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Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Hardcover – April 4, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (April 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844678822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678822
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.”—Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision and a founding editor of N+1

“David Harvey provoked a revolution in his field and has inspired a generation of radical intellectuals.”—Naomi Klein

“Forensic and ferocious.”—Owen Hatherley, Guardian

“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.”—Jonathan Moses, Open Democracy

“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.”—Publisher's Weekly

“A consistent intelligent voice of the left.”—Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

About the Author

David Harvey teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of many books, including Social Justice and the City, The Condition of Postmodernity, The Limits to Capital, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, Spaces of Global Capitalism, and A Companion to Marx’s Capital. His website is <a href="http://davidharvey.org">davidharvey.org</a>

More About the Author

David Harvey teaches at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is the author of many books including Social Justice and the City, The Condition of Postmodernity, The Limits to Capital, A Brief History of Neoliberalism and Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Donald A. Planey on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Rebel Cities" is world renown Geographer David Harvey's case for the modern urban city's importance as a battleground for the future of humanity. Neither a complacent hagiographer of the capitalist city nor a hopeless misanthrope of the James Kunstler variety, Harvey's most recent book on the capitalist city is clearly inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Harvey has spent his entire career studying urban class conflict, urban social movements, and the political economy of built environments. Naturally, a book on this subject at this moment in history should be highly anticipated, coming from this author.

The overall goal of this book, which was constructed out of about four different articles Harvey composed (mainly) for the Socialist Register, is to argue that Marxism should conceive of the city as the stage of class conflict, as opposed to confining itself to merely challenging economic exploitation as it occurs in the workplace. Harvey argues this for several wide, yet compelling reasons. First, Harvey begins with a brief history of the urban world's relationship to modernity. In cities, the worst aspects of capitalism are often solidified into the very construction of the city itself. In Haussman's Paris, the authority of the French military was empowered by the construction of the city's new wide boulevards in the 19th century. In American cities, environmental unsustainability is as much a part of a city's streets as the pavement that covers it. For some critics, this makes cities unredeemable. I had more than one professor at my old college who spoke of the modern city as if it were Gamorrah, one giant mistake that produced nothing good, and never could.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on May 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.

He starts with 'The Urban Roots of Capitalist Crises', looking at the bases of the current malaise from a Marxist perspective. Too often, he suggests, Marxist analyses of the crises of capitalism parallel or mirror bourgeois economics, considering exploitation of the proletariat within a national economy. Harvey suggests that:

'[t]he role of the property market in creating the crisis conditions of 2007-09, and its aftermath of unemployment and austerity (much of it administered at the local and municipal level) is not well understood, because there has been no serious attempt to integrate an understanding of processes of urbanization and built-environment formation into the general theory of laws of motion of capital. As a consequence, many Marxists theorists, who love crises to death, tend to treat the recent crash as an obvious manifestation of their favoured version of Marxist crisis.' (P35)

Harvey goes on, therefore, to address this lack and to explore the role of housing and the built environment in the current crisis. Much of this will be familiar to anyone who has taken even a moderate interest in current affairs - the rise of predatory lending, the housing asset bubble, political pressures on state supported institutions such as the US Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, years of low interest rates and the supply of 'cheap' money all leading to the final collapse of the asset bubble. But he extends this account to consider the longer term 'capital accumulation through urbanization' (P42).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Pierson on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
Harvey is a Marxist and the author of A Brief History of Neoliberalism which I read and which impressed me. Rebel Cities is equally impressive.

In Rebel Cities, Harvey attempts to flesh out a gap in Marx regarding the role of land in the economy and the place of cities and city dwellers in revolutionary movements.

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.” Some left wing groups gather under this banner today.

The right to the city means city dwellers’ “unalienated right to make a city more after their own heart’s desire” (p. xvi). The right to the city includes the right to the wealth urban dwellers generate. (When Harvey discusses urban dwellers he is obviously not talking about people like Donald Trump.) Harvey points out that the right to the city is a collective, not an individual right.

There’s a chapter in Michael Harrington’s Socialism (1972) called “The Substitute Proletariats.” Mao, for instance, based revolution on the peasants rather than the industrial workers. Harvey believes revolution should be based not on the Marxian proletariat but on what Lefebvre called the urban based “working class.” Why? For one thing, owing to deindustrialization there is no longer a proletariat in the West: today the proletariat is in the Third World (p. xv).

The urban “working class” is a much broader category than the proletariat. The proletariat consists of the workers who produce goods. The urban working class includes all who labor in the city--not just producers, but also workers who distribute the goods. Not just factory workers, but also taxi drivers, restaurant workers, sanitation personnel, small shopowners, etc., etc.
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