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  • Video: ‘The Contradictions of Capitalism’ at RSA Apr 9, 2014 (20 minute edited version) - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    Andy Merrifield in conversation Birkbeck University of London April 2014 Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to a course as a video or audio podcast with iTunes Choose M4V for iPod iPhone

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  • video Archives - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    Marx in Amsterdam October 12 2014 David Harvey on Karl Marx Hosted by De Balie in cooperation with IISG October 9 2014 Amsterdam Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Video The Limits to Capital and the right to the city Rio de Janeiro June 25 2014 The Limits to Capital and the right to the city Rio de Janeiro November 23 2013 Thanks Boitempo Editorial Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Video Harry Belafonte Angela Davis and David Harvey Imagining A World With Transformative Justice June 24 2014 Harry Belafonte Angela Davis and David Harvey Imagining A World With Transformative Justice Reform And Or Revolution Today Left Forum New York City May 31 2014 Video by Free Speech TV Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Video The history and present condition of Geography an historical materialist manifesto 1984 June 13 2014 The history and present condition of Geography an historical materialist manifesto Lund University Sweden 1984 Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Video Audio Contradictions of Capitalism Interviews with David Harvey by NovaraMedia May 6 2014 Contradictions of Capitalism Interview with David Harvey NovaraMedia Apr 12 2014 Aaron Bastani talks to David Harvey about capitalism crisis and social movements Contradictions of Capitalism In Conversation with David Harvey Novara Series 3 Episode 23 Resonance 104 4fm On this week s show James Butler and Aaron Bastani are joined by David Harvey Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Video David Harvey Andy Merrifield in conversation Birkbeck University of London April 2014 May 4 2014 The contradictions of capitalism and the urban question David Harvey and Andy Merrifield in conversation Birkbeck University of London 3 April 2014 Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Video The Contradictions of Capitalism at RSA Apr

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  • David Harvey: The Revolutionary Class Today
    one He then paraphrasing Murray Bookchin insists that the future of the left depends crucially on our capacity for putting together the best of Marxism with the best of anarchism A must see video The clip is an excerpt of the closing panel of Boitempo s Rebel Cities International Seminar that took place in São Paulo Brazil in June 2015 and celebrated the publication of the Brazilian edition of Professor Harvey s PARIS CAPITAL OF MODERNITY http bit ly ParisHarvey A video recording of the full panel is available online here http bit ly cidadesrebeldesenglish Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email lectures video Previous post Video David Harvey Slums Skyscrapers Space Housing and the City Under Neoliberalism Next post Video David Harvey The Urbanization of Our Discontents Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More

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  • Slums & Skyscrapers: Space, Housing & the City
    The Revolutionary Class Today legendas em português Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to a course as a video or audio podcast with iTunes Choose M4V for iPod iPhone Volume I Or

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  • David Harvey Reviews Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century
    1930s This inspired Keynesian expansionary policies after World War Two and resulted in some reductions in inequalities of incomes though not so much of wealth in the midst of strong demand led growth But this solution rested on the relative empowerment of labor and the construction of the social state Piketty s term funded by progressive taxation All told he writes over the period 1932 1980 nearly half a century the top federal income tax in the United States averaged 81 percent And this did not in any way dampen growth another piece of Piketty s evidence that rebuts right wing beliefs By the end of the 1960s it became clear to many capitalists that they needed to do something about the excessive power of labor Hence the demotion of Keynes from the pantheon of respectable economists the switch to the supply side thinking of Milton Friedman the crusade to stabilize if not reduce taxation to deconstruct the social state and to discipline the forces of labor After 1980 top tax rates came down and capital gains a major source of income for the ultra wealthy were taxed at a much lower rate in the US hugely boosting the flow of wealth to the top one percent But the impact on growth Piketty shows was negligible So trickle down of benefits from the rich to the rest another right wing favorite belief does not work None of this was dictated by any mathematical law It was all about politics But then the wheel turned full circle and the more pressing question became where is the demand Piketty systematically ignores this question The 1990s fudged the answer by a vast expansion of credit including the extension of mortgage finance into sub prime markets But the resultant asset bubble was bound to go pop as it did in 2007 8 bringing down Lehman Brothers and the credit system with it However profit rates and the further concentration of private wealth recovered very quickly after 2009 while everything and everyone else did badly Profit rates of businesses are now as high as they have ever been in the US Businesses are sitting on oodles of cash and refuse to spend it because market conditions are not robust Piketty s formulation of the mathematical law disguises more than it reveals about the class politics involved As Warren Buffett has noted sure there is class war and it is my class the rich who are making it and we are winning One key measure of their victory is the growing disparities in wealth and income of the top one percent relative to everyone else There is however a central difficulty with Piketty s argument It rests on a mistaken definition of capital Capital is a process not a thing It is a process of circulation in which money is used to make more money often but not exclusively through the exploitation of labor power Piketty defines capital as the stock of all assets held by

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  • capital Archives - Reading Marx's Capital with David Harvey
    It was moreover exactly Marx s theoretical conclusion in Volume One of his version of Capital Piketty fails to note this which is not surprising since he has since claimed in the face of accusations in the right wing press that he is a Marxist in disguise not to have read Marx s Capital Continue reading Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Reading Marx s Capital Vol 2 Class 12 Reprise August 8 2013 We hope you have enjoyed this open course If you have found this video series worthwhile consider making a donation to help keep it online Listen now Audio clip Adobe Flash Player version 9 or above is required to play this audio clip Download the latest version here You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser Class 12 Files Audio MP3 72 MB To download on a PC right click on an above file and click Save as or Download to On a Mac Control click instead of right click Problems viewing or downloading files View on YouTube Vimeo or Archive org Additional formats coming soon These lectures were the inspiration for the book A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 published by Verso in 2013 2013 David Harvey Reading Marx s Capital Volume II with David Harvey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3 0 United States License Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Reading Marx s Capital Vol 2 Class 11 Vol 2 Chapters 20 21 June 5 2013 Capital Volume 2 Part Three The Reproduction and Circulation of the Total Social Capital Reproduction Schema Chapter 20 Simple Reproduction Chapter 21 Accumulation and Reproduction on an Expanded Scale The page numbers Professor Harvey refers to are valid for the Penguin Classics editions of Capital Volumes 2 and 3 Listen now Audio clip Adobe Flash Player version 9 or above is required to play this audio clip Download the latest version here You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser Class 11 Files Audio MP3 72 MB To download on a PC right click on an above file and click Save as or Download to On a Mac Control click instead of right click Problems viewing or downloading files View on YouTube Vimeo or Archive org Additional formats coming soon Handout Class 11 These lectures were the inspiration for the book A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 published by Verso in 2013 2013 David Harvey Reading Marx s Capital Volume II with David Harvey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3 0 United States License Share this Facebook Twitter Google Reddit Tumblr Email Reading Marx s Capital Vol 2 Class 10 Vol 2 Chapters 18 20 April 1 2013 Capital Volume 2 Part Three The Reproduction and Circulation of the Total Social Capital Reproduction Schema Chapter 18 Introduction Chapter 19 Former Presentations of the Subject Chapter 20 Simple Reproduction Sections 1 5 The page numbers Professor Harvey refers

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  • “Listen, Anarchist!” by David Harvey
    ego divested of constraints preconditions or limitations short of death itself Indeed today many anarchists celebrate this theoretical incoherence as evidence of the highly libertarian nature of their outlook and its often dizzying if not contradictory respect for diversity 2014 160 161 This lack of theoretical coherence is a criticism that can be made also of the Marxist autonomistas As Böhm Dinerstein and Spicer argue autonomy no matter of what particular sort is an impossibility in and of itself It is theoretically and relationally defined solely by that which it seeks to be autonomous from There is therefore nothing to stop capital the state and discourses of development continuously seeking to recuperate autonomy and make it work for their own purposes 2010 26 And this is of course exactly what they have done Anarchists are fond however of arguing that anarchism is not about theorizing but about practices and the continuous invention of new organizational forms But what sort of practices and forms Horizontality rhizomatic practices and decentralization of power are litmus tests it seems for anarchists as well as autonomistas these days Springer asserts however Every time you have ever invited friends over to dinner jaywalked mowed your neighbor s lawn skipped a day at work looked after your brother s kids questioned your professor borrowed your mother in law s car disregarded a posted sign or returned a favor you have perhaps unknowingly engaged in anarchist principles 2014 265 Now this is an extraordinary statement It is tempting to parody it by imagining Springer setting off on his preferred insurrectionary path by borrowing his mother in law s car with or without her permission he does not say It contains some absolute principles like disregarding posted signs such as poisonous snakes are in this area which when coupled with that other absolute that all authority is illegitimate itself an authoritative statement that stands self condemned as illegitimate supposedly leads us to the anarchist heaven Having lived in Baltimore where the population being apparently anarchistically inclined loved to run red lights and having had my car totaled by someone who just happened being a good anarchist to have borrowed his brother s car without permission I find such assertions ridiculous if not dangerous They give anarchism a bad name even as James Scott 2012 offers two cheers for anarchism when people pluck up courage to cross the street at red lights when there is no traffic in sight Scott even suggests the abolition of traffic lights altogether might be a good anarchist idea I am much more skeptical having witnessed 1st Avenue on Manhattan turned into a continuous roaring race track northwards during a power outage to the detriment of all those locked on the cross streets And I certainly would not welcome a pilot landing at JFK proclaiming that as a good anarchist she does not accept the legitimacy of the air traffic controllers authority and that she proposes to disregard all aviation rules in the landing process Historically mutual aid societies whether anarchist inspired or not had like the commons codes and rules of behavior that had to be followed as part of the membership pact and those who did not conform to these rules found themselves excluded a problem which marks the problematic boundary between individualistic and social anarchism Perpetually questioning authority rules and codes of behavior and disobeying stupid or irrelevant rules is one thing disobeying all such mandates on anarchist principle as Springer proposes is quite another No anarchist commune I have ever known would tolerate such behaviors It would not survive more than a day if it did The standard anarchist response is that rules and exclusions are ok provided they are freely entered into The myth here is that there is some sort of absolute freedom that exists outside of some mechanisms of exclusion and even sorry to say domination The dialectic of freedom and domination cannot be so easily set aside in human affairs see Harvey 2014 Chapter 14 If I take a generous reading of Springer s statement it would be this social anarchists are fundamentally concerned with the intricacies and problematics of daily life The ultimate aspiration says David Graeber 2002 70 is to reinvent daily life as a whole though he conveniently leaves aside the thorny question of where does the whole begin and end Marxists have by way of contrast historically been far too preoccupied with the labor process and productivism as the center of their theorizing often treating the politics of realization in the living space as secondary and daily life issues as contingent and even derivative of the mode of production this tendency was early on exhibited with Engels otherwise interesting treatment of The Housing Question back in 1872 Being an historical geographical urbanist I have always been troubled by if not at war with this Marxist prioritization of production at the expense of the politics of daily life Class and social inequalities are as much a product of residential differentiation I have long argued as they are of divisions of labor in the workplace while the city as a whole is itself a major site of class as well as other forms of social struggle and much of that struggle occurs in the sphere of daily life Such struggles are about the realization of value rather than its production Harvey 1975 1977 As long ago as 1984 I was arguing that a peoples geography must have a popular base and be threaded into the fabric of daily life with deep taproots into the well springs of popular consciousness 1984 7 From an urban perspective even the production of value needs to be re thought For example Marx insisted that transportation is value and potentially surplus value producing The booming logistics sector is rife with value and surplus value production And while General Motors has been displaced by McDonalds as one of the largest employers of labor in the US why would we say that making a car is productive of value while making a hamburger is not When I stand at the corner of 86th and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan I see innumerable delivery bus and cab drivers workers from Verizon and Con Edison are digging up the streets to fix the cables while down the street the water mains are being repaired other workers are constructing the new subway putting up scaffolding on one side of the street while taking it down on the other meanwhile the coffee shop is making coffees and in the local 24 hour diner workers are scrambling eggs and serving soups Even that guy on the bicycle delivering Chinese take out is creating value These are the kinds of jobs in contrast to those in conventionally defined manufacturing and agriculture that have increased remarkably in recent times and they are all value and surplus value producing Manhattan is an island of huge value creation If only half of those employed in the production and reproduction of urban life are employed in the production of this sort of value and surplus value then this easily compensates for the losses due to the industrialization of agriculture and the automation in conventional manufacturing This is the contemporary proletariat at work and Springer is quite right to complain that much of mainstream Marxist thinking has a hard time getting its head around this new situation which it turns out is not wholly new at all This is the proletarian world in which many social anarchist groups have been and still are embedded But we need to take the argument further There is a big distinction in Marx s theory between how when and where value is produced and how when and where it is realized Value produced in China is realized for example in Walmart and Apple stores in North America There are perpetual struggles over the realization of value between consumers and merchant property owning capitalists The battles with landlords the phone electricity and credit card companies are just the most obvious examples of struggles within the sphere of realization that pervade daily life It is in such realms that the politics of refusal often make a lot of sense None of this is central in the standard Marxist theoretical cannon when clearly to me as an urbanist it should be I feel entirely comfortable with daily life perspectives and applaud the social anarchist position on this I do however have a caveat everyday life problems from the perspective of the individual or of the local neighborhood look quite different from everyday life in the city as a whole This is why the transition from Kropotkin to Patrick Geddes Mumford and the anarchist inspired urban planners becomes an important issue for me How to organize urban life in the city as a whole so that everyday life for everyone is not nasty brutish and short is a question that we radical geographers need to consider This aspect of the social anarchist tradition the preparedness to jump scales and integrate local ambitions with metropolitan wide concerns is invaluable if obviously flawed and I am distressed that most anarchists including Springer apparently ignore if not actively reject it presumably because it seems hierarchically inspired or entails negotiating with if not mobilizing state power It is here of course that the Marxist insights on the relation between capital accumulation and urbanization become critical to social action And it is surely significant that the urban uprisings in Turkey and Brazil in 2013 were animated by everyday life issues as impacted by the dynamics of capital accumulation and that they were metropolitan wide in their implications It would be wrong to conclude from all this that Marxists do not work politically and practically on the politics of daily life or in the sphere of value realization I meet such people all over the place all the time involved in say anti gentrification struggles and fights over the provision of health care and education as well as in right to the city movements The Marxist critique of education under capitalism has been profound Bowles and Gintis 1977 This is a realm where Marxist practices often go well beyond the theoretical content a gap which I as well as other Marxist geographers like Neil Smith 1992 2003 and from a somewhat different angle Gibson Graham 2006 have attempted to close But it is also clear to me that many people working politically on these daily life questions do not care about Marxism or anarchism ideologically but simply engage in radical practices that often converge onto anti capitalist politics for contingent rather than ideological reasons This is the kind of world of non ideological collective action that Paul Hawken 2007 writes so enthusiastically about I have met workers in recuperated factories in Argentina whose primary interest was nothing more than having a job and activists within solidarity economies in Brazil who are simply concerned with improving daily life Sure most of those involved will praise horizontalism when asked but for most of them that was not what spurred them into action Sitrin and Azzelini 2014 Those working in such contexts seize on any literature and any concepts that seem relevant to their cause no matter whether articulated by anarchists Marxists or whoever If as Springer 2014 252 says anarchism is primarily about actively reinventing the everyday through a desire to create new forms of organization then I am all for it If it does not separate working living creating acting thinking and cultural activities but keeps them together within the seamless web of daily life as a totality and tries to re shape that life then I am totally with it The search to re shape daily life around different structures of feeling as Raymond Williams might have put it is as critical for me as it is for Springer and the autonomistas who have taken up biopolitics But the implications are I think even broader What unifies all our perspectives is what I can best call a search for meaning in a social world that appears more and more meaningless This requires a real attempt to live as far as possible an unalienated life in an increasingly alienating world I admire the social anarchists I have known because of their deep personal and intellectual commitment to do just that Social anarchists are not however alone in this I am all for it too I featured alienation a taboo concept for many Marxists of a scientistic or Althusserian persuasion as the seventeenth and in many respects crucial contradiction in my Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism 2014 You don t have to be either an anarchist or a Marxist to attempt to create a personal and social world which has meaning and within which it is possible to live in a relatively unalienated way Millions of people are perpetually struggling to do just that and in so doing create islands of unalienated activities This is what many religious groups do all the time Many young people in the world today faced with meaningless employment opportunities and mindless consumerism are searching and opting for a different lifestyle Much of contemporary cultural production in the Western world is building upon exactly this sensibility and the broad left both anarchist and Marxist has to learn to respond appropriately The result David Graeber suggests is that even when there is next to no other constituency for revolutionary politics in a capitalist society the one group most likely to be sympathetic to its project consists of artists musicians writers and others involved in some form of non alienated production Surely there must be a link between the actual experience of first imagining things and then bringing them into being individually or collectively and the ability to envision social alternatives particularly the possibility of a society itself premised on less alienated forms of creativity One might even suggest that revolutionary coalitions always tend to rely on a kind of alliance between a society s least alienated and its most oppressed actual revolutions one could then say have tended to happen when these two categories most broadly overlap 2002 70 Whether this was true in the past can be debated I personally think there were elements of this configuration at work in the Paris Commune But Graeber s statement undoubtedly captures an important feature of radical activism in our time and one that I both appreciate and relate to So what then is the central problem in the midst of all this positive feeling about the social anarchist approach to daily life questions The answer for me lies in what Bookchin calls the anarchist disdain for power 2014 139 as represented for example in John Holloway s Change the World Without Taking Power 2010 And behind this of course lies the thorny problem of how to approach the question of the state in general and the capitalist state in particular The best I can do here is to take up the most compelling historical example I have come across of the failure of an amazingly well developed anarchist movement to mobilize collective power and to take the state when it clearly had the opportunity to do so I rely here on Ealham s 2010 detailed and sympathetic account of the anarchist movement in Barcelona from 1898 1937 and in particular on its failure to consolidate the power of a mass movement in 1936 7 I propose to use this example to illustrate what seems to be a general problem with anarchist practices including those that Springer advocates The Barcelona movement was based on the instinctive collective organizations of working class populations in the barris neighborhoods of the city along the lines of integrated social networks and mutual aid coupled with deep distrust of a state apparatus that neglected their social needs and essentially criminalized marginalized and merely sought to police and repress their aspirations Given these conditions large segments of the working class fell in line with anarcho syndicalist forms of organization as represented by the National Confederation of Labor CNT which at its height had over a million adherents throughout Catalonia There were however other anarchist currents the radical anarchists in particular that often opposed the syndicalists and organized themselves often clandestinely through affinity groups and neighborhood committees to pursue their aims But the overall structure of this working class movement was neighborhood based and territorially segregated The CNT was very much a product of local space and the social relations within it its unions made the barris feel powerful and workers felt ownership over what they regarded as our union Ealham 2010 39 But it had great difficulty in thinking the city as a whole rather than in terms of those separate territories it did control The militant affinity groups for example were incapable of converting isolated local actions into a more offensive action that could lead to a powerful transformation at regional or state level 2010 122 The movement s central weakness in the run up to the civil war Ealham argues was its failure to generate an overarching institutional structure capable of coordinating the war effort and simultaneously harmonizing the activities of the myriad workers collectives In political terms the revolution was underdeveloped and inchoate the revolution in Barcelona failed to generate any revolutionary institution workers power remained fragmented and atomised on the streets dispersed among a multitude of comités without any coordination at regional or national level 2010 168 also Bookchin 2014 Chapter 8 The reluctance of the anarchists of whatever sort to take state power for ideological reasons when it clearly had the power to do so left the state in the hands of the bourgeois republicans and their Stalinist communist allies who bided their time until they were well organized enough to violently crush the CNT movement in the name of republican law and order Even worse the movement largely betrayed its own principles by practices that ignored the will of the people The radical affinity groups pursued insurrectionary tactics that produced a growing disquiet about their elitism and the undemocratic ways in which they would launch continuous insurrectionary actions They depicted their actions as catalytic rather than vanguardist but most people recognized this was anarchist vanguardism under another name The insurrectionists expected and appealed for mass support which rarely materialized for actions decided upon by no more than at most a hundred but in many instances just a dozen or so members of a particular affinity group This created problems for everyone else The anarcho syndicalists of Madrid and Asturias complained that the cascading insurrectionary actions of the radical anarchist grupistas in Barcelona were disruptive rather than constructive Our revolution they wrote in their daily paper requires more than an attack on a Civil Guard barracks or an army post That is not revolutionary We will call an insurrectionary general strike when the situation is right when we can seize the factories mines power plants transportation and the means of production quoted in Ealham 2010 144 What is the point of insurrectionary action they said if there is no idea let alone concrete plan to re organize the world the day after There are two broad lines of critique of the conventional anarchist position in Ealham s account that are relevant to my argument Firstly there is the failure to shape and mobilize political power into a sufficiently effective configuration to press home a revolutionary transformation in society as a whole If as seems to be the case the world cannot be changed without taking power then what is the point of a movement that refuses to build and take that power Secondly there is an inability to stretch the vision of political activism from local to far broader geographical scales at which the planning of major infrastructures and the management of environmental conditions and long distance trade relations becomes a collective responsibility for millions of people Who will manage the transport and communications network is the question The anarchist town planners including Bookchin understood this problem but their work is largely ignored within the anarchist movement These dimensions define terrains upon which anarchists but not Marxists are fearful of operating which is not to say the Marxists have no failures to their credit And it is here that the whole history of anarchist influences in centralized urban planning deserves to be resurrected This is a complicated topic that I cannot possibly probe into more deeply here But this is clearly the most obvious point where anarchist concerns for the qualities of daily life and Marxist perspectives on global capital flows and the construction of physical infrastructures through long term investments could come together with constructive results Springer prefers insurrectionary to revolutionary politics He does so on the grounds that revolutionaries typically sit for ever in the waiting room of history endlessly planning for the revolution that never comes whereas the insurrectionists do it now Well sometimes they do and sometimes they don t But much of the rhetoric these days about the coming insurrection announced by The Invisible Committee 2009 in 2007 in France but yet to materialize is just that rhetoric I hope that Springer s version is democratically based and not elitist and that he does the detailed organizing required to keep the electricity flowing the subways running and the garbage picked up in the days that follow I personally don t trust continuous insurrections that spring spontaneously from self activity which are thought of as a means without end and predicated on the idea that we cannot liberate each other we can only liberate ourselves Springer 2014 262 263 Self liberation through insurrection is all well and good but what about everyone else I find Bookchin s line on all of this interesting even if incomplete Resolutely opposed as he was to the state and hierarchies as unreformable instruments of oppression and denial of human freedom he was not naïve about the necessity of taking power Every revolution indeed even every attempt to achieve basic change will always meet with resistance from elites in power Every effort to defend a revolution will require the amassing of power physical as well as institutional and administrative which is to say the creation of government Anarchists may call for the abolition of the state but coercion of some kind will be necessary to prevent the bourgeois state from returning in full force with unbridled terror For a libertarian organization to eschew out of misplaced fear of creating a state taking power when it can do so with the support of the revolutionary masses is confusion at best and a total failure of nerve at worst Bookchin 2014 183 Graeber s response is to insist that anarchist strategy is less about seizing state power than about exposing delegitimizing and dismantling mechanisms of rule while winning ever larger spaces of autonomy from it 2002 73 Only within such autonomous spaces can true democratic practices become possible From my perspective this means creating a parallel state like the Zapatistas within the capitalist state Such experiments rarely work and when they do as in the case of the paramilitary forms of organization that dominate in Colombia or the various mafia like organizations that exist around the world e g in Italy they are rarely benign in fact they are typically hornet s nests of extortion violence and corruption Even left revolutionary guerilla movements such as the FARC in Colombia experienced defaults of this kind and there is no guarantee that any parallel power structure devised by anarchists will not suffer from similar problems In any case the present penchant for government by NGO provides a classic example of how ruling powers can co opt and de fang the radical idea of autonomy for their own purposes The anarchist and autonomista reluctance to take and consolidate power is rooted I suspect in the concept of the free individual upon which much anarchist and autonomista thinking rests The critique of radical individualism runs as follows The concept of the free individual bears the mark of liberal legal institutions even of private property in the body and the self spiced with a hefty dose of that personalized protestant religion which Weber associated with the rise of capitalism To say as Reclus did with great pride that he had gone through life as a free individual was to place himself firmly in the liberal and protestant tradition Reclus father was a protestant minister and for a while Reclus trained for the ministry see Chardak 1997 His sort of anarchism has its roots in liberal theory and the Judeo Christian tradition even as it constructs its anti capitalism through the negation of the market and a critique of the class and environmental consequences of liberal theory and capitalist practices There is nothing wrong with this Marx also constructs largely by way of negation of classical political economy and its liberal and Judeo Christian roots But the result is an awkward overlap at times which exists in both Marx and Proudhon in which the critique incorporates and mirrors far too much of that which it criticizes There is a real problem here which Springer evades by denouncing as oxymoronic anyone that places anarchist thinking too close to its liberal and by extension neoliberal roots as defined for example in Nozick s Anarchy State and Utopia 1974 This is an issue that has to be rationally unpacked because it has had and potentially will continue to have real consequences In 1984 two MIT professors Michael Piore and Charles Sabel for example published a book called The Second Industrial Divide 1984 Back in 1848 they argued industrial capitalism faced a moment of technological possibility in its organization in which it could either move towards mass factory production of the sort that Marx predicted and embraced or take the path that Proudhon advocated which was the linking together of small independent workshops in which associated laborers could democratically control their work and their lives The wrong choice was made after 1848 they claim and thereafter mass factory production with all of its evils dominated industrial capitalism But in the 1970s new technologies and organizational forms were emerging which posed that same choice anew With flexible specialization and small batch and niche production Proudhon s dream was once more a possibility Piore and Sabel became fierce advocates for the new forms of industrial organization termed flexible specialization most classically represented at that time by the emerging industrial districts of the Third Italy Both Piore and Sabel armed with their reputations their MacArthur grants and supported by so called progressive thinkers and institutions of the time set out to persuade the unions to embrace the Proudhonian vision rather than oppose the new technologies Sabel became an influential advisor to the International Labour Organization Many of us on the Marxist left were deeply troubled by this turn I added my voice to the critics by arguing in The Condition of Postmodernity 1989 as well as at the AAG in Baltimore in 1987 when Sabel and I clashed fiercely that flexible specialization was nothing other than a tactic of flexible accumulation for capital The campaign to persuade or cajole via the International Monetary Fund countries to adopt policies for the flexibilization of labor was a sign of this intent and it still goes on through IMF mandates as now in Greece In retrospect it is clear that this scheme supported by Piore and Sabel and given an aura of progressive radicalism in the name of Proudhon was a core element of neoliberalization with all the consequences that flowed for the disempowerment of labor and labor s declining share of gains from productivity This left nearly all of the newly produced wealth in the hands of the one percent We badly need to disabuse ourselves of what Bookchin calls the Proudhonist myth that small associations of producers can slowly eat away at capitalism 2014 59 The autonomistas along with Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapelin in The New Spirit of Capitalism 2007 even go so far as to suggest that it was the working class practices of the autonomistas and the anarchists that were taken over by capital to create new forms of control and new networked organizational forms during the 1970s Capitalist anarchism is a real problem It has its coherent central theory as set out by Nozick Hayek and others and a doctrine of market freedoms It has turned out not only to be the most successful form of decentralized decision making ever invented as Marx so elegantly demonstrated in Capital but also a force for an immense centralization of wealth and power in the hands of an increasingly powerful oligarchy This dialectic between decentralization and centralization is one of the most important contradictions within capital see my Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism and I wish all those like Springer who advocate decentralization as if it is an unalloyed good would look more closely at its consequences and contradictions As I argued in Rebel Cities 2013a decentralization and autonomy are primary vehicles for producing greater inequality and centralization of power Once again Bookchin sort of agrees at the risk of seeming contrary I feel obliged to emphasize that decentralization localism self sufficiency and even confederation each taken singly do not constitute a guarantee that we will achieve a rational ecological society In fact all of them have at one time or another supported parochial communities oligarchies and even despotic regimes 2014 73 74 This was by the way my main problem with the stance taken by Gibson Graham in their pursuit of totally decentralized anti capitalist alternatives While left anarchism of the Proudhon sort has no coherent theory right wing capitalist anarchism has a coherent theoretical structure that rests upon a seductive utopian vision of human freedom It took the genius of Marx to deconstruct this theory in Capital Small wonder that Marx in deconstructing it would find Proudhon s vision so unintendedly reactionary Which brings me to the question of the relations between Marx and Proudhon I have freely recognized e g in the companions to Marx s Capital 2010 6 2013b 189 that Marx drew far more from the French socialist tradition including Proudhon than he acknowledged and that he was often unfair in his criticisms of Proudhon but then he was also just as unfair in his criticisms of Mill Malthus and even Ricardo this was just Marx s way But Marx drew as much from the Jacobin Auguste Blanqui who I think coined the phrase the dictatorship of the proletariat which Marx rarely used and should have put in scare quotes thereby saving us from a lot of trouble as well as Fourier the opening of the chapter in Capital on the labor process is a hidden dialogue with him Saint Simon who Marx admired to the degree that he saw the association of capitals in the form of the joint stock company as possibly a progressive move Cabet as well as Robert Owen Blanqui s defense before the court of assizes in 1832 is an astonishing statement Corcoran 1983 But Marx s dependence on these thinkers as was also the case with his dependency on classical political economy was marked for the most part by fierce critical interrogation as Marx sought to build his own theoretical apparatus to understand how capital accumulated What Marx accepted and what he arrived at by negation in his interrogations from any of these people is a complicated question But to go from this recognition to suggest that Marx plagiarized everything from Proudhon in particular is indeed totally absurd The idea of the exploitation of labour by capital for example was far more strongly articulated by Blanqui than by Proudhon and was completely accepted by the socialist Ricardians It was obvious to pretty much everyone and Marx made no claims of originality in pointing to it What Marx did was to show how that exploitation could be accomplished without violating laws of market exchange that theoretically and in the utopian universe of classical political economy rested upon equality freedom and reciprocity To promote those laws of exchange as the foundation of equality was to create the conditions for the centralization of capitalist class power This was what Proudhon missed When Marx pointed to the importance of the commodification of labor power he may well have been drawing on Blanqui without acknowledgement but even here it was Marx and not Blanqui who recognized its significance for the theory of capital Marx s critique in the Grundrisse of the Proudhonian conception of money and of the idea that all that was needed for a peaceful transition to socialism was a reform of the monetary system was accurate and of course Proudhon s free credit bank was an instantaneous disaster though it may have been bourgeois sabotage that made it so Marx s critique of Proudhon s theories of eternal justice is also penetrating It is here precisely that Marx points out how theories of justice are not universal but specific and in the bourgeois case specific to the rise of liberal capitalism To pursue the aim of universal justice as a revolutionary strategy ran the danger of simply instanciating bourgeois law within socialism This is a familiar problem as everyone working critically with notions of human rights recognizes When Marx appealed as he often did to ideas of association he was almost certainly drawing more on Saint Simon than Proudhon While Proudhon undoubtedly had important things to say there are dangers of viewing him as representative of some perfected social anarchism He had a weak grasp of political economy did not support the workers in the revolution of 1848 was against trade unions and strikes and held to a narrow definition of socialism as nothing more than the association of workers mutually supporting each other He was hostile to women working and his supporters campaigned vigorously in the workers commissions of the 1860s in France to have women banned from employment in the Paris workshops The main opposition came from the Paris Branch of the International Working Men s Association led by Eugene Varlin who insisted upon women s equality and right to work Harvey 2003 Proudhon s book Pornography The Situation of Women is according to his biographer Edward Hyams full of every illiberal every cruelly reactionary notion ever used against female emancipation by the most extreme anti feminist 1979 274 OK so Marx was no saint either on such matters Both anarchism and Marxism have had and continue to have a troubled history on the gender question but on this topic Proudhon is an extreme and ugly outlier What is really odd is that before the Commune in the 1860s Marxists and anarchists were not at logger heads in the same way as they later became Reclus and many Proudhonians attended the meetings of the International Working Men s Association and I recall reading somewhere that Marx asked Reclus if he would be willing to translate Capital from German into French Reclus did not do so I do sense however that Marx felt that Proudhon was his chief rival for the affections of the French revolutionary working class and in part concentrated his critical fire against him for that reason But the clash of ideologies within the Paris Commune was between many factions such as the centralizing and often violent Jacobinism of the Blanquists and variations of the Proudhonian decentralized associationists The communists like Varlin were a minority The subsequent appropriation of the Commune by Marx Engels and Lenin as a heroic if fatally flawed uprising on the part of the working classes does not stand up to historical examination any more than does the story that it was the product of a purely urban social movement that had nothing to do with class I view the Commune as a class

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  • Video: From 1848 to today's Rebel Cities
    lectures Previous post Listen Anarchist by David Harvey Next post Video David Harvey at Dangerous Times Festival 2015 London Comments are closed About the Course A close reading of the text of Karl Marx s Capital in free video lectures by David Harvey Start here David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York CUNY and the author of numerous books He has been teaching Karl Marx s Capital for over 40 years Read his CV Help keep these open courses online donate Help make the course accessible in other languages translation project Web hosting by Reclaim Hosting Questions or comments about this site contact webmaster credits Twitter My Tweets Recent Books The Ways of the World Profile Books UK 2016 The Ways of the World Oxford University Press US 2016 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Profile Books UK 2014 Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism Oxford University Press US 2014 A Companion to Marx s Capital Volume 2 Verso 2013 Rebel Cities From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution Verso 2012 More books Podcasts Subscribe to a course as a video or

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