The activist, urbanist and historian Mike Davis is an important thinker on the American left and part of the New Left Review editorial board. Davis is known for titles such as Planet of Slums (2006) and In Praise of Barbarians: Essays against Empire (2007). He is also known for his culturally critical portraits of California in City of Quartz (1990) and in the book Ecology of Fear (1998), which deals with the fears of disasters such as fiction and reality in Los Angeles. The fear is cultivated through everything from fantasies about alien invasions to concerns about highly real disasters such as earthquakes and rioting – as well as epidemics that infect wild animals. The book Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of the Avian Flu (2015) begins with reports of Spanish illness and follows up with new epidemics with a southern focus on how they affect the weakest in society. Social injustice is a major theme in all Davis' texts, and in the article "Who is forgotten in a pandemic?", recently published in The Nation, he addresses the issue of solidarity in the wake of the corona eruption.
MODERN TIMES talks to him over safe conditions – over the phone – and asks what is bothering him most right now:
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