By Ambrose CO
In the past several years, a startling trend is emerging in a few social metrics which are painting a disconcerting grim progression towards a nation shifting deeper into crisis. Strikingly, in 2020 the rising rate of U.S. murders revealed an unprecedented increase of 30 percent, making it the biggest single-year change in a century1 while simultaneously bucking the 20-year downtrend from the 1990s. A CDC report released in 2020 showed that in a 10 year period youth suicide rates increased by a whopping 57 percent. Hate crime rate numbers similarly have surged and continues to rise to ever-increasing levels2.
The first year of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the subsequent failures of our Government’s reaction to it has led to the unnecessary deaths of just over a million vulnerable Americans3. In the same year of 2020, U.S Homicides rates spiked to 30%, representing the single-largest increase since recording-keeping began in the 1960s. This rapid rise brazenly counters a 20-year trending decline of U.S. murder rates experienced since 1991.
At present, the cause of the dramatic increase is still not clear and debates and disagreement still persist. However, experts say societal and economic changes induced by the Pandemic correlate with the rising tensions between police-community relations. The majority of murders, 77 percent, involved firearms, with handguns being the most common murder weapon1.
The Marxist-Leninist analysis knows there are no coincidences on matters of socioeconomics. There’s little doubt that the irresponsible handling and mismanagement of the pandemic and the associated resulting economic hardship was a definite stress vector for the working people and their families.
U.S Hate Crimes in 2020 reached a new decade high. Much like the homicide statistics, sudden spikes of reported Hate crimes increased the same year. Some experts and advocacy organizations say the actual numbers are probably higher. Sadly the increased rate seems to suggest that racial tensions in the United States continue to grow with each passing year.
Asian related hate crimes in particular during 2020 and 2021 saw new record highs. Coinciding with former President Donald Trump’s repeated racist references to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” and related rhetoric scapegoating and targeting those of Chinese and Pacific Islanders descent2. Fanning the flames further, U.S. media stubbornly pursued the narrative to finger pointing China as the culprit of spreading the virus and cause of the Pandemic.
Continuing with the pattern of crisis, another startling 10 year statistic, released by the CDC in 2020, revealed suicides rates among young people aged 10 to 24 between years 2007 to 2018 increased a whopping 57.8 percent3. This paints another somber picture of the mental health status of the youth in the United States. CDC data post-2020 shows an overall decrease, but only for some demographic groups, however it remains to be seen if the very recent under-tick is a temporary one.
These statistics tell us the dominant economic system and its government institutions have failed young people in one or more ways. They are fully aware they will eventually have to inherent the same system of their great grandparents whether it’s in their favor or not. With the major recession of 2007 and its devastating after-effects still fresh in the minds of young people, entering the work force only to face the accumulated effects of nearly five decades of wage stagnation decoupled from climbing inflation and living costs appears to have profoundly changed the economic perceptional disposition of young people for the negative.
With the non-stop acceleration of global warming and the threat of another looming economic recession over the horizon, young people seem to be losing hope as the cards are continually being stacked against them. In 2022, the U.S. government along with its multitude of vested imperialist interests, launched an economic and proxy war with the Russian Federation, needlessly triggering a sudden price increase on food, fuel and housing prices at the expense of young people. Yet again, another generation of working class youth, through no fault of their own, is inheriting the consequences of the next projected impending economic crisis and the protracted class trauma yet to be felt in the years to come.
Such trends reveal the United States under the surface is entering a deeper state of crisis not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The wildly irresponsible actions of the capitalist class and their governing social bodies during the Pandemic sacrificed working people at the altar of uninterrupted profits, pushing society over the edge and manifesting in a sudden increase in murder and hate crimes. Today, the youth are victims of macroeconomic forces which they don’t understand. Sadly, many young people between the years of 2007 and 2018 ended their lives prematurely because the prevailing economic system shattered all hopes for a flourishing future promised to them in popular culture. Today, the working people of the United States face a precarious and ever-increasing instability of the established economic order with no relief in sight. More than ever and with greater urgency, U.S. Communists must stand steadfast and must take their place in history and show the young American working class that a new world based on communist ideals can and will provide an alternative to the multitude of problems of which they face.