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The erasure of the social question underlines the tears of the United States


Analysis. Joe Biden keeps saying it, “Wall Street didn’t build America, it was the middle class that built America, and unions built the middle class”. Through his presence on social networks, the American president has just put this idea back into circulation. In an America that is said to be torn by claims linked to identity (of gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.), to the detriment of the social question, it seems that Biden is listened to, in particular by the media and intellectual elite, who campaign like never before to obtain better working conditions.

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This is the case at New York Timeswhere, on December 8, 2022, more than 1,100 workers went on strike, the first since 1981. The house union is engaged in tough wage negotiations and, faced with the lack of progress after several months of talks, it was decided to suspend work.

Another example, this time in academia: on November 14, 2022, 48,000 members of research staff (teachers, postdocs, research assistants, visiting researchers) from the ten campuses of the University of California took part in the most major strike of the year in the United States. Several other American universities have also been affected by social protest movements; they follow the trend that crosses the whole country. Last year, 314 strikes were organized, a record since 2005, according to Bloomberg Lawa publication specializing in business law.

The history of capitalism before social history

In a country where a strong anti-intellectualism prevails, journalists and academics are often presented as snobs detached from the daily reality of Americans. However, it seems that, on the issue of wages and working conditions, “the chatting class” (“the chattering class”), which delights, strong in its university degrees, in constantly commenting on political news, or in tune with American society. There Gallup polls Americans since 1942 for their views on unions. In 2022, 71% of them had a favorable opinion, unheard of since 1965.

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But it may be too early to celebrate the complete reunion between the intelligentsia and the average American. The social question has not yet made a comeback in journalistic and academic circles. Blue Tent, an information site for progressive donors, recently deplored the lack of monitoring of the world of work by major American newspapers. So, a single journalist is assigned to follow trade union news At New York Times. And the section is downright non-existent Wall Street Journal, according to Blue Tent.

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