Posts tagged harvey

Posted 2 years ago

David Harvey - Nice Day for a Revolution

Why May Day should be a date to stand up and change the system

May Day is the occasion we celebrate the grand achievements of the workers of the world in making our world a far, far better place to live in. There is, unfortunately, not too much to celebrate these days. The past 30 years are littered with battles and skirmishes that have resulted in defeat after defeat for organised labour.

A capitalist class gone rampant has now consolidated its power to command or corrupt almost all the major institutions that regulate the body politic – the political parties (of both left and right), the media, the universities, the law, to say nothing of the repressive state apparatus and international institutions. The democracy of money power now rules. A global plutocracy exerts its will almost everywhere unchallenged.

So what is there to celebrate? We would not, of course, have what we still have now (from pensions to the remnants of reasonable health care and public education) had it not been for the labour movement. But waxing nostalgic over the undoubted achievements and heroism of the past will get us nowhere.

May Day should therefore be about relaunching a revolutionary movement to change the world. The very thought of doing that – even just saying it and writing it down – is as exhilarating as it is astonishing.

Posted 3 years ago

David Harvey - A Brief History of Neoliberalism

5-part lecture. This lecture is basically the reason I started to become an anti-capitalist. 

Posted 3 years ago
Marx does not advocate state ownership but some form of ownership vested in the collective laborer producing for the common good. How that form of ownership might come into being is established by turning Locke’s argument on the production of value against itself. Suppose, says Marx, a capitalist begins production with $1,000 in capital and in the first year manages to gain $200 surplus value from laborers mixing their labor with the land, and the capitalist then uses that surplus in personal consumption. Then, after five years, the $1,000 should belong to the collective laborers, since they are the ones who have mixed their labor with the land. The capitalist has consumed away all of his or her original capital. …the capitalists deserve to lose their rights, since they themselves have produced no value.
David Harvey, “The Future of the Commons,” Radical History Review, no.109, p. 105
Posted 3 years ago
David Harvey, “The Future of the Commons,” Radical History Review, no.109, p. 102

David Harvey, “The Future of the Commons,” Radical History Review, no.109, p. 102

Posted 3 years ago

Against the Grain: Monday, November 15th, 2010

In a moment of economic crisis, what should our demands be and how should we hope to win them? Geographer David Harvey talks about organizing ourselves for life after capitalism, while resource economist Eugene Coyle discusses why unemployment is not solved by perpetual growth. He argues that it’s time for labor and the left to again raise the banner of cutting the work week.

Posted 3 years ago
Geographers cannot remain neutral. But they can strive towards scientific rigor, integrity and honesty. The difference between the two commitments must be understood. There are many windows from which to view the same world, but scientific integrity demands that we faithfully record and analyze what we see from any one of them. The view from China looking outwards or from the lower classes looking up is very different from that from the Pentagon or Wall Street. But each view can be represented in a common frame of discourse, subject to evaluation as to internal integrity and credibility.
David Harvey, “On the History and Present Condition of Geography: A Historical Materialist Manifesto,” The Professional Geographer 36(1), 1984
Posted 3 years ago

David Harvey- A Talk on Marx’s Method

(filmed at UC Berkeley)

Posted 3 years ago
When we think of class struggle, too often our imagination gravitates to the figure of the worker struggling against the exploitations of capital. But in the labour process (as is indeed the case elsewhere) the direction of struggle is really the other way round. It is capital that has to struggle mightily to render labour subservient at that very moment where labour is potentially all-powerful.
David Harvey, The Enigma of Capital (via digitalpidgin)
Posted 3 years ago

David Harvey - The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis this Time

In Marxian theory (as opposed to myopic neoclassical or financial theory), “systemic risk” translates into the fundamental contradictions of capital accumulation. The IMF might save itself a lot of trouble by studying them. So how, then, can we put Marx’s theorization of the internal contradictions of capitalism to work to understand the roots of our contemporary dilemmas?

This is the task I set myself in writing The Enigma of Capital: And the Crises of Capitalism.2 In writing it I found, however, that conventional versions of the Marxian theory of crisis formation were inadequate and that it was necessary to take a fresh look at the arguments on crisis formation laid out in Capital and, even more importantly, in The Grundrisse.

Posted 3 years ago

Experimental Geography

"This show is about the aesthetic approach to interpretation of space as a social phenomenon." -Thompson

Nato Thompson introduced the discussion a little haphazardly to a packed house at CUNY’s Graduate Center Tuesday night. Thompson noted that his experiences with crust punk made Situationism so appealing, and the movement (and Debord more specifically) acted as a common thread throughout the evening’s discussion. He also called our attention to the “tensions in the production of knowledge” between the didactic and poetic, and the physical and nonphysical. He also, naturally, reminded us that the production of culture and space (and knowledge, indirectly) take place alongside the production of capital- and the difficulties this poses.

"In a sense, we are all neoliberals and suburbanites now, without even realizing it." -Harvey

David Harvey mentioned Engels’ and Simmel’s now classic accounts of the 19th-century metropolis, and the idea of everyone becoming “slaves to the clock” (an idea that would play itself out literally during the audience questions). As an example of Debord’s detournement he suggested that we change each of the clocks in New York by one hour and “see how people function.” He said the work in the show appealed to him because it puts us in touch with the unknown and what he called the “geographical unconscious.” He said that paying attention to this concept is crucial because suburbanization, perhaps the single most important feature of 20th-century American geography, is essential in political and geographical socialization, even affecting dense cities. To this point, he discussed with disdain the new flower beds and walking areas designed to attract tourists and shoppers to areas of Manhattan. He said that cities, more and more, are being organized around spectacles, which are good business in that they are consumed instantly- no turnover time. Harvey said that it’s very easy for radicals to see surface patterns, but it’s far more difficult to change them.

"These expositions, these World’s Fairs, they’re spectacles of culture and commerce- consuming the world" -Mogel

Lize Mogel told us that the ongoing Shanghai World Expo is an example of experimental geography. To illustrate, she showed slides of pieces that blurred the line between minimalist conceptual art and cartography (including one “world map” in which the relative positions and sizes of countries corresponded to the positions and sizes of demonstrations at the expo pavilion). In a style similar to that of Geoff Manaugh, she discussed a few quick geographic vignettes, including the ultimate fate of ships, the related histories of Panama and San Francisco, the relocation of 20,000 people in just 3 years to prepare for the Shanghai Expo- and the replacement of their homes with simulated city streets. Hammering the absurdity of capitalist land use home was a slide of a Chinese real estate ad. The photograph was that of a suburban California-style prefab house, and the copy, in gaudy script, read “Unceasing Development.”

"Rather than art for people, we’re actually making art for beavers." -Kerr

Iain Kerr was the next speaker, and was focused very much on emerging possibilities of change within our society. He said the task is to figure out not just what is changing, but the processes by which those changes occur. He discussed his work with ecology, pollution, and mine drainage. Mine drainage is when unused mines become filled with water, with the metals and chemicals causing huge bacterial growths that supplant the local ecology with a new one. He discussed the possibility of replacing one ecology with another to control and reverse the pollution, as some bacteria absorb and process the dangerous materials. But these bacteria require wetlands, so instead of spending millions of dollars building wetlands, they thought of attracting and reintroducing beavers, hence “art for beavers.” He also suggested that we must focus more on what knowledge does rather than what knowledge is.

"With geography, many of the problems of poststructuralism turned out not to be problems at all" -Paglen

Trevor Paglen finished the individual talks with the idea that critical and radical academics need to move from a politics of representation to a politics of spatialization. To borrow his term, he “unpacked” the term that Lefebvre made so famous- the production of space. He observed that “production is the interface between humans and the earth’s surface,” and that space itself is a large number of dialectically interrelated processes. In his critique of the semiology of thinkers like Derrida, he noted that their thoughts seemed to come from outside space and time. The underlying idea, I believe, was that geography has the tools we need to understand all of the interrelated processes of space, whereas semiology and textual studies can only approach some of them. He did contend, however, that geography as a tradition of thought needs to be more self-reflective about its interventions in the world.

The discussion brought us toward the possibility of radically different spaces- Harvey mentioned the spatial aspects of the civil and gay rights struggles as examples of heterotopic spaces, while one person from the audience asked about the “geography of the apocalypse.” Kerr replied to this, saying that the very notion carries vestiges of Judeo-Christian morality (with pure beginnings and pure ends) that are unhelpful to our theorizing coherently about the problems we face. He suggested systems theory, or focusing on “possibilities of immanence” as an alternative. Kerr also suggested, as another form of detournement similar to Harvey’s, that we “adjust all the GPS units to be half a kilometer from where they should be.” The last person to ask a question was a bit of a rambler, who was cut off before he could fully articulate his idea- thus proving Harvey’s earlier point about “slavery to the clock.”