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As William Wall argues, we are living in neoliberal times, in which structural inequalities are at their highest since the 19th Century, and we should begin to articulate these riots in this context; as Zygmunt Bauman pointed out ‘these are riots of defective and disqualified consumers’; or as Laurie Penny aptly argues, they are about grasping some power or rebalancing the balance of power. These are all thoughtful reflections to articulate the riots. They are all commendable, as are the videos of the Hackney Afro-Caribbean woman and the Darcus Howe interview. I am certain that, in times of discontent, we all gather our knowledge and experience to address the present, and expertise is not necessarily a required skill.

We have all heard strangers on the tube or the bus opening up to each other, trying to share their experiences and understanding of these days. All of these could be an attempt to grasp our reality, to share our vulnerability, concerns and hope – an attempt to address and share the present. I haven’t got the experience and historical knowledge of the UK that Howe has or, Penny’s on the ground journalistic facticity, or Bauman’s theoretical knowledge, but I have a moving image playing on my mind and the interview with that woman from Ealing given to the Sky reporter yesterday morning to go by. Let’s see what I can make of them. Let’s just turn to the woman from Ealing first.

Here is an approximation of the story. The woman from Ealing was telling the Sky reporter that a group of rioters, three or four, she could not be precise on either the number or their gender as they were wearing black masks and hoodies, broke into the front room of her house. Her voice was shaking when she was reiterating the story. As they were standing around looking into the house, she somehow asked them ‘What do you want?’, to which they did not reply. They just said to each other ‘let’s go’.  ‘What do you want?’ ‘Let’s go’.


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Riots and Ineloquence | Critical Legal Thinking - Elena Loizidou - 2011-08-11
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