From the preface by DeriveApprodi. To read the United States of the last decades, it is necessary to understand its current socio-economic and political physiognomy, that of a country divided and unequal like never before. It is necessary to analyze the dynamics that led to the election of Donald Trump, retrace the discussions around his figure as an autocrat and reconstruct both the recovery of the 2018 electoral participation and the widespread and mass responses to his politics. Until the impeachment of 2020. To read America after the “end of the American century”, it is necessary to trace the lines of internal evolution that led to the current situation: from the social outbreaks and the “general crisis” of the sixties and seventies the reactionary turning point conveyed by deindustrialisation and neoliberal globalization. A turning point that has been going on for over forty years, which began under the Reagan presidency in the 1980s, which has never stopped making the rich richer, the poorer poor and reducing middle-class ranks. It is therefore necessary to understand that if the work has changed with it, the geographies of the cities have changed: from Silicon Valley to San Francisco, from Manhattan to Seattle, the “creative classes” coexist with the degraded Detroit, Flint, Akron and Youngstown. What remains of the urban nucleuses of the American Century are the ruins, among which the effort to resist leads to reform of solidarity fabrics and new experiences of grassroots communities.
“The impressive enrichment of the rich in the face of the precarious lives of the members of the working classes and the impoverishment of the so-called middle class have produced an abnormal growth of social inequalities and canceled many certainties about the present and future of individuals and families. And prolonged insecurity has in turn produced estrangement, isolation and despair. ” If we add to this situation the social and economic crisis produced by the covid-19 that has disproportionately affected the black population, all the conditions for a perfect storm are created and cross each other. To this we must add some elements: first of all the nine-minute video shot by a 17-year-old girl who in a few hours went around the world which had a disruptive effect on people’s sensitivity, the classic drop that made it overflow the jar, and then, about 48 hours later, the fire that destroyed the third police district in Minneapolis, which instead produced imaginary contributing to make the protest against injustice and racism global.
“As the days and weeks go by, the narrative of the true nature of the uprising will continue to be discussed” writes a reporter who closely followed the first week in Minneapolis. “But in the front line you will witness incomprehensible acts of solidarity, courage and, at times, an anger unattainable for the lack of humanity offered to blacks in America. You can’t do a census during a riot, but my personal account is that the young people on the front lines were disproportionately black and brown, mostly unaffiliated with an official organization.“
But the real important news are the second lines: there you will also find Hispanics, Latinos, whites, Asians, Native Americans, women and even older people. Young Somali women with hijabs and long-sleeved shirts are particularly evident in demonstrations, in donation rooms, in distributing food, in bringing medical supplies and protective equipment to the same protest on 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the place where He was murdered George Floyd and starting and meeting point for all the communities in struggle these days.
BRUNO CARTOSIO teaches History of North America at the University of Bergamo. He was one of the founders of the magazines “Primo Maggio”, “Altreragioni” and “Acoma”. Among his publications: New York and the modern. Society, art and architecture in the American metropolis (1876-1917) (2007); Contemporary United States. From the Civil War to today (2010); The long sixties. Social movements and political culture in the United States (2012); Westward. History and mythology of the Far West (2018).
Interview with Bruno Cartosio Listen or download
As officinaprimomaggio.eu has developed a booklet, a sort of collection of investigations, essays and documents on the uprising and mobilization taking place in the United States. https://www.officinaprimomaggio.eu/uprising-voci-dagli-usa/