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Local residents give the smack dealers some extra advertising. Pic:
EV'RY BODY NEEDS GOOD NEIGHBOURS
When the revolution comes, we'll get rid of the police cos there'll
be no more crime... yeah right. Anarchist utopias are all very well,
but anti social behaviour is carving up communities in the here
and now, and 'blueprints for the future' don't take knives off throats.
In Bristol, one community awash with crack dealing scumbags - which
the police refuse to tackle - has chosen to ditch living in fear,
and take on the problem themselves.
Having sustained years of systematic beatings, communities all
over Britain are finally imploding under the jungle-law/free-market
greed-fest of smack and crack dealing and the anti-social, anti-people,
anti-life bullshit behaviour it generates.
Skipping the idea of underpants over trousers (hooray), in favour
of a pair of matching Jean Marie Le Twat cravats (boo), top UK crime
fighting duo, Blunkett and McBlair (enough! - ed) dusted off some
ol'-skool reactionary slogans in the hope the resulting confusion
will camouflage the absence of intelligent policy. (...er, more
In March, Home Secretary David Blunkett managed to exit London
and venture down the M4 to Easton in Bristol with a circus-full
of performing home office clowns and tongue-lolling media in tow.
The stunt of the moment, was the unveiling of his 'crime hotspots'
and New Labour/Old Tory sus laws.
Much was made about the crime levels on Easton's Stapleton Road
and the size of the resident black population. But the race card
played (cynically) by Blunkett, and picked up (enthusiastically)
by the press, has sod all relevance to the situation confronting
Basically like dozens of inner city neighbourhoods nationwide,
the community in Easton is being torn apart by smack and crack dealing
and the anti social behaviour it generates. Despite Blunkett and
the rest of 'the good people' distancing themselves from the 'criminal
hardcore', the crack dealers, muggers and scumbags pimping out fourteen
year old girls, are merely subscribing to the same greed driven
mentality as every corporate CEO and Downing Street resident has
since they minted the first fucking groat. The single message peddled
by schools, governments and television, is the same one (often unwittingly)
picked up and driven home by parents and peers alike. Namely, the
only thing little Johnny should be concerned about is: how much
money he can accumulate in his life, how many 'things' that will
enable him to 'buy', and how much 'power' it will afford him. Society
tells him - do anything, and step on anyone, in order to further
your individual position - fuck over everybody who dares stand in
your way. There is no society. There is no obligation to the greater
In Easton, the dealers (black and white - but increasingly immigrant
Jamaican self-styled 'gangsta yardies') and the punters jacking
up on our doorsteps (black and white, some local, some not) all
fuel the fear in the streets, and, the ranks of muggers in the underpasses.
Hatred is the currency of choice on the streets - and every youngster
sports a big-bad-sneer and mouthful of menace 'coz that's the way
to be'. The police (more or less exclusively white) are totally
unwilling to deal with the situation - or more to the point, they
are content to let the situation in Easton escalate - it keeps the
'scum' out of the 'nice' parts of town - and the hope is, a well-nurtured
crime ghetto may result in a cash injection from above. (Avon and
Somerset chief constable Steve Pilkington said that without any
more money - and Blunkett came with empty pockets - Labour might
as well be trying to crack crime on the moon).
The tightly orchestrated Blunkett-junkett in March made sure no
unsightly views were aired before the invited press and New Labour
faithful. High salaried 'community-workers' and businessmen (including
a locally despised loan shark) were ushered in to grip, grin and
pat his master's dog. Every press agency was on the guest list,
but both Stapleton Road (it's a long road) residents groups were
prevented getting near the minister by heavily armoured, and armed,
police - the number of which Stapleton Road has never seen before,
or since. (It was only a last minute tip-off about the visit that
enabled residents to give the Home Secretary a good old Easton billboard
style welcome... much to the shock of the camped out GMTV camera
crew). In the event, two smack deals went down in full view of the
thirty odd assembled old bill and special branch officers as Blunkett
was doing his Diana-about. The few disgruntled residents, who had
got wind of the 9am stunt, openly mocked the cops, who pretended
not to notice, safe in the knowledge the journalists present would
obediently do likewise.
Like Trinity Road's [Bristol police station] sick-list, activists
have continually shied away from tackling crime. Anarchist scribes
paint us pictures of self policing utopias where criminality will
disappear along with private property. All very well, but fuck all
use to anyone facing a four-inch blade at the corner of the Easton
way. Similarly, liberal whites recoil at the prospect of being on
the 'wrong' side of a scrap with someone flouting asylum laws, or
any conflict with even a hint of ethnic involvement.
It's horseshit. No one's denying the responsibility of successive
administrations who have consistently denigrated and ghettoised
working class communities, and used drugs, bad housing and poverty
to keep people down and out (of the loop). But that does not free
everyone else from shouldering some blame. If you are fucking over
my community, you are a scumbag. Whether you're a corporate developer,
a white racist cop or a black crack-dealing pimp, it doesn't matter.
It doesn't matter sod all if you've dodged a fucked-up asylum system.
Being a law-breaker doesn't make you a social activist. If you want
to make money out of misery and destroy the community in the process,
you are as much the class enemy as any titled parasite, and you
need to be stopped. This is not a race issue. It's greed versus
Also, it's not enough to say to people who live in the area: 'Look,
we don't want more police on the streets', or, 'we don't want fucking
CCTV.' People who have been mugged, or whose kids go out to play
and come home with needles in their hands, say, 'I'm sorry, but
I'm fucking scared.' You cannot tell them: 'Oh no you're not.'
But, and there is a big but, many people (black and white alike)
- here in Easton at least - are well aware that the solutions to
their predicament will not come in a panda car or via a ballot box
(however long you wait). They are sick of struggling up 'proper
channels' only to be blocked by bureaucrats. They've stopped calling
the cops, because they know the cops don't come. [The local beat
officer at a post Blunkett community meeting confirmed that there
is only one dedicated officer at any one time for the entire Easton,
Eastville and St Judes area (an area the size of Brixton facing
similar problems). To residents who complained of waiting three
hours for a police response he said: "You're lucky we came
at all".] The result is that several community groups have
sprung up in recent months, all with increasingly militant agendas.
One crack house has been shut down, dealers' phones have been 'cut
off' and proposals are being sorted to reclaim large chunks of land.
This isn't about vigilantism, but about taking control back from
all bogus authority (whether that authority is backed by parliament,
or by a machine pistol in the boot of a BMW).
Consensus won't come easy (the anarchists and the CCTV brigade
are all in there together), but the alternatives on offer ('neighbourhood
wardens' [ie: Reliance security rent-a-cops] from central government
or 'gentrification' from the local New Lab/corpo-friendly council)
are backed by no-one. We're all on a learning curve and we're not
sure where it'll end up. But bitching about it and doing nothing
is, hopefully, no longer an option.