make the next person in charge think twice about harnessing so much misery onto the people.

 
 

I don't actually blame the banks all that much for doing what they do, since their function is to accumulate as much money as possible. We are all driven by the same desire to some extent. But it's the job of governments to regulate banks and corporations so that they don't make money through theft and extortion. We have laws against mugging old ladies in the street, yet we don't have enough laws to prevent financial institutions from mugging us with interest rates, overdraft charges and house repossessions.

The banks operate in a legal framework set by the government, and you can't really blame them for things like tax avoidance and charging people £35 to send them a letter telling them about going 1p over their overdraft limit if they're allowed to do it. The shareholders demand they make a profit, and that’s what they do brilliantly and largely within the law. You can't really blame them for the kind of illegal insider trading that goes on in the City either, because if they know that the law isn't going to be enforced, they would be insane to abide by it. 

And it's logical for the banks to lobby government for looser restrictions, since it's in their interests to do so.

So the banks, by trying to make money, are simply doing their job. It's not a job I particularly admire because it's just greed dressed up as industry, but it's their job nonetheless, and they're being kind of honest about it. Like a professional interrogator, they’re performing a function that needs to be done by somebody, and is perfectly legal.

The government is intrinsically corrupt, since it negates its duty to regulate the banks. So the government in this instance is like the doctor who aids the torturer. Their responsibility should be to lobby on behalf of the victim and to act in their interests, but they are actually using their knowledge and their position for the opposite means—to aid the banks and the torturers rather than the people being pummelled by them. And for that reason, they are—and I don't use this term lightly—borderline evil. They have dedicated themselves to serving the interests of the torturers, the bad guys.

I'd highly recommend reading Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone for an insight into just how stratospherically obscene the banking industry is. That's in America, which is worse than here since they have a political system where candidates are literally bank-rolled by big business. It's legal bribery and thank god we don't have it to that degree, although you look at the list of Tory donors and you begin to think we're not that far away.

For this reason, I believe in derailing the political machine, using violence if necessary. I don’t want a revolution. It would just be cool if the people in charge realised that if they keep trying to implement policies that are contrary to our interests, their shop windows are going to be sprayed all over the pavement and their houses smeared with graffiti.


Share on Facebook
  • Music
  • Style
  • Life
  • Subcasts
  • Essay
BEHIND SYRIA
Syria: living under an iron curtain all of its own.
FACEBOOK FOIBLE #235
Are Facebook users as free as they think they are?
STUDENT STRIPPER
We interviewed Cara, a student dancing to get by. Victim or self-made woman?
CINEMA'S MUSHROOM CLOUD
The Cold War B-movies that could blow up all over again.
OBAMA'S NO ANGEL
After a not-so hectic election night, Barack Obama has the opportunity to right his many wrongs....
SUPERSTORM DISASTER DREAM
Why there's more than meets the eye to the Sandy story.
GENTRIFICATION IN ACTION
Brixton's buzzing. But will the predictable threat of gentrification destroy the community?
BARACK OBAMA'S JAZZ
The coolest President in the history of the USA gets some jazz treatment.
SALAMWORLD
In Novemeber a Muslim alternative to Facebook will launch: is global social media breaking up?
IS THIS MYSPACE?
The original paper tiger of social media is back. And it looks fucking cool.
THE RISE OF THE COFFEE SHOP INDIE
The Indie Scene is Going Mainstream. Substance reports.
CHUCK NORRIS BLESS AMERICA
VIDEO: Another Hollywood giant makes a right old Republican of himself.
COPYING THE COPY-CAT
Tom Rollins asks what encourages copy-cats to go postal: nasty films or gun laws?
SHOOT AN' CRY
NBC's Stars Earn Stripes earns its place in TV hell
MEDITATING ON THE RECESSION
Unemployed? Skint? Fearghus Roulston finds the new spiritual side of the recession in Manchester.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
Christopher Nolan's Batman remembers 9/11 better than most
OUR LABOUR IS THE NEW LABOUR
Sedgefield has always had a special place in the history of the Labour movement.
WE KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING
Let this be a warning.
THE RACIST GENIE
How Liverpool, Capello, Luis Suarez and John Terry let it out of the bottle.
SOUNDING OFF: The Love Police
Tackling one man's hipster hate on Brick Lane
KEEPING IT (UN)REAL.
X Factor and today's mass media: is reality TV changing the way we look at the world?
COMING AT YOU
The Future of 3D Technology
METAFICTIONAL TITTY PINCHERS
A great year for experimental fiction
THEY OWN YOUR DOWNLOADS
The great IP swindle...
THE DEATH OF BRICK LANE
Pen-pushers trashing cultural zones...