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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Is my family classified as a "Gang"?

As David Cameron, Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith declare war on "Gangs" it would appear that they may inadvertantly be declaring war on something far far bigger than they could contemplate. Is my family classified as a "Gang"? in short, the answer is yes.

According to the definition of what constitutes as a "Gang," my Family unit is, in fact, a prime example, as is also a group of electrical plugs, a navigation systen made up of lighters and my personal favourite, an economic tool used within the printing industry. The term is so vague that it can be made applicable to any group of people, regardless of age or reason for meeting. In fact it is so vage it can be applied to any group of anyTHING.

Whilst this might seem a pedantic point, I raise it because of how often this word is now being banded about in statements claiming to explain why the riots happened and how we can stop them in the future. For example Iain Duncan smith said recently on the BBC the "gang problem that we have in the UK" and that the way to resolve this is to "crackdown on all gangs, everywhere, at the same time, for all the time." He even stated that the gangs manipulated the criminality of the riots.

Now if you simply replace the word "gang" with the word "group," you can see just how empty and meaningless statements like this are. What is clear from these statements is that he was refering to "criminal gangs (groups)," which only increases the ridiculous nature of these statements as the founding purpose of the police was to stop people breaking the law, "everywhere and at the same time, for all the time." We have in fact been doing this for the last 300 years.

My concern, however, is not in the semantic intelligence of politicians more than in their proposed policies and the current discussions about giving police more powers to diffuse "gangs (groups) of youths (children)" especially as the specific people that they are talking about stem from low economic backgrounds. To put this as bluntly as possible, if this policey is enforced it will criminalise friendship groups being formed by teenagers in public. Whilst this will not be too damning for those who have private spaces to form friends, those who do not have such spaces (those who come from a backgrounds where their "private space" is either shared or simple non-existant due to a lack of economic means) will be hindered in their social development and possibly alienated because of this social deficit.

In the previous post I mentioned the possibility that the eviction of people from public housing initiative's maybe an attempt to gentrify areas. This Alienation technique could also be seen as method to induce gentrification, however I am now concerned that it maybe to do with something far more grave. Again, whilst I am not suggesting that this is what the government are planning, the steps they are currently taking indicate that the following maybe their desired goal.

What I am now refering to is the criminalisation of having low economic means. This is an inversion of the model of economic gain that we are used to. Under the previous Governments, It was the employers responsibility to pay their employee's a decent wage. If they did not do this then they were viewed as the criminal and the employee was viewed as the victim. Under this model, it would appear that, it is the employee's responsibility to ensure that they are recieving a decent wage and if they are not then they are viewed as a criminal because they either need to rely on benefits, or exist in an empoverished state which decreases the social and economic value of the area they reside. They are viewed as lazy and those earning a higher wage (this group, most likely, including their employer) are viewed as the victims because their tax money is being spent on either supporting these "lazy" people, or because their tax money is being spent on attempting to improve the areas where these "lazy" people reside instead of their own. This is not a sustainable economic model in a society claiming to be ethical as it de-humanizes those who are the most vunerable. It should also be recognised as the clear violation of basic human rights and morality that it is. We should feel priviledged to have the economic means to be charitable to others, rather than be resentful of giving the little that is asked of us.

Mr Magic

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