Harvey on the contemporary composition of the working class and the project of fusing Marxism and anarchism

In an excerpt from a recent debate in Brazil, David Harvey discusses the configuration of contemporary working class and latent forms of revolutionary organization on an urban basis, suggesting the potentialities of fusing the anarchist and Marxist traditions to shape them. Harvey had a fiery exchange with Simon Springer back in the summer about the advantages and contributions of these traditions in the field of radical geography (see Springer’s original intervention, Harvey’s reaction and Springer’s response), so the remarks in the video —using the voice of Murray Bookchin— could be seen as an extension of that discussion: “the future of the Left depends crucially on putting together the best of anarchism and the best of Marxism”, without this “the Left is doomed to failure”; in fact, Harvey says, “the dogmatic anarchists and the dogmatic Marxists should go to hell” (sic).

Full-length recording of the event here.

Publicado en Anarchism, David Harvey, Marxism | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

Back to the academic front…

Back in the trenches, getting ready for the new semester with two courses to teach, ‘Ciudad y Urbanismo’ —an introduction to the analysis of urban processes, related bog in Spanish here— and ‘Taller de Urbanismo’. The latter is a workshop in the new Master in Design of our School of Architecture, part of an educational structure aimed at the formal integration —for the first time in the institution— of all the departments in a single design studio; my course is included in the bloc coordinated by Juan Herreros, professor of architectural design not only in Madrid but also at the GSAPP, Columbia University. We will be working in several locations in the historical Ensanche of Madrid, turning massive extant infrastructural facilities, currently embedded in a dense urban fabric, into more complex places incorporating residential, retail, public space and other amenities.

Ámbito 2

While I am generally critical of the pedagogic potentialities of the usual design practices in architectural schools —too frequently they constitute mere morphological simulacra removed from concrete social, economic and political contexts, at least of the kind urban planners and theorists are used to— it feels like the approach this time is much richer and I look forward to participating in the experience. I am preparing some activities which will involve local social movements in preliminary analyses of the neighborhood and at the same time going back to the work of Graham, Gandy and others to assemble several lectures about the social and environmental dimension of urban infrastructure; in that sense I recently grabbed a copy of Graham and McFarlane’s edited volume Infrastructural Lives: Urban Infrastructure in Context (Routledge, 2015), which is especially helpful to convey the everyday aspects of infrastructure —broadly understood— through case studies of particular cities and places. Perhaps we will even have time to delve into more openly political theoretical material — the work by Swyngedouw, and Ekers and Loftus on hydrological infrastructure would be especially relevant, for we will be working with the local water supply system networks and spaces.

The semester ahead includes a schedule replete with dissertation committees, six in the next few weeks. Some of them I have already read during the summer, but others are still in the queue. Right now I am reading Carlos Santamarina’s brilliant ‘Culture and representation of man-made landscape: producing the image of territory in the USA, 1925-1975’, a very interesting and well-written work, which actually allows me to go back to some of the topics I investigated in my PhD years.

There will be visits to Barcelona, Valladolid and Weimar in the upcoming months, the first of them to join my research group Espais Crítics (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona + Universitat de Barcelona) in the conference on Neil Smith’s legacy, Global Capitalism and Processes of Urban Regeneration. A Tribute to Neil Smith. We will take the opportunity of the conference to discuss our joint research project —‘Spatial challenges of the global crisis’— and to organize the publication of the forthcoming book on Neil Brenner that Icaria will publish at some point in 2016 in its Espacios Críticos series (more information here, in Spanish).

Finally, some updates about publications and current writing. The definitive version of my article ‘Capitalist formations of enclosure: space and the extinction of the commons’ has been published in the last issue of Antipode. You can find more information about this piece here and download it here (thanks to the Urban Theory Lab for hosting this!); this is a contribution that somehow summarizes and develops my previous approaches to enclosure (eg the articles in Journal of Historical Geography and Social and Cultural Geography), tackling its spatialities with a more systematic conceptual and theoretical approach, and a broader historical scope.

Although I haven’t received my copy yet, the webpage of Transcript Verlag includes information about the release of Eckardt and Ruiz’s edited book City of Crisis: The Multiple Contestation of Southern European Cities, including my chapter ‘Crisis and the city: neoliberalism, austerity planning and the production of space’. You can have a look at the content here.

In terms of current writing the summer was relatively productive. I managed to finish a piece I had been preparing for just too long, now submitted and awaiting review — a reasonable achievement, taking into account the demands of the new ‘domestic landscape with baby’ at home… my partner and I joined the crazy world of parenthood last spring! With the preparation of this manuscript, the completion of the book on Brenner and the publication of the Antipode piece I feel a cycle is coming to an end. The semester should serve as a warm-up to move to another stage where either I start to expand my previous explorations of interwar urbanism in Germany and the US —the third part of the ‘social history of planning’ I began to forge in my dissertation, following the work on eighteenth-century English enclosure and nineteenth-century urban reform in Manhattan— or I develop and re-arrange all this material in order to turn it into a full, comprehensive monograph. In the next months I will explore some of the related literature I have been collecting in the last years, and decide whether I focus on a few additional articles —which are always an opportunity to do more speculative work— or I fully immerse myself in the design of a book-length manuscript.

Publicado en Architectural design, Arquitectura, Arquitectura y crítica, Commons, DUyOT, Espacio y política, Investigación urbanística, Planning history, Sin categoría, Urban studies | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comentario

Putting Urban Planning on the Couch: review forum on Westin’s The Paradoxes of Planning


A review forum on Sara Westin’s The Paradoxes of Planning: A Psycho-Analytical Perspective (Ashgate, 2014) at the Society & Space open site.

Originalmente publicado en Society and space:

9781409448037.PPC_Series 1357Jamie Doucette (University of Manchester) and Christian Abrahamsson (University of Oslo) organized an author-meets-critics forum on Sara Westin’s book The Paradoxes of Planning: A Psycho-Analytical Perspective (Ashgate, 2014) for the Chicago AAG earlier this year. Three reviews of the book are posted on the open site by Andrew ShmuelyJesse Proudfoot, and Mark Davidson, with an introduction to the forum provided by Jamie Doucette and Sara Westin’s reply.

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Geografías del 15-M: Crisis, Austeridad y Movilización Social en España | Nuevo número de ACME

La revista ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies publica en su último número un especial temático sobre el 15M: ‘Geografías del 15-M: Crisis, Austeridad y Movilización Social en España’. El monográfico ha sido editado por Fabià Díaz-Cortés y Jorge Sequera e incluye trabajos de Pablo Iglesias, Iñigo Errejón, Michael Janoschka con Elvira Mateos, Ramón Espinar y Jacobo Abellán, entre otros. Aunque la revista suele publicarse en inglés la sección va íntegramente en castellano.

Mi pieza, ‘Espacialidades indignadas: la producción del espacio público en la #spanishrevolution‘ prolonga contribuciones previas sobre este tema, intentando comprender la especificidad espacial durante las acampadas de 2011, cómo el espacio urbano sirvió de aglutinador para las iniciativas y cómo esa espacialidad se desarrolló con el movimiento en los meses posteriores.

Como anécdota mencionar que el monográfico ha tenido una gestación muy larga. Los textos se remitieron a la revista poco después de la irrupción del movimiento y se revisaron unos meses más tarde, cuando algunos de los hoy notorios autores eran casi anónimos — un poco más y ACME los hubiera encontrado en el Congreso… algo que dudo se produzca con frecuencia en revistas radicales.

Publicado en 15M, Acciones urbanas, Crisis, Espacio y política, Mis publicaciones | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

Especial de la revista Ciudades y nuevo artículo | La urbanística contra-reformista

Está ya disponible en línea el interesante monográfico que la revista Ciudades dedica a la ‘urbanística contra-reformista’ — léase, la crónica de tropelías territoriales que nos condujeron a la crisis y las formas aún más perversas de gestión y superación de la misma en que nos encontramos hoy día. El dossier especial tiene un índice de contenidos muy completo, con un atractivo panel de plumas que tengo el honor de encabezar y que incluye a Fernando Roch, José Fariña, Ion Martínez Lorea, Fernando Gaja, Federico Oliva, Stefano Garano, Daniel Morcillo, Jean-Pierre Garnier y Ernesto López Morales. Los trabajos aportan desde perspectivas generales sobre la relación entre urbanismo, ciudad y crisis a casos de estudio de contextos nacionales o locales específicos. Como es habitual completan el número las secciones de miscelánea (trabajos de J. Carpio y P. Lamíquiz, y R. Fernández) y notas de investigación (M. Fernández Maroto).

Éste es el monográfico que incluye el artículo que comenté en una entrada anterior hace unos días y que pueden leer ahora íntegramente (enlace directo aquí). Como indiqué, el trabajo parte de una exploración breve de episodios históricos previos en los que urbanización y crisis capitalista han ido de la mano, para estudiar después ciertos aspectos del caso español y proponer vías de salida para un urbanismo que, recuperando parte de los principios de la visión reformista, los llevé más allá en una perspectiva realmente emancipadora.

Hay que agradecer a los editores y al Instituto de Urbanística de la Universidad de Valladolid la preparación de este especial. Necesitábamos este tipo de material desesperadamente y por fin se cubre un vacío importante en los estudios urbanos recientes en nuestro país.

Publicado en Crisis, Mis publicaciones, Urbanismo crítico | Etiquetado , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

Nuevo número de la revista Urban

Se ha publicado el nº 7 de la revista Urban, con artículos originales de Emilio Martínez Gutiérrez, Sonia de Gregorio, Laura Fregolent y Michelangelo Savino, Jorge Sequera, José Luis Oyón y Carlos Sambricio. Es el último número de la revista en el que participé como co-editor, tras cinco años de labor; Javier Ruiz, nuevo director de la revista, lanza su línea en la editorial de esta entrega.

¡Buena suerte al nuevo equipo, seguro que habrá contenidos atractivos para otro lustro!

Publicado en DUyOT, Revista Urban | Etiquetado , , , , , , , | Deja un comentario

Urban counter-hegemonies for transforming Madrid (full translation)


Keith Harris (My Desiring Machines) has translated the full blog post on the urban perspectives for ‘Ahora Madrid’ (Madrid Now) I wrote some months ago. Eventually ‘Ahora Madrid’ —the local branch of Podemos in alliance with social movements and ecologist formations— won the election and is now leading our city hall. There are plenty of tensions ahead in a hugely indebted administration, but also enormous hope that things will finally change in Madrid.
While many of my remarks about building new popular hegemonies are likely to be postponed due to more pressing matters, it seems there is a clear political will to stop the insanity about urban development and management the city has suffered for decades.
Many thanks to Keith for the work with this!

Originalmente publicado en My Desiring-Machines:

Back in April I posted a translation of the first half of this excellent blog post by Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago. I finally had time to complete the (rough) translation.

Urban counter-hegemonies for transforming Madrid
Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago (March 8, 2015)
My translation of the original Spanish

Two weeks ago we participated in an event organized by the Right to the City Circle of Podemos that, under the rubric of Reboot Madrid, served as a space of debate to encourage ideas in alliance with Ganemos and Podemos, the formations that – currently and under the name ‘Ahora Madrid’ (Madrid Now) – converged in a joint bid of the popular front in the next elections to the City Council of Madrid. The discussion in the forum on urbanism (there were three more, on local democracy, urban economics, and rights and social inclusion) was animated, with an audience primarily made up of veteran professionals but…

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