It's not often that you find yourself in the middle of what might turn into a hostile crowd at eight in the evening. It's not often that you watch press photographers jostling for position, surrounded by angry onlookers and see faces of people who have just been on the news. It's not often that happens to me and it's not often that it happens round the corner from my house. That's where I found myself this week after the verdict from the inquest on the death of Mark Duggan. When you live in Tottenham, that verdict - for the rest of the nation something to tweet about or to discuss in the office the next morning - becomes suddenly the source of consternation.
We don't have a political opposition in Northern Ireland. We have one giant, self-serving, aberrant sectarian mill. Young people don't have jobs or a meaningful future and talking-clock politicians debating the tribal politics of Protestant versus Catholic. A remarkable historical anachronism in these days of enlightenment.
Sudanese have plenty of reasons to demonstrate against the disastrous state of the country's finances; inflation is running at 40% and years of oil revenues have been frittered away. Beyond the capital, Khartoum, there has been little investment in infrastructure, education or heath facilities. Unemployment and under-employment have demoralised those millions who do not benefit from the crony capitalism that has sustained the ruling elite for decades.
Why do individual riot officers who may sympathise with the causes of protesters continue to use force to suppress them? How can officers shoot at a protest that they could have been a part of, had they not chosen to become members of the police? They too experience injustices, have families that must be fed and educated and hold opinions on social and political issues.
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The Left is also in desperate need of cultural renewal. The riots community has an impressive counter-cultural scene to accompany its voices of resistance, and its spoken word poets, hip hop artists, graphic designers, film-makers and performers should play a leading role in shaping a new Left in London and throughout the UK.
The riots were the result of a tangled web of causes, inextricably linked and combining in such a way to create a 'perfect storm' on 6 August 2011. In order to assess whether more riots are on the cards, we need to look at these causes in turn and for each cause, ask ourselves this: Have things improved since 2011? Have we tackled the underlying problem?