USA now

“Ei Muhurte Kichhu Bhabna" editorial team

Let us go straight to the point: the reasonS of recent flare up of protests in the US. We put a ‘S’ in capital only to emphasize though the horrific and brutal killing of George Floyd was the main reason behind the justifiably angry and fiery protest across the country, it was not the sole reason of the mass actions which even put the presidential palace under dark and compelled the president to take shelter in the bunker – a first time in US history. As you all know the happenings, we shall not repeat that here.

It is indeed shameful to find such words “there is no reliable national data on how many people are shot by police officers each year” in a comparatively recent document in the website. The government is ducking such a vital question. And this country boasts of being world’s second largest democracy (thought the government of the largest one may take it kindly). So, researchers constructed some other databases which show: (1) people killed by US police, on an average, stands as high as 1000 per year at the least in a time period from 2013 to 2019. (2) in 2019 there were only 27 days when nobody died in police firing in the US. (3) Black people accounted for 24% or more of those killed, despite making up only about 13% of the population. (4) For Latino men and boys, the risk was up to 1.4 times higher than it was for whites. (Latinos are Spanish speaking US citizens, who constitute more than 18% of US population). (5) … about 1 in 1,000 black men and boys can expect to die as a result of police violence over the course of their lives – a risk that's about 2.5 times higher than their white peers. Just imagine a batch of 1000 students and everybody knows that one of them will be killed in police firing is spite of being unarmed! We can write more on this issue, but let us stop after this: (6) Less than 7 weeks ago, in the same Minnesota, on Black man died in police custody. Therefore, we see the accumulated wrath: 25% of those killed by police firing means about 275 black persons, at least, were killed by police in 2019. 

USA, the supposedly strongest and richest country of the world, is reeling under what they called ‘Chinese’ made pandemic. More than 100,000 death and the government is unashamed, and managing the affair with a total planlessness (or if that is the plan – que sera sera, whatever will be will be). Here also we see some disproportionate data: (1) Mother Jones (news portal) said in an old post of April that “Black people likewise make up a disproportionately large share of coronavirus fatalities. In Michigan, Black people are 14 percent of the state’s population but 33 percent of its coronavirus cases and 40 percent of its deaths. In Wisconsin, Black people are six percent of the state’s population but 25 percent of its coronavirus cases and 39 percent of its deaths.” (2) Almost at the same time Vox News gave mortality data of COVID-19 patients. We see that while Black death stat shows 92.9 per 100,000 hospitalisations cases, for Latino people it was 74.3 deaths per 100,000 hospitalisations and for the white people it was 45.2 deaths per 100,000 hospitalisations. Queer, isn’t it! (3) Vox farther gave another illustrating example though of April: “Metropolitan Transportation Authority in NYC is a useful and disturbing example. As the New York Times reported last week, bus and subway workers have been hit hard by the coronavirus: 41 dead and more than 6,000 either diagnosed with Covid-19 or self-quarantining because they have symptoms that suggest an infection, as of April 8. …. Who works for the MTA? Black people and Latinos. They account for more than 60 percent of the agency’s workforce in New York City, according to estimates from 2016. …. Black people in particular are overrepresented in the MTA; they are 46 percent of the city’s transportation workers versus 24 percent of its overall population. (White people, on the other hand, make up 30 percent of local MTA employees but 43 percent of NYC residents.)” (4) ** But let us not forget the other side of COVID-19. ** At February 2020 the US unemployment stood at 5.8 million as per official record ( And in May we hear 40 million people are queueing for unemployment allowances!! 40 million. More than 12% of US population – may be a quarter of US population in working age – queueing for unemployment assistance. And this is all time record. COVID had stopped the wheel of economy to a large extent, resulting in closing of works and rising number of unemployed. This sudden spurt in unemployment is surely pushing a wide section of US population, cutting across race/ethnicity lines, to burst out in protests. Killing of George Floyd kindled their rage against the ‘system’ that has long ago killed the so-called American Dream and now killing all their little aspirations or hope.

As such the rage against the system will be a high-sounding word, might be misnomer and might be too much of fancy; albeit there are some symptoms that are showing that US workers are finding them in battle lines after a long period of hibernation, decade-long or more. (1) In February a report from Economic Policy Institute wrote this as headline: “Continued surge in strike activity signals worker dissatisfaction with wage growth”. Number of workers involved in major work stoppages crossed a mark it touched way back in 1980. And stoppages involving more than 20,000 workers (in a single establishment) was 10, in which list we find General motors (involving 46.000 workers) and AT&T (20,000 workers). (2) To give a taste of the incidents let a see a large part of a report by of April 28, 2020: Jordan Flowers never thought he would become a labor leader. Then the coronavirus forced him to risk his life every time he clocked in. …. The robotics operator at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse helped lead one of the first walkouts at the site — a protest over the company’s lack of protective equipment. A month later, even after Amazon scrambled to provide masks and gloves and check employees’ temperatures, workers continue conducting scattered walkouts across the country to protest what they say are still-risky conditions in warehouses where workers have had the virus. …. “You risk your life putting in 10 hours every day,” said Flowers, 21, who has an autoimmune disease and is at heightened risk for infection. “You’re surrounded, and you don’t know who has it or who touched what to pass it on.” ….  So, we see that resentment among the workers were also increasing. And new workers who were yet untouched by movements of strike actions are also coming to the forefront.

It might not be an unrealistic conjecture that all the angers converged and made the Empire trembling. We stop here, as the write-up may become longer and thus more-difficult to read it completely. We may in future write in detail. Before ending let us state RIP to George Floyd in #blacklivesmatter style: Rest in Power!

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Jun 4, 2020

Sandeep Banerjee

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