UK riots

Reflections on the riots of August 2011 (part 1)

The following article attempts to contribute to the discussions that have followed the recent riots in the UK by looking at the relationship between the riots and the class struggle by placing them in the framework of the nature and evolution of the class struggle. The first part, published here, considers the question in the context of the history of the workers’ movement and the general nature of the class struggle. The second part will look more specifically at the summer riots in the UK.

Harsh sentences on rioters prepares the repression of workers’ struggles

Following the riots in August the British judicial system swung into action. Prime Minister Cameron pledged that all would face the courts and those found guilty would face stiff prison sentences. Whether rioters or so-called ‘organisers’ or people sentenced for receiving stolen goods or those found guilty of inciting rioting on Facebook, they could all expect to feel the full force of the law.

Analysing the riots from a working class standpoint

How do we respond to the recent riots from a working class point of view? As well as the statement put out by the ICC (The riots in Britain and capitalisms dead-end), there have been statements from the International Communist Tendency, Solidarity Federation and others, and there has been lively and sometimes heated discussion on various discussion forums, including libcom. Here we will try and take up the main issues rather than look in detail at any particular contribution.

In the face of the riots, the bourgeoisie offers repression and lies

The ruling class in Britain has offered a number of explanations for the recent riots. Whatever their individual analyses, those in parliament recalled to discuss the four nights of riots stood united behind the wave of state repression in some of the country's most deprived areas. Speakers queued up with suggestions about how the capitalist state can exercise social control, intimidate groups and individuals, monitor all our communications, and beef up its ability to physically confront any threat it chooses to identify. In practice, courts have carried on sentencing overnight, people have been remanded for sentencing in higher courts; there have been dawn raids with doors broken down, and the press have published galleries of people in the hope that others will, in the words of the Sun,shop a moron.”

The riots in Britain and capitalism’s dead-end

In the aftermath of the riots which broke out across the country this week, the spokesmen of the ruling class – government, politicians, media, etc – are subjecting us to a deafening campaign aimed at getting us to support their ‘programme’ for the future: deepening austerity and increased repression against anyone who complains about it.

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