Politics

Racism and the Working Class

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When I tell other middle-class professionals who don’t know me well that I’m writing a book about working-class culture, it’s amazing how often they respond approvingly that “white racism” is an important subject.  My reaction, depending on the circumstance, ranges from embarrassment to rage.  read more »

Police Violence, George Floyd, and Renegotiating the American Social Contract

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It's time to put the current protests revolving around the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd in the appropriate emotional and historical context. More importantly, it's time to consider what comes next.  read more »

Coronavirus: Why California's Small Businesses May Not Survive

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Whatever the medical benefits achieved from the prolonged coronavirus lockdown, California’s small business community will be suffering severe symptoms, likely for decades to come. The state’s small entrepreneurs, particularly in poorer areas, face major readjustments and perhaps obliteration, a situation further complicated for some by damage stemming from the protests over the killing of George Floyd.  read more »

Pandemics and Pandemonium

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Minneapolis and urban centers across America are burning, most directly in response to the brutal killing of a black man by a white Minnesota police officer. But the rage ignited by the death of George Floyd is symptomatic of a profound sense of alienation that has been building for years among millions of poor, working class urbanites.  read more »

How Coronavirus Pandemic is Bringing a Return to Feudalism

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many things, but also accelerated America’s descent into a new form of feudalism. The preexisting conditions of extreme economic concentration, inequality and reduced social mobility already were painfully evident before, but the pandemic has made them considerably worse.  read more »

The Coronavirus Is Also Spreading a Dark New Era of Neo-Feudalism

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Adapted from The Coming of Neo-Feudalism (Encounter Books). 

The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the global shift already underway towards a neo-feudal society. With the middle-class economy largely shut down and, in the best-case scenario, in for a long and painful recovery, the population that is barely hanging on is expanding rapidly in America and around the world.  read more »

American Regionalism: Convergence on COVID-19

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America’s many regions are once again in the news given the Coronavirus pandemic with various states forming groups – such as the Western States Pact of California, Oregon, and Washington or the eastern “COVID corridor” centered around New York – to manage and mitigate the response to  read more »

Subjects:

Hygienic Fascism: Turning the World Into a 'Safe Space' — But at What Cost?

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Author Aldous Huxley once said, “A thoroughly scientific dictatorship will never be overthrown.”

Even as we try to battle the COVID-19 pestilence, we may be contracting a more dangerous virus — hygienic fascism. This involves a process when our political leaders defer to a handful of “experts,” amid what Dr. Joseph Ladopo, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, describes as an atmosphere of “COVID-19-induced terror.”  read more »

Subjects:

One Nation, Under Lockdown, Divided by Pandemic

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The last thing this polarized Republic needs is, well, more polarization, but that is what we are contracting from the pandemic. Americans, irrespective of region, broadly want the same things, such as safety, a return to normalcy, and an end to dependence on China for medical supplies, but they differ in the depth of their experiences with the pandemic.  read more »

Deindustrialization as a Template for COVID-19

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As we wrote in Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown, Youngstown’s story is America’s story, and that city offers a useful case study for anyone trying to imagine American life after the pandemic. No doubt, coronavirus is a natural disaster that is more contagious, widespread, and deadly than the economic disaster of deindustrialization.  read more »