The London Rioters and Their Targets

Last Saturday, London was hit by what is now a regular occurrence in Britain: the violent rioting and looting by a growing number of socialist, militant environmentalist and anarchist groups, intent on dishing out as much harm as possible to British capitalism. 

Although (as state controlled BBC told us over and over again) the actual rioters were a relative minority of the protesters, they appear to have implicit support from the majority of the approximately 400,000 that descended upon the capital.  Spokespersons for the marchers seemed angrier at "the media" for covering such violence than those who were violent, and one can see from the coverage of the event that for every small gang of violent thugs, there was a much larger crowd of leftists behind them cheering them on.

This is nothing new; anti-capitalist marches during G8 summits, protests against hikes in tuition fees, and now protests against spending cuts have all ended in rioting and destruction of property, without any sign of opposition from the majority of protesters.

What is interesting about the riots is the targets that were chosen.  Yes, there were the usual symbols of Chomskyite "anti-corporate" rage, such as Starbucks, McDonalds and various banks.  Yet, other targets, such as Nelson's column, The Ritz, and luxury confectionary store Fortnum and Mason are notable for being targets of a different kind of rage -- something best defined as an anti-cultural iconoclasm from the left.

Although the left claim that the targets were attacks on the privileged rich, a closer look allows us to see the root of such attacks in socialist ideology.  For the left have not changed their ideology, they have only changed the way in which it is expressed.  The destruction of a nation's culture, history and the luxuries a nation provides has always been a cornerstone of socialist revolution.  From the book burning of Mao's China to the destruction of the Russian Orthodox churches in Lenin's Russia, leftists have always attacked the symbols of a nation's culture and its luxuries.

The more traditional, anti-religious iconoclasm -- as seen most notably in Lenin's Russia -- can still be observed whenever one accompanies a leftist on a trip to the Vatican.  They can be guaranteed to at some point sniff, "These jewels and churches should be sold off and the money given to the poor" while failing to see that it is usually the poor who are finding spiritual nourishment in those churches that our leftist comrades would have sold off.  They can almost certainly be relied on to add "that is what Jesus would do" despite it almost being a word for word quote of Judas, not Christ[i].

Yet it is a more anti-cultural iconoclastic spirit that motivates leftists to smash up "homes of the rich" such as The Ritz and Fortnum and Mason.  While the socialists may believe they are punishing the bourgeoisie for their high living and exploitation of the proletariat, they are in fact often punishing those whom they claim to be helping.

On a trip to London last year with a good American friend of mine, we chose to visit Fortnum and Mason.  Neither of us is rich by any stretch of the imagination, and yet the experience of wandering around such a beautiful shop was one of the pleasant memories of our trip.  I noticed at the time that, despite its reputation for being an exclusive shop for the rich, it was filled with normal people like ourselves, who were popping in for a look around or who were indulging in a one off treat by buying themselves some sugar mice or a lush bottle of wine.

The same applies to The Ritz.  Although the leftist brain is tormented by the image of a Ritz filled with bankers and Tories guffawing over the plight of the poor, the reality is quite different.  Instead it contains many people of more modest incomes using the venue as a place to treat themselves and step out of the dreariness of the over-taxed reality of everyday life in socialist Britain.  Indeed, on Saturday there was the heartbreaking story of Carla Sibley from Bournemouth, who had saved up with her three children in order to celebrate her 65th birthday at The Ritz.  Arriving in London, they found the hotel being attacked by wannabe revolutionaries, the hotel closed, and her special day ruined.

It was ever thus with culture and luxury.  The Soviet Union destroyed the beauties of Russian history that had inspired its population, built factories over the parks that the workers would walk through when not at their factories, and persecuted the capitalists who sold luxuries to those workers who had dared to save up enough income to afford them.  This only meant that the everyday man and woman had no access to these moments of beauty that were now only available to the privileged elites of the Party.

One only need look at the extravagant holidays and day trips of Michelle "Antoinette" Obama, or the recent posturing of former socialist Prime Minister Gordon Brown to see that little has changed -- the luxuries of life and the beauties of our culture are still available to the leftists as they seek to deny them to the rest of us.

Only once that luxury and beauty is destroyed do we see the left enforcing upon us the gray reality of what we "should" like.  So, traditional art galleries filled with beautiful portraits and landscapes are gutted out to be replaced by over funded "modern, interpretive" art  that no-one wants to look; and  Nelson's column and the Houses of Parliament are attacked and daubed with slogans, while the left erect hideous yet expensive monuments such as the failed Millennium Dome, the ugly 7/7 memorial and the dangerous and bland Princess Diana memorial.  Even the upcoming Royal Wedding - an event that will bring in lots of money as well as giving joy and a national holiday to the population at large - looks certain to be targeted by the radical left angry at the luxury and cultural significance of the affair.       

Still, if the left did eventually manage to get rid of Fortnum and Mason and The Ritz, those of us after a bit of luxury need not panic -- our socialist comrades would probably establish some sort of government funded Fairtrade, eco-friendly, low-fat, recyclable juice bar to replace it, so that's something to look forward to!

Adam Shaw is a conservative writer based in Manchester, England.  His blog is The Anglo-American Debate. Follow him on Twitter: @ACShaw


[i] Matthew 26:9
Last Saturday, London was hit by what is now a regular occurrence in Britain: the violent rioting and looting by a growing number of socialist, militant environmentalist and anarchist groups, intent on dishing out as much harm as possible to British capitalism. 

Although (as state controlled BBC told us over and over again) the actual rioters were a relative minority of the protesters, they appear to have implicit support from the majority of the approximately 400,000 that descended upon the capital.  Spokespersons for the marchers seemed angrier at "the media" for covering such violence than those who were violent, and one can see from the coverage of the event that for every small gang of violent thugs, there was a much larger crowd of leftists behind them cheering them on.

This is nothing new; anti-capitalist marches during G8 summits, protests against hikes in tuition fees, and now protests against spending cuts have all ended in rioting and destruction of property, without any sign of opposition from the majority of protesters.

What is interesting about the riots is the targets that were chosen.  Yes, there were the usual symbols of Chomskyite "anti-corporate" rage, such as Starbucks, McDonalds and various banks.  Yet, other targets, such as Nelson's column, The Ritz, and luxury confectionary store Fortnum and Mason are notable for being targets of a different kind of rage -- something best defined as an anti-cultural iconoclasm from the left.

Although the left claim that the targets were attacks on the privileged rich, a closer look allows us to see the root of such attacks in socialist ideology.  For the left have not changed their ideology, they have only changed the way in which it is expressed.  The destruction of a nation's culture, history and the luxuries a nation provides has always been a cornerstone of socialist revolution.  From the book burning of Mao's China to the destruction of the Russian Orthodox churches in Lenin's Russia, leftists have always attacked the symbols of a nation's culture and its luxuries.

The more traditional, anti-religious iconoclasm -- as seen most notably in Lenin's Russia -- can still be observed whenever one accompanies a leftist on a trip to the Vatican.  They can be guaranteed to at some point sniff, "These jewels and churches should be sold off and the money given to the poor" while failing to see that it is usually the poor who are finding spiritual nourishment in those churches that our leftist comrades would have sold off.  They can almost certainly be relied on to add "that is what Jesus would do" despite it almost being a word for word quote of Judas, not Christ[i].

Yet it is a more anti-cultural iconoclastic spirit that motivates leftists to smash up "homes of the rich" such as The Ritz and Fortnum and Mason.  While the socialists may believe they are punishing the bourgeoisie for their high living and exploitation of the proletariat, they are in fact often punishing those whom they claim to be helping.

On a trip to London last year with a good American friend of mine, we chose to visit Fortnum and Mason.  Neither of us is rich by any stretch of the imagination, and yet the experience of wandering around such a beautiful shop was one of the pleasant memories of our trip.  I noticed at the time that, despite its reputation for being an exclusive shop for the rich, it was filled with normal people like ourselves, who were popping in for a look around or who were indulging in a one off treat by buying themselves some sugar mice or a lush bottle of wine.

The same applies to The Ritz.  Although the leftist brain is tormented by the image of a Ritz filled with bankers and Tories guffawing over the plight of the poor, the reality is quite different.  Instead it contains many people of more modest incomes using the venue as a place to treat themselves and step out of the dreariness of the over-taxed reality of everyday life in socialist Britain.  Indeed, on Saturday there was the heartbreaking story of Carla Sibley from Bournemouth, who had saved up with her three children in order to celebrate her 65th birthday at The Ritz.  Arriving in London, they found the hotel being attacked by wannabe revolutionaries, the hotel closed, and her special day ruined.

It was ever thus with culture and luxury.  The Soviet Union destroyed the beauties of Russian history that had inspired its population, built factories over the parks that the workers would walk through when not at their factories, and persecuted the capitalists who sold luxuries to those workers who had dared to save up enough income to afford them.  This only meant that the everyday man and woman had no access to these moments of beauty that were now only available to the privileged elites of the Party.

One only need look at the extravagant holidays and day trips of Michelle "Antoinette" Obama, or the recent posturing of former socialist Prime Minister Gordon Brown to see that little has changed -- the luxuries of life and the beauties of our culture are still available to the leftists as they seek to deny them to the rest of us.

Only once that luxury and beauty is destroyed do we see the left enforcing upon us the gray reality of what we "should" like.  So, traditional art galleries filled with beautiful portraits and landscapes are gutted out to be replaced by over funded "modern, interpretive" art  that no-one wants to look; and  Nelson's column and the Houses of Parliament are attacked and daubed with slogans, while the left erect hideous yet expensive monuments such as the failed Millennium Dome, the ugly 7/7 memorial and the dangerous and bland Princess Diana memorial.  Even the upcoming Royal Wedding - an event that will bring in lots of money as well as giving joy and a national holiday to the population at large - looks certain to be targeted by the radical left angry at the luxury and cultural significance of the affair.       

Still, if the left did eventually manage to get rid of Fortnum and Mason and The Ritz, those of us after a bit of luxury need not panic -- our socialist comrades would probably establish some sort of government funded Fairtrade, eco-friendly, low-fat, recyclable juice bar to replace it, so that's something to look forward to!

Adam Shaw is a conservative writer based in Manchester, England.  His blog is The Anglo-American Debate. Follow him on Twitter: @ACShaw


[i] Matthew 26:9

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