I retrodict the riots

New Economics Foundation Fellow writes about the riots

Officer Krupke, you’re really a slob.
This boy don’t need a doctor, just a good honest job.
Society’s played him a terrible trick,
Und sociogic’ly he’s sick”

I love the NEF, and the way they attempt to tackle problems in a way that is quite different to most think-tanks. That said, I don’t see the point of invoking quasi-Jungian collective memory horseshit whereby he smells the whiff of “the faint folk memory of the Gordon Riots in 1780, when racist anti-Catholic mobs went on an orgy of burning and looting across London, culminating in the release of prisoners from Newgate and the destruction of the gaol.” Ehh, right. That’s lovely and everything, but let’s get to the issue at hand right now. If we are drawing parallels with history, then how attempting to see what is not historically conditioned here since mobs have occurred in the past, and will again. We do not need a hermeneutics of violence at this stage; we need a cessation of violence.

This is obliquely approached when he asks whether we have a political language which can adequately deal with this. If we had a more comprehensive, or nuanced approach would this allow us to wonder why we need to politicize a mob? He says that our “political debate is now so impoverished that we barely have the political language to stitch together an alternative.” I would suggest is that both hand-wringing and send-in-the-army-hanging’s-too-good-for-them can wait, because you cannot have a dialogue with violence.

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