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View Full Version : What problems lead to rioting? Catch all (new title)



AdamG
12-20-2010, 06:34 PM
Moderator's Note

This thread was entitled 'Documentary shows current problems echo those in 1967 that led to Newark riots' until today and has been renamed, to include the wider subject of urban rioting or civil disorder. Scattered around SWC are a few threads on rioting, notably in France and protest in Europe and the USA. The new title is 'What problems lead to rioting? Catch all' (ends).



NEWARK — The lens of history opens Newark, 1967, to two interpretations.

Riot? Or rebellion?

A screening and discussion of a documentary film about the riot/rebellion for Newark police brass and officers this week was also open to interpretation. Was it a history lesson? Or cautionary tale?

"Revolution ‘67" came out in 2007, and had a national run on PBS. It’s the back-story of Newark’s riots: loss of factory jobs to the South and overseas; federal housing and transportation policies favoring suburban development; government corruption or incompetence impacting city services. Two of three still exist.

http://blog.nj.com/njv_mark_diionno/2010/12/newark_riots_docuentary_shown.html#incart_mce

Steve the Planner
12-20-2010, 07:44 PM
Very good, Adam:

June is when all the state and local budgets (ex stimulus money) start to hit the wall. That's when we are really going to see domestic issues come to the fore.

Bond payment delays, program curtailments, and layoffs (trickling from public to private).

As a kid, my Dad raced us out of Baltimore in his big Chrysler Wagon. From the back seat, I saw NGs streaming in, while bottle throwers chased us.

Domestic stability is job one.

Steve

Bob's World
12-20-2010, 08:04 PM
Very good, Adam:

June is when all the state and local budgets (ex stimulus money) start to hit the wall. That's when we are really going to see domestic issues come to the fore.

Bond payment delays, program curtailments, and layoffs (trickling from public to private).

As a kid, my Dad raced us out of Baltimore in his big Chrysler Wagon. From the back seat, I saw NGs streaming in, while bottle throwers chased us.

Domestic stability is job one.

Steve

Domestic stability is indeed job one. And it is COIN. Kind of like oxygen, in that you don't really think about it much when it's there, but when it's gone one notices in a hurry.

The problem in 67 occurred long before the civil authorities had to call in the additional capacity of the Guard. This is the dynamic that I attempted to capture in my insurgency model. That said, not all civil disturbances are insurgency, some are much more personal, like riots outside a factory by workers being mistreated. But when government policies contribute to those conditions, and it spreads from being one factory in one city to multiples factories in many cities one can quickly find themselves in what more closely resembles what we classically think of as "insurgency."

It's kind of like a butterfly, with distinct stages of eggs, Caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly. They are all the same thing, just different stages. Most books on insurgency focus on butterflies and those who catch them.

Steve the Planner
12-21-2010, 01:13 AM
Bob:

Something about losing hope.

Even in a bad circumstance, if people believe they have a chance for a fair shake, you have (legitimacy?) to society/government.

It's only when they lose hope....

Sergeant T
12-21-2010, 03:51 PM
The money quote from the piece:


"The crime issue diverts from the real situation," said Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, the filmmaker. "You canít have a sustainable city with a poverty rate of 27 percent. If we find ways to reduce poverty, everything else, the schools, the crime, the police relations, will rectify."

This describes a lot of cities, not just Newark. What recently happened in Oakland is probably a preview.

Bob's World
12-21-2010, 11:20 PM
Bob:

Something about losing hope.

Even in a bad circumstance, if people believe they have a chance for a fair shake, you have (legitimacy?) to society/government.

It's only when they lose hope....

Things can get pretty bad, but if the people have faith in the system, even when they have lost faith in their current leaders, there is hope. Where there is hope, there is not likely to be insurgency.

Sometimes fixing the problems of governance are a long, time consuming process. But if one focuses their COIN efforts on creating perceptions of legitimacy of governance and on creating and implementing new (or better yet, refurbishing old) processes and tools of legally shaping governance, they can put insurgency onto an off-ramp.

We tried to do that in Afghanistan with the elections and the constitution, but we really just went through the motions on each and totally missed the mark. I say go back and re-engage on those two strategic targets until we get it right, and everything else will fall into place.

(Meanwhile, the mission is still AQ, and the Taliban are still the key to our stated mission with AQ. We need to wrap our brains around that little fact as well).

Majormarginal
12-22-2010, 01:31 AM
A lot of police have lost faith in the system.

Steve the Planner
12-22-2010, 05:02 AM
The best book on the subject is, unfortunately, "Implementation," by Wildavsky and Pressman.

The subtitle is as follows: "How Great Expectations in Washington Are Dashed in Oakland; Or, Why It's Amazing that Federal Programs Work at All, This Being a Saga of ... on a Foundation (The Oakland project series)."

It tells the story of how, despite best efforts, unlimited Great Society funding and 99% unanimous support at federal, state and local levels, the Oakland post-riot recovery failed abysmally. Wildavsky and Pressman are exceptional in providing a systems analysis that extends to all related government programs.

It is out of print but always available.

It is the book that separates well-intentioned coinistas from public policy and planning professionals. If it had been required reading for COIN proponents, they would, in all likelihood, have understood the limits of their efforts and future prospects.

Several senior civilian reconstruction experts brought the book with them to Iraq (as I did, too). It tells us that the only viable solution is to drive market-based stabilization/reactivation, and to minimize the distortive role of government assistance (except for immediate post-conflict humanitarian needs, food security, etc...).

Witness Afghanistan now, where US funding is, in effect, the major market, distorting everything in our wake like a giant death star with its own momentum/gravity shifting power.

Reality is that much of this stuff has been tried over and over in every possible permutation of government works and jobs program, none of which have ever survived withdrawal of subsidies. Typically, it creates its own detrimental unintended consequences.

AdamG
12-26-2010, 10:00 PM
Something to think about : nature abhors a vacuum.


DETROITóMore than 20% of Detroit's 139 square miles could go without key municipal services under a new plan being developed for the city, with as few as seven neighborhoods seen as meriting the city's full resources.

Those details, outlined by Detroit planning officials this week, offer the clearest picture yet of how Mayor Dave Bing intends to execute what has become his signature program: reconfiguring Detroit to reflect its declining population and fiscal health. Yet the blueprint still leaves large legal and financial questions unresolved.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703727804576011761173192434.html?m od=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5


So if wealthy neighborhoods can afford this -

One NJ Neighborhood Opts for Private Police Force
http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/One-NJ-Neighborhood-Opts-for-Private-Police-Force-112341519.html

---what fills the vacuum in poor neighborhoods?

davidbfpo
12-27-2010, 01:58 PM
AdamG,

In my experience and viewing there is rarely a vacuum. When the state's power ebbs away or was never really that powerful (southern Italy comes to mind) there are alternative providers of 'order'.

On one large public housing project here there was a community court, which dealt mainly with petty theft and anti-social behaviour by juveniles. rarely were the police involved, although a couple of officers knew it existed. It was remarkably effective - according to those who spoke - and even the local criminal families accepted the court.

There have been several documentaries on alternative order providers in the shanty towns of South Africa. What I recall were: payment by results, lack of an effective state response and the narrow line for the alternative providers and what the community thought acceptable.

slapout9
12-27-2010, 02:15 PM
AdamG,

In my experience and viewing there is rarely a vacuum. When the state's power ebbs away or was never really that powerful (southern Italy comes to mind) there are alternative providers of 'order'.

On one large public housing project here there was a community court, which dealt mainly with petty theft and anti-social behaviour by juveniles. rarely were the police involved, although a couple of officers knew it existed. It was remarkably effective - according to those who spoke - and even the local criminal families accepted the court.

There have been several documentaries on alternative order providers in the shanty towns of South Africa. What I recall were: payment by results, lack of an effective state response and the narrow line for the alternative providers and what the community thought acceptable.

Thats right, somebody will fill that role sooner or later.

selil
12-27-2010, 05:50 PM
Here in Northwest Indiana yesterday they laid off 34 firefighters (http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/gary/article_fc27451a-61a1-5b51-9876-eab5b18d5801.html) substantively reducing the critical response capability. I see many of these municipalities that were floated by "stimulus" money now having to pay up.


Messages filled with anything but holiday cheer were being delivered to nearly three dozen Gary firefighters starting Sunday.
Fellow firefighters and the battalion chiefs were being forced to be the messengers of layoff news.
One battalion chief, who asked to remain anonymous, said he resented having to hand deliver the notices to co-workers.
"It's just not right," he told The Times.
Gary Firefighters Union President Raynard Robinson also was upset by the timing of the 34 layoff letters.
"It was poor timing to give out the notices the day after Christmas," Robinson said.

This kind of reduction is just the beginning.

davidbfpo
08-22-2013, 04:23 PM
From an unexpected direction, a Swedish academic looks at the cause of recent rioting in parts of Stockholm and ends with:
If, as expected, future studies find that political marginalization and socio-economic disadvantages are strongly linked to the violence, the natural conclusion is not to question the value of an open and tolerant multicultural society. On the contrary, it is more important than ever before to find ways to reduce political marginalization and socio-economic disadvantages in these city areas.

Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/per-adman/why-did-stockholm-riots-occur

Rioting in the West is overwhelmingly an urban problem, either in headline-grabbing city centres or areas of disadvantaged housing. SWC has looked at rural rioting in China IIRC, it is a not infrequent issue in India or parts of Africa.

Each nation creates a capability to respond, sometimes temporary as in England; in France, Italy & Spain a permanent, often "in your face" style.

BayonetBrant
08-22-2013, 06:01 PM
perhaps of interest:

http://source.southuniversity.edu/examining-the-mob-mentality-31395.aspx

http://www.phoenix.edu/forward/perspectives/2011/10/the-effects-of-mob-mentality-on-crowd-control.html

davidbfpo
08-23-2013, 10:06 PM
A Swedish response to the Open Democracy article:
Itīs a good article with many salient points. The police have long been struggling with the inner city suburbs and have little credibility there. Ii doesnít help to recruit from minorities. A show of force didnít work either and nowadays the police presence in the areas concerned is extremely limited. Cases often go without investigation because of lack of resources and help from the population. Immigrants in those are treated as a people apart from the rest and left to solve their own problems. There is a strong suspicion e.g. that three recent deaths around here in which three girls fell to their death from balconies were honor killings but nothing can be proved and prosecutors have even stated publicly that they have no chance of ever getting convictions in these cases. However, there are also quite a few criminal gangs taking advantage of the situation and, very unfortunately, the police shooting that is mentioned in the article is now cast in doubt since different versions of what really happened have surfaced and police officers are publicly criticizing each other. Itís a mess and there is no solution in sight. Personally I think a combination of all the solutions is needed and above all to make sure that people living in the areas get jobs. The unemployment rate in these areas is 70-90%!