Is history at a turning point? How can we meet the moment?
Now is the covid nineteen pandemic continues to grow, so are the parallels being drawn between it and another deadly virus that struck the globe more than a century ago, talking about the Spanish flu. Guys. We've been taking a look at some of the video from nineteen sixty eight. There's a lot of pieces of video that look very similar to what we're seeing today. Implementing the images and emotions coming out of Minneapolis too familiar to what happened right here in Ferguson Missouri in two thousand fourteen George Floyd arrest on a Minneapolis street corner, and his frantic pleas for help have given rise to one of the most turbulent periods in recent American history. The question that I can't stop asking myself. How does this all and You may have heard. At various points this year that we are living history right now. The truth is we're always living history. It's just that some of us can afford to ignore it until it boils over. But when racism and police brutality, and the rage that comes in response to that are laid bare for the world to see. In the middle of a pandemic and martial law is threatened. And nobody gets to look away. Everyone wants to know what happens next. Do, we even have a historical precedent for what's happening in America and around the world right now. What is the larger context of how we arrived at this moment? What are we missing when we watch people discuss it on. Cable News. And what needs to happen now? But does each of US need to do? For this to be a moment that changes the world for the better. That's still possible. I'm Jordan Rawlings, and this is the big story. Andre Demise is a writer and journalist, a contributing editor at Maclean's and a Nathanson fellow in history at York University. He is one of the smartest guests. We ever have on this podcast hi Andre. How's it going toward? It's going about as well as it can more importantly, how are you? doing my best I'm trying to reduce stress as much as I can by hanging out with my children and you know. Occasionally occasionally seeing partner but we're both in school. We've both got tons of homework were both busy plus jobs and everything else so yeah, we're even busier than before. The whole lockdown happened. Figure that and now you're spending this week with white people like me, asking you to please explain the historical context of this well I mean yeah, yeah, I am spending a lot of time explaining shift away, people. I mean I all. I can say I sincerely. Thank you for it. you know I? Just I find you incredibly smart and able to help me. learn some stuff from this. Thanks for taking the time Oh. Stop stuttered. Stop your flattery. I'm about to Leeann as I can plan. Why don't you just start by telling me while you watch everything? That's been happening this past week. What's going through your head? People say things like we've been through worse or we've been here before, and I have to ask the question. When when when of we've been here before we've been here before. Quote Unquote in nine eighteen during the Spanish flu pandemic. We've been here. Nine, hundred nineteen during the May Day riots and during red summer. We've been here before in nineteen sixty eight. But. My question is when when is all this happened at the same time? This is not this is unprecedented. My. Question is what is supposed to look like when when it's all over when the dust settles. Because at some point, there's going to be a change of some kind. Throughout history what happens in the course of a popular uprising that moves to straight up volt. The two methods that the ruling class can use. To try and tamp it down. One is use of force. This is where the Jimmy breaks down. This is where the state has to reveal as violence. And come out against the people with arms, or can try placating the people you can try it for example, the Civil Rights Act. It can try the declaration of the rights. It can try any number of mechanisms. To make that, the populace still has some faith in the state, but what? This looks like I don't know that there's anything to placate like there's I. Don't know that there's any mechanism. The state can try to convince people that social contract is worth upholding. That's the thing that keeps going through my head. Is You know what kind of concession can be made universally across? You know the entire United States that would actually mollify the anger I do know some of the answers to those questions I do know. That and this is something that I've been talking about over the last few years. That capitalism depends on racism to be able to reproduce and propagate itself. It's just plain fact If you beat Donald Harassed, who is a former economist Stanford also happens to be the father of Kamla Harris the former presidential candidate. But apparently they didn't. They didn't really have much of a relationship, but throughout American history. The the use of Racist promises the promising of white rages. what's been described as racial republicanism by scholars like David. What that does is incentivize the white working class against their black peers. It has the white working class essentially the. Generates like we are the only people that deserve to have. Rights. Everybody else is a on a cast below us. And until that cycle is abolished until we move away from a system of capital that accumulates the value of people's Labor and the crews it to a few select people. And then spreads out the rewards among certain other people, and then makes promises to certain people. Until that cycle is broken. I'm afraid we're going to be seeing this for the rest of our lives. I mean you're a fellow in history what? have. We seen that even close to like this in the past that ended with concessions. You have to go back very far. I mean you can. You can look at for example I mean not. Bolivia has been taken over in ashes coup. But if you look at Bolivia for example, the the presidency of evil, Morales and the Movement for socialism in Bolivia, lifted thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people out of out of poverty. It increased literacy rates incorporated indigenous eighty into the broader society. You had the the coca farmers. The the coca does I their their practices and their agricultural methods were incorporated into the broader nation. So that you didn't have eight of. The United States rating forms and burning crops. You headed that this is this is a a plants, but this is also a way of life that is valid, and the fact that it's been twisted into a normal trade has nothing to do with the people that originated the practice, so look at Bolivia for example like that. That was up until very recently and experiments in creating a broader. Social Democracy that was more inclusive and helped marginalized people, so