Andy Merrifield, Professor of Geography at the University of Manchester, has written a glowing review of Eric Hazan's Paris Sous Tension, where he goes in great detail about Hazan's incisive analysis of modern-day Paris:
And, possibly, its future:
What’s happening in Paris, then, is a revealing microcosm of a larger macrocosm. Paris is a cell-form of a bigger urban tissuing that’s constituted by a mosaic of centers and peripheries scattered all over the globe, a patchwork quilt of socio-spatial and racial apartheid that goes for Paris as for Palestine, for London as for Rio, for Johannesburg as for New York. […] Nowadays, the poor global South exists in North-East Paris, or in Queens and Tower Hamlets. And the rich global North lives high above the streets of Mumbai, and flies home in helicopters to its penthouses in Jardins and Morumbi, Sao Paulo.
Like Occupy, Hazan’s notion of insurrection represents a hypothesis, a daring hunch that, for people who care about democracy, for people who know our economic and political system is kaput, change is likely to come from within, from within excluded and impoverished communities, through collective experimentation and struggle, through action and activism that overcomes its own limits, that experiments with itself and the world.
Inspired by Patrick Keiller's The Robinson Institute, currently on show at the Tate Britain, we present Verso's guide to political walking. We also draw influence from Will Self's Guardian article in which he pronounces that "walking is political" and suggests that the "contemporary flâneur" can be one "who seeks equality of access, freedom of movement and the dissolution of corporate and state control."
1. Wanderlust - Rebecca Solnit
The first general history of walking, Rebecca Solnit's book finds a profound relationship between walking and thinking, walking and culture, and argues for the necessity of preserving the time and space in which to walk in an ever more automobile-dependent and accelerated world.
2. Savage Messiah - Laura Oldfield Ford
Savage Messiah collects Laura Oldfield Ford's black and white, cut 'n' paste, punk fanzines that document her drift through London's margins. Illustrated with haunting line drawings of forgotten people and places, Oldfield Ford records the beauty and anger at the city's edges.
Michael Sayeau, contributor to Restless Cities, has written on the changing forms of demonstration across the world today for Frieze. Sayeau considers the various methods employed by groups such as UKUncut, the August rioters, Greek rioters and Arab Spring revolutions, and in turn sheds light on the Occupy movement. Sayeau draws inspiration for his enquiry from Eric Hazan's The Invention of Paris, a vibrant tour through the revolutionary past of the streets of Paris, a city shaped by the history of the barricades:
Hazan argues that the barricades - emblematic of both the practicalities and the romance of Parisian protest and a persistent symbol of civic unrest - were products of their time in all of its social, technological and political aspects. In a story that most of us are familiar with, their emergence and persistence sparked a reactionary revolution in urban planning and architecture, which to this day defines many of our modern cities.
But in recent months, as a wave of civic protest has washed over the world from Athens to Syria and from Spain to Egypt, a strange reversal has taken place in the practices of urban demonstrations - a reversal that suggests that nearly two centuries' worth of protest tactics and policing strategies are undergoing a paradigm shift.
A few short weeks ago, Bookslut reviewer Angela Meyer praised The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps by historian Eric Hazan for enabling her to "place [herself] not just topographically but, temporally" in Paris. Just published, the new paperback edition of The Invention of Paris includes new maps, fresh images and an updated introduction by the author. What could be a better companion for a radical walking tour of La Ville-Lumière?
With Hazan's insights to guide her, Angela Meyer uncovers the revolutionary narratives of the Boulevard Montmartre, Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre, right and left bank, and old quarters on a recent trip to Paris:
I didn't know much about the French Revolution and the ongoing struggles. The section on Red Paris is spirited and moving. So many names, so much blood and such continual resistance.