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  • 1. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 1 The London Riots Of 2011: Who‟s Fault Is It Really? Kristi King Texas Wesleyan University Content analysis London riots Methods
  • 2. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 2 Abstract The London riots of 2011 raised many questions as to why cities‟ inhabitants chose towreak havoc on fellow community members, and the structures occupied with in the areas. Ananalysis of articles written in the New York Times attempts to discover the truths to thosequestions. Many factors played part in the developing answers. Socio-economic factors, moralcharacter, political scandal, and familial aspect all have a role in the developing answers. Thisanalysis is truly telling of many political movements today, and through sheer visualization, newquestions are raised and eyes are wide open to aspects of the worlds reality that only the futurehas answers.
  • 3. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 3 Introduction A peaceful protest carried out by the family of twenty-nine-year-old Mark Duggan, afather of four, led to riots that spread from Tottenham to other parts of the capital of Englandincluding Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Brixton. A police officer fromthe Trident unit of the Metropolitan police force shot and killed Dugganoutside his taxicab onAugust 6, 2011. Initial reports indicated that Mr. Duggan fired at the police first. Riotsallegedly were a direct result of the death of Mark Duggan, but media has reported thatTottenham residents claimed aphysical argument between a police officer and a sixteen-year-oldfemale attending the peaceful protest initiated the riots. Masked rioters with hooded sweatshirtsrobbed stores for electronics and sporting goods. Perpetrators also set fire to cars, damagedbuildings, and murdered members of their communities. David Cameron, the Prime Minister ofEngland, was not only disappointed in the immoral and irresponsible acts of young residents,buthe also showed displeasure for the Metropolitan police department‟s initial response to theriots. Upon review of variousworks, several new definitionsproducedenhancedunderstandingswith regard toreasonsthose responsibleinitiated the riots. Many of the reportsfurther elaborated on police misconducts, as compared to the present. The Guardian raisedsuspicions as to whether Mark Duggan was initially carrying a weapon. Articles reported thatthe gun was on the opposite side of the fence approximatelyten to fourteen feet away fromDuggan‟s body (Dodd 2011). A reporter from Sky News alleged that neighbors informed him “apolice surveillance vehicle had been filming the road for several days before the shooting. Theyclaim to have seen armed plain clothes police hiding in bushes nearby, and say the taxi that MarkDuggan was a passenger in, was taken away from the scene before being brought back for more
  • 4. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 4tests” (Perfect Storm/ The England Riots 2011). At the time of the mayhem, residents postedfeeds on twitter stating that journalists offered to pay them to start riots (Pudney 2011), whichvery well could have been police provocateurs,like those exposed during a peaceful protest inMontebello, Québec. Other sources “emphasized the links between the riots and recent elite scandals”, whichled to a mistrust of police and politicians (Birch and Allen 2011). Part of the mistrust directed atpoliticians comes from Britain‟s welfare system, which studies notedare similar to those of theRoman Empire who “implemented a „high tax, high welfare‟ system to levy tax from the richand subsidize the poor. The Lex Sempronia marked the inception of an „effective public welfaresystem‟ in Rome” (Qin 2005). Many today attribute the fall of the Roman Empire on the vastamount of welfare the ancient city distributed (Qin 2005). The far most telling literature waswritten by Caleb Stroup and University Ben Zissimos (2011) where they in detail, describe howthe International Monetary Fund (IMF) austerity programs for decades have been at the center ofmany riots. The piece goes on to say, “For the peasants in developing countries who toil to payoff their countries‟ IMF debts or the businessmen who suffer from higher value added taxes uponthe insistence of the IMF, the current system run by the IMF is one of taxation withoutrepresentation. Left with no alternatives, no way to express their concern, to press for change,people riot”. To understand the reasons why the riots occurred a content analysis of New York Timesarticles was implemented. The analysis set out to answer what caused the riots. There are avast number of reasons for the riots, but this analysis focused primarily on a governmentdependent society whose lack of parenting produced immoral individuals who substitutededucation and employment for welfare assistances. There is also significant focus on local
  • 5. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 5and/or state government‟sparticipation in the movement. Methodology Data collection started with a systematic search for articles from the New York Timesreporting on “London Riots 2011”. While initial results did not fair well, later searches showedmore success. Collectively there were 81 articles (60.5%), which were somewhat significant inrelation to the hypothesis. 32 articles (39.5%) had no meaningful relation at all. Next,independent variables of the variable, cause of the London Riots of 2011, were derived based onthe hypothesis. Subsequentindependent variables consisted of synonyms from theoriginalindependent variables. Using a summative search method, a comprehensive word countwas created of the independent variables. Systematically, each word was inspected to see if itrelated to the hypothesis. Words that were relatedto the hypothesis were color coated, and thesentences which contained the words,were highlighted the same colorsas in relation to theindependent variables. Following this process came extensive reading over all 81 articles toassess whether the initial results faired true. Though much of the initial process did coincide,there was still a significantamount of information missed. As such, further evidencewasmadeapparent. All 81articles were then analyzed again, howevernew findings, which weremissed in the summative search, were highlighted. In the end, the totality of the new informationgenerated 100% usage of all 81 articles. The words that frequented the articles most and gave asignificant return were; police with 524 recurrences, along with government, which had 191.Both showed far more significance than the initial independent variables. Therefore, though thehypothesis did not fail, it is worth extending the findings to include the independent variables,police, and government. Note: Tables and Graphs after the appendix provide a detailedunderstanding of initial word searches, which were done primarily for efficiency due to the vast
  • 6. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 6amounts of reading required for the sole researcher. ResultsThis sectionwill present evidence from the New York Times, which supportedthe hypothesis thatchallenged the answer to thecause of the 2011 London Riots. Several finings supported thehypothesis that riots resulted from a lack of parenting established through governmentsuppression, which in turn created an immoral society who substituted education andemployment for welfare subsidies. Though there were many, one article stood apart from theothers. The article contained transcripts from an interview with nineteen-year-old, Louis James.James stated he had never held a job in his entire life. He only recently learned to read, and hedoes not possess any of the defining characteristics or skills that employers often require. Hemakes $250 a month sitting at home watching television. His mother can barely support him orhis siblings. He ,like so many troubled youths, has no father, as his died of a drug overdose. Heclaims he only wants a chance, but does not seem to correlate that sitting on the couch all daywatching television probably will not increase his opportunities for employment. The highschool drop out was wise enough to cognize that the government only gives him just enoughmoney each month to survive. He utters, “This is what they want” (L. Thomas Jr. and R.Somaiya, 2011). When James says "they”, he is obviously referring to the government. It reallymakes no sense, but Mr. James is in fact correct in his reflection. That is what the governmentwants from him, and so many others like him. The question is; of what benefit is it to thegovernment to have a nineteen-year-old man with his entire life in front of him, waste his dayszoning out on the television?The relationship between the welfare classes and government are far from edifying. Apparently,government is an enabler. Circumstances will never change for Mr. James or others
  • 7. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 7comparableto him unless he possesses either 1.) the desire or 2.) the incentive to change thosecircumstances. Unfortunately, some have to hit "rock bottom" to make it to the top. Thestatement is a harsh reality, but it is in fact a true one. It only makes sense thatwhen austerityprograms are cut, those who have depended on the benefits their entire lives, will rebel. David Cameron, Prime Minister of England did not hold back in his negative but truthfulcomments regarding the morality of rioters. He stated, “those who looted and committed arsonshowed a lack of “proper morals” and a failure of parenting. There are pockets of our societythat are not just broken but, frankly, sick. When we see children as young as twelve and thirteenlooting and laughing, when we see the disgusting sight of an injured young man with peoplepretending to help him while they are robbing him, it is clear there are things that are badlywrong in our society” (J. Burns and R. Somaiya, 2011). The irony of Mr. Camerons commentswere reflected in early reports, which stated that nearly three thousandrioters were successfullyapprehended, and three quarters and then a repeat offenders. Mr. Cameron also wanted to hireWilliam Bratton as head of Scotland Yard. Bratton, is a leading figure in urban crime-fightingtactics. He is an advocate of so-called community policing, an approach grounded in the idea offlooding streets with officers who are immersed in people‟s daily lives rather than using themsimply to react or respond to specific events. Bratton led several police agencies that facedissues of corruption or excessive use of force (M. Yam, 2011). How the Prime Minister expectsthese troubled youths to change is far from apparent. Surrounding them and with big brothertype police, demoralizing them in the news, and incarcerating them repeatedly, will only producethe same thing. The only difference is it will get worse. Discussion Results of this study revealed that, yes, failure in parenting is one reason why the riots
  • 8. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 8started, but the bigger picture suggests much more. Moralsalone do not cause riots.Thegovernment is the only independent variable of all the others, that could truly be a lone factor increating them, and even more specific, the IMF may be the direct cause. Whether it is direct orindirect, it is quite clear from the literature review, and the content analysis, that the answer tothe question what cause the London Riots of 2011 is the government. The pieces of informationcollected for the most part, related strictly to one key factor thatinitiated the riots, and this wasthe killingof Mark Duggan. The circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan weresuspicious from the beginning. One thing is certainright now. Only the Metropolitan PoliceDepartment, and God know the truth of the incident. The hypothesis was merely a well-orchestrated factor that exasperated the riots. Poor parenting or lack of value systems didnotcreate the riots, but instead the actions by the government in regards to welfare directly causedthe uprising. The major limitation to this research was working with New York Times articles. TheNew York Times does not report on the same issues as other world newspapers do. Much of thearticles solely reported on matter-a-fact occurrences. The articles did have plenty of informationto support the hypothesis, they just did not seen to have any true sustenance. Only with smallpieces of information obtained through different sources, and with the extensive and repeatedreadings of The New York Times articles, was a more preciseconclusion drawn. In2001,Gregory Palast, a reporter for the Observer published an article called IMFs Four Steps toDamnation. In that article, Joseph Stieglitz, the ex-chief economist of the World Bank,explained some of the IMF‟s confidential documents obtained by Palast through one of hissources. In those documents Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stieglitz calls the IMF riot.The IMFriot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, down andOut, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of
  • 9. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 9blood out of them. They turnUp the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up, - aswhenThe IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesiaexploded into riots” (G. Palast, 2001). Reports such as this, make it hard to envision any otherreason for the vast number of riots that have ensued over the past two years. A chart has beenconstructed which shows riots that have emerged, all over the world since 44B.C. to 2011. Riotsare categorized by the decade. From 44 B.C. to the 1950s, the greatest number of riotsover aten-yearperiod was during the 1910‟s. For the forty years following, the numbers sky rocketedfalling in between fifty-one to seventy-nine riots per decade, but that does not even come close tothe millennium era. Over a ten-year period, an astonishing 203 riots were reported. The IMFletter was leaked this decade to Gregory Palast. All fall very short of the reality,that has invadedour currentdecade, which has not even seen a full year. Already, in 2011, the globe hasdemonstrated ninety-nine riots. That is a 385% increase in riots for the first year of this decade,and this year is not even over. Blame cannot solely fall on the shoulders of parents on welfare.There is something…truly something going on much deeper. Only time will tell.
  • 10. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 10 Graph 4
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  • 15. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 15 ReferencesNew questions raised over Duggan shooting Vikram DoddThe Guardian, Friday 18 November 2011(Perfect Storm/ The England Riots 2011).(Social Unrest in the Wake of IMF Structural Adjustment Programs Caleb Stroup Vanderbilt University Ben Zissimos2 University of Bath First draft: May 24th, 2011 This draft: September 30th, 2011http://people.bath.ac.uk/bcz20/papers/StroupZissimos11b.pdf)Qin, H. (2005). Power, Responsibility, and Constitutional Politics. Chinese Economy, 38(6), 36-82.. (The Global Awakening Journalists Offered Several Young People Money To Riot August 10, 2011 By Antony Pudney http://theglobalawakening.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/jounalists-have-offered-money-to- young-people-to-riot/).”. (Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain by Landon Thomas Jr. and Ravi Somaiya published: August 9, 2011)..” (Single Mothers Become Scapegoats in Britain by Katrin Bennhold Published: September 27, 2011)”, (Is London Burning? By Clay Risen). (Troubled, Unemployed Youths in Britain by Landon Thomas Jr. and Ravi Somaiya published: August 9, 2011)(Britain Debates Riots and Fears They Set a Pattern http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/11/world/europe/11britain.html?Scp=13&sq=london+r
  • 16. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 16 iot&st=nytdarren Staples/Reuters Police forensics officers inspected the scene where three men were killed by a car in Birmingham, England, on Wednesday. By John F. Burns and Ravi SomaiyaPublished: August 10, 2011) “(Http://Www.Nytimes.Com/2011/08/11/World/Europe/11britain.Html?Scp=13&Sq=London+Ri ot&St=Nyt Darren Staples/Reuters Police Forensics Officers Inspected The Scene Where Three Men Were Killed By A Car In Birmingham, England, On Wednesday. By John F. Burns and Ravi Somaiya Published: August 10, 2011)(Britain Turns to Former New York and Los Angeles Police Official for HelpMarcus Yam for The New York Times). (IMFS FOUR STEPS TO DAMNATION IMFS FOUR STEPS TO DAMNATION How crises, failures, and suffering finally drove a Presidential adviser to the wrong side of the barricades Gregory Palast Sunday April 29, 2001 The Observer
  • 17. THE LONDON RIOTS OF 2011: WHO‟S FAULT IS IT REALLY? 17