Baltimore: Over there is over here.

WORDS: Mike Cow


I have a confession to make.


When the London Riots kicked off in 2011, I like many people was appalled, appalled at the ‘scum’ smashing their own communities up, nicking plasma TV’s, brazenly, and running through the streets celebrating the fact. I was appalled, and took to social media instantly, like many people, to admonish the rioters, and issue a ‘pseudo-hardman’ proclamation on Facebook from the relative safety of my nice little house, miles from the estate I grew up on and ‘warn’ any potential agitators that if they “…thought about trying the same thing here then ‘we’ would kick their cunts clean in”.


Now, I’m appalled with myself.


Why? I hear you not give a fuck but I’ll tell you anyway. Well, my good friends, it’s as simple as this:


NEWSFLASH: There is a clear and provable link between poverty and rioting.


Even that word, ‘rioting’ I have issue with, the media project and contextualise it within a wholly extreme and pejorative context, that is their function, let’s not get it twisted. When would a Rupert Murdoch owned ‘news outlet’ ever refer to what’s happening in Baltimore for example as an ‘uprising’. Let me help you good people. Never. ‘They’ don’t care about us.




1. A popular revolt against a government or its policies; a rebellion.

2. The act or an instance of rising or rising up.


At this point, I’d imagine there are people reading this thinking, “Fuck off eh mate, they’re just wanton vandals, I fail to see how nicking a plasma telly is changing anything”. Hear me out, or don’t, do what the fuck you want.


It’s a free country, isn’t it?


I’m appalled with myself for my reaction in 2011 as my opinion wasn’t based on evidence, it was based on my own fear, a fear that this would all spread, to my parents’ house essentially, and that they and my loved one’s would not be safe. I reacted from this place outwardly via aggression and the ‘faux-hardman act’ but really, I was frightened. The country appeared to be tearing itself apart.


Then the smoke cleared, both literally and figuratively and I saw what happened for what it was:


A reaction against poverty from a generation thrown on the scrapheap.


What I saw and heard were people, myself included, admonishing the young people in London, and around the country, for ‘wanton vandalism’, when really, if we’re honest with ourselves, the yogurt weaving, Guardian bothering class were shitting themselves that their ‘life plan’ was about to be ripped up and shat on by a ‘hoody’ calling them ‘bruv’; just before they twoc’d their Prius scattering their organic Tuscan bean stew all over their gazebo.


Admit it, the London Uprising (For that is what it was) just wasn’t ‘political’ enough for you was it bruv? Well, not in the narrow contextual and outdated alley in which many choose to frame their view of the world.


Newsflash: The concept of ‘left’ and right’ is over. Thatcher won, these are her estranged children and they’re fucking ANGRY individuals.

The same could be said of America, Reaganomics went hand in glove with Thatcherism, the scenes very recently in Baltimore, as well as multiple other locations across the United States are borne from a section of society being made to feel like second class citizens. Corrupt police forces in a variety of locations, murdering individuals from a certain section of society, with impunity, on camera, and getting away with it scot free.

Mark Duggan anybody? Bueller? Anybody? Bueller?

Does that not make you fucking angry?

If you, yes you, you reading this, were living in those conditions would you not, eventually, just think ”Fuck this for a game of soldiers” and kick right off?

You ever noticed a consistent pattern in the media?

Immediately put out a hit piece on the victims of police violence, which includes their criminal records and then compare and contrast with the murderer, sorry I mean police officers, ‘exemplary’ record of service.

The media are not our friends, here’s a small sample of some of the headlines in the press relating to Baltimore:


‘Protest Turns Destructive, (USA Today)’ ‘Scenes of Chaos In Baltimore… (NY Times), Dozens Arrested After Protest Turns Violent (WBAL TV). One website’s headlines read: 1,000 Black Rioters In Baltimore Smash Police Cars, Attack Motorists In Frenzied Protest.



Previous to this there were several peaceful protests with 10’s of thousands of people present, and next to fuck all in the media. The very minute a rock is thrown, or a window is smashed then there they are, parroting the same old ‘thugs’ line, and pointing their lenses at what is essentially property damage and we all swallow it. Well most of us anyway. The screeching invective, the inflammatory finger pointing, the demonization of a whole section of society. Let’s have it right, ’thugs’ is just shorthand for ‘niggers’ but they won’t say it on Fox News/Sky news, not quite anyway. But we all know what they mean. Well most of us anyway.

I am appalled with myself for swallowing the media lies in 2011 because of my own fear. I own this completely, I dropped the ball, I got it wrong. I acted like a bellend because I was frightened. No more, how long can we continue being ‘dry apologists’ for the system that we claim to be against, broadcasting live via smartphone and tablet from our relatively comfortable existence, by admonishing people who are reacting as a consequence of their heinous living conditions.

How long can we be cowards?


According to a recent WAVE study, an international survey that examined the living conditions of 15-19 year olds in poor areas in Baltimore, Shanghai, Johannesburg, New Delhi and Ibadan (third largest city in Nigeria), the problem is much closer to home than many people realize.


In Baltimore, teenagers exhibited high rates of mental health problems, drug abuse, sexual violence and teen pregnancy. In comparison, teens in New Delhi, despite residing in a much poorer country than the United States, showed fewer signs of such social behavior.


The lead author of the study, Kristen Mmari, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, said the perception teenagers have of their communities plays a large role in how they behave.

“For example, a young man in New Delhi and a young man in Baltimore may both live in neighbourhoods with poor living conditions and little opportunity, but because the teenager in New Delhi is able to see his environment in a more positive light, he is less likely to experience to adverse health problems,” Mmari told Vocativ. “He paints a different picture.”


Why is this? Why are young people in Western nations, such as the United States and the United Kingdom reacting by smashing up their own neighbourhoods?

In my opinion, the breakdown of communities and the championing of ‘the individual’ from the Reaganomics/Thatcherism era has borne fruit, it has given birth to it’s children, and they aren’t happy.

Happy people don’t abuse drugs, happy people don’t abuse people, happy people don’t commit acts of sexual violence.

Maybe people in other areas of the planet, included in the study, still form part of a strong community, are still honoured for their contribution – their considerable energies still harnessed for the good of the collective.

The fact of the matter is, if we feel part of something we are less likely to smash it up, if we feel included we are less likely to react out of anger, if we feel loved then we are less likely to abuse drugs. We have failed our young people by ‘looking the other way’ while they languish on the dole/welfare with nothing to aspire to other than the sparkly bullshit in rap videos, featuring ‘bitches’ being dominated by skint rappers well in debt to the advance from their record label which they will never be able to pay back.


And therin lives the lie my friends. All of ‘this’ is bullshit. Your house is on chucky, your car is on chucky, and your life is on chucky. We ‘own’ nothing, ‘they’ own us. The only difference is the chains are more transparent on a young person, in South London, in Baltimore, and many other myriad shitholes sacrificed on the altar of Thatcher and Reagan. We’re leaving young people to burn,we’re allowing the very system of controls to incinerate young lives and forged from those flames comes the situation which led to the uprising, for that is what it is an UPRISING. These events are uprisings, are a natural consequence of poverty, an obvious result of oppression.

Don’t think it can affect you? So far removed from your chuckied up, debt soaked lifestyle that you’ve deluded yourself it can never happen where you are?


Well fellow travellers may I draw your attention to the fact that:

The Tories will have to eat their own data just before the election: thanks to austerity, Britain’s growth rate is at only 0.3% – and we’re headed for deflation’.


That’s right good people, AUSTERITY IS A LIE. A concoction, a fallacy, a falsehood. It’s not about ‘reducing the deficit’, it’s an elaborate con trick, conceived to kick public money into private hands, and then blame ‘the other’, people of colour, immigrants, ‘chavs’, people on benefits, the disabled as a smokescreen while the heist happens under our noses, and the bankers and their old school tie chums run laughing off into the sunset.


We’re all just one paypacket away from the knackers yard under austerity. We’re all just one paypacket away from poverty. That poverty that the media have us project upon based in our own fears. That’s in the post, we’re heading for deflation, the figures are in, austerity is a lie, and we swallowed it, we took the easy option of blaming the downtrodden, people just like us, rather than the oppressors, total shitcunts who wouldn’t piss on us if we were on fire.


I am appalled with myself.

Over there is over here. Black lives matter. All lives matter.


One love. FTDCH