Monday, July 09, 2007

QUOTE: Mike Davis on urbanization

Mike Davis:

This is not a war of civilizations but an oblique clash between the American imperium and the labor-power it has expelled from the formal world economy. The future contours of this new "twilight struggle" are difficult to foresee. Trends may persist or wholly original features, including unexpected ideological hybrids, may emerge.

Who, for example, would have predicted in 1900 the convergence just twenty-five years later between urban Marxism and rural rebellion in East Asia? The current vogue of Pentecostalism and Sayd Qutb in the new slums of Latin America, Africa, and Asia may be permanent hegemonies or, then again, the urban poor's version of the peasant millenarian movements and anticolonial Ghost Dances of the 1890s.

What is clear is that the contemporary megaslum poses unique problems of imperial order and social control that conventional geopolitics has barely begun to register. If the point of the war against terrorism is to pursue the enemy into his sociological and cultural labyrinth, then the poor peripheries of developing cities will be the permanent battlefields of the twenty-first century.

– "The Urbanization of Empire: Megacities and the Laws of Chaos," Social Text 81 (2004): 14-15.

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