Rebel Cities: From The Right To The City To The... !!BETTER!!
In identifying cities as critical sites of surplus generation and absorption, especially through speculative rents, Rebel Cities notes the increasingly precarious lives it produces for those who work and live in cities. They build cities with their labor and construct urban identities with their communities, yet both are alienated from them and accumulated privately. The product of their work and lives is appropriated through capitalist social relations of production and dispossession, shifting the focus to class struggle on a city-wide basis.
Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the...
McCabe published his guidebook a year after the Paris Commune of 1871. For over sixty days, the working classes of Paris seized the city and seceded from France. Informed by various strains of leftist politics, the Commune implemented a range of measures radical for their time, many of which would still be considered radical today.
In Rebel Cities, Harvey draws a winding line from the barricades of Paris to the 2011 occupation of Zuccotti Park, a tiny square on Broadway near Trinity Church. Harvey describes both the efforts of the Commune and those of Occupy Wall Street, however short-lived, as struggles over the meaning of the city: Who should have access to the city? What is the purpose of public space? Should only the doyens of the market have the power to decide the structure of urban life? Or should, in some fashion, the rest of us?
Like Paris, New York has largely banished its poor to its extremities. Economic inequality long existed in Manhattan, but its staggering scale (the top 1% of the city earn 44% of its income) is new, as is the stark geographic division of its regions of wealth from those of comparative poverty. For most of the history of the city, rich and poor areas abutted each other with relative frequency. No longer. New York has its hinterlands now. It is almost impossible for a humble middle class, never mind working class, family to live anywhere south of 125th Street, or to settle west of the Lower East Side projects on the East River.
All sorts filtered through the park: scruffy young anarchists, workers on extended lunch breaks, schoolteachers from the outer boroughs, students from universities near and far, and the much larger undefinable mass of everyday people. In a neighborhood now uniformly the quarter of bankers and financiers, OWS was a reminder of that world of difference purged from the city. McCabe would have been appalled. It was almost a throwback to the late nineteenth century, when the Five Points lurked just blocks away, so perilous, so loud, and so other.
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The right to the city is, therefore, far more than a right of individual access to the resources that the city embodies: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city more after our heart's desire. It is, moreover, a collective rather than an individual right since changing the city inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power over the processes of urbanization (Harvey, 2008, p. 23).
The right to the city cannot be equated with smart city initiatives whose main goal is that of promoting a more efficient urban management, while maintaining the status quo, or even increasing the dominance of powerful actors, under the pretense of a participatory process (Kothari and Chaudhry, 2009; Kitchin, 2015; Willis, 2019). The right to the city is also not about producing creative cities or creative consumers, initiatives grounded on the entrepreneurial discourse of neoliberal urbanism (Harvey, 1989; Peck, 2005). And neither it is about constructing uneven eco-cities projects if these are conceived as technological fixes to sustainability concerns that reproduce socioeconomic inequalities (Caprotti, 2014).
The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right, since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanisation.
Insofar as the nation state seeks to homogenize the diversity of its population under a single identity, it is the ideal institutional form for carrying out such a task. Yet the identity that sustains a nation state is a curious one: distant and abstracted from daily life in the local realities it seeks to encompass, it is ultimately local to nowhere. Herein lies the disruptive and emancipatory potential of a radical municipalist politics. Through its proximity to the reality of city life, it confronts the statecraft of the sovereign.
Instead of responding to the tense social climate this generated by relaxing pressure on street vendors, Barcelona police continued to act aggressively, resulting in several clashes. Finally, when a scuffle broke out in a central metro station and some vendors responded by throwing rocks at the police, four police were injured, as well as four vendors and one bystander. Disappointingly, Barcelona En Comú responded by deploying riot police in the city center to dissuade the vendors from gathering in the areas where they had been working.
In the revanchist city, these residents are overwhelmingly those whose poverty is criminalized: sex workers, street vendors, the homeless, street artists, small drug offenders, addicts and so on. There is a pressing need for autonomous platforms that allow the aforementioned collectives to represent themselves without having to delegate their collective voice to others. A broader movement for the right to the city could also be a step forward. However, it is also possible that such a movement would end up absorbing marginalized voices in an attempt to link them with middle-class interests.
If all the world were organized into a series of independent and totally autonomous anarchist communes, then how would the global commons (e.g. biodiversity) be preserved, and what would prevent some communes from becoming much more prosperous than others, and how would the free flow of people and goods and products from one place to another work (most communes have some principles for exclusion)? Interestingly, most corporations are into networked models of administration and there are all sorts of parallels between left and right which pass unrecognized, as well as overlaps between corporate practices and anarchist visions.
David Harvey (born 31 October 1935, Gillingham, Kent, England) is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A leading social theorist of international standing, he received his PhD in Geography from University of Cambridge in 1961. Widely influential, he is among the top 20 most cited authors in the humanities. In addition, he is the world's most cited academic geographer, and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate; most recently he has been credited with restoring social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism. He is a leading proponent of the idea of the right to the city, as well as a member of the Interim Committee for the emerging International Organization for a Participatory Society.
Cities have long been the site of revolutionary politics: they are the centers of capital accumulation and the frontline for struggles over who controls access to urban resources and who dictates the quality and organization of daily life. Is it the financiers and developers, or the people? Rebel Cities places the city at the heart of both capital and class struggles, looking at locations ranging from Johannesburg to Mumbai and from New York City to São Paulo. Drawing on the Paris Commune as well as Occupy Wall Street and the London Riots, Harvey asks how cities might be reorganized in more socially just and ecologically sane ways-and how they can become the focus for anticapitalist resistance.
A new edition, part of a series of reissues of the legendary geographer David Harvey's classic works. Rousing manifesto on the city and the commons from the acclaimed theorist.Long before Occupy, cities were the subject of much utopian thinking. They are the centers of capital accumulation as well as of revolutionary politics, where deeper currents of social and political change rise to the surface. Do the financiers and developers control access to urban resources or do the people? Who dictates the quality and organization of daily life?Rebel Cities places the city at the heart of both capital and class struggles, looking at locations ranging from Johannesburg to Mumbai, from New York City to São Paulo. Harvey asks how cities might be reorganized in more socially just and ecologically sane ways - and how they can become the focus for anti-capitalist resistance. 041b061a72