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The city we built and they stole | openDemocracy

19/06/2012 15:02

The city we built and they stole ( ( (

( ( city we built and they stole)

Jonathan Moses (/author/jonathan-moses) , 19 June 2012 David Harvey, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, Verso (2012) It would be impossible to cover here the range of ideas in Harveyʼs recent book, Rebel Cities, but it is worth considering one of its key

About the author

Jonathan Moses is a political activist and graduate of UCL. He currently teaches English Literature, History and Sociology in Kent.

themes: how might the city, rather than the workplace, be the key siteof anti-capitalist struggle? The Urban Proletariat In prioritising the site of production and the industrial proletariat as the revolutionary class, traditional Marxism created a number of problems. To begin with, it excluded all those who did not, or could not work from possessing any kind of agency - with the result that the struggles of domestic labourers (women), the unemployed, the disabled were largely ignored. It also left us blind to other forms of value creation outside of the sphere of ʻworkʼ, or indeed forms of exploitation centred not around production but consumption, since, after all you might well win wage concessions at work only to find your gas bill has hiked at home. For Harvey, it is the city which offers a way out – since everyone who lives in the city creates the city but only a minority take ownership of the value that is created. This is the tragedy of the urban commons – those who “create an interesting and stimulating everyday neighbourhood life lose it to the predatory practices of real estate entrepreneurs, the financiers and upper class consumers bereft of any social imagination.” The better the common life a social group creates “the more likely it is to be raided and appropriated by private profit-maximizing interests.” In other words, we might not all be workers in the traditional sense, but so long as we are all engaged in the production and reproduction of social life in the city, we are all prey to a form of the exploitation Marx first identified as the fate of labour under capitalism.

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978 84 460 3799 6 dossier harvey  
978 84 460 3799 6 dossier harvey