Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution
Cities have long been the pivotal sites of political revolutions, where deeper currents of social and political change are fleshed out. Consequently, they have been the subject of much utopian thinking about alternatives. But at the same time, they are also the centers of capital accumulation, and therefore the frontline for struggles over who has the right to the city, an...more
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Even though I'm sure that what the author suggests (to eliminate certain levels of authority to regain control of our surroundings, among other proposals) is somewhat complicated for us citizens to ...more
And it's really in this second part where you get some serious originality of thought. Harvey has absolutely no patience for naïve optimism or the sort of hier ...more
For me, this book was a real coming-together of scattered bits of thought that have been gathering for some time now, about rent-as-debt, cultural production as a force in gentrification, and organizing around living issues (housing, quality of life) as central to labor and anti-capitalist organizing. At the same time, it was a useful challenge to certain habits of thought I've developed and language I sometimes use a little ...more
Harvey, as he's well known to do, rigorously applies Marxist theory in the first two chapters in oder to explain urban sprawl as a dynamic o ...more
For me, he is one of the most exciting political theorists of our time. I also like that he’s this old-school Marxist who’s been teaching Capital Volume 1 since the 1970s or so. Every year and he’s still super excited about it. Cannot recommend his podcasts highly enough. He’s this white old man a ...more
In this book Harvey argues that cities have become the center of capital accumulation, trade, banking and culture etc... Those who posses power and capital shape the architectural structure of the cities according to their class interests. Architectural structure of the cities reflect the class character of them. He suggests that if the city has the potential to acummulate capital, take under control the citizens and empower class power then the prospect to organize the working classes and peop ...more
From 1925 (the year in which a strong Schilling currency replaced the devalued Krone) to 1934, more than 60,000 new flats were built in so-called Gemeindebau ("community construction") buildings. Large blocks were situated around green courts, for instance at Karl-Marx-Hof (one of the hot spots in the civil war of 1934) or at George Washington Court. The tenants of the new flats were chosen on the basis of a ranking system in which e.g. persons with handicaps got extra points to be chosen earlie ...more
Harvey provides a ...more
The main economic argument is that urbanization happens as a result of the absorption of surplus capital into the economy - real estate investing (and the multiple financial layers involved) is necessary in capitalism but often dispossesses the working class from its voice in the city (the process of "creative des ...more
There is one paragraph that has stuck with me and that's near the end of the book when he describes how capitalism has gone feral. As a teac ...more
Or at least that is Harvey's claim. In Rebel Cities he sets up a concise argument to convince the reader that the urban form is, and has been since its origins, a creation of accumulated capital. He says this becomes particularly clear after the French Revolution when Napoleon commissioned Haussmann to renovate Paris. Why would Napoleon do that? Well, there were a lot of rich French people who needed to ...more
"So let us agree: the idea of the right to the city does not arise primarily out of various intellectual fascinations and fads (though there are plenty of those around, as we know). It primarily rises up from the streets, out from the neighborhoods, as a cry for help and sustenance by oppressed peoples in desperate times."
"In commemorating the centennial of the publication of Marx’s Capital with a tract on The Right to the City, Lefebvre was certainly intending a provocation to conventional Marx ...more
In Rebel Cities, David Harvey seeks to answer that question by shifting focus away from the traditional leftist views of authoritarian vs libertarian, hierarchical vs non- ...more
I'm into political theory but mostly what I know is from Poli Sci classes in university and stronger on the actual Marx than on the more recent theorizing. This book was a dense read where I had to continually stop and think about what all those words meant in context and probably not accessible to the general public. However, it made some really strong arguments that I think are highly ...more
In 'Rebel Cities', David Harvey re-examines and interprets the basis of capitalist accumulation to show its essentially urban roots. This is certainly a wide and sweeping project and it is largely convincing.
Harvey builds on the work of Henri Lefebvre, a French Marxist who wrote in the 1960s. Lefebvre coined or popularized the phrase “right to the city. ...more