Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We Built This City

Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, by David Harvey, Verso, 206 pp. Reviewed in Berfrois by Jonathon Moses. Image below: 1871 Paris Commune.

It would be impossible to cover here the range of ideas in Harvey’s recent book, Rebel Cities, but it is worth considering one of its key themes: how might the city, rather than the workplace, be the key site of 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 ‘work’, or indeed forms of exploitation centred not around production but consumption....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. 

Read the rest of We Built This City by Jonathan Moses, originally published at Open Democracy |Creative Commons. See also, David Harvey essay, "The Right to the City" in New Left Review.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Multilingual Protest and Scholarship

An essay from Mobilizing Ideas, a production of The Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dame, editorial home of the journal Mobilization.

The increasing development of transnational ties and coalitions among social movement activists and organizations through the decades reveals how multilingualism can act as a vital and empowering resource for promoting sociopolitical change. Yet, the global hegemony of English also reveals how underlying power dynamics present dilemmas for progressive movements founded upon inclusive principles of multiculturalism and participatory democracy. Social movement scholarship also reflects this linguistic power dynamic and scholars should take heed. By providing more opportunities and venues for non-English speakers to participate in shaping academic debates and discussions new insights and theoretical perspectives are more likely to develop.

Monday, June 11, 2012

What kind of Muppet are you, chaos or order?

Chaos, of course... and you?

Every once in a while, an idea comes along that changes the way we all look at ourselves forever. Before Descartes, nobody knew they were thinking. They all believed they were just mulling....These dialectics can change and shape who we are so profoundly, it’s hard to imagine life before the paradigm at all.

Cookie Monster.The same thing is true of Muppet Theory, a little-known, poorly understood philosophy that holds that every living human can be classified according to one simple metric:

Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.

What kind of Muppet are you, chaos or order? - Slate Magazine 
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