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. 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 anti-capitalist resistance.
Icon: You talk about how Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, has reshaped the city, Manhattan most of all. He uses the positive-sounding slogan: “Building like Moses, with Jane Jacobs in mind.” But you ask: “What do you do with the people who have to be moved on? Are you arguing for more static cities? Part of the dynamism of cities is that people move in and out.
A year ago this Monday, a few hundred young protestors bed down in lower Manhattan to protest the corruption of America's political, social, and economic institutions. Occupy Wall Street's grievances have been famously diverse, but as the movement rounds the corner into its second year it can claim many victories: a world-wide network of over one thousand self-identified occupations, a vast ecology of movement-generated media, a worker-owned cooperative, measurably successful campaigns in collaboration with New York-based activist groups against racial profiling and unfair housing practices, and, quite recently, a report investigating the illegal practices of the New York Police Department throughout the year.
There's quite a bit to celebrate, and this weekend in New York activists from across the country converge on the financial district to ring in Occupy's new year. If you're in New York, we invite you to attend one or all of these events with us.