Could world social unrest come to America’s streets?

– It’s not hard to imagine that it could with the ongoing deconstruction of the place.   Unemployment rising, political dialogue deteriorating, wages buying less and less, the rich getting richer, taxes being poured into the desert sands on the other side of the planet and into the pocket of the already fabulously wealthy defense contractors (make that war contractors).

– Yeah, it’s not hard to imagine.   I think it’s just a matter of time.

– dennis

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It was a long, hot spring and summer on the streets of Greece, England and Madrid, as protesters and rioters vented their fury at high unemployment, painful austerity measures and following a fatal police shooting in London.

The US, meanwhile, has been virtually free of rioting and even of widespread peaceful political protest.

This is despite some of the highest unemployment in decades, growing income inequality, dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction, frustration with its dysfunctional government and the threat of drastic cuts to social programmes.

On Friday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg raised the spectre of social unrest amid high unemployment among young Americans.

“You have a lot of kids graduating college, can’t find jobs,” he said on a radio show.

“That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kind of riots here. The damage to a generation that can’t find jobs will go on for many many years.”

In the past century, the US has experienced its share of political tumult and unrest, from the destitute “Bonus Army” veterans of World War I who clashed with federal troops in Washington in 1932, to the urban race riots in the 1960s and the Rodney King riots in 1992.

And in interviews with the BBC, analysts, writers and historians feared the US was ripe for some sort of social upheaval, but said a lack of social organisation and a sense of despair had prevented social movements from coalescing.

“It’s amazing to me that Americans are so slow to rise collectively… not only against unemployment but against the quite identifiable forces that are responsible for it,” said sociologist Prof Todd Gitlin of the Columbia University journalism school.

“I’m not predicting that such a thing will happen, but it would not in the slightest surprise me if there were some burst of street expression, some street rage.”

– more…


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