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Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution

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. 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.

Reviews

  • “Whose streets? Our streets! In Rebel Cities David Harvey shows us how we might turn this slogan into a reality. That task—and this book—could hardly be more important.”
  • “David Harvey provoked a revolution in his field and has inspired a generation of radical intellectuals.”
  • “Challenging and timely.”
  • “Forensic and ferocious.”
  • “Harvey’s clarion demand [is] that it is “we”, not the developers, corporate planners, or political elites, who truly build the city, and only we who can seize back our right to its control.”
  • “Intellectuals in the Occupy movement [will] appreciate Rebel Cities' descriptions of the historic and international parallel of urban struggles to reclaim public space and build culture, and be intrigued by Harvey’s musings on how to grow a lively, resilient revolutionary anticapitalist movement.”
  • “A consistent intelligent voice of the left.”

Blog

  • Frédéric Lordon: Syriza faces a choice between capitulation and open sedition

    This Sunday, 25 January, Greeks will vote in parliamentary elections of potentially historic importance, with Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza coalition currently ahead in the opinion polls. But according to Frédéric Lordon, Germany’s grip on the situation and the Greek radical Left party’s own inconsistencies might condemn it to some painful acrobatics.


    For a long time Europe has been caught in a constitutional trap of its own making, with its neo-liberal treaties offering just two ways out of the current impasse: 1) the financial collapse of the European project, under the weight of its own internal contradictions; or 2) some political mishap coming along that will overthrow the whole system. The ECB’s announcement of the OMT programme [1] has avoided the first of these eventualities – for now – which leaves the second. And that’s the reason why the ‘European-institutional party’ has come to see democracy not as a normal state of political life but rather as a permanent source of threats – and it thinks itself justified in using any means necessary to stamp them out.

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  • David Harvey excerpt: Austerity schemes and right-wing economic doom


    Capital is always about growth and it necessarily grows at a compound rate. This condition of capital’s reproduction now constitutes, I shall argue, an extremely dangerous but largely unrecognized and unanalysed contradiction.

    Most people do not well understand the mathematics of compound interest. Nor do they understand the phenomenon of compounding (or exponential) growth and the potential dangers it can pose. Even the dismal science of conventional economics, as Michael Hudson shows in a recent trenchant commentary, has failed to recognize the significance of compounding interest on rising indebtedness. The result has been to obscure a key part of the explanation for the financial disruptions that shook the world in 2008. So is perpetual compounding growth possible?

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  • The World Today with Tariq Ali

    Tariq Ali's weekly, online review show, The World Today, is now collected in full online on Tariq's new website. Produced for Venezualan broadcaster teleSUR’s English language online channel by Dartmouth Films, the show consists of 4 segments:

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