Last year, it rained. Oh, how it rained. And thundered and lightninged. It seemed like there were weather warnings nearly every day for a while there. And I never got a chance to see how picturesque Pittsburgh is in the summertime.
But it really is spectacular. And lush with greenery, best enjoyed from the comfort of an air conditioned car. Because it’s fucking hot out there and even when it isn’t hot, it’s humid.
David Fickling argues that abusing workers, a neoliberal imperative, directly supports the contagion.
I have a lot to pull together today and it isn’t quite there yet. So it’s here, for the moment at least, and really as well in the issue last night.
Fig. 1. Cartoon by Matt Pritchett in the Telegraph, July 25, 2020, fair use.
George Monbiot writes in and principally of Britain. He does not, in this column, mention the U.S. except in reference to a trade deal that Boris Johnson is negotiating as a sad substitute for the European Union. And he relies on polls which, due to a ludicrously and beyond unacceptably low response rate, I do not trust.
But I wonder the degree to which what Monbiot writes is true in the U.S. It’s weird here, where the “normal” that he disparages and believes people do not wish to return to, but that elites (functionalist conservatives) are all too anxious to return to, appears to have an ideological component.
Monbiot seems to be referring to an elite and intellectually utterly discredited neoliberalism as that “normal.” But here in the U.S., I would think there are, as well, paleoconservative (including white supremacist), authoritarian populist (“Tea Party”), and social conservative (principally conservative evangelical Protestant) elements among the general population that desperately want to assert their own ideological “normal.”
It’s been almost 2 months and there’s rioting in at least 3 cities tonight, this movement has outlasted the great upheaval of 1877 and only has 2 larger continuous antecedents in US history, the revolutionary period of 67-71 and the general strike of the enslaved + reconstruction
Having spent five years producing a history of rioting in the US I really really can’t quite believe how truly monumental this uprising is, and I recognize that there is real historical possibility opening wider every day
Like for context 1877 upheaval was so severe it led to the creation of National Guard armories in every big city in America. In terms of sheer value of property destroyed 1877 (and LA 92 and Holy Week 68 and even Miami 81) may still be “larger” (it will take years to know)
but in terms of momentum and mvmt longevity we’re in incredibly historic times. If we can keep pushing now, soon everything becomes possible…
It can be easy in the middle of something to be awed by the power of a moment (to be clear, a beautiful feeling) and so overestimate, but just as easy to get acclimated to a level of conflict and so underestimate. I’m often guilty of the former, but still…
I believe that when Vicky Osterweil refers to “67-71,” she means the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s, the antiwar, counterculture, and liberation movements of that era, which led to a decades-long backlash that has been visceral throughout my adult life and that spawned neoconservatism.
I honestly don’t know how this plays and, indeed, it’s surely disingenuous to say the least for anyone to claim that they do know. But there’s certainly a lot happening, including the antiracism protests that Osterweil writes of, including Donald Trump’s response to those protests, including a neoliberal refusal to adequately and compassionately address human need in an economic crisis, and including a refusal by many to accept personal responsibility for helping to contain the coronavirus that propels that economic calamity.