Gibbons’s modest and understated and intimate way with the audience almost belies the impressive thoroughness of the way she supplements her own personal experience of an activist’s engagement in the city with her presentation through series of data, info, maps and graphs. One thing, she says, that Los Angeles shares in common with all other cities in the USA is segregation.
She details over a hundred years of the history of this racial separation, by what means it has been state-supported, how the economy nourishes it through privatisation and gentrification etc, and who suffers and how that has meant for example that in US the shocking average wealth figures for across the country (not income, wealth) breaks up thus : white $355,000 Mexican $3,500 African American $4,000.
It’s definitely not time to get smug and morally superior on America’s ass though, for as Gibbons points out, neo liberalism with its privatisation is bringing the gift of segregation here too –she pointed out that in American she’d never really seen poor people the way you see them here in Glasgow – and warned that the segregation which will be coming here is likely to break up more on a class rather than racial basis, although that latter element will be present too. So if we want a socially just world, reading Gibbons new book is a very good place to get tooled up and start the struggle towards it.