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Socialist Worker

Darcus Howe: ‘My father curfewed me and I jumped through the window’

Darcus Howe spoke to Socialist Worker about the causes of the uprisings and the demonisation that followed them


“The parliamentary debate on the riots was unadulterated crap. I started watching it and I went to sleep.

I’ve now been confirmed in what I’ve been saying for a long time: they do not know these black people at all.

They ought to know them now, it’s compulsory. And they know them less by the day.

I don’t think David Cameron knows any black person. When I say know, I don’t mean casual friendship. Cameron is semi-literate about 90 percent of his own population.

‘They should hang them!’ That’s what they want to do, hang them! Where do they want to put them? I think they’re going to get an army barracks and put a lot of them in there.

Then there is a small black elite who are saying, ‘These ragamuffins have let me down.’

My response is quite simple: ‘Fuck you.’

You might get a job sweeping Cameron’s floor. Or sitting in parliament like Diane Abbott, who’s my good friend, talking crap.

And David Lammy swears to all gods that he was born in Tottenham and grew up there. But Harvard University is not in Tottenham.

He says people came to riot from other parts. You cross the road and you are somewhere else. What is this difference he is pointing out?

He was shouting out, waving his arms, hoping Ed Miliband will know him and that he said the right thing.

Abbott said “curfew”. She should put her son under curfew. My father curfewed me at ten and I jumped through the window.

When they first stopped my grandson to search him, he thought he was initiated—‘I got stopped and searched!’ Then it went on and on until he’s pissed off.

If you don’t know this process, you’re illiterate.

But what is obvious is that these young people will go on relentlessly until they see a kind of equality and respect on the agenda.

They’ve seen Syrians, Libyans, Egyptians and insurrection.

I don’t think four months jailed in a miserable little hole will change them.

It’s a different set of youths today. They’ve settled in the communities in which they live.

That’s been going on since I landed here 50 years ago, now it’s almost complete.

I think this insurrection is the last stop in its completeness.”

Darcus Howe is a writer and broadcaster. He came to prominence after organising mass marches against the racist aftermath of the 1981 New Cross fire


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