B.A., The Evergreen State College, 2008
M.Sc., University of Amsterdam, 2010
Jesse Strauss is a journalist from Oakland, California. He graduated from The Evergreen State College in 2008 with a major focus in political science and a minor focus in education, and moved on to graduate studies in international development studies at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where he did masters research in Bolivia on ongoing constitutional changes and the constitutional education reform. Back in Oakland in early 2010, Jesse began broadcast journalism with Flashpoints, a US-nationally syndicated news analysis radio show based out of Pacifica Radio's west coast headquarters, KPFA. He is now an online producer with Al Jazeera English and lives in Doha, Qatar, but he'll end up back in Oakland - he's sure of it.
Latest Publication Title
"Deadly conditions for Mexico-US migrants"
"Streets of Rage: Searching for Justice in Oakland" (related to Oscar Grant protests)
"Peru's Presidential Election: A Battle Over Memory and Justice"
"Oakland Police Quick to Pull Triggers, Slow to Move on Investigations; Family of Derrick Jones Speaks Out"
"Cousins Held for Almost Four Years without Trial on Trumped Up Charges—Rape, Kidnapping"
"Decolonizng Bolivian Education: A Critital Look at the Plurinational State’s vision" (Master's thesis)
On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Tottenham police station, peacefully calling for "justice" for Mark Duggan, a man killed by officers three days prior.
Police stood in formation, separating the community members from the station they were guarding, until a 16-year-old woman reportedly approached an officer to find out what was going on.
According to a witness account, some officers pushed the young woman and drew their batons."And that's when the people started to retaliate. Now I think in all circumstances, having seen that, most people retaliate," said the witness.
The "retaliation", from peaceful chants of "justice" in front of the police station, have since turned into massive groups of Londoners in numerous parts of the city who seem unafraid of breaking windows, looting stores, and burning buildings, doubtless causing millions of pounds' worth of damage. Scores of businesses have been looted and international media continue to play images of smoldering buildings, in areas where firefighters were reportedly too afraid to enter - for their own safety.
According to witnesses and overhead helicopter footage, police have not been able to control much of the situation, and have repeatedly been forced into retreat by angry rioters. "The kids realise the police can't keep control of it," said Bristly Pioneer, a Hackney resident and activist with the Space Hijackers, an anarchist collective focused on reclaiming public space. "And the kids don't give a f*** because no one gives a f*** about them."
A tipping point
Tottenham, where Duggan was killed, is a Haringey neighbourhood which has among the highest unemployment rates in London - and a larger than average youth population. People of colour here have particularly felt the effects of deteriorating social services and targeted police harassment and violence, said author Richard Seymour.
"There's kids here who basically no one cares about, and nobody does anything for," said Seymour, a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics. "When the rioters themselves are asked, they will say that they are abused by police, harassed by them, and nobody's done a thing about it."
Seymour also explained that after many of the 333 deaths in police custody between 1998 and 2010 in Britain, "Large, peaceful protests in response [to the in-custody deaths] were more or less ignored" and not a single officer has been prosecuted.
As a result, Duggan's killing crossed a threshold for young people, angry with the systems that have left them behind, and tired of non-violent protest that goes without much response.
"I saw a whole load of kids, ranging from teenagers, and also grown-ups, in the streets. Most people seemed very happy, there were a lot of smiles in the streets, and a sense that people finally had control of something ... And then there were people who were extremely angry at police," said Klara, the Occupied London activist. "It's just surprising that something like this hasn't happened before now."