Wednesday, 17 August 2011


When the whites became black...The Specials circa 1980

 Speaking about the London riots last week, David Starkey told Newsnight that the big problem in today’s society “is that the chavs…have become black; the whites have become black.”

In a sense, he is right. One of the biggest problems for him and his fellow white supremacists*, is indeed the danger that English youth begin to side with the Third World liberation struggle, rather than with their own government’s colonial aggression. And through the white youth’s adoption of black cultural idioms, that process has already begun.

All major forms of popular dance music (from soul and funk to hiphop and jungle) are creations of Africans and their descendants. And, although many of these artforms have subsequently degenerated since coming under the control of giant corporations (1), at the heart of all of them there was originally a spirit of militant resistance. 

One the clearest examples of this is reggae music. Reggae took the iconography of Rastafarianism – perhaps the most accessible and visceral depiction of colonial relations yet articulated – and turned it into a universal language of resistance. Even across the oppressor nations in the West, people fell in love with the beat, and soon began to absorb the message as well. Soon after arriving on these shores, it became a massive inspiration and influence behind the punk movement - another historical moment when ‘the whites became black’ – which briefly appeared as a genuine threat to the class exploitation system.

So black culture does tend to embody a spirit of defiance and resistance against the exploiters, their state and its colonial system; white people are embracing this culture and it is a problem for David Starkey and folks like him.

But there are two sides to the ‘whites becoming black’ coin. Young impoverished whites in England are not only being drawn towards ‘being black’ – they are also being blocked from ‘being white’. To understand this, we need to get to grips with the political purpose behind the concept of ‘whiteness’ in the first place. Theodore Allen has argued convincingly that ‘whiteness’ as a distinct category was invented in the American colonies of Maryland and Virginia in order to prevent property-less Europeans allying with African Americans - by conferring certain privileges onto them. It worked very well – generally speaking, white workers did indeed begin to identify more with their own exploiters than with the black slaves; the edge was taken off their own exploitation by being granted access to a small share of the more extreme exploitation of the Africans. In the twentieth century a similar process has taken place across Europe through the combination of the welfare state and tough immigration laws. On the one hand, the welfare state for a long time enabled even the most disadvantaged citizens of the ‘white’ countries access to a relatively decent standard of living. On the other, tough immigration laws maintained full employment whilst preventing the vast majority of the global workforce any real access to the fruits of their labour. In return, English workers by and large gave their consent to the colonial (and neo-colonial) exploitation that underwrote the whole system.

Today, for property-less whites, those privileges are being obliterated. Since the 1980s, significant sections of ‘white’ society in the West have begun to lose, therefore, the very thing that makes them ‘white’ – their privileged status. Nell Painter put it clearly in her book The History of White People. For her, whiteness is “a signal of power, prestige, and beauty to be withheld and granted selectively”. For the white ‘underclass’ in England, it is a status that is rapidly being withdrawn.

Nowhere is this more clear than in the demonization of the so-called ‘chav’. The middle class stereotype of the ‘chav’ is much like the racist stereotype of the ‘n****r’ – lazy, stupid, violent etc. But in fact it also incorporates the more specific stereotype of the ‘uppity n****r’: a member of the underclass who ‘doesn’t know his place’; who gets ideas ‘above his station’; in other words, who refuses to accept his subordinate position in society. How else can we interpret the endless middle class mockery of the ‘bling’ worn by poor youth? Jewellery itself is not condemned – what is being condemned is the right of the poor to wear it.

So, losing their privileged ‘white’ status, being subjected to old, racist, stereotypes in a new form, and attracted to the oppositional pride and defiance of black music and culture, white youth in poor areas are ceasing to be ‘white’ and are instead ‘becoming black’. On a cultural level, they are joining the ‘fourth world’ – those in the West with ancestral homelands in the third world, who by and large constitute the dispossessed of the West, and as such form the most potentially revolutionary class.

This all came to a head in the riots last week, where poor white youth joined with black people in what was originally an outburst of anger against brutal and racist policing (2).(3) (4). The fact that many then subsequently took the opportunity to stock up on the goods they have been denied, or even that some went on to commit arson or murder, should not detract from this fact.**

So we should perhaps be thanking Starkey for bringing the issue of race into the debate from where it had been conspicuously absent hitherto. But the real problem – from our perspective – is not that the ‘whites think they’re black’. Inasmuch as ‘white’ is a symbol of privilege and the ‘right to rule’, the real problem is that people like David Starkey think they’re ‘white’. 

*By white supremacist, I mean here those who favour the continued domination of the globe by the European and European settler nations (the so-called ‘first world’).

** It is important to remember that gang violence and burglary were not something new, brought about by the riots – they were already taking place before the riots; in fact, gang violence may actually may have decreased during the riots (5).

With thanks to Sukant Chandan and Dr Lez Henry for making me think about these things...not that either of them necessarily agree with my views! 

Thursday, 11 August 2011


                                                 Mark Duggan, murdered by police who then lied about the incident. 

Rioting and looting was not the only violent activity being carried out by Englishmen on Sunday night. Some hours  before Cameron appeared on our TV screens vowing to take revenge on the risen British youth, his bomber pilots carried out a raid which slaughtered 33 Libyan children, along with 32 women and 20 men in Zlitan, a village near Tripoli. He, along with the rulers of France and the USA, are desperately trying to stave off economic collapse in the same way they always have – through the slaughter of third world people and the theft of their resources.

That is the context in which these riots need to be seen. Our mode of living in the West is predicated on violence and looting. For those who do not understand this, you need to look into how Western military forces have turned Afghanistan into a giant heroin poppy plantation with the lowest life expectancy on the planet outside sub-Saharan Africa; how they have turned Iraq into a living hell to steal its oil, how they are setting up Syria for an invasion as a prelude to the ‘final solution’ of the Palestinian ‘problem’ and how they are already stealing Libyan oil wealth which Gaddafi had ploughed into African development but will now go straight into the coffers of arms companies to buy arms for the racist rebel army. This is before we even mention the debt-extortion under which third world countries pay 13 times as much in loan interest to the West (on loans they have already paid back many times over) than they receive in aid.

Our young people have grown up witnessing all of this. They are well aware that the West enriches itself by violent plunder. They are also aware that more than half of their so-called ‘representatives’ in parliament have been systematically stealing TVs, electronic goods, clothes and anything else they think they can get away with, by means of large-scale fraud. They know that the police murder people with impunity, and their communities are subject to harassment and humiliation by police on a mass scale. They know that the bankers who have destroyed the livelihoods of millions, are still paying themselves bonuses extorted from the public purse.

They also know that none of these people are ever likely to be bought to justice through legal mechanisms. Most of the MPs guilty of fraud either still have their jobs, or have moved on to lucrative directorships with the companies for whom they did favours whilst in office. The police investigate themselves and find themselves not guilty. Army officers investigate themselves and find themselves not guilty. Tony Blair investigates himself and finds himself not guilty. The rich and powerful are demonstrating to our young people daily that the way to succeed is through robbery, theft and violence. This is the world into which they were born. This is the morality which surrounds them. This is the air they breathe.

Compared to their role models, the vast majority of the rioters have behaved impeccably. Attacks on small businesses, houses and civilians have been the exception, not the rule; the main activity has been the looting of big chain stores and the besieging of police stations. In so doing, the youth have succeeded in achieving what everyone else has failed to achieve – holding the police and corporations to account. The message to the police has been clear – you cannot murder, beat and humiliate us with impunity. Several police stations have been burned to the ground and all London police have had their summer leave cancelled. When incidents like Mark Duggan's murder arise, it is never a case of one ‘bad apple’; the process of cover-up is a systematic one which requires large-scale collusion. Some officers may now think twice before getting entangled in such matters in the future.

As for the big corporations, the efficiency of their exploitation and enslavement of third world people has created such poverty across the globe that people are increasingly unable to afford to buy what they produce. This is the major systemic cause of the economic crisis. They may not know it, but the corporations our children are attacking are indeed the major cause of their own poverty. More than this, these companies employ advertising techniques that ruthlessly target our children with a cruel message that their social status depends on the acquisition of their goods; they should not then feign surprise when poor children also try to acquire them.

With their so-called "mindless looting", the dispossessed youth are in fact carrying out a primitive form of wealth redistribution. What they are doing in a disorganised and spontaneous way, is precisely what we should be doing in a systematic and disciplined way. We need to build organisations that are serious about creating ‘socialism from below’ - taking control of the factories, chain stores and land, and using them in a way that provides for the massive social needs for which capitalism is completely unable to provide. This is the real Big Society – the one Cameron and his ilk are terrified of.

I am not blaming Cameron, or the politicians, or the media, by the way. These are our enemies. They are being true to their class. They are exploiting us and lying to us efficiently and effectively. They are doing their jobs perfectly. I am blaming those of us who do care, who do want equality and an end to classism, racism and imperialism. We need to step up and provide leadership and organisation, and until we do that – our criticisms of the youth are hollow and deceitful. If we leave it to children to bring accountability to policing and to redistribute wealth, without any leadership or guidance, we shouldn’t be surprised if they do a messy job.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Timing of planned Franco-British war games suggests Libyan war has been long planned.

November 2010 War Games: "Southern Mistral" Air Attack against Dictatorship in a Fictitious Country called "Southland"

Global Research, April 15, 2011


On November 2, 2010 France and Great Britain signed a mutual defence treaty, which included joint participation in "Southern Mistral" (, a series of war games outlined in the bilateral agreement. Southern Mistral involved a long-range conventional air attack, called Southern Storm, against a dictatorship in a fictitious southern country called Southland. The joint military air strike was authorised by a pretend United Nations Security Council Resolution. The "Composite Air Operations" were planned for the period of 21-25 March, 2011. On 20 March, 2011, the United States joined France and Great Britain in an air attack against Gaddafi's Libya, pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 1973.
Have the scheduled war games simply been postponed, or are they actually under way after months of planning, under the name of Operation Odyssey Dawn? Were opposition forces in Libya informed by the US, the UK or France about the existence of Southern Mistral/Southern Storm, which may have encouraged them to violence leading to greater repression and a humanitarian crisis? In short was this war against Gaddafi's Libya planned or a spontaneous response to the great suffering which Gaddafi was visiting upon his opposition?
Members of the United States Congress are wondering how much planning time it took for our own government, in concert with the UK and France, to line up 10 votes in the Security Council and gain the support of the Arab League and Nato, and then launch an attack on Libya without observing the constitutional requirement of congressional authorisation.
Libya was attacked, we have been told, because Gaddafi allegedly had killed 6,000 of his own people. But is this true? It should be remembered that in 2006, a full 18 years after the Lockerbie bombing, the US lifted sanctions against Libya, which was welcomed back into the international fold.
Now, as Gaddafi faces armed internal opposition backed by a UN Security Council resolution and faces powerful external opposition backed by the military of the US, the UK and France, he is told he must give up power. But to whom? What is the end game?
The US has been dancing around the regime change issue, (since that is not sanctioned by the UNSC Resolution) but as in most cases one has to watch where the bombs are falling to determine whether or not regime change is the policy.
The newest argument for regime change is that if he is not ousted Gaddafi can be expected to attempt Lockerbie-type retaliation against the west in response to the attacks seeking to oust him.
This bloody enterprise is beginning to sound a lot like Iraq: "Saddam was killing his own people, will kill his people, or will kill us if we don"t get him first."
So did the Bush Administration pump up the fears of the American people that we were next, that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and had the intention and capability of attacking the United States.
The Iraq war begins its ninth year at a long term cost to US taxpayers of in excess of $3 trillion.The intelligence making the case for the war was "sexed up". President Bush and Vice President Cheney made a false case for war. An expensive lie. In the name of saving the people of Iraq, we bombed the country, invaded, changed the regime and it is still a carnival of death. In the end it was China, not involved in the war, which received a multi-billion oil deal.
The war in Afghanistan, with no end in sight, has already run a decade and will inevitably cost trillions.
The war against Libya will cost the US $1 billion for the first week.
But we in America are being assured that since Nato is taking over, our role will change. In addition to funding the Libyan war from our own Pentagon resources, the US provides 25% of the funding of Nato, the UK 9.1%, France 8.72%. For all intents and purposes the coalition is handing control of the war over – to itself.
As the funding switches to Nato, we in the US will get the Libyan war at a 75% discount, and our allies in the UK and France will have to pay considerable sums from their own treasuries for a war which is sure to cost billions. Of the 28 members of Nato, I think of Iceland which provides 0.0450 of Nato's military budget. If member nations are assessed accordingly, poor Iceland, whose economy has imploded, will pay $45m for each billion spent on the war in Libya.
Expensive membership dues.
This sleight-of-hand-over to NATO is an attempt to quell popular dissent to the war by making it appear that no one nation is taking up the burden of saving Libya. But it will beg more questions such as who or what is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and how did they work their way from the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Sidra, not to mention in Afghanistan on the Chinese border?
This war is wrong on so many fronts. The initial stated purpose, protecting Libyan civilians, will soon evaporate as it becomes clear that the war has accelerated casualties and enlarged a humanitarian crisis. Debates over the morality of intervention will give way to a desperate search for answers as to how and when do we get out, and how and why did we get in.
Dennis Kucinich is a Democrat congressman and former presidential candidate

Dennis J Kucinich is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Dennis J Kucinich