Hugh McDermott for Prospect


Pages tagged "Social Justice"

Shock Doctrine in Practice: The Connection Between Nighttime Robbery In the Streets and Daytime Robbery By Elites

by Naomi Klein

When you rob people of what little they have, in order to protect the interests of those who have more than anyone deserves, you should expect resistance.

I keep hearing comparisons between the London riots and riots in other European cities—window smashing in Athens or car bonfires in Paris. And there are parallels, to be sure: a spark set by police violence, a generation that feels forgotten.

But those events were marked by mass destruction; the looting was minor. There have, however, been other mass lootings in recent years, and perhaps we should talk about them too. There was Baghdad in the aftermath of the US invasion—a frenzy of arson and looting that emptied libraries and museums. The factories got hit too. In 2004 I visited one that used to make refrigerators. Its workers had stripped it of everything valuable, then torched it so thoroughly that the warehouse was a sculpture of buckled sheet metal.

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Why the U.K. riots have more to do with austerity than criminality

by Dr Greg Martin

Can references by the media and politicians to “feral youth”, “mindless thuggery” and “sheer criminality” in relation to the U.K. riots be justified in the context of austerity measures, policing practices and a pernicious culture of consumption?

Criminologists reject the idea of “pure criminality”, preferring instead to focus on the social origins of crime. While pure criminality implies crime is a consequence of individual pathology, criminological research continues to recognise the enduring link between crime and relative deprivation. The root cause of much of the riotous behavior lies in young peoples’ exclusion from consumer culture coupled with over-policing and police harassment of particular groups in neighborhoods blighted by entrenched social and economic disadvantage.

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UK Riots....Could it Happen Here?

by Matt Clear

The riots in England are a result of youth feeling disengaged and socially displaced from their community.

I have a level of respect for British Prime Minister David Cameron.

I was recently impressed by his long session answering questions in the House of Commons in response to the phone hacking scandal. I think he deserves a level of respect for his ability to juggle his responsibility to the country as a fairly young leader (45) with a young family, including three children – his youngest child is only one!

I am, however, dismayed at Cameron's response to the riots currently gripping Britain. Using terms like needing to 'fight back' and that the people involved are 'sick' really misses the point. Cameron has said this is not about poverty it's about criminals.

I don't agree.
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Why Should Rioting Young People Listen to the Elites and Mind a Social Order that Disempowers Them?


by Michelle Chen

There's no simple explanation for the uprising in London and several other UK cities in the last week. But the riots mirror the state of working-class Britain.


After witnessing several nights of turmoil, the people of the United Kingdom are still trying to comprehend what just happened. There's no simple explanation for this apparently leaderless and rudderless uprising in London and several other cities. But amid the grim ashes and street clashes, the message of rage has seared itself into the public consciousness, rekindling an age-old tinderbox of class warfare.

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Extreme Desperation: Why Oslo Killer Targeted Young Labor Leaders

Last Friday, Anders Behring Breivik allegedly detonated a car bomb in Oslo’s government quarter before disguising himself as a policeman and carrying out a deadly shooting spree on the island of Utøya. The mass shooting claimed 68 additional lives, an act of violence apparently motivated by the shooter’s hatred of immigration and multiculturalism. Witnesses describe him as methodical, relishing his short-lived power as he shot teenagers who averaged16 years of age.

Breivik’s decision to target a conference for progressive youth, not the immigrants he hated, was no mistake. And if there is a silver lining to the tragedy, it is that it was an act of desperation.

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Modernising Micro-Financing to develop Entrepreneurship in Western Sydney and Rural NSW

by Hugh McDermott

As a progressive social democratic party, NSW Labor needs to find innovative ways to assist the urban and rural poor to make the break from long term and inter-generational poverty.  Effective and well designed micro-financing projects have successfully enabled impoverished people to engage in self-employment projects that allow them to generate an income and, in many cases, begin to build wealth and exit poverty. A modernised model of micro-financing will assist the poor in urban and rural NSW break the poverty cycle.

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Let the disadvantaged manage their own income

By Paul McDonald

Each year Anglicare Victoria surveys some of the 60,000 Victorians who use our emergency relief services. The survey outcomes paint a vivid picture of the lives and situation of those in our society who are battling hard to make ends meet. It tells us how much they have to live on, what they spend their money on and how they manage when the money runs out.

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Flying a rebel flag to ensure all are given a fair go

by Paul Howes

THE bulk of the Australian population now sits among the most highly urbanised on the globe, concentrated in booming and cosmopolitan cities along our coastlines. But even today, just as it did more than 100 years ago, our country still lives off the massive profits delivered by resource-rich industries scattered across the outback.

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How to Fulfill the Promise of Opportunity for All

by Isabel V. Sawhill, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Policy Network

Centre-left governments face a number of critical domestic challenges. This memo is written primarily from a US perspective and with a recognition that the problems differ from country to country. Indeed, in some areas the United States has a lot to learn from our friends in other advanced countries.

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Mandatory jail terms for young offenders undermine the pillars of our democracy

By Greg Barns

A16-year-old boy comes before a court and pleads guilty to a serious assault. Under the Baillieu government's laws, the judge or magistrate must sentence the youth to a term of imprisonment in a youth detention centre. But the court has heard that the young man has a history of mental illness, a horrific familial background, learning difficulties and has never committed an offence prior to the assault. Can a judge or magistrate be said to be upholding the law, which they are bound to do, by sending the youth to prison?

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