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08.2011 / Crime for Crime’s Sake

I don’t agree with everything in this text – but I want Ruckus. This is Ruckus. This is the way we put our fists up and demand. The question is whether our demands need to be specific, communicated, or whether we can just punch each other for the sake of it and ask afterwards why we were so discontent to begin with.

This might not give weight to the real issues at hand, but it solves the aggression very quickly. Most importantly, it’s a sign: this mighty force of our states is not as mighty without its people. Always remember that.

crime for crime’s sake

This is crime for crime’s sake, say the media pundits, politicians, and every other comfortable white person on facebook.

And they’re right.

Whether it’s kicking over a bin, smashing open a shop, setting fire to a police car, hurling glass bottles across the street, swearing, acting threateningly, bopping, cotching, mooching or wearing hoods up, actions are being taken that are wilfully, provocatively against the law. The gambit being that if this occurs consistently enough, energetically enough, in enough locations, with enough unpredictability, the police will not be able to deal with it, and the unofficial reality will dawn that there is too much crime to punish all the criminals.

This has been true for years. Minor drugs users and those suspected of terrorism, bystanders and loiterers too proud to avoid police confrontation and anyone foolish enough to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time during a demonstration… the definition of crime in our society has mushroomed, and with it, the number of criminals.

This doesn’t work. We can only define a certain fraction of our society as deviant before we have to realign our perception of what our society is. And this is the dangerous game that is being played on the streets around our houses. Molten, irrational energy is spurting from the jugular. “Yes we’re criminals. AND WHAT?” And sometimes one kid gets so excited they set fire to another kid’s dad’s car, and then they screech ballistic at each other. Or sometimes the wise-old-black-dude teleports in from a hollywood film, puts their hand on someone’s shoulder and cries something concise like “it’s not about that,” or “why are we attacking each other? Are we pigs?” War cries go up, “don’t run” when the police try to rout you – the hood/scarf uniform makes it easy for the police to dehumanise, both sides trained on video games, the us/them gameplay is familiar.

The looting is fabulous. The protestant work ethic dead, the morality of capitalism “If you work hard, you will succeed” a bullshit lie for these people for years. Like the bit in Kill Bill where she learns how to move her foot again, people are making concrete synapse connections between their will and external reality, trusting their sight and hearing through leagues of superstition “Well, physically I should be able to, let’s see.”

And I stand there with my cameraphone wishing they’d take it into central, steal more expensive stuff, rip London’s pretty face off, break the Olympics and challenge the neighborhoods that thought they could buy their way out of community. Or charge every police station, bomb every police car, or split up, get out of their gang mentality and individually, surruptitiously, steal or break something they want or hate.

(Sky stands in the Jonathon Ross green room of his imagination, tries to remember his notes…)

In my book, First Terms of the Calculus, I make a mathematical argument for the process by which criminality is slurred together, the number of ‘anti-citizens’ comes to exceed the number of ‘citizens’ and the disciplinary/reward system becomes generally malignant, blind to definitions of democracy, in line with the fundamentalist tenets of its setup.

I posit that this is a macrocosm of the process occurring in each of us as we speak, in the molecules of our minds a continuous equation between fear/hate and love, tipping precariously into the Bad Trip as we villainise each other, ourselves, and every third thought that crosses our mind. An effective totalitarian state operates not on punishment but latent guilt for thinking the wrong way.

Jonathan Ross says: “Don’t yew fink yaw taking yawsewf a li’l bit sewiously? I mean, don’t yew eva jus come home, have a beer, turn on the telly, put yaw feet up and watch Jonathan Ross?”

And just because I rip Jonathan Ross’s throat out on live tv, doesn’t mean I’ve chosen fear. Riots have exploded in Euston, Charing X, Bethlehem, the Moon – they’ll never catch me. I dance past security on the way out, guided by alien charm and deep, deep empathy.

I don’t do that. They don’t book me, in fact. And the new age is divided by linearity of thought, like Donnie Darko says, you can’t pigeonhole everything into categories of fear and love (you paedophile). If we’re into the bioelectrical substrata or the collective unconscious, we should be meditating, collectively, all at once. We should form the eyes-closed seer council and channel this energy, lend our strength to the wise and brave in the crowd and vibrate with empathy. If this was happening in our brains we would celebrate it, not the triumph of light over dark but the triumph of is-ness over guilt and pre-conception.

Pray for avoidance of pain, avoidance of bodily damage, loss of life. Pray for no more innocent victims, no more houses on fire. Pray for (now acknowledgedly) untrained riot police losing their nerve. Pray for lifer family-man police throwing in the towel, saying “I’m not a corporate mercenary.” Pray for everyone who stole a TV steering clear of the shopping channel, having once liberated their actions from the mechanism of consumerism. Pray for ourselves, pray for our friends. Pray for the theft of educational software, and goods equal in value to the EMA. Pray for dozens of synchronised protests, outside parliament, in Trafalgar square, outside banks and police stations. Pray for white people getting involved. Pray for the elimination of the word ‘Chav’ from our vocabulary. Pray for the end to your fear of poor people. Go back in time and pray that the Jews in Germany, 1937, had an aggressive tribal honour code and years of pump-up music behind them when people started to get killed, because the racist backlash to this is going to be disgusting.

(Unordered)