Capitalism Hitting the Streets

Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets

Feral Capitalism Hits the Streets
by David Harvey
11 August 2011

“Nihilistic and feral teenagers” the Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.

The word “feral” pulled me up short. It reminded me of how the communards in Paris in 1871 were depicted as wild animals, as hyenas, that deserved to be (and often were) summarily executed in the name of the sanctity of private property, morality, religion, and the family. But then the word conjured up another association: Tony Blair attacking the “feral media,” having for so long been comfortably lodged in the left pocket of Rupert Murdoch only later to be substituted as Murdoch reached into his right pocket to pluck out David Cameron.

National Riots: A Civil Uprising?

Some people have asked myself where does the Alternative Art College stand in relation to the Riots happening across the Country, and I would like to be Clear that it doesn’t support or condone any violence of any kind. We may be an organisation that supports anti-establishment projects but nothing that encourages violence.

There are many things with what is happening at the minute that I feel need to be pointed out and understood, David Cameron is suggesting that sections of society are sick and have no place in our communities. I think it is important to make it clear that this shouldn’t be taken as a statement of fact.  Break it down and take a look at what has happened over the last year and especially the last week,

We have had major falls in stock markets

The Debt ceiling in America being raised

Credit rating concerns in France

Hike in living costs but no like for like on wages.

Forecasted growth reduced to 1.4%

Life is difficult, the doom and gloom is constant and now we have the added pressure of the looming double dip recession. Sections of society in Britain and around the world are facing times of both economical and political strain.

‘Some blame the unrest on opportunistic criminality, while others say conflicting economic policies and punishing government spending cuts have deepened inequalities in the country’s most deprived areas.’

In my opinion the riots over the last four days represent much more than mindless attacks and opportunistic looters, this maybe a point within the melancholy but it’s not the one that is crucial to understanding the ignition of wide spread anger. In short it comes from a collection of social, political and economic constraints placed on all in the working class and a disconnection of what they call the ‘under class.’ Many reporters and media sources have pulled out minority cases so to make a story such as the 11 year old boy, the teaching assistant and the grammar school girl, they may be involved but do not represent the majority.

“If any good can emerge from the horrors of recent days it will be that we finally face up to the shame of our excluded underclass” The Independent

A reporter in the Guardian recently made a comparison to the situation after Hurricane Katrina and how little was done to prevent looting after the natural disaster. If you take into account the set up of the Coalition government for instance it has released a whirlwind of major cuts to public sector services, hikes in tuition fees and taxes, huge U-turns on political reform like the NHS, increasing retirement age, Benefit cuts that effect everything from housing to those recovering from cancer treatment, closures of youth centres and sure start centres and many more items along the same lines.

This is, as of course, a dark prospect to take in on its own, but it’s not just the knowing that this is life at present but it’s the constant bombardment every time any media source is watched or read that things are hard, life is hard, nothings better. Back to point though as in relation to hurricane Katrina the guardian reporter relates the riots and looting to that of New Orleans because of the anger, the magnitude and the size of what can only be explained as a civil uprising.

You segregate any pocket of society they will break out in the means they feel necessary, they don’t feel they own or are part of their local community.

Harriet Sergeant on the tonight program has blamed the riots on two items, firstly single mothers which only creates stereotypical slander that if we have an issues in society blame it on race or anyone form a single parent home which is not correct. Secondly the previous government, suggesting that they allowed many factors such as education and family life slip to create the youth that is currently parading the streets. In some aspects education and family life can be taken in to consideration as effecting factors on the looters ideologies dispositions and beliefs and if they were better things may be different but it’s not the sole reason.

Take in to account all the effecting factors from recession to a failed education system and the throw in the issue of unemployment, 19% of 16-24 year olds are unemployed, if you leave school with no qualifications even trying to get the basic of jobs becomes near on impossible. Sections of society have nothing to live for at the moment everything they rely on or hold dear have been taken or cut, so in our age of greed and capitalism they have decided just to take what they want.

But crucially the question the government should tackle is the question:

Why has it come to this?

What the AAC stands for is an alternative form of education creating an environment that people can learn and become engaged in what they want to. One of the factors suggested recently to the current situation is education and in relation to that we are pushing for a change in the current education system. Items like this will not happen overnight but in correspondence with other education alternatives we will be having open air debates, seminars and events in line with the next academic year to offer something that will allow young people to enjoy alongside mainstream education.

For Suggestions of events or to run an event contact:

For any comments or to continue the debate go to  our forum at:

‎”If any good can emerge from the horrors of recent days it will be that we finally face up to the shame of our excluded underclass ” The Independent today