Monday, March 21, 2011

Why People Are Angry # 3

I suppose this is like the 1920s, which were a hard time for working people, farmers and the lower middle class. Meridell Le Sueur told me once that the Great Depression was a middle class experience. Working people were already hard up before the crash. For them the 1930s were more of the same. One of their reactions was to swing right. The Klu Klux Klan flourished. Per Wikipedia:
A significant characteristic of the second Klan (after World War One) was that it was an organization based in urban areas, reflecting the major shifts of population to cities in both the North and the South. In Michigan, for instance, 40,000 members lived in Detroit, where they made up more than half of the state's membership. Most Klansmen were lower- to middle-class whites who were trying to protect their jobs and housing from the waves of newcomers to the industrial cities: immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, who tended to be Catholic and Jewish in numbers higher than earlier groups of immigrants; and black and white migrants from the South. As new populations poured into cities, rapidly changing neighborhoods created social tensions. Because of the rapid pace of population growth in industrializing cities such as Detroit and Chicago, the Klan grew rapidly in the U.S. Midwest. The Klan also grew in booming Southern cities such as Dallas and Houston.

What is needed -- always needed -- is an analysis that points out that other working people and middle class people are not the problem. The rich are the problem, and a system that allows siphons wealth to the top of society and destroys the lives of ordinary people. But right now, looking at the Tea Party, I see people obsessed with sex and abortion, independent women, immigrants, unions, gay marriage, Muslims... The Tea Party's hatred of unions is obvious now. Racism and antisemitism are still (partly) under the surface, though they keep bubbling up and being denied.


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