In an Age of Austerity, London Riots May Be Just the Beginning

Riots, like those that wracked the U.K. last month, tend to be portrayed as either righteous rebellions of the oppressed or mere criminality. The truth is that riots are propelled by a complex mixture of political motivations and the enjoyment by everyday people of the power to loot and otherwise transgress without punishment. The spectacle of British police losing the tactical advantage to swarms of electronically networked rioters amid general government paralysis does not bode well for a future in which economic austerity collides with raw public anger. Politics is about power, and containment of the crowd is a core […]

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