Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Stokes Croft and democracy


Democracy is diplomacy on a personal level. Where not respected the natural consequence is violence. I do not condone it in unnecessary or pointless circumstances, but where the self-determination of a people is undermined it is inevitable. A community of Bristol voted overwhelmingly in a local referendum, by 90%, for a Tesco store not to be built on their street of Stokes Croft. The campaign in opposition to the corporation that destroys local businesses and creates more unemployment than it reduces is here. The local council allowed Tesco to build a sixteenth store, discarding the democratic opposition to it. Unsurprisingly, the outrage resulted in a riot from the disregarded residents when a riot squad attempted to evict a squat against it, probably induced by the inflicted brutality expected from forces in a nation that seemingly becomes more of a police state at a terrifying rate.

"Democracy in action, my friend," says a man with a bandaged headwound. I imagine him uttering these words in Arabic while considering the inflamed and shattered surroundings. In country where a government arrogantly destroys the welfare of communities, and opportunities of the underprivileged on behalf of vested interests, with just the same absence of demcoratic mandate, like the storming of Milibank over tuition fees, we have seen nothing yet.

As Dr. King said: "A riot is at the bottom the language of the unheard."