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Jim Keady Headshot

Is London's Civil Unrest a Harbinger for U.S. Cities?

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As I watched the coverage of the civil unrest in London this past week, all I could think was, "this is just the beginning." First, let me be clear about my naming the actions of the people involved as "civil unrest" rather than "riots." Riots, as the news likes to call such actions, connotes something that just erupted out of the blue, unexplainable and senseless. One might argue the point of senselessness, but this civil unrest is quite explainable and in fact, predictable.

We have reached a tipping point in the cancerous march of global capitalism. The poor and economically disenfranchised have been aware for years that the system is dysfunctional, exploitative, and unjust. But now it is the educated, hard-working, middle-class that have finally had the scales fall from their eyes. As more and more wealth and social benefits have been stripped away from them to feed the greed of the uber-rich, an anger has been growing, a tinderbox being stacked twig by twig. It only needed a flashpoint, a spark, in this case, a shooting by police, and London was awash in violence, buildings aflame.

In the United States, this type of civil unrest may come sooner or may come later, but it will come. At the moment, much of the righteous anger has been channeled into the Tea Party movement. These citizens are organized and focused, but unfortunately, they are off-base with their analysis and targets. At some point, they will realize that neither the Republicans (nor the Democrats) nor the Corporatists they defend could care less about them. Right now, they are a pawn, being used by the uber-rich to consolidate power and bring more riches to the gilded class. When they do wake up and see the socio-economic reality for what it truly is, I fear for our nation. These class warriors will be pissed, they will be well armed, and they will have nothing to lose. They will make this past week in London look like a schoolyard skirmish.