London’s Revolt Forecasts America’s Future?

Thursday, August 11, 2011
By Paul Martin

Is London a Harbinger for America?

When is a Riot a Revolt?


Several days of unprecedented revolt by the most impoverished minority-populated neighborhoods of London has shaken the normally staid and reserved British Estblishment. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his Italian vacation in Tuscany to return to the red-orange glare of a burning city. The prime minister was not the only one inconvenienced.

In an effort to mobilize16,000 police officers concentrated in London alone, England’s soccer-addicted fans saw their August 10 match against the Netherlands in Wembley stadium canceled.

So, this week at least, after years of ignoring glaring inequality and injustice, it is safe to say that all of England took notice of the crowded north London neighborhood of Tottenham and to similar minority communities in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol where an explosive, fiery social consciousness has been rekindled .

Tottenham itself, where events first ignited over the police killing of an unarmed black youth, is a genuinely multi-cultural mix of mostly British-born African-Caribbean along with Turkish, Portuguese, Albanian, Kurdish and Somali peoples reportedly speaking 300 different languages.

It claims to be the most diverse community in all of Europe but there is no doubt that most share in common the intense poverty and the abuse and neglect by the rich and powerful that is all too familiar.

London’s current revolt is quite different than the massive protests in other European capitals and even distinguished from those in the Middle East.

The poor of Tottenham, however, do share much with their brethren in the Black and minority communities of North America. Neither have powerful advocates that are independent of the political establishment.

London’s Revolt Forecasts America’s Future?

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