Sunday, March 27, 2011

When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose

Major riot in London. That's the sensationalized tabloid account in The Daily Mail and then there's the far superior, riveting eyewitness account from Laurie Penny at The New Statesman.

As too often happens, a few hot-headed hooligans ruin the peaceful protest planned by the rest. And it's the organizers of the peaceful resistance that get arrested. Do read it all but this graf strikes me as the best summation of what is going on.
A large number of young people in Britain have become radicalised in a hurry, and not all of their energies are properly directed, explaining in part the confusion on the streets yesterday. Among their number, however, are many principled, determined and peaceful groups working to affect change and build resistance in any way they can.
This appears to be the dynamic behind what is going on worldwide right now in all these citizen uprisings. The working people have finally had enough of "shared sacrifice" where they do all the sacrificing while the oligarchy reaps all the rewards. I'm reminded of this old piece in The Atlantic, The Quiet Coup:
Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or—here’s a classic Kremlin bailout technique—the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk—at least until the riots grow too large.
We're not quite yet at the place where the oligarchs are ready to accept that "some within the elite have to lose out before recovery can begin." But it feels like we're getting closer every day. [hat tip Jason Leopold]

[Thanks to DougJ for kindly linking.]

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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