Although cautious of the fact that any single, unified explanation for this civil unrest is unlikely to be forthcoming, Hind urges that we cannot treat recent events as mere 'mindless' violence, devoid of political or social meaning.
[..]broadly, any breakdown of civil order is inescapably political. Quite large numbers of mostly young people have decided that, on balance, they want to take to the streets and attack the forces of law and order, damage property or steal goods. Their motives may differ - they are bound to differ. But their actions can only be understood adequately in political terms.
Hind notes that although the rioting may take on the guise of political meaning through the opportunism of politicians and commentators; root causes are at risk of being ignored in the sensationalist media reporting and political point-scoring that will undoubtedly emerge in the aftermath of the unrest.
Highlighting the high rates of youth unemployment, economic inequality, and cuts to youth services, the article draws attention to the deeper meaning of the riots. Speaking of these issues, Hind writes:
All this is the consequence of decisions made by governments and there is little hope of rapid improvement. The same politicians now denouncing the mindless violence of the mob all supported a system of political economy that was as unstable as it was pernicious. They should have known that their policies would lead to disaster. They didn't know. Who then is more mindless?
[...]Those who want to see law and order restored must turn their attention to a menace that no amount of riot police will disperse; a social and political order that rewards vandalism and the looting of public property, so long as the perpetrators are sufficiently rich and powerful.
Vist Al Jazeera to read the full article.
Visit Mother Jones for a basic summary of the causes and effects of the rioting, including a reference to Dan Hind's Al Jazeera piece.
In a new article for openDemocracy, Dan Hind considers the wider consequences of the current phone-hacking scandals and advocates a democratic transformation of the British media. The recent events have uncovered the unhealthy – and at times illegal – relationship between the media, politicians and the police force. These revelations also show the difficulties of media accountability in general and the lack of opportunities for civil participation in news broadcasting.
For the first time in a generation we have an opportunity to discuss how the media currently operate and what we need from them. Their vast constitutional significance can no longer be waved away as a matter for single-issue obsessives and ultra-leftists.
The Bristol Festival of Ideas announced today Dan Hind's The Return of the Public as the winner of its Best Book of Ideas prize, "awarded annually to the book which presents new, important and challenging ideas, and which is engaging, accessible and rigorously argued." The prize was announced as part of the sixth annual festival, which ends on 31 May. The prize, worth £7,500, is awarded in association with Arts & Business.
The Return of the Public beat five other shortlisted titles, which were: Kat Banyard's The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today; Ha-Joon Chang's 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism; Cordelia Fine's Delusions of Gender: The Real Science Behind Sex Differences; David Shenk's The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You've Been Told About Genes, Talent and Intelligence is Wrong; and Gary Younge's Who Are We - And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?
Andrew Kelly, festival director, said today:
The books submitted this year were of very high quality. It was difficult to select the shortlist and even harder to choose the outright winner, but, as always, it has been an exhilarating experience as well as a challenging one.
Dan Hind has emerged as a worthy successor to Nick Davies (2009) and Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson (2010). The Return of the Public offers both an analysis of and solutions to a crisis we currently face in our ability to engage in truly democratic decision making.
Specifically, Hind articulates the idea of a society that is informed by a news agenda developed by publically commissioned journalists and researchers which breaks free of the twin stranglehold of government spin and self-interested media corporations.
Visit The Return of the Public blog to read more by Dan Hind.
At 5.54 of this BBC footage, an 'anarchist' shows his pass to police and moves through the lines.
We are already seeing the first indications that plain clothes officers were moving between the violent protesters and the police at Saturday's demonstration. The police have infiltrated anarchist and revolutionary communist groups for decades.