After Decades of Being Looted by the Rich the Poor Loot Back

Dada Krsnasevananda
(August 10, 2011) – According to the recently released Report of the National Equality Panel ( the top ten percent of British households are a shocking 100 times more wealthy than the lowest ten percent. How did they get there? Since the mid 1970s real income of the average British Citizen has stagnated while the incomes of the top 10 % have doubled and quadrupled. Since the 2008 financial crisis alone British CEOs of the FTSE 100 top corporations have increased their incomes by 51% to an average of 4.3 million pounds a year.

Meanwhile Joe Citizen has to face unemployment, increasingly unaffordable education, cuts to medicare, youth services, elderly services, etc.. Such blatant inequality is nothing less than looting. Over the last few days the anger has boiled over. Disenfranchised youth facing long term prospects of poverty and unemployment are turning to rioting in London and other cities as the only means of striking back and getting their hands on amenities they will be unlikely to obtain any other way.

Sadly, looting struggling shopkeepers in poor areas only adds to the suffering and risks turning the poor against the poor. Youth leaders, students and the middle class need to be educated as to who the real criminals are. This work is being done well by movements such as “UKUncut”  ( who are organizing peaceful demonstrations outside wealthy banks and shops with proven records of “tax-dodging”.  UKUncut is calling on the government to pay for bailing out the banks by making wealthy individuals and corporations pay their taxes – highlighting the fact that up to 20 billion pounds a year of government revenue are lost through tax avoidance. UKUncut rightly points out that if the wealthy merely paid their fair share of taxes no cuts would be necessary.  The struggling British public has responded very favorably to these demonstrations – with as many as half a million people coming out on the streets of London on a single day.

With anger against exploitation mobilized to the extent of open revolt, it is urgently necessary to take the demands of protest one step further – how can we not only end such unethical disparity but prevent it from occurring in the first place? According to PROUT, in order to protect the welfare of the common citizen and prevent the greedy from exploiting others a humane society must set rational limits on individual accumulation. The ratio of minimum to maximum wealth should be fixed. The minimum should be calculated so that the average citizen can afford the basic necessities while the maximum should be calculated so as to provide individual incentive without harming the bulk of society. In other words there should be a fair balance between individual and collective interests. Capitalism with it’s inherent tendency to privatize profits and socialize losses has been clearly unable to do this.

So let’s get the message out on the street.  We can do this by supporting UKUncut, Trade Union strikes and protests by all progressive groups and simply extending their “Tax the Rich” message into a demand for ethical limits on wealth. We can also get the idea out by using the opportunity to comment on relevant articles appearing daily in the electronic media such as The Guardian (, and other progressive or not so progressive media. And of course, tweet, blog, etc.

Copyright The author 2011

6 thoughts on “After Decades of Being Looted by the Rich the Poor Loot Back”

  1. Dada I found this link from a British author interesting.

    Civil disturbances never have a single, simple meaning. When the Bastille was being stormed the thieves of Paris doubtless took advantage of the mayhem to rob houses and waylay unlucky revolutionaries. Sometimes the thieves were revolutionaries. Sometimes the revolutionaries were thieves. And it is reckless to start making confident claims about events that are spread across the country and that have many different elements. In Britain over the past few days there have been clashes between the police and young people. Crowds have set buildings, cars and buses on fire. Shops have been looted and passersby have been attacked. Only a fool would announce what it all means.

    We can dispense with some mistakes, though. It is wrong to say that the riots are apolitical. The trouble began on Saturday night when protesters gathered at Tottenham police station to demand that the police explain the circumstances in which a local man, Mark Duggan, had been shot dead by the police. The death of a Londoner, another black Londoner, at the hands of the police has a gruesome significance. The police are employed to keep the peace and the police shot someone dead. This is a deeply political matter. Besides, it is conventional to say how much policing in London has changed since the Brixton riots of the early eighties – but not many people mouthing the conventional wisdom have much firsthand experience of being young and poor in Britain’s inner cities.

    More 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. While the recklessness of adrenaline has something to do with what is happening, the willingness to act is something to be explained. We should perhaps ask them what they were thinking before reaching for phrases like “mindless violence”. We might actually learn something.

    The fierce conflict remains ahead

    The profusion of images that modern technology generates makes it even more difficult to impose a single meaning on a complex event. Those who live in terror of a feral underclass and those who are worried about the impact of fiscal austerity on vulnerable communities can find material online that confirms their world-view. There will be a fierce conflict in the weeks ahead as politicians, commentators and others seek to frame the events of the last few days in ways that serve their wider agenda. The police, for example, will call for increased budgets to deal with the increased risks of civil disorder. In this sense, too, riots are inescapably political events.

    There are signs too that technology is allowing individuals to intervene in the process by which meaning is assigned to social events. When disorder broke out in France in 2005 in somewhat similar circumstances the political right was the major beneficiary. Sarkozy’s rise from interior minister to president owed a great deal to his role in expressing the anxious aggression of a mass constituency that often lived far away from the burning cars and public buildings.

    In London today people were on the streets tidying up the damage. The hashtag #riotcleanup on Twitter is being used by councils and residents to coordinate the work. The decision to act in this way, to make the streets a little more safe, to reclaim them for peaceful sociability, steps away from the temptation to condemn the violence or explain it in terms that inevitably simplify or distort it. Those who come together like this will be less likely to conclude that the country is on the verge of chaos, less likely to call for harsh measures and the further erosion of liberty in the name of security. It is the one shrewd thing one can do in present circumstances and it is to be celebrated.

    So there is no single meaning in what is happening in London and elsewhere. But there are connections that we can make, and that we should make. We have a major problem with youth unemployment. There have already been cuts in services for young people. State education in poor areas is sometimes shockingly bad. Young people cannot afford adequate private housing and there is a shortage of council-built stock. Economic inequality has reached quite startling levels. 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?

    The global economic crisis is at least as political as the riots we’ve seen in the last few days. It has lasted far longer and done far more damage. We need not draw a straight line from the decision to bail out the banks to what’s going on now in London. But we must not lose sight of what both events tell us about our current condition. 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.

    Dan Hind has worked in publishing since 1998 and is the author of two acclaimed books: The Return of the Public and The Threat to Reason. He is this year’s winner of the Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize.

  2. Yes, I pretty much agree with the article (actually read it before writing my own). It is a very complex situation and it will be next to impossible for the British government not to embarrass itself whatever it does. If they take a soft approach they will be accepting that their cuts policies were wrong. If they take a hard approach Ahmadinejad, Gaddafi, Assad and the whole middle east will have a field day exposing their hypocrisy. They’ve already got off to a good start:

  3. Actually these kinds of social uprising has been around in Europe for years, if not decades so that is nothing new for the British Society. That cycle is repeating every few years mainly in France and England and these are the only two European Countries where the Society experiments a very strong influence by the multiculturalism, of course there are others very rich and monarchical European Countries where the multiculturalism plays a very important role but these kind of upheavals never happens and perhaps never will(wandering why?). Now, talking about rioting, social upheaval, uprising, France and England are the champions, no doubts about that. So who should be blamed for that?, what are the reasons why?, I may ask. In Spain they have a monarchy, do the upheavals may affect them in case the same happens in that Country? and the same question goes for the Countries where the monarchy plays a very important political role but we all know that the Kings, Queens, Prince, Princess, etc,etc, are people that are doing just nothing but enjoying a very high quality of life and again a question may arise: Do these people care about the upheavals going on on their Countries?, do the current economical situation affects them somehow?. So the PROUT movement it’s political and social branch somehow, what could be the opinion of this political and social branch for all of these?.

  4. people react violently when they feel threatened or abused for any reason. tremendous rioting was initiated when police caused illegitimate violence and unnecessary killing, as was the case in tottenham, or when authorities act mindlessly, which was the case in losangeles 92. in france and the uk as you mention lumpenproletariat rioting may now be an established tradition which is easily re-enacted. perhaps the smaller european monarchies have managed to remain monarchies because people there prefer stability and have little experience with violent unrest, however exploitative their monarchic dynasties may be. nowadays there is tremendous cultural and social illiteracy — groups not reading each other well. how about the connection between the tendency to social unrest in france and the uk and the pasts of those countries; ruthless colonisation and violent imperialism. the stiff attitude of cameron echoes that of general dyer in the amrtsar massacre; no will to recognise undercurrents, “shoot the bloody scum!” in france and the uk immigrant and sub-class people have been kept in ghetto suburbs and no one seems to care much about their development except for their value as consumers. a fundamental, deep-seated attitude that has not changed much since the age of slavery. as you say france and the uk (like the us) are intensely multicultural. therefore they may display such features more than other. on the tube the other day a white lady sitting beside me heckled a young teenage black boy who had leaned on her a little as space was scarce. the multi-immigrant group of rowdy teenage boys he was with immediately announced she was racist. she responded by declaring that they had no good upbringing. i then told her she wouldn’t have said that if she herself was well-behaved. the gang immediately announced that i was no racist. she left her seat. those kids seemed to harbour a tremendous racist alert. when more people in more countries begin to realise they have been kept as slaves all along such feelings will be more expressed.

  5. Well, interesting. “The good are afraid of the bad & the bad are afraid of nothing.” Stealing is wrong; armed robbery or looting or taking a cell-phone from the back-pack of an injured teen one is feigning to help. Thugs are very enterprising in their thievery. If only they would redirect the energy into entrepreneurial & positive ambition for their own & others’ well-being!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *