Casting-off the Clampdown: a Summer of Insurrection
From Pelican Bay to fires in the UK (as in London above), it has been a long hot summer of people taking a lot of nonsense for too long, and folks are fighting back.
Lets start in London:
In the map above, the colors represent “indices of deprivation” where deeper reds represent higher poverty, while blues represent more income. The little tabbies are of course correlated to “riot” locales.
I devised a multi-media, interactive, 3D map which you can use right in your own home!
Step Two: strike a match (or the flame of a stove/ pilot light will do)
Step Three: allow the flame to lick the map print out such that the paper catches aflame.
Voila! You’ve got your very own multi-media London Riot in your hands. You’ll want to run this under some water lest your home or office burn down.
Darcus Howe, a West Indian Writer and Broadcaster with a voice about the riots. Speaking about the mistreatment of youths by police leading to an up-roar and the ignorance of both police and the government.
The mainstream media are at least reporting on some of that one (its kind of hard to black out a full scale insurrection where people are burning entire neighborhoods). Whats interesting is the disconnect (as seen in this BBC clip) between the action that angry folks of color are taking to the street and the source of that anger. The racialization of black people in England and elsewhere is such that we are subject to all kinds of daily violence and invasion of our bodies and our spaces by the state, including the police and various other apparatuses of the state.
Only by erasing the harassment of racialization (the processes of attributing a non-white “race” to people of color) can a new anchor or a white public surface with a question like “where is this coming from? why are people rioting?”
Sometimes, as with organized movements, the people taking action have very clear, articulated demands- as in Pelican Bay:
The Pelican Bay Hunger Strike started on July 1, 2011 it is
an organizing effort initiated and led by prisoners against torture and imprisonment. In the Spring of 2011, prisoners inside Pelican Bay State Prison contacted prisoner-rights and anti-prison activist organizations announcing 50-100 prisoners would take part in a hunger strike.
Their efforts quickly spread to 13 prisons, and at least 6,600 hunger strikers in California, and beyond the Golden State, countless prisoners elsewhere and supporters on “the outside” including nuns, congregations and religious leaders and community organizers the world over.
There are just five simple demands, which are:
1. End Group Punishment & Administrative Abuse
* especially “group punishment” as a means to address individual inmates rule violations.
2. Abolish the Debriefing Policy, and Modify Active/Inactive Gang Status Criteria
* Perceived gang membership (often false) is one of the leading reasons for placement in solitary confinement.
3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 Recommendations Regarding an End to Long-Term Solitary Confinement
4. Provide Adequate and Nutritious Food
5. Expand and Provide Constructive Programming and Privileges for Indefinite SHU Status Inmates.
Regular update (and more background information) on Pelican Bay can be found on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity blog.
The funny thing about media blackouts is that you don’t know they’re happening, unless you happen to know about something crazy thats happening and can bear witness to the silencing that the Main Stream Media works so feverishly to create.
Phew. That was a mouthful. And we didn’t even talk about Damascus or Greece, or Palestine or so many other hotbeds of insurrection.
“Have Some Respect”- Darcus Howe
Now Panic and Freak Out!