Our riot comparisons – Newark, Detroit, D.C. Watts the Rodney King riots – reference years when the U.S. economy was booming. This aint one. Roosevelt was elected, in part, because Hoover reacted to the Veterans march – the Bonus Army – which had camped on government grounds in D.C. by calling out the army, which, under MacArthur, simply overwhelmed the camp with tanks and soldiers, driving the families there away. That was July 28, 1932. Supposedly this was the last straw for Roosevelt, who decided, finally, that Hoover was not just an opponent but the real shit that he so abundantly was. (for Hoover’s chillingidea that we shoulda allied with Hitler in World War II, see Brad Delong’spost, here: ).
The US is facing a gaping hole where the economy used to be, but in White America, at least, until recently, the thought was that we’d puddle-jump it. So we sort of turned to more important topics in the great lockdown, like Animal Crossing, looking away from the two trillion that the U.S. government essentially pumped into the upper 1 percent. Two trillion used to be quite an amount. And when you compare it with what the administration is proposing now – time to cut food stamps! – it seems, well, pretty large. But the media isn’t going to lead any charge against it anytime soon. On the street, however, the idea that it is either starve or change has a new air of reality.
For the twenty-somethings, this reality is coming down pretty brutally. It is a surprising rainbow who are out there marching. It is lovely, but here I speak as a person who has been in demonstrations on the losing side since the age of Reagan’s Contras: demonstrations are covered and then forgotten. The demonstrations against the Iraq invasion were some of the biggest ever seen, and they meant squat.
Thus, the temptation out there to turn it up a notch. In combination with the inevitable poison cocktail of peep’s projecting their own psychodramas and the suspicious marge, the undercover cops and agents provacateurs. If you have ever been active in any left organization, you will have run into these people. They are standard issue guys, mostly, always proposing the stupidest things to an excitable mass of angry people. Your tax money hard at work!
I think we are sliding into the reaction, delayed but perhaps inevitable, to our age of surroundsound inequalities. I don’t think it is economic determinism to hypothesize that if black median income wealth were equal to white median income wealth, instead of being 13 x lower, black people in Minneapolis, who compose 15 percent of the population, would not constitute 60 percent of the people that the Minneapolis cops use the choke knee on. Inequalities at certain points converge. An unequal healthcare system equals many more corona deaths in the black community, proportionally, than among whites. As a for instance.
In any horror movie, just when you think the monster is dead, he comes back to life for another jumpscare. This is an excellent rule for how things happen.