A Letter to the Editor 17

In which The Author writes to The Big Issue

Readers in the UK will no doubt know that the jury in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan returned a verdict of ‘lawful killing’ last week. Duggan was killed by armed police officers in August 2011, and his death led to serious rioting in cities across England. The news coverage this week reminded me of the letter I had published in The Big Issue, just after the disturbances had died down. Their Facebook page featured that week’s front page under the heading ‘Anarchy in the UK’ on that edition, and this prompted me to submit the following comment. My friend Mike A., who works for The Big Issue Cymru, told me that it was published in their print edition, but I failed to get my hands on a copy. As a result, I’ve had to reproduce this from the original Facebook posting:
It’s NOT anarchy. It never was.
The 2009 Chambers Dictionary (11th ed. Edinburgh: Chambers Harrap) defines ‘Anarchy’ as ‘complete absence of law or government; a harmonious condition of society in which government is abolished as unnecessary; utter lawlessness; chaos; complete disorder.’
Check those definitions out in the correct order.
As an anarchist/libertarian, I totally deplore the actions of the cretins who have featured in the media for the last ten days. The riots of 1981 were predicated on oppressive and brutal policing, institutionalized racism, and urban deprivation. It took a long time, but the social fabric changed to a greater or lesser extent as a result. The riots of last week were predicated on some wannabe gangsta chavs not having the newest trainers and a big telly! No comparison whatsoever. Please don’t attempt to describe it as ‘anarchy.’
As Andrew Marr said on his recent [BBC TV] programme about Dhaka, ‘I would describe this [the traffic situation] as anarchy, but that would be doing anarchists a disservice.’
Your friendly Libertarian Proofreader

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