London uprising a glimpse into our future?
One week ago, Melanie Sturm wrote in her biweekly column that “class warfare [was] un-American.” I responded in a letter published Aug. 8 that her economic analysis was, to be very polite, flawed. I also suggested that a continuation of Sturm’s “trickle-down economics” would likely lead to an American Spring similar to the Arab Spring of 2011 where the unemployed, underemployed and people with no hope rioted against the established order. I suggested our riots would make the Arab riots “look like picnics.”
I was wrong. I did not have to wait 10 years. The riots have occurred, but not here and not because politicians have promoted class warfare. Instead, the riots are occurring in London, where, to my knowledge, the politicians have studiously avoided promoting class warfare. There, thousands of youths, many with no education, no income and no hope of ever having a job have gone on rampages, even in one case charging into a Michelin one-star restaurant stealing jewelry, cell phones, watches and even food. According to Reuters, the police could do nothing more than protect the firefighters.
The rioters understand that there is no “elevator” as Ms. Sturm suggests, which will move them from their poverty to affluence. The rioters recognize, as Ms. Sturm does not, that they have been doomed by an educational and class system that failed them. There are millions of Americans who understand, as Ms. Sturm does not, that they too have no hope.
The attacks are apparently organized through social media. The rioters, although without hope, apparently have enough money to acquire cell phones and Blackberries. Further, they have learned how to use them.
Ms. Sturm and those who would agree with her might contemplate the spreading lawlessness in London. They might also ask whether in the future the types of people who organize through social media might use the same technology to organize an attack on an unprepared vacation town.
I look forward to reading her solution.
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