Mike Davis

I Predict a Riot

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Tensions are mounting as the housing bubble nears its limits.

Last February the sirens howled in Hollywood as the LAPD rushed reinforcements to the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Western Avenue. While a police captain barked orders through a bullhorn, an angry crowd of 3,000 people shouted back expletives. A passer-by might have mistaken the confrontation for a major movie shoot, or perhaps the beginning of the next great LA riot.

America's Black Shining Prince

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Mike Davis pays tribute to Malcolm X, killed forty years ago

Forty years ago, in the winter of 1964-65, I was one of the teenage kids working in the New York City national office of Students for a Democratic Society. Most of my friends in the office were working 16-hour days to organise the first march on Washington DC (17 April 1965) to protest against Lyndon Johnson's escalation of US intervention, especially his brutal bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

A Rainy Day in Tijuana

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There is nothing inevitable about an increasing number of deaths in natural disasters.

Juana Tapia lost her two daughters - Matha, eight, and Maria, 13 - to the sudden rush of water and debris. It blew their shanty apart like an explosion. The little girls didn't have time to scream. Neighbours helped Juana and her husband claw through the muck, but they couldn't locate the children. Later bomberos (firefighters) came and dug out the crumpled bodies. The neighbourhood was chaos, mud and inconsolable grief. A few blocks away a five year old boy had also been swept away and drowned. Hundreds of homes had been damaged or destroyed.

Happy Birthday Big Bill

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Mike Davis commemorates the centenary of a high point in American socialist history.

A hundred years ago the Industrial Workers of the World was formed and US bosses trembled.

Brand Hall, Chicago, 27 June 1905. Big Bill Haywood pounded his gavel and brought the founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) to order: 'This is the Continental Congress of the working class. We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism.'

Tsunami: The Archipelago of Horror

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Mike Davis recalls another tsunami tragedy, and asks what lessons can be learned.

Laupahoehoe in Hawaiian means 'foot of lava'. Thousands of years ago lava cascaded down a steep canyon on the side of mighty Mauna Kea and created a flat shelf between the towering cliffs of the Hamakua coast on the eastern shore of the island of Hawaii. Laupahoehoe Point became a ceremonial centre of great importance to native Hawaiians as well as the only canoe landing place along 50 miles of rugged coast.

Losing West Virginia

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Is it time (to paraphrase Brecht) to elect a new American people?

American liberals usually profess great enthusiasm for the common people. But sentimental populism took a hard blow on 2 November. The people, by a slim but decisive majority, elected fear, deception and greed to four more years in the White House. Indeed, with the exception of the Democratic redoubt on the Great Lakes, continental America, from Idaho to Alabama, has become a one-party nation under god. Not even Bruce Springsteen and 48 Nobel laureates could ultimately swing Ohio to John Kerry.

The Monster at the Door

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Avian flu could cause an epidemic far more catastrophic than many politicians are prepared to admit.

As in a classic 1950s sci-fi thriller, our world is imperilled by a terrifying monster. Scientists try to sound the alarm, but politicians ignore the threat until it's too late. Indifference ultimately turns into panic.

The monster is H5N1, the lethal avian flu that first emerged in 1997 in Hong Kong and is now entrenched in half a dozen South East Asian countries. It has recently killed scores of farmers and poultry workers who have had direct contact with sick birds.

Poor, Black and Left Behind

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Hurricane Ivan highlights US rulers' contempt for the black and poor - a contempt echoed by John Kerry's campaign

The evacuation of New Orleans in the face of Hurricane Ivan saw affluent white people flee the Big Easy in their SUVs, while the old and car-less - mainly black - were left behind in their below sea level shotgun shacks and ageing tenements to face the watery wrath.

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