• Agamben WTF, or How Philosophy Failed the Pandemic, Benjamin Bratton, Verso
    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/5125-agamben-wtf-or-how-philosophy-failed-the-pandemic

    Benjamin Bratton on why philosophy failed us in facing up to the pandemic, and why we need to rethink biopolitics as a matter of life and death.

    As yet another wave of infection blooms and the bitter assignment of vaccine passes becomes a reality, societies are being held hostage by a sadly familiar coalition of the uninformed, the misinformed, the misguided, and the misanthropic. They are making vaccine passports, which no one wants, a likely necessity. Without their noise and narcissism, vaccination rates would be high enough that the passes would not be needed. 

    But it is not simply the “rabble” who make this sad mess, but also some voices from the upper echelons of the academy. During the pandemic, when society desperately needed to make sense of the big picture, Philosophy failed the moment, sometimes through ignorance or incoherence, sometimes outright intellectual fraud. The lesson of Italian philosopher, Giorgio Agamben, in part tells us why.

    Famous for critiques of “biopolitics” that have helped to shape the Humanities’ perspectives on biology, society, science and politics, Agamben spent the pandemic publishing over a dozen editorials denouncing the situation in ways that closely parallel right-wing (and left-wing) conspiracy theories. 

    Over the past two decades, the soft power influence of his key concepts in the Humanities - homo sacer, zoē /bios, the state of exception, etc. - has been considerable. This has also helped to cement in a stale orthodoxy suspicious of any artificial governing intervention in the biological condition of human society as implicitly totalitarian. In the name of being “critical”, the default approach to any biotechnology is often to cast it as a coercive manipulation of the sovereignty of the body and lived experience. 

    If one were to imagine Alex Jones not as a Texas good ol’ boy, but rather as a Heideggerian seminary student, this would give a sense of how Agamben himself approached the requests for public comment on the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning in February 2020, with “The Invention of an Epidemic”, he called the virus a hoax and the belated lockdowns in Italy a “techno-medical despotism”. In “Requiem for the Students”, he denounced Zoom seminars as acquiescence to a Silicon Valley concentration camp condition (his words). In “The face and death”, he derided the use of masks as sacrificing the ritual humanity of the naked face.

    Each short essay was more absurd and strident than the last. Upon publication of the earliest of these, Agamben’s friend, the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, warned us to ignore him, and that if he himself had followed Agamben’s medical advice discouraging a heart transplant that saved his life, that he would be dead. 

    Earlier this month, Agamben went all in, directly and explicitly comparing vaccine passes to Nazi ‘Juden’ stars. In a short piece called, “Second class citizens”, he connects the fates of those who refuse vaccination to that of Jews under fascism and concludes that “The ‘green card’ (Italy’s vaccine pass) constitutes those who do not have it in bearers of a virtual yellow star.” After picking up my jaw, I cannot help but compare Agamben’s analysis to that of QAnon-influenced United States congressperson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who beat him to the punch when she tweeted back in May that “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazi’s forced Jewish people to wear a gold star.” 

    In this ongoing performance, Agamben explicitly rejects all pandemic-mitigation measures on behalf of an ‘embrace tradition, refuse modernity’ conviction which denies the relevance of a biology that is real regardless of the words used to name it. Something seems to have recently cracked open for him, and yet at the same time, re-reading his foundational texts in the light of the pandemic pieces is illuminating. His position has not suddenly changed. It was there all along.

    Romanticism has been a permanent passenger on the flights of Western Modernity, and its mourning for ‘lost objects’ always just-out-of-reach vacillates between melancholia and revolt. Romanticism’s aesthetic disgust with rationality and technology finally has less to do with their effects than with what they reveal about how differently the world really works from how it appears to myth. Its true enemy is less alienation than demystification, and so it will always accept collaboration with Traditionalists. 

    It is not surprising then that Agamben earned the thanks of both Lega Nord and the anti-masker/vaccine movements. His conclusions are also similar to those of the Brazilian populist president Jair Bolsonaro, who sees the virus as an over-blown plot by techno-medical globalists to undermine traditional authority and natural bodily and communitarian coherency. What is the lost object? Agamben’s contributions are, at their core, an elaborate defense of a pre-Darwinian concept of the human and the mystical attachments it provided. Ultimately, he is not defending life, he is refusing it. 

    As of today, Agamben’s biggest online supporters are not his many long time readers but rather a squad of new fans, primarily a Based coalition of wounded contrarian man-childs. From vitalist Reactionaries quoting Julius Evola and Alexander Dugin to the anti-vaxxer roommate who puts energy drinks in his bong, these and other lonely anti-heroes are doomed by their burden to see clearly through the hypocrisies of our Matrix reality. For them, Agamben’s principled stand unites them with the legacy of Romanticist glorious and occult refusals. At work is perhaps less a horseshoe theory of Red-Brown alliance, than the tender bond between outcasts and idiots. 

    In my book, The Revenge of The Real: Politics for a Post-Pandemic World, I consider the origins and doomed future of Agamben’s brand of negative biopolitics. “While Agamben’s own worldview is classically Europeanist, dripping with lurid Heideggerian theology, his influence on the Humanities is much wider and deeper” and so the reckoning due goes well beyond revised syllabi. “The question is how much of the philosophical traditions to which Agamben has been attached over the last decades will also need to be shelved. What then to do with the artifacts of Agamben’s life work? It is a traditionalist, culturalist, locally embedded doctrinal edifice, protecting the ritual meaningfulness of things against the explicit nudity of their reality: like the defiant monologues of a Southern preacher, his sad, solemn theory is undeniably beautiful as a gothic political literature, and should probably be read only as such”

    Even so, the reckoning with legacies of his and other related projects is long overdue. His mode of biopolitical critique blithely ventures that science, data, observation and modeling are intrinsically and ultimately forms of domination and games of power relations. Numbers are unjust, words are beautiful. To accept that real, underlying processes of biochemistry are accessible, and generative of both reason and intervention, is presumed naive. It’s a disposition also found in different tones and hues in the work of Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault, and especially Ivan Illich, who died from a facial tumor he refused to treat as doctors recommended. Even here at University of California, San Diego, a hub of interdisciplinary biotechnology research, many colleagues insist that the “digitalization of Nature” is “an impossible fantasy”, even as they accept an mRNA vaccine based on a prototype bioprinted from a computational model of the virus’ genome uploaded from China before the actual virus even made it to North America. 

    As I have suggested elsewhere, this orientation is exemplary of the drawn-out influence of Boomer Theory. The baby boomers have tyrannised the Left’s imagination - bequeathing tremendous capacities to deconstruct and critique authority but feeble capacities to construct and compose. Perhaps the ‘68 generation’s last revenge upon those who inherit their messes, is the intellectual axiom that structure is always more suspicious than its dismantling and composition more problematic than resistance, not just as political strategies but as metaphysical norms. Their project was and remains the horizontal multiplication of conditional viewpoints as both means and ends, via the imaginary dismantling of public reason, decision and structuration. This is how they can at once fetishize “the Political” while refusing “governmentality.” 

    I grew up in this tradition, but the world works very differently than the one imagined by soixante-huitards and their secretaries. I hope that philosophy will not continue to fail those who must create, compose and give enforceable structure to another world than this one.

    Agamben’s pandemic outbursts are extreme but also exemplary of this wider failure. Philosophy and the Humanities failed the pandemic because they are bound too tightly to an untenable set of formulas, reflexively suspicious of purposeful quantification, and unable to account for the epidemiological reality of mutual contagion or to articulate an ethics of an immunological commons. Why? Partially because the available language of ethics is monopolized by emphasis on subjective moral intentionality and a self-regarding protagonism for which “I” am the piloting moral agent of outcomes.

    The pandemic forced another kind of ethics. The Idealist distinction between zoē and bios as modes of “life” around which Agamben builds his biopolitical critique is a conceit that snaps like a twig in the face of the epidemiological view of society. Why did we wear masks? Because of a sense that our inner thoughts would manifest externally and protect us? Or was it because we recognize ourselves as biological organisms among others capable of harming and being harmed as such?

    The difference is profound. As we pass by a stranger, how do the ethics shift from subjective intention of harm or endearment to the objective biological circumstance of contagion? What is then the ethics of being an object? We will find out. But when presented with the need for intensive sensing and modeling in the service of highly granular provision of social services to those in need, many public intellectuals choked, only able to offer hollow truisms about “surveillance”. 

    At stake is not just some obscure academic quarrel, but rather our ability to articulate what it means to be human, that is to be all together homo sapiens, in connection with all the fraught histories of that question. I argue that we need instead a positive biopolitics based on a new rationality of inclusion, care, transformation and prevention, and we need a philosophy and a humanities to help articulate it. 

    Fortunately, in many ways we already do. A short and very incomplete list of such might include Sylvia Wynter’s mapping of “who counts” as Human in Colonial Modernity in ways that open the category to reclamation: “We” have been defined by exclusion. It includes those studying the microbiome including the role of microbial life inside of human bodies to keep us alive: The human is already inclusive of the non-human. It includes those studying Anthropogeny and common evolutionary origins of the human species and planetary future: The human is continuous, migratory and changing. It includes those studying experimental Astronautics and the limit conditions of survival in a fragile artificial environment: At thresholds of survivability the human is like a fish discovering water. It includes those studying CRISPR and other re-weaving technologies for genetic therapy: The human can recompose itself at the deepest levels. 

    The affirmation or negation of what the human is also plays out through what humans can be. This animates the cultural controversies over gender reassignment therapies and techniques. The human is also a contingent, complex and pluralistic assemblage available to self-fashioning so that one may finally feel at home in their own skin. But the general availability of synthetic androgens, estrogens and progesterone draws on Modern laboratory biotechnology that Agamben’s biopolitics sees as invasive and unnatural.

    If Philosophy and the Humanities are to claim due legitimacy for present and future challenges, the collective conception of another positive biopolitics –based in the reality of our shared technical and biological circumstances–is absolutely essential. 

    Toward that, I conclude with another passage from The Revenge of The Real: “A laissez-faire vitalism for which “life will find a way” is not an option; it is a fairy tale of a comfortable class who don’t live with the daily agency of sewage landscapes and exposed corpses…” Instead, “(This positive) biopolitics is inclusive, materialist, restorative, rationalist, based on a demystified image of the human species, anticipating a future different from the one prescribed by many cultural traditions. It accepts the evolutionary entanglement of mammals and viruses. It accepts death as part of life. It therefore accepts the responsibilities of medical knowledge to prevent and mitigate unjust deaths and misery as something quite different from the nativist immunization of one population of people from another. This includes not just rights to individual privacy but also social obligations to participate in an active, planetary biological commons. It is, adamantly, a biopolitics in a positive and projective sense.”

    The pandemic is, potentially, a wake-up call that the new normal cannot be just the new old normal. This means a shift in how human societies —which are always planetary in reach and influence— make sense of themselves, model themselves and compose themselves. This is a project that is as philosophical as it is political. Failure is not an option.

    #Benjamin_Bratton #Agamben #Heidegger #philosophie #biopolitique #vitalisme #soin #pandémie #masques #covid-19

  • Home Thoughts for New Times
    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4699-home-thoughts-for-new-times

    Enzo Traverso on ’the Revolt of Nature’ and how #COVID-19 forces us to reconsider the blurred relationship between politics, economics, society and biology.

    The anthropological model established by pandemic policies—work from home, isolation, self-confinement—significantly corresponds with the concept of freedom defined by classical liberalism: the triumph of “negative” liberty (circumscribed into a purely individual realm) against “positive” liberty (collective action in a public sphere). This anthropological model is antipodal to both “commonality” and the culture of the left, which historically has been forged and transmitted through collective action. This means that we have to invent new practices able to replace, at least transitionally, the traditional forms of mass mobilization.

    #biopolitique #pandémie

  • Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities

    Emerging infectious disease has much to do with how and where we live. The ongoing coronavirus is an example of the close relationships between urban development and new or re-emerging infectious diseases.

    Like the SARS pandemic of 2003, the connections between accelerated urbanization, more far-reaching and faster means of transportation, and less distance between urban life and non-human nature due to continued growth at the city’s outskirts — and subsequent trans-species infection — became immediately apparent.

    The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, first crossed the animal-human divide at a market in Wuhan, one of the largest Chinese cities and a major transportation node with national and international connections. The sprawling megacity has since been the stage for the largest quarantine in human history, and its periphery has seen the pop-up construction of two hospitals to deal with infected patients.

    When the outbreak is halted and travel bans lifted, we still need to understand the conditions under which new infectious diseases emerge and spread through urbanization.
    No longer local

    Infectious disease outbreaks are global events. Increasingly, health and disease tend to be urban as they coincide with prolific urban growth and urban ways of life. The increased emergence of infectious diseases is to be expected.

    SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) hit global cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, Toronto and Singapore hard in 2003. COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, goes beyond select global financial centres and lays bare a global production and consumption network that sprawls across urban regions on several continents.

    To study the spread of disease today, we have to look beyond airports to the European automobile and parts industry that has taken root in central China; Chinese financed belt-and-road infrastructure across Asia, Europe and Africa; and in regional transportation hubs like Wuhan.

    While the current COVID-19 outbreak exposes China’s multiple economic connectivities, this phenomenon is not unique to that country. The recent outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, shone a light on the myriad strategic, economic and demographic relations of that country.
    New trade connections

    In January 2020, four workers were infected with SARS-CoV-2 during a training session at car parts company Webasto headquartered near Munich, revealing a connection with the company’s Chinese production site in Wuhan.

    The training was provided by a colleague from the Chinese branch of the firm who didn’t know she was infected. At the time of the training session in Bavaria, she did not feel sick and only fell ill on her flight back to Wuhan.

    First one, then three more colleagues who had participated in the training event in Germany, showed symptoms and soon were confirmed to have contracted the virus and infected other colleagues and family members.

    Eventually, Webasto and other German producers stopped fabrication in China temporarily, the German airline Lufthansa, like other airlines, cancelled all flights to that country and 110 individuals who had been contact traced to have been in touch with the four infected patients in Bavaria were advised by health officials to observe “domestic isolation” or “home quarantine.”

    This outbreak will likely be stopped. Until then, it will continue to cause human suffering and even death, and economic damage. The disease may further contribute to the unravelling of civility as the disease has been pinned to certain places or people. But when it’s over, the next such outbreak is waiting in the wings.
    Disease movements

    We need to understand the landscapes of emerging extended urbanization better if we want to predict, avoid and react to emerging disease outbreaks more efficiently.

    First, we need to grasp where disease outbreaks occur and how they relate to the physical, spatial, economic, social and ecological changes brought on by urbanization. Second, we need to learn more about how the newly emerging urban landscapes can themselves play a role in stemming potential outbreaks.

    Rapid urbanization enables the spread of infectious disease, with peripheral sites being particularly susceptible to disease vectors like mosquitoes or ticks and diseases that jump the animal-to-human species boundary.

    Our research identifies three dimensions of the relationships between extended urbanization and infectious disease that need better understanding: population change and mobility, infrastructure and governance.
    Travel and transport

    Population change and mobility are immediately connected. The coronavirus travelled from the periphery of Wuhan — where 1.6 million cars were produced last year — to a distant Bavarian suburb specializing in certain auto parts.

    Quarantined megacities and cruise ships demonstrate what happens when our globalized urban lives come grinding to a halt.

    Infrastructure is central: diseases can spread rapidly between cities through infrastructures of globalization such as global air travel networks. Airports are often located at the edges of urban areas, raising complex governance and jurisdictional issues with regards to who has responsibility to control disease outbreaks in large urban regions.

    We can also assume that disease outbreaks reinforce existing inequalities in access to and benefits from mobility infrastructures. These imbalances also influence the reactions to an outbreak. Disconnections that are revealed as rapid urban growth is not accompanied by the appropriate development of social and technical infrastructures add to the picture.

    Lastly, SARS-CoV-2 has exposed both the shortcomings and potential opportunities of governance at different levels. While it is awe-inspiring to see entire megacities quarantined, it is unlikely that such drastic measures would be accepted in countries not governed by centralized authoritarian leadership. But even in China, multilevel governance proved to be breaking down as local, regional and central government (and party) units were not sufficiently co-ordinated at the beginning of the crisis.

    This mirrored the intergovernmental confusion in Canada during SARS. As we enter another wave of megaurbanization, urban regions will need to develop efficient and innovative methods of confronting emerging infectious disease without relying on drastic top-down state measures that can be globally disruptive and often counter-productive. This may be especially relevant in fighting racism and intercultural conflict.

    The massive increase of the global urban population over the past few decades has increased exposure to diseases and posed new challenges to the control of outbreaks. Urban researchers need to explore these new relationships between urbanization and infectious disease. This will require an interdisciplinary approach that includes geographers, public health scientists, sociologists and others to develop possible solutions to prevent and mitigate future disease outbreaks.

    https://theconversation.com/outbreaks-like-coronavirus-start-in-and-spread-from-the-edges-of-ci
    #villes #urban_matter #géographie_urbaine #covid-19 #coronavirus #ressources_pédagogiques

    ping @reka

    • The Urbanization of COVID-19

      Three prominent urban researchers with a focus on infectious diseases explain why political responses to the current coronavirus outbreak require an understanding of urban dynamics. Looking back at the last coronavirus pandemic, the SARS outbreak in 2002/3, they highlight what affected cities have learned from that experience for handling the ongoing crisis. Exploring the political challenges of the current state of exception in Canada, Germany, Singapore and elsewhere, Creighton Connolly, Harris Ali and Roger Keil shed light on the practices of urban solidarity as the key to overcoming the public health threat.

      Guests:

      Creighton Connolly is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies and the Global South in the School of Geography, University of Lincoln, UK. He researches urban political ecology, urban-environmental governance and processes of urbanization and urban redevelopment in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Malaysia and Singapore. He is editor of ‘Post-Politics and Civil Society in Asian Cities’ (Routledge 2019), and has published in a range of leading urban studies and geography journals. Previously, he worked as a researcher in the Asian Urbanisms research cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore.

      Harris Ali is a Professor of Sociology, York University in Toronto. He researches issues in environmental sociology, environmental health and disasters including the social and political dimensions of infectious disease outbreaks. He is currently conducting research on the role of community-based initiatives in the Ebola response in Africa.

      Roger Keil is a Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University in Toronto. He researches global suburbanization, urban political ecology, cities and infectious disease, and regional governance. Keil is the author of “Suburban Planet” (Polity 2018) and editor of “Suburban Constellations” (Jovis 2013). A co-founder of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA), he was the inaugural director of the CITY Institute at York University and former co-editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

      Referenced Literature:

      Ali, S. Harris, and Roger Keil, eds. 2011. Networked disease: emerging infections in the global city. Vol. 44. John Wiley & Sons.

      Keil, Roger, Creighton Connolly, and Harris S. Ali. 2020. “Outbreaks like coronavirus start in and spread from the edges of cities.” The Conversation, February 17. Available online here: https://theconversation.com/outbreaks-like-coronavirus-start-in-and-spread-from-the-edges-of-ci

      https://urbanpolitical.podigee.io/16-covid19

    • Extended urbanisation and the spatialities of infectious disease: Demographic change, infrastructure and governance

      Emerging infectious disease has much to do with how and where we live. The recent COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is an example of the close relationships between urban development and new or re-emerging infectious diseases. Like the SARS pandemic of 2003, the connections between accelerated urbanisation, more expansive and faster means of transportation, and increasing proximity between urban life and non-human nature — and subsequent trans-species infections — became immediately apparent.

      Our Urban Studies paper contributes to this emerging conversation. Infectious disease outbreaks are now global events. Increasingly, health and disease tend to be urban as they coincide with the proliferation of planetary urbanisation and urban ways of life. The increased emergence of infectious diseases is to be expected in an era of extended urbanisation.

      We posit that we need to understand the landscapes of emerging extended urbanisation better if we want to predict, avoid and react to emerging disease outbreaks more efficiently. First, we need to grasp where disease outbreaks occur and how they relate to the physical, spatial, economic, social and ecological changes brought on by urbanisation. Second, we need to learn more about how the newly emerging urban landscapes can themselves play a role in stemming potential outbreaks. Rapid urbanisation enables the spread of infectious disease, with peripheral sites being particularly susceptible to disease vectors like mosquitoes or ticks and diseases that jump the animal-to-human species boundary.

      Our research identifies three dimensions of the relationships between extended urbanisation and infectious disease that need better understanding: population change and mobility, infrastructure and governance. Population change and mobility are immediately connected. Population growth in cities - driven primarily by rural-urban migration - is a major factor influencing the spread of disease. This is seen most clearly in rapidly urbanising regions such as Africa and Asia, which have experienced recent outbreaks of Ebola and SARS, respectively.

      Infrastructure is also central: diseases can spread rapidly between cities through infrastructures of globalisation such as global air travel networks. Airports are often located at the edges of urban areas, raising complex governance and jurisdictional issues with regards to who has responsibility to control disease outbreaks in large urban regions. We can also assume that disease outbreaks reinforce existing inequalities in access to and benefits from mobility infrastructures. We therefore need to consider the disconnections that become apparent as rapid demographic and peri-urban growth is not accompanied by appropriate infrastructure development.

      Lastly, the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed both the shortcomings and potential opportunities of governance at different levels. While it is awe-inspiring to see entire megacities quarantined, it is unlikely that such drastic measures would be accepted in countries not governed by centralised authoritarian leadership. But even in China, multilevel governance proved to be breaking down as local, regional and central government (and party) units were not sufficiently co-ordinated at the beginning of the crisis. This mirrored the intergovernmental confusion in Canada during SARS.

      As we enter another wave of megaurbanisation, urban regions will need to develop efficient and innovative methods of confronting emerging infectious disease without relying on drastic top-down state measures that can be globally disruptive and often ineffective. This urges upon urban researchers to seek new and better explanations for the relationships of extended urbanisation and the spatialities of infectious disease - an effort that will require an interdisciplinary approach including geographers, health scientists, sociologists.

      https://www.urbanstudiesonline.com/resources/resource/extended-urbanisation-and-the-spatialities-of-infectious-disease
      #géographie_de_la_santé #maladies_infectieuses

    • Cities after coronavirus: how Covid-19 could radically alter urban life

      Pandemics have always shaped cities – and from increased surveillance to ‘de-densification’ to new community activism, Covid-19 is doing it already.

      Victoria Embankment, which runs for a mile and a quarter along the River Thames, is many people’s idea of quintessential London. Some of the earliest postcards sent in Britain depicted its broad promenades and resplendent gardens. The Metropolitan Board of Works, which oversaw its construction, hailed it as an “appropriate, and appropriately civilised, cityscape for a prosperous commercial society”.

      But the embankment, now hardwired into our urban consciousness, is entirely the product of pandemic. Without a series of devastating global cholera outbreaks in the 19th century – including one in London in the early 1850s that claimed more than 10,000 lives – the need for a new, modern sewerage system may never have been identified. Joseph Bazalgette’s remarkable feat of civil engineering, which was designed to carry waste water safely downriver and away from drinking supplies, would never have materialised.

      From the Athens plague in 430BC, which drove profound changes in the city’s laws and identity, to the Black Death in the Middle Ages, which transformed the balance of class power in European societies, to the recent spate of Ebola epidemics across sub-Saharan Africa that illuminated the growing interconnectedness of today’s hyper-globalised cities, public health crises rarely fail to leave their mark on a metropolis.
      Coronavirus: the week explained - sign up for our email newsletter
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      As the world continues to fight the rapid spread of coronavirus, confining many people to their homes and radically altering the way we move through, work in and think about our cities, some are wondering which of these adjustments will endure beyond the end of the pandemic, and what life might look like on the other side.

      One of the most pressing questions that urban planners will face is the apparent tension between densification – the push towards cities becoming more concentrated, which is seen as essential to improving environmental sustainability – and disaggregation, the separating out of populations, which is one of the key tools currently being used to hold back infection transmission.

      “At the moment we are reducing density everywhere we can, and for good reason,” observes Richard Sennett, a professor of urban studies at MIT and senior adviser to the UN on its climate change and cities programme. “But on the whole density is a good thing: denser cities are more energy efficient. So I think in the long term there is going to be a conflict between the competing demands of public health and the climate.”

      Sennett believes that in the future there will be a renewed focus on finding design solutions for individual buildings and wider neighbourhoods that enable people to socialise without being packed “sardine-like” into compressed restaurants, bars and clubs – although, given the incredibly high cost of land in big cities like New York and Hong Kong, success here may depend on significant economic reforms as well.

      In recent years, although cities in the global south are continuing to grow as a result of inward rural migration, northern cities are trending in the opposite direction, with more affluent residents taking advantage of remote working capabilities and moving to smaller towns and countryside settlements offering cheaper property and a higher quality of life.

      The “declining cost of distance”, as Karen Harris, the managing director of Bain consultancy’s Macro Trends Group, calls it, is likely to accelerate as a result of the coronavirus crisis. More companies are establishing systems that enable staff to work from home, and more workers are getting accustomed to it. “These are habits that are likely to persist,” Harris says.

      The implications for big cities are immense. If proximity to one’s job is no longer a significant factor in deciding where to live, for example, then the appeal of the suburbs wanes; we could be heading towards a world in which existing city centres and far-flung “new villages” rise in prominence, while traditional commuter belts fade away.

      Another potential impact of coronavirus may be an intensification of digital infrastructure in our cities. South Korea, one of the countries worst-affected by the disease, has also posted some of the lowest mortality rates, an achievement that can be traced in part to a series of technological innovations – including, controversially, the mapping and publication of infected patients’ movements.

      In China, authorities have enlisted the help of tech firms such as Alibaba and Tencent to track the spread of Covid-19 and are using “big data” analysis to anticipate where transmission clusters will emerge next. If one of the government takeaways from coronavirus is that “smart cities” including Songdo or Shenzhen are safer cities from a public health perspective, then we can expect greater efforts to digitally capture and record our behaviour in urban areas – and fiercer debates over the power such surveillance hands to corporations and states.

      Indeed, the spectre of creeping authoritarianism – as emergency disaster measures become normalised, or even permanent – should be at the forefront of our minds, says Sennett. “If you go back through history and look at the regulations brought in to control cities at times of crisis, from the French revolution to 9/11 in the US, many of them took years or even centuries to unravel,” he says.

      At a time of heightened ethnonationalism on the global stage, in which rightwing populists have assumed elected office in many countries from Brazil to the US, Hungary and India, one consequence of coronavirus could be an entrenchment of exclusionary political narratives, calling for new borders to be placed around urban communities – overseen by leaders who have the legal and technological capacity, and the political will, to build them.

      In the past, after a widespread medical emergency, Jewish communities and other socially stigmatised groups such as those affected by leprosy have borne the brunt of public anger. References to the “China virus” by Donald Trump suggest such grim scapegoating is likely to be a feature of this pandemic’s aftermath as well.

      On the ground, however, the story of coronavirus in many global cities has so far been very different. After decades of increasing atomisation, particularly among younger urban residents for whom the impossible cost of housing has made life both precarious and transient, the sudden proliferation of mutual aid groups – designed to provide community support for the most vulnerable during isolation – has brought neighbours together across age groups and demographic divides. Social distancing has, ironically, drawn some of us closer than ever before. Whether such groups survive beyond the end of coronavirus to have a meaningful impact on our urban future depends, in part, on what sort of political lessons we learn from the crisis.

      The vulnerability of many fellow city dwellers – not just because of a temporary medical emergency but as an ongoing lived reality – has been thrown into sharp relief, from elderly people lacking sufficient social care to the low-paid and self-employed who have no financial buffer to fall back on, but upon whose work we all rely.

      A stronger sense of society as a collective whole, rather than an agglomeration of fragmented individuals, could lead to a long-term increase in public demands for more interventionist measures to protect citizens – a development that governments may find harder to resist given their readiness in the midst of coronavirus to override the primacy of markets.

      Private hospitals are already facing pressure to open up their beds without extra charge for those in need; in Los Angeles, homeless citizens have seized vacant homes, drawing support from some lawmakers. Will these kinds of sentiments dwindle with the passing of coronavirus, or will political support for urban policies that put community interests ahead of corporate ones – like a greater imposition of rent controls – endure?

      We don’t yet know the answer, but in the new and unpredictable connections swiftly being forged within our cities as a result of the pandemic, there is perhaps some cause for optimism. “You can’t ‘unknow’ people,” observes Harris, “and usually that’s a good thing.” Sennett thinks we are potentially seeing a fundamental shift in urban social relations. “City residents are becoming aware of desires that they didn’t realise they had before,” he says, “which is for more human contact, for links to people who are unlike themselves.” Whether that change in the nature of city living proves to be as lasting as Bazalgette’s sewer-pipe embankment remains, for now, to be seen.

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/life-after-coronavirus-pandemic-change-world
      #le_monde_d'après

    • Listening to the city in a global pandemic

      What’s the role of ‘academic experts’ in the debate about COVID-19 and cites, and how can we separate our expert role from our personal experience of being locked down in our cities and homes?

      This is a question we’ve certainly been struggling with at City Road, and we think it’s a question that a lot of academics are struggling with at the moment. Perhaps it’s a good time to listen to the experiences of academics as their cities change around them, rather than ask them to speak at us about their urban expertise. With this in mind, we asked academics from all over the world to open up the voice recorder on their phones and record a two minute report from the field about their city.

      Over 25 academics from all over the world responded. As you will hear, some of their recordings are not great quality, but their stories certainly are. Many of those who responded to our call are struggling , just like us, to make sense of their experience in the COVID-19 city.

      https://cityroadpod.org/2020/03/29/listening-to-the-city-in-a-global-pandemic

    • Ce que les épidémies nous disent sur la #mondialisation

      Bien que la première épidémie connue par une trace écrite n’ait eu lieu qu’en 430 avant J.-C. à Athènes, on dit souvent que les microbes, et les épidémies auxquels ils donnent lieu, sont aussi vieux que le monde. Mais le Monde est-il aussi vieux qu’on veutbien le dire ? Voici une des questions auxquelles l’étude des épidémies avec les sciences sociales permet d’apporter des éléments de réponse. Les épidémies ne sont pas réservées aux épidémiologistes et autres immunologistes. De grands géographes comme Peter Haggett ou Andrew Cliff ont déjà investi ce domaine, dans une optique focalisée sur les processus de diffusion spatiale. Il est possible d’aller au-delà de cette approche mécanique et d’appréhender les épidémies dans leurs interactions sociales. On verra ici qu’elles nous apprennent aussi beaucoup sur le Monde, sur l’organisation de l’espace mondial et sur la dimension sociétale du processus de mondialisation.

      http://cafe-geo.net/wp-content/uploads/epidemies-mondialisation.pdf
      #épidémie #globalisation

    • Città ai tempi del Covid

      Lo spazio pubblico urbano è uno spazio di relazioni, segnato dai corpi, dagli incontri, dalla casualità, da un ordine spontaneo che non può, se lo spazio è pubblico veramente, accettare altro che regole di buon senso e non di imposizione. È un palcoscenico per le vite di tutti noi, che le vogliamo in mostra o in disparte, protagonisti o comparse della commedia urbana e, come nella commedia, con un fondo di finzione ed un ombra di verità.
      Ma cosa accade se gli attori abbandonano la scena, se i corpi sono negati allo spazio? Come percepiamo quel che rimane a noi frequentabile di strade e piazze che normalmente percorriamo?

      Ho invitato gli studenti che negli anni hanno frequentato il seminario “Fotografia come strumento di indagine urbana”, ma non solo loro, ad inviarmi qualche immagine che documenta (e riflette su) spazio pubblico, città e loro stessi in questi giorni. Come qualcuno mi ha scritto sono immagini spesso letteralmente ‘rubate’, quasi sentendosi in colpa. Eppure documentare e riflettere è un’attività tanto più essenziale quanto la criticità si prolunga e tocca la vita di tutti noi.

      Appunti di viaggio – Iacopo Zetti Ho avuto modo, per una serie di evenienze, di attraversare Firenze di mattina e di sera. Aspettavo il silenzio ed infatti l’ho ascoltato. Il silenzio non è quello dei luoghi extraurbani. ...
      Inferriata – Eni Nurihana L’inferriata de balcone ricorda sempre di più le sbarre carcerarie 23 marzo 2020, 15:11
      Situazioni di necessità – Chiara Zavattaro Le strade della zona di Sant’Ambrogio a Firenze
      Ora d’aria – Antonella Zola Ho avuto la possibilità di scattare queste foto dopo 10 giorni di quarantena completa, in cui ho rinunciato a qualunque contatto con il mondo esterno. Alla fine sono dovuta uscire ...
      Firenze – Agnese Turchi Firenze - Agnese Turchi
      Nostalgia di Silenzi – Gabriele Pierini
      Il recinto – Laura Panichi In un libro che ho letto in questo periodo di “reclusione”, Haruki Murakami dice che quando si prova ad uscire da una gabbia alla fine si finisce sempre per trovarci ...
      Spazio solidale – Jacopo Lorenzini
      Castagneto Carducci – Cristian Farina Chissà se dall’alto qualcuno si è accorto che ci siamo fermati solo per un attimo Da lontano si scorgano i monumenti fermi nel tempo, quasi come noi, fermi nello spazio
      Firenze, mercoledì 18/03/20 ore 15.30 circa – Leonardo Ceccarelli Firenze, mercoledì 18/03/20 ore 15.30 circa - Leonardo Ceccarelli
      Firenze, marzo 2020 – Giulia D’Ercole Firenze, marzo 2020 - Giulia D’Ercole
      Feriale d’altri tempi – Dario Albamonte La mia fortuna è quella di vivere in campagna e di potermi muovere liberamente e avere molto spazio a disposizione senza varcare i confini di casa mia. Quello che mi ...
      L’architettura è fatta di mattoni e PERSONE – Laura Pagnotelli L’architettura è fatta di mattoni e PERSONE. Esse sono il fine ultimo del costruire, del dare vita a spazi sempre nuovi. Senza la loro presenza, dell’architettura non resta che una scatola vuota, priva ...
      Il traffico di Firenze – Veronica Capecchi Il Traffico di Firenze, oggi è scomparso, e lascia intravedere la città, profondamente diversa e silenziosa. Una città che è sempre viva, oggi priva della sua vitalità, dei suoi rumori, una ...
      Dalla finestra – Lucio Fiorentino Ho sentito dei rumori nella strada sotto la mia finestra e ho immaginato l’atmosfera scura di un film di Bergman, (goffamente) ho cercato di riprodurla Nel palazzo di fronte alla mia ...
      Livorno, 28 marzo – Giulia Bandini Luoghi affollati di ricordi vie trafficate di emozioni ormai vinte dal tempo ma vive nella mente di chi sa sperare forte
      Sesto Fiorentino: la piana senza smog – Alice Giordano Sesto Fiorentino: la piana senza smog - Alice Giordano
      Lari e Pontedera – Silvia Princi Ritorno alle origini – Perignano di Lari (Pi), 23 marzo 2020 La semina del trattore, rappresenta uno dei pochi segni di vitalità umana e meccanica,in questo periodo di quarantena e di ...
      A distanza sociale nel parco: Zurigo – Philipp Klaus A distanza sociale nel parco: Zurigo - Philipp Klaus
      Galleggiare in un mondo irreale – Alessio Prandin

      http://controgeografie.net/controgeografie/citta-ai-tempi-del-covid

    • Coronavirus Was Slow to Spread to Rural America. Not Anymore.

      Grace Rhodes was getting worried last month as she watched the coronavirus tear through New York and Chicago. But her 8,000-person hometown in Southern Illinois still had no reported cases, and her boss at her pharmacy job assured her: “It’ll never get here.”

      Now it has. A new wave of coronavirus cases is spreading deep into rural corners of the country where people once hoped their communities might be shielded because of their isolation from hard-hit urban centers and the natural social distancing of life in the countryside.

      The coronavirus has officially reached more than two-thirds of the country’s rural counties, with one in 10 reporting at least one death. Doctors and elected officials are warning that a late-arriving wave of illness could overwhelm rural communities that are older, poorer and sicker than much of the country, and already dangerously short on medical help.

      “Everybody never really thought it would get to us,” said Ms. Rhodes, 18, who is studying to become a nurse. “A lot of people are in denial.”

      With 42 states now urging people to stay at home, the last holdouts are the Republican governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has suggested that the stricter measures violated personal liberties, and she said her state’s rural character made it better positioned to handle the outbreak.

      “South Dakota is not New York City,” Ms. Noem said at a news conference last week.

      But many rural doctors, leaders and health experts worry that is exactly where their communities are heading, and that they will have fewer hospital beds, ventilators and nurses to handle the onslaught.

      “We’re behind the curve in rural America,” said Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, who said his state needs hundreds of thousands of masks, visors and gowns. “If they don’t have the protective equipment and somebody goes down and gets sick, that could close the hospital.”

      Rural nurses and doctors, scarce in normal times, are already calling out sick and being quarantined. Clinics are scrambling to find couriers who can speed their coronavirus tests to labs hundreds of miles away. The loss of 120 rural hospitals over the past decade has left many towns defenseless, and more hospitals are closing even as the pandemic spreads.

      Coronavirus illnesses and deaths are still overwhelmingly concentrated in cities and suburbs, and new rural cases have not exploded at the same rate as in some cities. But they are growing fast. This week, the case rate in rural areas was more than double what it was six days earlier.

      Deaths are being reported in small farming and manufacturing towns that barely had a confirmed case a week ago. Fourteen infections have been reported in the county encompassing Ms. Rhodes’s southern Illinois hometown of Murphysboro, and she recently quarantined with her parents, who are nurses, as a precaution after they got sick.

      Rich ski towns like Sun Valley, Idaho, and Vail, Colo., have some of the highest infection rates in the country, and are discouraging visitors and second homeowners from seeking refuge in the mountains. Indian reservations, which grapple daily with high poverty and inadequate medical services, are now confronting soaring numbers of cases.

      In some places, the virus has rushed in so suddenly that even leaders are falling ill. In the tiny county of Early in southwest Georgia, five people have died. And the mayor and the police chief of the county seat, Blakely, are among the county’s 92 confirmed cases. It has been a shock for the rural county of fewer than 11,000 people.

      “Being from a small town, you think it’s not going to touch us,” Blakely’s assistant police chief, Tonya Tinsley, said. “We are so small and tucked away. You have a perception that it’s in bigger cities.”

      That is all gone now.

      “You say, wait a minute, I know them!” she said. “It’s, like, oh my God, I knew them. I used to talk to them. I knew their family. Their kids. It’s a blow to the community each time.”

      Even a single local case has been enough to jolt some people out of the complacency of the earliest days of the virus, when President Trump spent weeks playing down the threat and many conservative leaders brushed it aside as politically driven hysteria.

      In Letcher County, Ky., which got its first case on Sunday, waiting for the disease to arrive has been unnerving. Brian Bowan, 48, likes the daily briefings by Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, and he is glad for the governor’s relatively early actions to close nonessential businesses. Without them, Mr. Bowan said, “we could have a really bad pandemic. We could be like California or New York.”

      In Mississippi, a mostly rural state, the virus had spread to nearly every county by April, with more than 1,000 cases and nearly two dozen deaths reported, causing health care workers to wonder, nervously, when the governor would issue a stay-at-home order. Last week, he finally did, and doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson breathed a sigh of relief.

      “There was this chatter today at the medical center, people saying ‘Oh thank goodness — we need this to get people to realize how serious this is,’ ” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, the hospital’s top executive.

      While Americans are still divided on whether they approve of how Mr. Trump has handled the crisis, the virus is uniting nearly everyone in the country with worry — urban and rural, liberal and conservative. More than 90 percent of Americans said the virus posed a threat to the country’s economy and public health, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted from March 19 to March 24.

      “Some of the petty things that would be in the news and on social media before have sort of fallen away,” said David Graybeal, a Methodist pastor in Athens, Tenn. “There’s a sense that we are really in this together. Now it’s, ‘How can we pull through this and support one another in this social distancing?’ ”

      In Mangum, Okla., a town of 6,000 in the western part of the state, it all started with a visit. A pastor from Tulsa appeared at a local church, but got sick shortly thereafter and became the state’s first Covid-19 fatality.

      Then somebody at the local church started to feel unwell — a person who eventually tested positive for coronavirus.

      “Then it was just a matter of time,” said Mangum’s mayor, Mary Jane Scott. Before realizing they were infected, several people who eventually tested positive for the virus had moved about widely through the city, including to the local nursing home, which now has a cluster of cases.

      Over all in the town, there are now three deaths and 26 residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus — one of the highest infection rates in rural America.

      “You’d think in rural Oklahoma, that we all live so far apart, but there’s one place where people congregate, and that’s at the nursing home,” she said. “I thought I was safe here in Southwest Oklahoma, I didn’t think there would be a big issue with it, and all of a sudden, bam.”

      Mangum now has an emergency shelter-in-place order and a curfew — just like larger towns and cities around the United States.

      Just as New Yorkers have gotten accustomed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily televised briefings, residents of Mangum have turned to the mayor’s Facebook page, where she livecasts status updates and advisories. On Monday night, it was the recommendation that residents use curbside pickup when going to Walmart, a broadcast that garnered more than 1,000 views in the hour after she posted it.

      “Since we have no newspaper, it’s the only way I know to get the word out,” she told viewers, after inviting them to contact her personally with any questions or concerns.

      She also has encouraged residents to step out onto their lawns each night at 7 p.m. where she leads them in a chorus of “God Bless America.”

      The virus has complicated huge swaths of rural life. Darvin Bentlage, a Missouri rancher, says he is having trouble selling his cattle because auctions have been canceled. In areas without reliable internet access, adults are struggling to work remotely and children are having to get assignments and school updates delivered to their door.

      Rural health providers are also challenged. A clinic in Stockton, Kan., turned to a local veterinarian for a supply of masks and gowns. One rural hospital in Lexington, Neb., was recently down to its last 500 swabs. Another in Batesville, Ind., was having its staff members store their used masks in plastic baggies in case they had to sterilize and reuse them. In Georgia, a peanut manufacturer in Blakely donated a washer and dryer to the local hospital for its handmade masks and gowns.

      The financial strain of gearing up to fight the coronavirus has put much pressure on cash-strapped rural hospitals. Many have canceled all non-emergency care like the colonoscopies, minor surgeries and physical therapy sessions that are a critical source of income.

      Last month, one hospital in West Virginia and another in Kansas shut their doors altogether.

      “It’s just absolutely crazy,” said Michael Caputo, a state delegate in Fairmont, W.Va., where the Fairmont Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in the county, closed in mid-March. “Across the country, they’re turning hotels and sports complexes into temporary hospitals. And here we’ve got a hospital where the doors are shut.”

      For now, there is an ambulance posted outside the emergency room, in case sick people show up looking for help.

      Michael Angelucci, a state delegate and the administrator of the Marion County Rescue Squad, said the hospital’s closure during the pandemic is already being felt.

      On March 23, emergency medics were called to take an 88-year-old woman with the coronavirus to the hospital, Mr. Angelucci said. Instead of making a quick drive to Fairmont Regional, about two minutes away, Mr. Angelucci said that the medics had to drive to the next-nearest hospital, about 25 minutes away. A few days later, she became West Virginia’s first reported coronavirus death.

      https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/08/us/coronavirus-rural-america-cases.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgty
      #cartographie #visualisation

    • Coronavirus in the city: A Q&A on the catastrophe confronting the urban poor

      ‘While all populations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not all populations are affected equally.’

      Health systems in the world’s megacities and crowded urban settlements are about to be put under enormous strain as the new coronavirus takes hold, with the estimated 1.2 billion people who live in informal slums and shanty-towns at particular risk.

      To understand more about the crisis confronting the urban poor, The New Humanitarian interviewed Robert Muggah, principal of The SecDev Group and co-founder of the Igarapé Institute, a think tank focused on urban innovation that has worked with the World Health Organisation to map pandemic threats and is supporting governments, businesses, and civil society groups to improve COVID-19 detection, response, and recovery.

      What has so far been a public healthcare crisis in mostly wealthier cities in East Asia, Europe, and the United States appears likely to become an even graver disaster for countries with far less resources in Latin America, Africa, and South Asia.

      Cities from Lagos to Mumbai to Rio de Janeiro have started locking down, but for residents of crowded slums the unenviable choice is often between a greater risk of catching and spreading disease or the certainty of hunger. Social distancing, self-isolation – handwashing even – are impossible luxuries.

      This interview, conducted by email on 29-30 March, has been edited for length and clarity.
      TNH: A lot has been made about the risks of coronavirus in crowded refugee and displacement camps – from Greece to Idlib. Do you feel the urban poor have been a little neglected?

      Robert Muggah: While all populations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not all populations are affected equally. Lower-income households and elderly individuals with underlying health conditions are particularly at-risk. Among the most vulnerable categories are the homeless, migrants, refugees, and displaced people. In some US cities, for example, undocumented migrants are fearful of being tested or going to the hospital for fear of forcible detainment, separation from their families, and deportation. In densely populated informal settlements and displaced person camps, there is a higher likelihood of infection because of the difficulties of social distancing. The limited testing, detection, isolation, and hospitalisation capacities in these settings mean we can expect a much higher rate of direct and excess mortality. The implications are deeply worrying.

      The COVID-19 pandemic is a totalising event – affecting virtually every country, city and neighbourhood on the planet. It is also laying open the social and economic fault lines in our urban spaces. Predictably, many governments, businesses, and societies are looking inward, seeking to shore up their own health capacities and provide for their populations through aid and assistance. Yet the virus is revealing the extent of economic and social inequalities within many countries, including among OECD members. In the process, it is exposing the deficiencies of the social contract and the ways in which certain people – especially the elderly, poor, homeless, displaced – are systematically at-risk. While media attention is growing, there is comparatively limited investment in protecting refugees and displaced people facing infectious disease outbreaks. As public awareness of the sheer scale of infection, hospitalisation, and case fatalities becomes clearer in lower- and middle-income settings, we can expect this to change; at which point it may be too late.
      TNH: Can you give us a sense of the scale of the problem in the world’s megacities and slums, where social distancing and self-isolation are a fantasy for many?

      Muggah: According to the UN, there are about 33 megacities with 10 million or more people. There are another 48 cities with between five and 10 million. Compare this to the 1950s when there were just three megacities. Most of these massive cities are located in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Many of them are characterised by a concentrated metropolitan core and a sprawling periphery of informal settlements, including shanty-towns, slums, and favelas. Roughly 1.2 billion people live in densely packed informal settlements characterised by poor quality housing, limited basic services, and poor sanitation. While suffering from stigmas, these settlements tend to be a critical supply of labour for cities, an unsatisfactory answer to the crisis in housing availability and affordability. A challenge now facing large cities is that, owing to years of neglect, informal settlements are essentially “off the grid”, and as such, difficult to monitor and service.

      There are many reasons why large densely populated slums are hotbeds for the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious disease outbreaks. In many cases, there are multiple households crammed into tiny tenements making social distancing virtually impossible. In Dharavi, Mumbai’s largest slum, there are 850,000 people per square mile. Most inhabitants of informal settlements lack access to medical and health services, making it difficult to track cases and isolate people who are infected. A majority of the people living in these areas depend on the services and informal economies, including jobs, that are most vulnerable to termination when cities are shut down and the economy begins to slow. Strictly enforced isolation won’t just lead to diminished quality of life, it will result in starvation. A large proportion of residents also frequently suffer from chronic illnesses – including respiratory infections, cancer, diabetes, and obesity – increasing susceptibility to COVID-19. These comorbidities will contribute to soaring excess deaths.

      All of these challenges are compounded by the systemic neglect and stigmatisation of these communities by the political and economic elite. Violence has already erupted in Ethiopia, Kenya, India, Liberia, and South Africa as police enforce quarantines. In Brazil, drug trafficking organisations and militia groups are enforcing social distancing and self isolation in lieu of the state authorities. In Australia, Europe, and the United States, racist and xenophobic incidents spiked against people of Asian descent. There is a real risk that governments ramp up hardline tactics and repression against marginalised populations, especially those living in lower-income communities, shanty-towns, and refugee and displaced person camps.
      TNH: How seriously were international aid agencies and other humanitarian actors taking calls to scale up urban preparedness and response before this pandemic, and to what extent is COVID-19 a wake-up call?

      Muggah: The global humanitarian aid sector was aware of the threat of a global pandemic. For more than a decade the WHO, several university and research centres, and organisations such as the CDC, the Wellcome Trust, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have publicly warned about the catastrophic risks of pandemic outbreaks. The international community experienced a series of jolting wake-up calls with SARS, H1N1, Ebola, and other major epidemics over the past 20 years, though these were typically confined to specific regions and were generally rapidly contained. Although fears of potential outbreaks emerging from China were widely acknowledged, the sheer speed and scale of COVID-19 seems to have caught most governments, and the aid community, by surprise.

      With notable exceptions such as Singapore or Taiwan, there has not been major investment in preparing cities for dealing with pandemics, however. Most attention has been focused on national capacities, and less on the specific capabilities of urban governments, health and social safety-net services. Together with Georgetown University’s Center for Health Sciences and Security, the Igarape Institute highlighted the importance of networks of mayors to share information and strategies in 2018. This call was highlighted by the Global Parliament of Mayors in 2018 and 2019. Starting in March 2020, the Bloomberg Foundation established a mayors network focusing on pandemic preparedness in the US. The Mayors Migration Council, World Economic Forum, and UN-Habitat are also looking to ramp up assistance to cities. What is also needed are systems to support mayors, city managers, and health providers in lower- and middle-income countries.
      TNH: Part of the problem is that cities are unfamiliar territory for humanitarian responders, with many new actors to deal with, from local governments to gangs. What relationships and skill sets do they need to cultivate?

      Muggah: Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, many humanitarian agencies were already refocusing some of their operations toward urban settings. International organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Oxfam set up policies and procedures for engaging in cities. There is a growing recognition across the relief and development sectors of the influence and impacts of urbanisation on their operations and beneficiary populations. This is more radical than it sounds. For at least half a century, most aid work was predominantly rural-focused. This was not surprising since most people in developing countries lived in rural or semi-rural areas. This has changed dramatically, however, with more than half of the world’s population now living in cities. Over the next 30 years, roughly 90 percent of all urbanisation will be occurring in lower- and middle-income countries – predominantly in Africa and Asia. The aid community only started to recognise these trends relatively recently.

      Working in urban settings requires changes in how many international and national aid agencies operate. For one, it often depends less on direct than indirect delivery, working in partnership with municipal service providers. It also requires less visible branding and marketing strategies, shoring up the legitimacy of public and non-governmental providers with less focus on the contribution of relief agencies. In some cases, aid agencies are also required to work with, or alongside, non-state providers, including armed groups. For example, in some Brazilian, Colombian, and Mexican cities organised crime and self-defence groups are engaged in social service provision, raising complex questions for aid providers about whether and how to support vulnerable communities. Similar challenges confronted aid agencies working to provide relief in Ebola-stricken villages in eastern DRC.

      A diverse range of skill sets is required to navigate support to cities affected by epidemics, including COVID-19. Some cities may need accounting assistance and expertise in budgeting to help them rapidly procure essential services. Other cities may require epidemiological and engineering capabilities to help develop rapid detection and surveillance, as well as “surge” capacity including emergency hospitals, clinics, and treatment centres. A robust communications and public outreach strategy is essential, particularly since uncertainty can contribute to social unease and even disorder. Moreover, rapid resource injections to help cities provide safety nets to the most vulnerable populations are critical, particularly as existing resources will be redirected to shoring up critical infrastructure and recurrent expenses will be difficult to cover owing to reduced tax revenue.

      TNH: Name three things aid agencies need to do quickly to get to grips with this?

      Muggah: There are a vast array of priorities for aid agencies in the context of pandemics. At a minimum, they must rapidly coordinate with public, private, and non-governmental partners to ensure they are effectively contributing rather than creating redundancy or unintentionally undermining local responses. Humanitarian organisations must also act rapidly, especially in the face of an exponential crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Agencies cannot let perfection be the enemy of the good, and focus on delivering with speed and efficiency, albeit while being mindful of the coordination challenges above. Aid agencies must also be attentive to the health, safety, and wellbeing of their own personnel and partners – they must avoid at all costs becoming a burden to hospital systems that are already overwhelmed by the crisis.

      The first thing aid agencies can do is reach out to frontline cities and assess basic needs and their organizational potential to contribute. A range of priorities are likely, including the importance of ensuring there are adequate tests kits and testing capacities, sufficient trained health professionals, medical supplies (including ICU and ventilation capacities), and related equipment for frontline workers. Providing supplementary capacity as needed is essential. Consider that in South Sudan there are believed to be just two ventilators, and in Liberia there are reportedly only three. Other critical priorities are ensuring the integrity of the local food supply and attention to critical infrastructure. This may involve deploying a surveillance system for monitoring critical supplies, providing supplementary cash and food assistance without disrupting local prices, and ensuring a capability to rapidly address distribution disruption as they arise. Aid agencies can also help leverage resources to settings that are neglected, helping mobilise funds and/or in-kind support for over-taxed public services.
      TNH: Cities like Singapore and Taipei, Hangzhou in China – to an extent Seoul – have had some success in containing COVID-19. What can other cities learn from their approaches?

      Muggah: Cities that are open, transparent, collaborative, and adopt comprehensive responses tend to be better equipped to manage infectious disease outbreaks than those that are not. While still too early to declare a success, the early response of South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan to the COVID-19 pandemic stands out. Both Taipei and Singapore applied the lessons from past pandemics and had the investigative capacities, testing and detection services, health systems and, importantly, the right kind of leadership in place to rapidly take decisive action. They were able to flatten the pandemic curve through early detection thus keeping their health systems from becoming rapidly overwhelmed.

      Not surprisingly, cities that have robust governance and health infrastructure in place are in a better position to manage pandemics and lower case fatality rates (CFR) and excess mortality than those that do not. Adopting a combination of proactive surveillance, routine communication, rapid isolation, and personal and community protection (e.g. social distancing) measures is critical. Many of these very same measures were adopted by the Chinese city of Hangzhou within days of the discovery of the virus. Likewise, the number, quality, and accessibility (and surge capacity) of hospitals, internal care units, hospital beds, IV solution and respirators can determine whether a city effectively manages a pandemic, or not. The SecDev Group is exploring the development of an urban pandemic preparedness index to help assess health capacities as well as social and economic determinants of health. A digital tool that provides rapid insights on vulnerabilities will be key not just to planning for the current pandemic, but also the next one.
      TNH: You’ve spoken in the past about the need to develop a pandemic preparedness index. INFORM has one and Georgetown Uni has a health security assessment tool. Are these useful? What is missing?

      Muggah: The extent of a city’s preparedness depends on its capacity to prevent, detect, respond, and care for patients. This means having action plans, staff, and budgets in place for rapid response. It also requires having access to laboratories to test for infectious disease and real-time monitoring and reporting of infectious clusters as they occur. The ability to communicate and implement emergency response plans is also essential, as is the availability, quality and accessibility of hospitals, clinics, care facilities, and essential equipment.

      To this end, the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University has created an evaluation tool – the Rapid Urban Health Security Assessment (RUHSA) – as a resource for assessing local-level public health preparedness and response capacities. The RUHSA draws from multiple guidance and evaluation tools. It was designed precisely to help city decision-makers prioritise, strengthen, and deploy strategies that promote urban health security. These kinds of platforms need to be scaled, and quickly.

      There is widespread recognition that a preparedness index would be useful. In November of 2019, the Global Parliament of Mayors issued a call for such a platform. It called for funding from national governments to develop crucial public health capacities and to develop networks to disseminate trusted information. The mayors also committed to achieving at least 80 percent vaccination coverage, reducing the spread of misinformation, improving health literacy, and sharing information on how to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious disease. A recent article published with Rebecca Katz provides some insights into what this might look like.
      TNH: All cities are not equal in this. Without a global rundown, do you have particular concerns for certain places – because they are transmission hubs that might be hit worse, or due to existing insecurity and instability?

      Cities are vulnerable both to the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19. For example, cities with a higher proportion of elderly and inter-generational mingling are especially at risk of higher infection, hospitalisation, and case fatality rates. This explains why the pandemic has been so destructive in certain Italian, Spanish, and certain US cities in Florida and New York where there is a higher proportion of elderly and frequent travel and interaction between older and younger populations. By contrast, early detection, prevention, and containment measures such as those undertaken in Japanese, South Korean, and Taiwanese cities helped flatten the curve. Yet even when health services have been overwhelmed in wealthier cities, they tend to have more capable governments and more extensive safety nets and supply chains to lessen the secondary effects on the economy and market.

      Many cities in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America are facing much greater direct and indirect threats from the COVID-19 pandemic than their counterparts in North America, Western Europe, or East Asia. Among the most at-risk are large and secondary cities in fragile and conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, DRC, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela. There, health surveillance and treatment capacities are already overburdened and under-resourced. While the populations tend to be younger, many are facing households that are already under- or malnourished and the danger of comorbidity is significant. Consider the case of Uganda, which has one ICU bed for every one million people (compared to the United States, which has one ICU bed for every 2,800 people). Specific categories of people – especially those living in protracted refugee or internal displacement camps – are among the most vulnerable. There are also major risks in large densely populated cities and slums such as Lagos, Dhaka, Jakarta, Karachi, Kolkata, Manila, Nairobi, or Rio de Janeiro where the secondary effects, including price shocks and repressive police responses, as well as explosive protests from jails, could lead to social and political unrest.
      TNH: The coronavirus itself is the immediate risk, but what greater risks do you see coming down the track for poorer people in urban settings?

      Muggah: The most significant threat of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be from the mortality and morbidity from infections, but the political and economic fallout from the crisis. While not as infectious or lethal as other diseases, the virus is obviously devastating for population health. It is not just people dying from respiratory illnesses and organ failures linked to the virus, but also the excess deaths from people who are unable to access treatment and care for existing diseases. We can expect several times more excess deaths than the actual caseload of people killed by the coronavirus itself. The lost economic productivity from these premature deaths and the associated toll on health systems and care-givers will be immense.

      “The most significant threat of the COVID-19 pandemic may not be from the mortality and morbidity from infections, but the political and economic fallout from the crisis.”

      COVID-19 is affecting urban populations in different ways and at different speeds. The most hard-hit groups are the urban poor, undocumented migrants, and displaced people who lack basic protections such as regular income or healthcare. Many of these people are already living in public or informal housing in under-serviced neighbourhoods experiencing concentrated disadvantage. The middle class will also experience severe impacts as the service economy grinds to a halt, schools and other services are shuttered, and mobility is constrained. Wealthier residents can more easily self-isolate either in cities or outside of them, and usually have greater access to private health alternatives. But all populations will face vulnerabilities if critical infrastructure – including health, electricity, water, and sanitation services – start to fail. Cut-backs in service provision will generate first discomfort and then outright protest.

      Most dangerous of all is the impact of COVID-19 on political and economic stability. The pandemic is generating both supply and demand shocks that are devastating for producers, retailers, and consumers. Wealthier governments will step in to enact quantitative easing and basic income where they can, but many will lack the resources to do so. As income declines and supply chains dry up, panic, unrest, and instability are real possibilities. The extent of these risks depend on how long the pandemic endures and when vaccinations or effective antivirals are developed and distributed. Governments are reluctant to tell their populations about the likely duration, not just because of uncertainties, but because the truth could provoke civil disturbance. These risks are compounded by the fact that many societies already exhibit a low level of trust and confidence in their governments.

      https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/interview/2020/04/01/coronavirus-cities-urban-poor

    • Les enjeux économiques de la #résilience_urbaine

      La notion de #résilience pour qualifier la capacité d’une ville à affronter un #choc, y compris économique, n’est pas nouvelle, mais elle revêt, en pleine crise du coronavirus, une dimension toute particulière.

      Les villes, en tant que #systèmes_urbains, ont toujours été au cœur des bouleversements que les sociétés ont connus. Pour autant, les fondements du paradigme économique qui gouverne les villes sont restés les mêmes. L’essor des capacités productives exportatrices et l’accroissement des valeurs ajoutées guident encore l’action locale en matière d’#économie.
      Corollaire d’un monde globalisé qui atteint ses limites, la crise sanitaire ébranle ces fondamentaux et en demande une révision profonde. Ainsi, au cœur de la crise, les ambitions de #relocalisation_industrielle, de #souveraineté_économique, d’#autonomie_alimentaire semblent avoir remplacé (au moins temporairement) celles liées à la #croissance et à la #compétitivité.

      https://www.pug.fr/produit/1798/9782706148668/les-enjeux-economiques-de-la-resilience-urbaine
      #livre #Magali_Talandier

    • #Eurasian_Geography_and_Economics is publishing a series of critical commentaries on the covid-19 pandemic, with some urban dimensions.

      These will be collated in issue 61(4) of the journal but will appear online first.

      The first two are currently OA on the journal webpage at: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rege20/current?nav=tocList

      Xiaoling Chen (2020) Spaces of care and resistance in China: public engagement during the COVID-19 outbreak, Eurasian Geography and Economics, DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2020.1762690

      As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the approach of the Chinese government remains under the spotlight, obscuring the complex landscape of responses to the outbreak within the country. Drawing upon the author’s social media experiences as well as textual analysis of a wide range of sources, this paper explores how the Chinese public responded to the outbreak in complex and nuanced ways through social media. The findings challenge conventional views of Chinese social media as simply sites of self-censorship and surveillance. On the contrary, during the COVID-19 outbreak, social media became spaces of active public engagement, in which Chinese citizens expressed care and solidarity, engaged in claim-making and resistance, and negotiated with authorities. This paper situates this public engagement within a broader context of China’s health-care reforms, calling attention to persistent structural and political issues, as well as the precarious positionalities of health-care workers within the health system.

      Xuefei Ren (2020) Pandemic and lockdown: a territorial approach to COVID-19 in China, Italy and the United States, Eurasian Geography and Economics, DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2020.1762103

      Three months into the Covid-19 crisis, lockdown has become a global response to the pandemic. Why have so many countries resorted to lockdown? How is it being implemented in different places? Why have some places had more success with lockdowns and others not? What does the effectiveness of lockdowns tell us about the local institutions entrusted with enforcing them? This paper compares how lockdown orders have been implemented in China, Italy, and the U.S. The analysis points to two major factors that have shaped the enforcement: tensions between national and local governments, and the strength of local territorial institutions.

    • Pourquoi Bergame ? Le virus au bout du territoire

      La région de #Bergame en Italie a été l’un des foyers les plus actifs du coronavirus en Europe. Marco Cremaschi remet en cause les lectures opposant de manière dualiste villes et campagnes et souligne la nécessité de repenser la gouvernance de ces territoires d’entre-deux.

      L’urbanisme a de longue date et durablement été influencé par les épidémies. Depuis le Moyen Âge, la peste et le choléra ont contribué à sédimenter un ensemble de critiques dirigées contre la densité et la promiscuité caractéristiques du mode de vie urbain. Particulièrement prégnante aux débuts de la recherche urbaine au XIXe siècle, sous l’influence du mouvement hygiéniste (Barles 1999), cette hypothèse anti-urbaine a régulièrement refait surface au gré des crises sanitaires. C’est ainsi presque naturellement qu’elle a été réactivée en lien avec la diffusion mondiale du Covid-19, y compris au cœur des sciences sociales.

      Selon certains géographes, la cause de la pandémie serait ainsi à chercher dans la « métropolisation du monde » (Faburel 2020), concept catch-all qui désigne à la fois la densification, le surpeuplement, la promiscuité des modes de vie uniformisés et la surmodernité ; en somme, tout ce qui nous aurait éloignés de la « nature ». Pourtant, si l’on exclut les situations de surpeuplement extrême de quelques mégapoles des pays en développement, rien n’indique que la densité de population soit un bon indicateur des relations humaines et en dernière analyse de la propagation des maladies. En effet, comme l’a déjà amplement montré la critique faite à la thèse « écologique » (Offner 2020), les caractéristiques de l’environnement physique ne reflètent que marginalement la culture et les modes de vie. Ce n’est qu’au niveau de la coprésence physique, telle qu’on la trouve dans les transports en commun, que la densité de la population conduit directement à une intensification des contacts humains.

      Cet article ne prétend pas avancer d’hypothèses épidémiologiques relatives aux modes socio-spatiaux de transmission du Covid-19 : en la matière, la prudence est de mise en raison de la modestie des éléments empiriques disponibles. Son objet est plutôt de proposer une description du territoire bergamasque à l’aune des grilles de lecture contemporaines de l’urbain et des grands modèles interprétatifs mobilisés actuellement dans le débat public – et d’en souligner ainsi les limites. Ni métropole, ni campagne, la région de Bergame en Italie a en effet été l’un des foyers les plus actifs du virus en Europe, et les conséquences de l’épidémie y ont été dramatiques.

      Cette description montre les limites des modèles interprétatifs binaires et suggère d’analyser, au-delà des causes de la pandémie, l’influence indirecte de la « formation socio-territoriale » (Bagnasco 1994), c’est-à-dire de la manière dont une société évolue et change dans les structures de la longue durée, bien plus probante que la densité ou la présumée uniformisation métropolitaine.
      Un entre-deux territorial

      La crise a commencé officiellement le dimanche 23 février à l’hôpital d’Alzano, à six kilomètres de Bergame : deux cas de Covid-19 sont identifiés. En dix jours, la situation s’est dégradée au-delà des prévisions les plus alarmistes. Au mois de mars, 5 400 décès ont été répertoriés dans la province, contre 900 en moyenne les trois années précédentes (Invernizzi 2020). La mortalité a donc été multipliée par six ; dans certaines municipalités, comme Alzano et Nembro, elle est même dix fois supérieure à la moyenne.

      Située au cœur de la Lombardie, région la plus riche et la plus urbanisée d’Italie (et l’une des plus riches d’Europe), à cinquante kilomètres au nord-est de Milan, la province de Bergame rassemble en 2020 un peu plus d’un million d’habitants (dont 120 000 seulement dans la ville-centre). Elle est marquée par une situation d’entre-deux territorial : ce n’est ni une métropole ni une simple ville moyenne environnée d’un pays rural ; ce n’est ni une centralité ni une périphérie marginale ; son économie prospère est fortement industrielle, à la fois ancrée localement et insérée dans les réseaux économiques mondiaux.

      Le modèle de développement bergamasque résiste aux grilles de lecture opposant de manière dualiste villes et campagnes, métropoles mondialisées et ancrage local, densité et dispersion. Il ne peut être qualifié de « périurbain », en raison de la vitalité de ses centres secondaires ; il est sensiblement plus dense que la città diffusa du nord-est de l’Italie, vaste région sans centre dominant parsemée de maisons individuelles et de petites entreprises (Indovina 1990) ; et son industrialisation est bien plus ancienne et ses entreprises plus grandes et plus robustes que ceux des « districts industriels » de l’Italie centrale (Rivière et Weber 2006).

      La population, en faible croissance depuis trois décennies, est moins âgée que la moyenne de la région. Un fort attachement territorial s’adosse à une faible mobilité géographique : environ trois quarts des habitants sont nés dans des municipalités voisines ou dans la région. Mais depuis l’après-guerre, le développement économique fulgurant a suscité une immigration de main-d’œuvre, notamment depuis l’étranger (environ 7 % de la population est d’origine étrangère en 2016). L’émergence de nouveaux besoins, liés notamment au vieillissement de la population (aides à domicile, soignants), a entraîné plus récemment une diversification des origines nationales des habitants.

      Une urbanisation par bandes linéaires

      Dans les communes de Alzano et Nembro, et en général dans la vallée Seriana, le bâti est dense [1], à peu près cinquante habitants par hectare (Lameri et al. 2016), mais entrecoupé de nombreux espaces ouverts, souvent des jardins avec des potagers, tandis que les champs interstitiels encore cultivés au début des années 2000 ont presque complètement disparu. Sur la bande d’en haut, les flancs des collines, les anciens pâturages, cèdent la place aux bois en expansion. À l’exception des centres-villes anciens, où les maisons sont adossées les unes aux autres tout au long d’une rue principale, les bâtiments sont presque toujours érigés sur des parcelles individuelles et organisées selon des bandes parallèles au fond de la vallée, dans un espace particulièrement étroit.

      L’urbanisation du territoire bergamasque témoigne d’un mélange de connaissances anciennes et de techniques récentes qui permettent de mettre en valeur chaque centimètre carré. Chaque maison exploite ainsi les plis des règles de construction et la pente de la vallée, sur la base d’un savoir local difficile à standardiser : un garage accessible depuis la rue du bas, la cour depuis celle située au-dessus, un étage supplémentaire sous les combles.

      Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, de nombreuses personnes ont restauré la cabane de leurs grands-parents dans la bande urbanisée près des pâturages et ont construit la maison de leurs enfants dans la bande inférieure, en investissant les fruits du travail industriel : c’est la génération qui était jeune pendant les trente glorieuses qui est aujourd’hui décimée par le virus, avec les conséquences dramatiques en matière de mémoire et de perte culturelle que l’on peut imaginer (Barcella 2020).

      Il ne s’agit donc pas d’une ville linéaire, mais d’une organisation urbaine par bandes linéaires. Les rues sont les repères de ce ruban urbain, qui fait l’effet d’un code-barres vu d’en haut : si vous le « coupez » perpendiculairement, vous y rencontrez en premier la zone habitée la plus ancienne, disposée tout le long de ce qui était autrefois la route romaine puis vénitienne ; en parallèle, se trouvent l’ancienne et la nouvelle route départementales, en alternance avec les fossés industriels du XIXe siècle.

      De la première mondialisation à la métropole régionale

      L’industrialisation commence au milieu du XIXe siècle : des protestants suisses et des industriels milanais trouvent dans la vallée des ressources en eau bon marché et s’approprient et complètent le réseau médiéval de canaux (Honegger fit l’histoire du textile, l’Italcementi celle du béton ; les usines de papier de Pigna, aujourd’hui propriété du groupe Buffetti, y ont déménagé en 1919 en provenance de Milan). Ces industries s’installent dans le lit majeur du fleuve et occupent l’autre rive, souvent inondée jusqu’au milieu du XXe siècle. Le coût environnemental de ce développement est considérable : destruction de terres agricoles, pollution croissante, exploitation de la nappe phréatique.

      Entre Nembro et Albino, on peut observer le cœur du système productif bergamasque : des centaines de petites et moyennes entreprises se juxtaposent et font travailler près de 4 000 employés. C’est un système totalement intégré dans les réseaux de production mondiaux : l’entreprise Acerbis, par exemple, transforme la matière plastique en réservoirs et composants pour motos ; Persico produit les coques des bateaux de la Coupe de l’America ; Polini Motori est spécialisée dans les kits de mise à niveau pour les cycles et les motos.

      Ces entreprises génèrent un trafic incessant de voitures et de camions qui encombrent l’ancienne route nationale de Val Seriana, l’autoroute qui relie Cene à Nembro et atteint Seriate, et l’autoroute qui relie Venise à Milan. Depuis 2009, un tramway relie la vallée à la gare de Bergame et transporte environ 13 000 passagers par jour.

      Le mode de vie y dépend donc autant du réseau familial organisé dans le voisinage, autour du palier ou de l’autre côté de la rue, que de l’enchevêtrement des autoroutes et des lignes aériennes qui traversent la région et mènent presque partout en quelques heures : Bergamo Orio al Serio est en effet le siège du hub italien de Ryanair et le troisième aéroport du pays, 17 millions de passagers par an et des liaisons avec le monde entier.
      Le système territorial bergamasque face au Covid-19

      L’hypermobilité (Verdeil 2020) est une des clés pour comprendre l’effet de la pandémie sur ces municipalités qui sont en même temps villageoises et métropolitaines : un exemple tragique est l’itinéraire de vacances d’un couple, elle d’Alzano, lui de Nembro, parti en vacances à La Havane le 29 février et terrassé par la maladie à Madrid le 19 mars (Nava 2020).

      Mais les contacts humains dépendent de nombreux autres facteurs, comme l’interdépendance (Baratier 2020) liée aux formes sociales et culturelles. En effet, la forme des établissements humains (la sociabilité, l’organisation spatiale, les institutions) a une influence importante, et la densité n’est plus la bonne mesure. Il semble que la sociabilité augmente les contacts sociaux qui répandent le virus, tandis que les nœuds infrastructuraux les démultiplient sur des échelles territoriales variées. Toutefois, les institutions de ces territoires n’ont aucune capacité de gouverner les effets croisés de ces différents facteurs. Du point de vue territorial, cette pandémie est une nouvelle manifestation de la discontinuité entre le politique et le territoire, qui s’était déjà manifestée bien avant le coronavirus.

      On pourrait même émettre l’hypothèse contraire, selon laquelle le modèle métropolitain est plus efficace dans la gestion de distances sociales et sa gouvernance plus résiliente face au risque de propagation liée à la sociabilité de province : les distances physiques sont mieux respectées, les institutions ont un accès privilégié aux réseaux mondiaux, et si les nœuds de transports y sont plus fréquentés, la mobilité des habitants des campagnes s’étale sur des échelles bien plus vastes.

      Comme nous ne disposons pas de données stabilisées, nous ne savons pas si la crise du virus s’ajoute à la déconnexion entre la sociabilité individualiste, les réseaux technologiques indifférents à l’environnement et les institutions, ou si elle est générée par cette déconnexion. Ce qui est certain, c’est que la région de Bergame additionne et multiplie les risques et les limites qui sont propres à la sociabilité paysanne, aux nœuds infrastructuraux urbains et aux institutions métropolitaines.

      Une fois l’urgence passée, cette crise devrait conduire à ouvrir une réflexion critique sur la gouvernance de ces territoires intermédiaires. L’examen des éléments proposés ci-dessus montre que la densité, la concentration, la promiscuité ne sont pas des indicateurs suffisants de l’uniformité du modèle de développement ; il indique également le rôle à multiples facettes des formations socio-territoriales.

      Si on doit reconnaître que le monde est urbain, comme l’a montré Henri Lefebvre, on peut sans doute questionner la métropole sans ignorer la variété de projets de métropolisation ou de rapprochement de la nature dans les différentes régions du monde. On n’a pas encore une explication exhaustive des causes de l’origine du virus, et encore moins de sa propagation : les hypothèses sous examen considèrent les déséquilibres environnementaux, les maladies pulmonaires, la capacité de réponse, les modèles de santé autant que la proximité et la distance physique. Tout résumer sous l’étiquette de métropolisation risque de ressusciter la mythologie des grandes explications, quand les spécificités des territoires réclament l’accompagnement des sociétés locales par l’étude et la compréhension de leur diversité.

      Bibliographie

      Angel, S., Parent, J., Civco D. L. et Blei, A. M. 2012. Atlas of Urban Expansion, Cambridge : Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.
      Bagnasco, A. 1994. Fatti sociali formati nello spazio : cinque lezioni di sociologia urbana e regionale, Milan : Franco Angeli.
      Baratier, J. 2020. « Pandémie, résilience, villes : deux ou trois choses que nous savons d’elles », Linkedin [en ligne], 29 mars.
      Barcella, P. 2020. « Cartolina da Bergamo. Perché proprio qui ? », La Rivista del Mulino, 2 mars.
      Barles, S. 1999. La Ville délétère, Ceyzérieu : Champ Vallon.
      Faburel, G. 2020. « La métropolisation du monde est une cause de la pandémie », Reporterre [en ligne], 28 mars.
      Indovina, F. 1990. La città diffusa, Venise : Quaderno Iuav-DAEST.
      Invernizzi, I. 2020. « Coronavirus, il numero reale dei decessi : in Bergamasca 4.500 in un mese », L’Eco di Bergamo, 1er avril.
      Lameri, M. et al. 2016. Trampiù : studio delle esternalita’ territoriali generate dall’ipotesi di prolungamento della linea tranviaria T1 da Albino a Vertova, Bergame : TEB.
      Nava, F. 2020. « Mancata zona rossa nella bergamasca : storia di un contagio intercontinentale, da Alzano Lombardo a Cuba, passando per Madrid », TPI, The Post International, 31 mars.
      Offner, J.-M. 2020. Anachronismes urbains, Paris : Presses de Sciences Po.
      Rivière, D. et Weber, S. 2006. « Le modèle du district italien en question : bilan et perspectives à l’heure de l’Europe élargie », Méditerranée, n° 106, p. 57-64.
      Verdeil, E. 2020. « La métropolisation, coupable idéale de la pandémie ? », The Conversation [en ligne], 9 avril.

      https://www.metropolitiques.eu/Pourquoi-Bergame-Le-virus-au-bout-du-territoire.html

    • Rethinking the city: urban experience and the Covid-19 pandemic

      Whilst the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to be seen, the near-global lockdown of urban centres has been a jarring experience for city-dwellers. But how does the rapid spreading of the virus change our perception of the city? Here, Ravi Ghosh argues that these conditions prompts us to see the city differently, and sets us the urgent task of extending the right to the city to all its inhabitants.

      Whilst the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are yet to be seen, the near-global lockdown of urban centres has been a jarring experience for city-dwellers. The optimisation narrative has been stopped in its tracks. The speed, number, and efficiency of available urban experiences are now fixed somewhere close to zero. And even the things we do to escape this logic of urban gratification — to calm the pace of everyday life — are now increasingly unavailable; without culture, community, and recreation, people are beginning to wonder what they’re actually doing here, squashed into crowded cities across the world. But, as the peak of the pandemic approaches in many countries, there are more profound forces at play beyond just the individual’s loss of activity and communication.

      To be isolating in the city is to embody an agonising contemporary paradox: that, although the coronavirus is now moving rapidly through regions like New York State and London, the connectivity, medical resources, and infrastructure in these centres means that local health prospects may actually be higher than in less infected areas. Having already spread along the avenues of globalisation — holidaying, business travel, and international supply chains — the virus is now recreating a familiar Western narrative: that of the city under siege. Whether via cabinet-war-room style depictions of central government, or makeshift hospitals in the triangle of London, Birmingham, and Manchester, cities will inevitably emerge as defiant symbols of human endeavour and resilience, irrespective of the harm their cramped organisation may also have caused.

      But what of this desire for an active city? In Urban Revolution (1970), Henri Lefebvre uses a rough axis (marked from 0 to 100% urbanisation) to imagine the city space. It starts with the political city — marked by bureaucratic power — before progressing through mercantile and industrial phases. Postindustrial society is termed ‘urban’, at which point the city undergoes a process of ‘implosion-explosion’ as it approaches the end of the axis. This rampant expansion of the ‘urban fabric’ which Lefebvre describes will evoke nostalgia to anyone living in a major hub, but unable to enjoy it:

      the tremendous concentration (of people, activities, wealth, goods, objects, instruments, means, and thought) of urban reality and the immense explosion, the projection of numerous disjunct fragments (peripheries, suburbs, vacation homes, satellite towns) into space.

      For Lefebvre, these ideas were both a loose historical commentary and a starting point for his own socialist reimagining of ‘complete urbanisation’. This is apt given the current lockdown; the current pandemic may well be an acid test for society’s infrastructure and economic model. Watching from behind closed doors as they mobilise in tandem offers an historically unique, often painful perspective. Flaws are revealed gradually, and with great cost to human life. However painful these may be now, in time they could offer a unique opportunity to remake society with the lessons learned.

      Perhaps most relevant to our current situation is Lefebvre’s broad understanding of the urban fabric; he includes vacation homes, motorways, suburbs, and even countryside supermarkets in his definition. In normal circumstances, these structures are self-sustaining and peripheral, but what we see in the current crisis is the power of individuals to balloon the city by flocking to its fringes — often at the expense of fellow citizens. When movement is coded with infection, urbanisation suddenly becomes a form of domination. Under this kind of siege, it’s better to sit tight than to flee.

      It’s interesting to see this being acknowledged by some sections of the media, even if the socio-cultural consequences remain largely unexplored. The New York Times states that to make meaningful per capita comparisons for Covid-19 cases, its data focuses upon ‘metropolitan areas’ rather than cities or countries, as they more accurately account for ‘the regions where the virus might spread quickly among families, co-workers or commuters’. The statistics for the New York area therefore include nearby suburbs in Westchester, Long Island, and northern New Jersey. And although there’s no immediate way of determining whether people are moving out of necessity or choice, a fairly obvious distinction can be made between displaced workers moving from Delhi, for example, and those in prosperous Western centres — where movement is contingent on financial stability. The pushback against needless migration is mostly anecdotal, seen through viral images of angry placards in British seaside towns, and local news stories of overwhelmed health services. The pandemic has caused a retreat into the familiarity of nation states: not just in the literal sense of repatriation, but also as a means of civic organisation, internal governance, and statistical monitoring. What some call ‘de-globalisation’ reveals what we already know: that not all nations, governments, or health services are created equal — and that this applies to sub-national groupings too. Spatial inequality will play a huge role in determining the eventual death map of the pandemic.

      In such strangely out-of-time situations, what constitutes the normal is thrown into sharp relief. Activities normally taken for granted are judged by how easily they can be replicated while upholding their essential values — which in our current time usually means a relocation to the internet. What emerges is a familiar gulf between the professional and the social. Whereas for most office-based employees, work can continue with the assistance of specialised software, communications, and adaptable management structures, the integrity of social relationships suffers far more when human contact is removed.

      We feel an acute yearning for companionship, not just because we miss our friends more than we miss our bosses, but because for the most part, the means of reproducing social intimacy online are far inferior to those which ensure the fulfilment of economic roles. That video calling is the go-to for both spheres demonstrates this; it’s somehow the optimal social medium, but exists alongside far more complex tools within the work of work, especially in highly adapted corporate industries. The overlap is somewhat inevitable given that work needs a social element to function, but it’s still grimly remarkable that to evoke all the tenderness and multiplicity of friendships, the best we’ve come up with is drinking a beer while watching someone else do the same on our phones.

      It’s tempting to read the digitalisation of work as a direct transposition of the relations of production. This may be roughly the case, but in reality, there are obvious (and often welcome) differences between urban work culture and the current isolation, which speak to Lefebvre’s earlier ideas on ‘everyday life’ (not to mention that work has been at least partially online for decades). By theorising new forms of alienation within modernity — the unpaid labour of the daily commute, for example — Lefebvre in many ways anticipated common qualms about 21st century work life. These are familiar to us, now mostly expressed in the pithy, resigned idiom of being ‘chained to the desk’, ‘meetings that could be an email’, and the general exhaustion of 24/7 communications. The lockdown has stripped back many of these rituals, revealing that much of face-to-face professional life is made up of parade, gesture, formality, and convention — even if there is enjoyment to be found in the structure and atmosphere of the office. Doing more online, and crucially, from not-the-office may be a lasting result from the current changes.

      As William Davies has recently suggested, rather than viewing the pandemic as a crisis of capitalism, ‘it might better be understood as the sort of work-making event that allows for new economic and intellectual beginnings’. While this is not the dawning of Lefebvre’s ‘urban utopia’, conceiving of digitalisation as a form of urban progression does point to potential improvements in everyday life, even if the existing internet hierarchy hardly favours citizens. As Joe Shaw and Mark Graham from Oxford Internet Institute argue in a 2017 paper, in order to democratise the city space, we need to understand contemporary urbanisation “as a period where the city is increasingly reproduced through digital information’. They focus on Google’s ability to control the reproduction of urban space through features like maps and email: ‘this is a power to choose how a city is reduced to information, and to control the manner in which it is translated into knowledge and reintroduced to material everyday reality’. Companies are utterly dominant in this area, though the relocation of work and social relations to the digital space — coupled with an overdue revaluation of critical work, a recognition of the service industry’s precarity, and an increase in corporate responsibility — could provide a turning point for some urban hierarchies. The case for universal low-cost internet will be made with renewed urgency after the pandemic; access to accurate information has suddenly become a matter of life and death. If the oft-mentioned global solidarity outlasts the pandemic, then meaningful progress could be made against tech monopolies, resource inequality, and climate breakdown.

      For all the difficulties of the lockdown, it does refine our appreciation of what came before. Social existence is naturally incidental and unpredictable — there’s a kind of randomised joy borne of living amongst others. In the city, this effect is amplified. As Lefebvre says of the city’s streets, they are ‘a place to play and learn….a form of spontaneous theatre, I become spectacle and spectator, and sometimes an actor’. There’s certainly a romantic optimism here, but as isolation brings longing, the words feel ever sincerer. A recent Financial Times article contained an amusing vignette on an empty London:

      The bankers have disappeared and new tribes with different uniforms have taken over: builders in black trousers and dusty boots; security guards in high-vis jackets pacing outside empty lobbies; and trim young men and women in lycra running or cycling through the empty streets.

      The reality, of course, is that these people were always there; it’s just that not everyone notices them. The task beyond the pandemic will be extending this right to the city to all: remaking the structures of everyday life so that they empower all citizens, and harnessing digital urbanisation rather than existing at its mercy. Extending our current social contract — which shows we are prepared to live differently to protect the vulnerable — will be a powerful first step.

      https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4648-rethinking-the-city-urban-experience-and-the-covid-19-pandemic

    • In Dense Cities Like Boston, Coronavirus Epidemics Last Longer, Northeastern Study Finds

      An analysis by Northeastern University researchers and colleagues finds that in crowded cities — like Boston — coronavirus epidemics not only grow bigger, they also tend to last longer.

      The paper, based on data from Italy and China, looks at how quickly an epidemic peaks depending on how crowded a location is.

      “In urban areas, we tend to see long, broad epidemics — for example, Boston,” says lead co-author Samuel Scarpino from the Network Science Institute at Northeastern. “And in comparatively more suburban or rural areas we tend to see sharp, quick, burst-y epidemics.”

      Scarpino says it’s key for Massachusetts to have uniform rules across the state, because movement from one area to another — say, from a town where restaurants are closed to one where they’re open — can help spread the virus. Here are some edited excerpts of our conversation, beginning with how he sums up the research just out in the journal Nature Medicine:

      Scarpino: What we report in the paper is that the structure of communities affects both the height and the duration of COVID-19 epidemics.

      Carey Goldberg: So more dense areas will have not just more cases, but a more prolonged course?

      Right. In urban areas, we’re likely to have larger outbreaks — in terms of total number, even in terms of percentage of the population — and they will be much longer, lasting weeks and weeks or months, as we’ve seen in Boston, New York City, London and many places around the world.

      However, in rural areas, or areas that have population structures that are much more tightly knit — as opposed to a looser collection of households in neighborhoods, as we have spread out across Boston — you get sharp, intense outbreaks. They can be overwhelming in terms of the resources available for caring for patients, and quite dramatic in terms of their effects on the population.

      Think about the outbreak in rural Maine that was sparked by a super-spreading event at a wedding, and how it quickly swept through the population.

      Why do these insights about community structure and its effect on transmission matter?

      In many rural areas that are at risk of these intense outbreaks, there’s much lower health care coverage and often, especially in the United States, a lot more complacency around mask-wearing and physical distancing. These areas are largely protected because they’re isolated. However, if cases show up — as we’ve seen in places like rural Maine — the outbreaks can be quite severe and rapid.

      Also, in the more dense areas, you’re going to have cases that move around throughout the population, throughout the different neighborhoods of the city. You’re going to have outbreaks go quiet in some areas, and then become louder in other areas.

      And this process can be very, very prolonged, and can make the types of intervention measures that you need to deploy either quite severe or quite complicated, because they have to be very specifically tailored to what’s happening at the really local level within the larger cities.

      So what does this mean for policy?

      Well, in related work we show that having policies that are different across a city can lead people to move out of their neighborhoods, to go to parks or to go to restaurants with different dining restrictions, or to go to venues with different limits on capacity. And that interacts with the structure of the city to spread the outbreak much more rapidly, kind of accelerating the pace and tempo of cases.

      So that really suggests that because the outbreak is going to be so long-lasting, you really either need to focus on driving it completely out or you need to have policies that will protect all of the places with lower rates of cases while intervening in a targeted way in the places with much higher rates of cases.

      So what you don’t want to do is put in tougher measures in hot-spots, because then you’re just going to drive people out to other places where they’re going to spread it even more.

      Exactly. In the state of Massachusetts, where we have the governor relaxing measures in a fairly extreme fashion in some areas and not in other areas, you are likely to have a situation where you’re just moving the infection around and putting other communities at risk.

      So having a more intermediate level of control that’s more uniformly distributed across space is much better epidemiologically.

      But that’s not what the state is doing.

      The state in many ways is really doing almost the opposite of what our paper suggests in terms of the ways in which you need to focus on controlling COVID-19, and also related work that shows this sort of patchwork of different policies really creates quite a bit of risk.

      It seems incredibly important to have hyper-local information, because in the structure you describe, the spread happens at the level of households or neighborhoods, and then you have just a bit of crossover to other places, and that’s how it just keeps going.

      That is the implication of our work and many other studies that show that COVID-19, from an epidemiological perspective, is an amalgamation of local transmission that’s happening in households, in restaurants, in occasional longer-distance transmission that moves it into new areas. So you need to have really hyper-localized information around where the cases are occurring and to find out where the cases are coming from.

      And that, unfortunately, is one of the things that we’re still not getting clear guidance on from the state: Where are the cases coming from? So that we can understand how we need to intervene.

      Without that data, we really aren’t armed with the right kinds of information to both stop the spread and to try and implement measures that will maximally control COVID-19 while having the least possible effects on our economic health, mental health and societal health.

      https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2020/10/06/coronavirus-lasts-longer-cities-boston

  • Capitalism Has its Limits

    #Judith_Butler discuss the #COVID-19 pandemic, and its escalating political and social effects in America.

    The imperative to isolate coincides with a new recognition of our global interdependence during the new time and space of pandemic. On the one hand, we are asked to sequester ourselves in family units, shared dwelling spaces, or individual domiciles, deprived of social contact and relegated to spheres of relative isolation; on the other hand, we are faced with a virus that swiftly crosses borders, oblivious to the very idea of national territory. But not everyone has a household or a “family” and increasing numbers of the population in the US are homeless or transient. So “the household” is figured as a space of protection, but that is hardly true for many people. In the US, a national strategy is formulated, rescinded, and appears in confused public forms. And the question of who will live and who will die seems to our President as a cost-benefit problem that the markets will decide. Under such conditions, how do we post the question of what consequences this pandemic will have for thinking about equality, global interdependence and our obligations toward one another? After all, the virus does not discriminate. We could say that it treats us equally, puts us equally at risk of falling ill, losing someone close, living in a world of imminent threat. The virus operates within a global framework, but what about the rest of us? By the way it moves and strikes, the virus demonstrates that the global human community is equally precarious. At the same time, however, the failure of some states or regions to prepare in advance (the US is now perhaps the most notorious member of that club), the bolstering of national policies and the closing of borders (often accompanied by panicked xenophobia), and the arrival of entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on global suffering, all testify to the rapidity with which radical inequality, nationalism, and capitalist exploitation find ways to reproduce and strengthen themselves within the pandemic zones. This should come as no surprise.

    The politics of health care in the US brings this into relief in a distinctive way. One scenario we can already imagine is the production and marketing of an effective vaccine against COVID-19. Clearly eager to score political points that will secure his reelection, Trump has already sought to buy (with cash) exclusive US rights to a vaccine from a German company, CureVac, funded by the German government. The German Health Minister, who could not have been pleased, confirmed to the German press that the offer was proffered. One German politician, Karl Lauterbach, remarked: “The exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the USA must be prevented by all means. Capitalism has limits.” I presume he objected to the “exclusive use” provision and would be no more pleased with the same provision, were it to apply to Germans only. More recently, Trump made a deal with Gilead Sciences, a pharmaceutical corporation, which grants them exclusive rights to developing Remdesivir, a drug with potential to treat the COVID-19 virus. Inviting Walmart and CVS to the White House to come up with solutions not only reveals a mistaken understanding of how new medical treatments are developed, but confuses business with public health in some rather consequential ways. Just days ago, Trump made clear that the financial health of the nation is its true health, and that the only relevant measure is Wall Street. As a result, returning to “business as usual” even if it means risking increased mortality rates from the virus, is justified in his view. The clear implication is that it is alright of the most vulnerable people die – the elderly, the homeless, those with preexisting conditions – as long as the economy can be revived. The nation is not its people, but only its markets.

    It makes no sense to ask again, what is Trump thinking? The question has been posed so many times in a state of utter exasperation that we cannot possibly be surprised. That does not mean that our outrage lessens with every new instance of unethical or criminal self-aggrandizement. If he were successful in his effort to buy the potential vaccine and restrict its use to US citizens only, does he believe that US citizens will applaud his efforts, thrilled by the idea that they alone are delivered from a mortal threat when other nations are not? Will the US public really love this kind of nationalism? And if only the rich will have access to treatmentgs as they are delivered, are we expected to applaud this radically obscene social inequality, coupled as it is with market rationality and American exceptionalism? Are we expected to affirmed his self- described “brilliant” way of cutting a deal under such conditions? Does he imagine that most people think, that the free market should decide how the vaccine is developed and distributed? Is it even thinkable within his world to insist upon a world health concern that should transcend market rationality at this time? Is he right to presume that the rest of us live within the parameters of his imagined world? Even if such restrictions on the basis of national citizenship do not come to apply, we will surely see the wealthy and the fully insured rush to secure access to any such vaccine when it becomes available, even if the mode of distribution guarantees that only some will have that access and others will be abandoned to continuing and intensifying precarity. Social and economic inequality will make sure that the virus discriminates. The virus alone does not discriminate, but we humans surely do, formed and animated as we are by the interlocking powers of nationalism, racism, xenophobia, and capitalism. It seems likely that we will come to see in the next year a painful scenario in which some human creatures assert their rights to live at the expense of others, re-inscribing the spurious distinction between grievable and ungrievable lives, that is, those who should be protected against death at all costs and those whose lives are considered not worth safeguarding against illness and death.

    All this takes place against the US presidential contest in which Bernie Sanders’ chances of securing the Democratic nomination seem now to be very remote. The new projections that establish Biden as the clear front-runner are devastating during these times precisely because Biden once threatened to cut public funding for the elderly whereas both Sanders and Warren stood for Medicare for All, a comprehensive public healthcare program that would guarantee basic health care to everyone in the country. Such a program would put an end to the market-driven private insurance companies who regularly abandon the sick, mandate out-of-pocket expenses that are literally unpayable, and perpetuate a brutal hierarchy between the insured, the uninsured, and the uninsurable. Sanders’ socialist approach to healthcare might more aptly be described as a social democratic perspective that is not substantially different from what Elizabeth Warren put forth in the earlier stages of her campaign. In his view, medical coverage is a “human right” by which he means that every human has a right to the kind of health care that they require. Human rights tend to imagine the individual human as the point of departure. But why not understand health care as a social obligation, one that follows from living in society with one another? To compel popular consensus on such a notion, both Sanders and Warren would have had to convince the American people that we want to live in a world in which none of us denies health care to any of the rest of us. In other words, we would have to agree to a social and economic world in which it is radically unacceptable that some would have access to a vaccine that can save their lives when others should be denied access on the grounds that they cannot pay or could not secure insurance that would pay or because they lacked a visa or legal status.

    One reason I voted for Sanders in the California primary along with a majority of registered Democrats is that he, along with Warren, opened up a way to re-imagine our world as if it were ordered by a collective desire for radical equality, a world in which we came together to insist that the materials that are required for life, including medical care, would be equally available no matter who we are or whether we have financial means. That policy would have established solidarity with other countries that are committed to universal health care, and so would have established a transnational health care policy committed to realizing the ideals of equality. The new polls emerge that narrow the national choice to Trump and Biden precisely as the pandemic shuts down everyday life, intensifying the precarity of the homeless, the uninsured, and the poor. The idea that we might become a people who wishes to see a world in which health policy is equally committed to all lives, to dismantling the market’s hold on health care that distinguishes among the worthy and those who can be easily abandoned to illness and death, was briefly alive. We came to understand ourselves differently as Sanders and Warren held out this other possibility. We understood that we might start to think and value outside the terms that capitalism sets for us. Even though Warren is no longer a candidate, and Sanders is unlikely to recover his momentum, we must still ask, especially now, why are we as a people still opposed to treating all lives as if they were of equal value? Why do some still thrill at the idea that Trump would seek to secure a vaccine that would safeguard American lives (as he defines them) before all others? The proposition of universal and public health reinvigorated a socialist imaginary in the US, one that must now wait to become realized as social policy and public commitment in this country. Unfortunately, in the time of the pandemic, none of us can wait. The ideal must now be kept alive in the social movements that are riveted less on the presidential campaign than the long term struggle that lies ahead of us. These courageous and compassionate visions mocked and rejected by capitalist “realists” had enough air time, compelled enough attention, to let increasing numbers – some for the first time – desire a changed world. Hopefully we can keep that desire alive, especially now when Trump proposes on Easter to lift constraints on public life and businesses and set the virus free. He wagers that the potential financial gains for the few will compensate for the increase in the number of deaths that are clearly predicted, which he accepts, and refuses to stop – in the name of national health. So now those with a social vision of universal health care have to struggle against both a moral and viral illness working in lethal tandem with one another.

    The imperative to isolate coincides with a new recognition of our global interdependence during the new time and space of pandemic. On the one hand, we are asked to sequester ourselves in family units, shared dwelling spaces, or individual domiciles, deprived of social contact and relegated to spheres of relative isolation; on the other hand, we are faced with a virus that swiftly crosses borders, oblivious to the very idea of national territory. What are the consequences of this pandemic for thinking about equality, global interdependence and our obligations toward one another? The virus does not discriminate. We could say that it treats us equally, puts us equally at risk of falling ill, losing someone close, living in a world of imminent threat. By the way it moves and strikes, the virus demonstrates that the human community is equally precarious. At the same time, however, the failure of some states or regions to prepare in advance (the US is now perhaps the most notorious member of that club), the bolstering of national policies and the closing of borders (often accompanied by panicked xenophobia), and the arrival of entrepreneurs eager to capitalize on global suffering, all testify to the rapidity with which radical inequality, which includes nationalism, white supremacy, violence against women, queer, and trans people, and capitalist exploitation find ways to reproduce and strengthen their powers within the pandemic zones This should come as no surprise.

    The politics of health care in the US brings this into relief in a distinctive way. One scenario we can already imagine is the production and marketing of an effective vaccine against COVID-19. Clearly eager to score political points that will secure his reelection, Trump has already sought to buy (with cash) exclusive US rights to a vaccine from a German company, CureVac, funded by the German government. The German Health Minister, who could not have been pleased, confirmed to the German press that the offer was proffered. One German politician, Karl Lauterbach, remarked: “The exclusive sale of a possible vaccine to the USA must be prevented by all means. Capitalism has limits.” I presume he objected to the “exclusive use” provision and would be no more pleased with the same provision, were it to apply to Germans only. Let us hope so, because we can imagine a world in which European lives are valued above all others – we see that valuation playing out violently at the borders of the EU.

    It makes no sense to ask again, what was Trump thinking? The question has been posed so many times in a state of utter exasperation that we cannot possibly be surprised. That does not mean that our outrage lessens with every new instance of unethical or criminal self-aggrandizement. If he were successful in his effort to buy the potential vaccine and restrict its use to US citizens only, does he believe that US citizens will applaud his efforts, thrilled by the idea that they are delivered from a mortal threat when other peoples are not? Will they really love this kind of radical social inequality, American exceptionalism, and affirm his self- described “brilliant” way of cutting a deal? Does he imagine that most people think, that the market should decide how the vaccine is developed and distributed? Is it even thinkable within his world to insist upon a world health concern that should transcend market rationality at this time? Is he right to presume that we also live within the parameters of such an imagined world? Even if such restrictions on the basis of national citizenship do not come to apply, we will surely see the wealthy and the fully insured rush to secure access to any such vaccine when it becomes available, even if the mode of distribution guarantees that only some will have that access and others will be abandoned to continuing and intensifying precarity. Social and economic inequality will make sure that the virus discriminates. The virus alone does not discriminate, but we humans surely do, formed and animated as we are by the interlocking powers of nationalism, racism, xenophobia, and capitalism. It seems likely that we will come to see in the next year a painful scenario in which some human creatures assert their rights to live at the expense of others, re-inscribing the spurious distinction between grievable and ungrievable lives, that is, those who should be protected against death at all costs and those whose lives are considered not worth safeguarding against illness and death.

    All this takes place against the US presidential contest in which Bernie Sanders’ chances of securing the Democratic nomination seem now to be very remote, though not statistically impossible. The new projections that establish Biden as the clear front-runner are devastating during these times precisely because both Sanders and Warren stood for Medicare for All, a comprehensive public healthcare program that would guarantee basic health care to everyone in the country. Such a program would put an end to the market-driven private insurance companies who regularly abandon the sick, mandate out-of-pocket expenses that are literally unpayable, and perpetuate a brutal hierarchy between the insured, the uninsured, and the uninsurable. Sanders’ socialist approach to healthcare might more aptly be described as a social democratic perspective that is not substantially different from what Elizabeth Warren put forth in the earlier stages of her campaign. In his view, medical coverage is a “human right” by which he means that every human has a right to the kind of health care that they require. But why not understand it as a social obligation, one that follows from living in society with one another? To compel popular consensus on such a notion, both Sanders and Warren would have to convince the American people that we want to live in a world in which none of us denies health care to any of the rest of us. In other words, we would have to agree to a social and economic world in which it is radically unacceptable that some would have access to a vaccine that can save their lives when others should be denied access on the grounds that they cannot pay or could not secure insurance that would pay.

    One reason I voted for Sanders in the California primary along with a majority of registered Democrats is that he, along with Warren, opened up a way to re-imagine our world as if it were ordered by a collective desire for radical equality, a world in which we came together to insist that the materials that are required for life, including medical care, would be equally available no matter who we are or whether we have financial means. That policy would have established solidarity with other countries that are committed to universal health care, and so would have established a transnational health care policy committed to realizing the ideals of equality. The new polls emerge that narrow the national choice to Trump and Biden precisely as the pandemic shuts down everyday life, intensifying the precarity of the homeless, the uninsured, and the poor. The idea that we might become a people who wishes to see a world in which health policy is equally committed to all lives, to dismantling the market’s hold on health care that distinguishes among the worthy and those who can be easily abandoned to illness and death, was briefly alive. We came to understand ourselves differently as Sanders and Warren held out this other possibility. We understood that we might start to think and value outside the terms that capitalism sets for us. Even though Warren is no longer a candidate, and Sanders is unlikely to recover his momentum, we must still ask, especially now, why are we as a people still opposed to treating all lives as if they were of equal value? Why do some still thrill at the idea that Trump would seek to secure a vaccine that would safeguard American lives (as he defines them) before all others? The proposition of universal and public health reinvigorated a socialist imaginary in the US, one that must now wait to become realized as social policy and public commitment in this country. Unfortunately, in the time of the pandemic, none of us can wait. The ideal must now be kept alive in the social movements that are riveted less on the presidential campaign than the long term struggle that lies ahead of us. These courageous and compassionate visions mocked and rejected by capitalist “realists” had enough air time, compelled enough attention, to let increasing numbers – some for the first time – desire a changed world.

    Hopefully we can keep that desire alive.

    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4603-capitalism-has-its-limits
    #capitalisme #limites #coronavirus #covid-19

  • The Great Empty

    During the 1950s, New York’s Museum of Modern Art organized a famous photo exhibition called “The Family of Man.” In the wake of a world war, the show, chockablock with pictures of people, celebrated humanity’s cacophony, resilience and common bond.

    Today a different global calamity has made scarcity the necessary condition of humanity’s survival. Cafes along the Navigli in Milan hunker behind shutters along with the Milanese who used to sip aperos beside the canal. Times Square is a ghost town, as are the City of London and the Place de la Concorde in Paris during what used to be the morning rush.

    The photographs here all tell a similar story: a temple in Indonesia; Haneda Airport in Tokyo; the Americana Diner in New Jersey. Emptiness proliferates like the virus.

    The Times recently sent dozens of photographers out to capture images of once-bustling public plazas, beaches, fairgrounds, restaurants, movie theaters, tourist meccas and train stations. Public spaces, as we think of them today, trace their origins back at least to the agoras of ancient Greece. Hard to translate, the word “agora” in Homer suggested “gathering.” Eventually it came to imply the square or open space at the center of a town or city, the place without which Greeks did not really regard a town or city as a town or city at all, but only as an assortment of houses and shrines.

    Thousands of years later, public squares and other spaces remain bellwethers and magnets, places to which we gravitate for pleasure and solace, to take our collective temperature, celebrate, protest. Following the uprisings in Tiananmen Square, Tahrir Square, Taksim Square and elsewhere, Yellow Vest protesters in France demonstrated their discontent last year not by starting a GoFundMe page but by occupying public sites like the Place de la République and the Place de l’Opéra in Paris.

    Both of those squares were built during the 19th century as part of a master plan by a French official, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who remade vast swaths of Paris after the city passed new health regulations in 1850 to combat disease. Beset by viruses and other natural disasters, cities around the world have time and again devised new infrastructure and rewritten zoning regulations to ensure more light and air, and produced public spaces, buildings and other sites, including some of the ones in these photographs, that promised to improve civic welfare and that represented new frontiers of civic aspiration.

    Their present emptiness, a public health necessity, can conjure up dystopia, not progress, but, promisingly, it also suggests that, by heeding the experts and staying apart, we have not yet lost the capacity to come together for the common good. Covid-19 doesn’t vote along party lines, after all. These images are haunted and haunting, like stills from movies about plagues and the apocalypse, but in some ways they are hopeful.

    They also remind us that beauty requires human interaction.

    I don’t mean that buildings and fairgrounds and railway stations and temples can’t look eerily beautiful empty. Some of these sites, like many of these photographs, are works of art. I mean that empty buildings, squares and beaches are what art history textbooks, boutique hotel advertisements and glossy shelter and travel magazines tend to traffic in. Their emptiness trumpets an existence mostly divorced from human habitation and the messy thrum of daily life. They imagine an experience more akin to the wonder of bygone explorers coming upon the remains of a lost civilization.

    They evoke the romance of ruins.

    Beauty entails something else. It is something we bestow.

    It will be the moment we return.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/23/world/coronavirus-great-empty.html
    #photographie #vide #géographie_du_vide #coronavirus #villes-phantomes #ghost-town #urban_matter #villes #géographie_urbaine
    via @albertocampiphoto
    ping @reka @philippe_de_jonckheere

    • Deserted cities of the heart

      The past few weeks have seen images spreading around the internet of empty streets and deserted cities. But what do these images tell us about the present moment, and what does their cultural value suggest about our relationship to the current crisis?

      In Liu Cixin’s sci-fi novel The Three-Body Problem, an astrophysicist, radicalized by reading Silent Spring, and having been persecuted during the Cultural Revolution, decides the human race is irredeemable and sells it out to an alien invader. I started the book a few weeks ago; now it has become grimly timely. Demagogues would now have us believe that the novel coronavirus is an alien invasion force while also trying to sell millions of us out to it as quickly as possible. Some have made a comparison to the risk-reward calculus of driving, arguing that governments don’t force people to drive slow in order to save lives. So why should they prevent us from endangering ourselves and others? Lives must be sacrificed to road wrecks to maintain a certain rate of return. As the skies clear dramatically over cities that are accustomed to thick smog, one can imagine the demagogues making a similar argument about the air pollution that already ruins lungs and truncates lives: All coronavirus does is accelerate the process — fast capitalism in its apotheosis.

      But the eschatological fantasies of Liu’s anti-humanity cadres are also echoed, however faintly, in the celebration of abandoned urban spaces and brightened city skies as some sort of coronavirus consolation. These are not like the images of empty grocery shelves, caused by those merely participating in the panic. They evoke something more sedate, serene. Earlier in the crisis, when Italy was the focal point, the sudden clarity of Venice’s canals were widely discussed with wonder. Without boat traffic, the sediment in them settled, making it possible to see the marine life they host. CNN quoted a random person saying, “What a marvel this Venice was; this virus brought something ... beautiful." That sentiment was echoed on Twitter feeds that shared video of the canals, the fish newly visible. Implied in this sharing was a message about the resilience of nature and humanity’s fundamental tendency to interfere rather than participate in it: See how nice and pure the world is without tourists, without other people living their lives by their own priorities and privileges? This is the way I like to see the world, with no one else around to see it. The way things “really should be” is the way they are when human activity is subtracted. The canals are supposed to be clear and stagnant. To borrow a phrase from writer Mark O’Connell, describing the butterflies in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, “It is all quite lovely, in its uncanny way: The world, everywhere, protesting its innocence.”

      The clear canals may be taken as emblematic of a broader silencing to come. In an essay for the Point, philosopher Justin E.H. Smith wrote, “We have little idea what the world is going to look like when we get through to the other side of this, but it is already perfectly clear that the ‘discourses’ of our society, such as they had developed up to about March 8 or 9, 2020, in all their frivolity and distractiousness, have been decisively curtailed, like the CO2 emissions from the closed factories and the vacated highways.” He concludes that if an invading alien force came to Earth, there is no reason to believe that it would even have any interest in humanity (even to exterminate it), given that it’s only our own hubris that leads us to believe that we are “this planet’s true and legitimate representatives.”

      The broad fascination with the images of empty cities — as in this New York Times photo essay, for instance — is in part a fascination with that hubris, but more as a means of fetishizing it rather than overcoming it or rejecting it. Cities appear in these images not as practical commercial spaces but as monuments to humanity’s transformational power in the abstract, something that doesn’t require collaboration, competition, or conflict but just seems just to exist as a natural force. They are seen as especially beautiful when rendered useless, but that’s not because they remind us of our own uselessness or insignificance. Instead, the sense of personal impotence may be dispersed in majestic images of the vacated cathedrals of civilization.

      At the same time, cities are given the deserted quality that has often been reserved for conventional natural landscapes, where an absence of people serves as a signifier of “naturalness.” Landscape paintings typically tend to mask whatever alterations humans have made to the land so a particular perspective can appear as given, as inherent or inevitable. How the land is framed is both foregrounded and effaced: A vantage point is isolated and idealized as characteristic, as typical, as frameless.

      The photos of people-less cities extend that mood of givenness to urban landscapes, suggesting how they endure without us or despite us. We can regard cities not as purpose-built environments, but as natural ones to which humans have adapted, much like the species at the bottom of the ocean have adapted to life without light. From that point of view, humans are othered to themselves, becoming a species for remote observation. By looking at the images, we can see ourselves as exempt, as belonging to an evolution beyond that, the contours of which are emerging in the strange dislocations we are now experiencing in everyday life.

      Our ability to appreciate these images doesn’t underscore our ultimate harmony or interconnection with the natural world and the life that purportedly re-emerges when the highways are finally vacated. Rather it lets us use mediation (our ability to consume representations) to rearticulate our exceptionality. We can assume the subject position of the camera and pretend that makes us immune to being objects in the world.

      The deserted cities allow us to imagine that we’re in a comfortable position from which to enjoy them — that the erasure of humanity doesn’t actually include us. As this piece by Cherine Fahd and Sara Oscar notes, “The viewer is looking at a representation of the scene, not the scene itself, from a position of far-off comfort.” This becomes obvious when you actually walk around a deserted city, which is certainly uncanny but inspires more grief than delight. The images let us consume a distance from the emptiness as much as the emptiness itself. Wherever we are can then feel more full.

      In an essay that accompanied the New York Times’s collection of images, Michael Kimmelman suggests that the photos are hopeful because in their eerie, ruin-porn-like emptiness they “remind us that beauty requires human interaction.” But that reading strikes me as somewhat idealistic; he dismisses what seems to me their more fundamental allure, that they offer a vicarious experience of “the wonder of bygone explorers coming upon the remains of a lost civilization.” That is, they give viewers a kind of imperial transcendence, a sense of sublime survival as a kind of conquering. “Beauty” might be, as Kimmelman claims, a thing we “bestow” with social interaction, but the images remind us also that the consumption of beauty can be had unilaterally, placing us at a perspective that provides pleasure precisely by protecting us from complicity or vulnerability.

      What these images of empty cities remind me of are photos of dead malls that have served over the past decade or so as symbols of the oft-predicted “retail apocalypse.” I spent lots of time working and hanging out in a mall as a teenager, so these sorts of images have always had a bracing form of anti-nostalgia for me, like seeing your childhood home being bulldozed. But I also tend to read the dead-mall images as metonyms for the dead end of consumerism. They depict not the absence of commerce but its negation.

      Many have predicted that one of the lasting effects of the pandemic will be the end of conventional retail, because everyone will have gotten fully acclimated to home delivery and its conveniences. But this prediction seems premature; it’s impossible to tell just how drastically our everyday life and our perception of what is convenient will be reworked by the experience of extended isolation.

      It’s tempting to treat the images of deserted cities as symbols, as evocations, as metaphors, as prophecies, but the most compelling and troubling thing about them is that they can be taken as just direct representations of the world outside as it is. Our old lives are over; where we lived are ghost towns. The photos seem to document something historic and exceptional that we lived through, only we’re still living it. There is an apparent finality to total emptiness that might help us pretend that the crisis is already over, and the world is there, where we left it, and not in the social relations and the sorts of choices we’re now facing to try to remake it.

      https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4620-deserted-cities-of-the-heart

    • La Plaine (place Jean-Jaurès). « Ce qui fait la beauté de cette ville, ce sont les gens qui l’habitent. Ces calicots pendus aux fenêtres en sont la trace. Ici, à la Plaine, c’est la colère qui domine. Plus bas, dans le centre, les banderoles sont plus "douces". »
      Photo #Yohanne_Lamoulère. Tendance Floue pour Libération


      https://seenthis.net/messages/841970

      La Plaine. « J’ai une forme de fascination pour les graffitis, comme celui-ci, très hauts : "Le virus c’est l’Etat". Je suis retournée à la Plaine pour le photographier, dans ce quartier, qui organise des prêts de livres, mais aussi des tournées de nourriture pour les soignants. Symbole de cette énergie militante, très forte à Marseille, qui comble finalement énormément de vide. »
      Photo Yohanne Lamoulère. Tendance Floue pour #Libération


      #Marseille

  • Verso - The Radical origins of international indigenous representation - https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4329-the-radical-origins-of-international-indigenous-representation

    While Indigenous representation has become a permanent feature at the UN, its radical origins are less well known. The historic 1977 Geneva gathering was preceded by a simpler, but no less monumental, gathering in Standing Rock, along the banks of the Missouri River. In the heat of the Northern Plains summer, 5,000 people from more than ninety-seven different Indigenous nations met from June 8 to 16, 1974. By the end of the week, the International Indian Treaty Council was founded as an international arm of the American Indian Movement (AIM), tasked with gaining international recognition at the UN for Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere. The Treaty Council’s founding document, the “Declaration of Continuing Independence,” foregrounded nationhood and treaty rights as central features of an American Indian political identity. “We condemn the United States of America for its gross violation of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty in militarily surrounding, killing, and starving the citizens of the Independent Oglala Nation into exile,” it read, in reference to the brutal crackdown on AIM following their occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. The Treaty Council appealed to “conscionable nations” to join “in charging and prosecuting the United States of America for its genocidal practices against the sovereign Native Nations; most recently illustrated by Wounded Knee 1973 and the continued refusal to sign the United Nations 1948 Treaty on Genocide.”2 Following the seventy-one-day siege, AIM leadership had been arrested and tied up in court proceedings. Then came the brutal repression under the infamous FBI Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) that nearly destroyed Indigenous, Black, and revolutionary movements in the United States. The strategic turn to international human rights law largely saved the Indigenous movement from utter collapse in a moment of intense state repression.

    #peuples_autochtones #internationalisme #standing_rock

  • Freud and the Non-European
    In this excerpt from Freud and the Non-European, Edward Said describes his method of situating historic thinkers and writers “contrapuntally.”
    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4040-freud-and-the-non-european

    I feel I should add something else here. I have often been interpreted as retrospectively attacking great writers and thinkers like Jane Austen and Karl Marx because some of their ideas seem politically incorrect by the standards of our time. That is a stupid notion which, I just have to say categorically, is not true of anything I have either written or said. On the contrary, I am always trying to understand figures from the past whom I admire, even as I point out how bound they were by the perspectives of their own cultural moment as far as their views of other cultures and peoples were concerned. The special point I then try to make is that it is imperative to read them as intrinsically worthwhile for today’s non European or non-Western reader, who is often either happy to dismiss them altogether as dehumanizing or insufficiently aware of the colonized people (as Chinua Achebe does with Conrad’s portrayal of Africa), or reads them, in a way, “above” the historical circumstances of which they were so much a part.

    My approach tries to see them in their context as accurately as possible, but then - because they are extraordinary writers and thinkers whose work has enabled other, alternative work and readings based on developments of which they could not have been aware–I see them contrapuntally, that is, as figures whose writing travels across temporal, cultural and ideological boundaries in unforeseen ways to emerge as part of a new ensemble along with later history and subsequent art.

  • A Grenoble et Lyon, des amphis d’université occupés pour abriter des migrants

    A l’#université_Lumière_Lyon-II puis à l’#université_Grenoble_Alpes, des associations et des étudiants ont investi des locaux tout en demandant à l’Etat d’apporter une solution pérenne aux migrants.

    http://www.lemonde.fr/campus/article/2017/12/05/a-grenoble-et-lyon-des-amphis-d-universite-occupes-pour-abriter-des-migrants
    #université #occupation #Grenoble #Lyon #résistance #migrations #asile #réfugiés #France

    (je n’y suis pour rien...)

    cc @isskein @reka

    • Grenoble. 60 migrants logés à la fac pendant la trêve hivernale, grâce à l’action des soutiens

      Dans l’agglomération grenobloise, depuis le 4 décembre 2017, une soixantaine de migrant.e.s/ exilé.e.s occupent un bâtiment du campus universitaire de Saint-Martin d’Hères. Cette action a commencé par l’occupation d’un amphithéâtre pour finalement se prolonger par la mise à disposition d’un bâtiment vide par la direction de l’université.


      http://www.revolutionpermanente.fr/Grenoble-60-migrants-loges-a-la-fac-pendant-la-treve-hivernale-
      #patio

    • Le Conseil d’administration @UGrenobleAlpes s’engage en faveur de la prolongation de l’accueil des migrants sur le campus

      Le conseil d’administration du 11 janvier 2018 a adopté à l’unanimité une motion en faveur de l’engagement de l’Université Grenoble Alpes pour la prolongation de l’accueil des migrants sur le campus.

      https://www.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/fr/acces-direct/actualites/a-la-une/a-la-une-universite/le-conseil-d-administration-de-l-universite-grenoble-alpes-s-eng

    • Des exilés à la rue occupent la fac de #Paris_8

      Une occupation par des exilé.e.s à la rue et leurs soutiens est en cours actuellement à l’université Paris 8 à Saint-Denis. Le Gisti soutient leur lutte.

      En effet, cette initiative se situe dans un contexte où, depuis des années, des milliers d’exilé.e.s sont maltraité.e.s par les autorités et sont contraint.e.s de vivre à la rue.

      Depuis plus de vingt ans, les gouvernements successifs perpétuent une politique de mise à l’écart et d’exclusion. Ces milliers de personnes qui, malgré tous les obstacles, souvent au risque de leur vie, ont réussi à atteindre la France, voient leurs droits les plus fondamentaux foulés aux pieds. Ils et elles sont relégué.e.s, maintenu.e.s dans la précarité, violenté.e.s, enfermé.e.s, expulsé.e.s parfois vers des pays où ils et elles sont en danger de mort.

      Les nouveaux centres dits « d’accueil » créés ces derniers mois en région parisienne (à la porte de La chapelle, à Cergy ou Ris Orangis) n’ont de centres d’accueil que le nom mais fonctionnent comme des centres de tri : ils ne sont qu’une première étape avant que les exilé.e.s ne soient dispersé.e.s, isolé.e.s et rendu.e.s moins visibles, le temps d’organiser leur expulsion (voir le dossier sur le site du Gisti sur les campements d’exilés en région parisienne et sur les nouveaux centres d’hébergement coercitif).

      Celles et ceux qui réussissent à y échapper se retrouvent très vite de nouveau sans droit au séjour ni droits sociaux et viennent grossir le nombre de gens qui dorment à la rue.

      Cette politique est une politique du rejet et non de l’accueil. Personne n’est dupe. Il nous appartient à tous de la contester. C’est ce qu’ont déjà fait plus de 400 organisations affirmant qu’elles sont « fermement décidées à promouvoir un changement radical qui mette un terme à ces politiques migratoires aux conséquences humaines dramatiques ». Elles ont pris l’initiative de susciter la mise en place d’États généraux destinés à « faire ressortir des revendications communes et des propositions concrètes pour une autre politique migratoire, respectueuse des droits fondamentaux ». « L’humanité de demain se construit par l’accueil des migrants aujourd’hui ».


      http://gisti.org/spip.php?article5842

    • Des exilés à la rue occupent la fac de Paris 8

      Une occupation par des exilé.e.s à la rue et leurs soutiens est en cours actuellement à l’université Paris 8 à Saint-Denis. Le Gisti soutient leur lutte.

      En effet, cette initiative se situe dans un contexte où, depuis des années, des milliers d’exilé.e.s sont maltraité.e.s par les autorités et sont contraint.e.s de vivre à la rue.

      Depuis plus de vingt ans, les gouvernements successifs perpétuent une politique de mise à l’écart et d’exclusion. Ces milliers de personnes qui, malgré tous les obstacles, souvent au risque de leur vie, ont réussi à atteindre la France, voient leurs droits les plus fondamentaux foulés aux pieds. Ils et elles sont relégué.e.s, maintenu.e.s dans la précarité, violenté.e.s, enfermé.e.s, expulsé.e.s parfois vers des pays où ils et elles sont en danger de mort.

      Les nouveaux centres dits « d’accueil » créés ces derniers mois en région parisienne (à la porte de La chapelle, à Cergy ou Ris Orangis) n’ont de centres d’accueil que le nom mais fonctionnent comme des centres de tri : ils ne sont qu’une première étape avant que les exilé.e.s ne soient dispersé.e.s, isolé.e.s et rendu.e.s moins visibles, le temps d’organiser leur expulsion (voir le dossier sur le site du Gisti sur les campements d’exilés en région parisienne et sur les nouveaux centres d’hébergement coercitif).

      Celles et ceux qui réussissent à y échapper se retrouvent très vite de nouveau sans droit au séjour ni droits sociaux et viennent grossir le nombre de gens qui dorment à la rue.

      Cette politique est une politique du rejet et non de l’accueil. Personne n’est dupe. Il nous appartient à tous de la contester. C’est ce qu’ont déjà fait plus de 400 organisations affirmant qu’elles sont « fermement décidées à promouvoir un changement radical qui mette un terme à ces politiques migratoires aux conséquences humaines dramatiques ». Elles ont pris l’initiative de susciter la mise en place d’États généraux destinés à « faire ressortir des revendications communes et des propositions concrètes pour une autre politique migratoire, respectueuse des droits fondamentaux ». « L’humanité de demain se construit par l’accueil des migrants aujourd’hui ».

      http://gisti.org/spip.php?article5842

    • Lettre ouverte à Annick Allaigre, présidente de l’université de Saint Denis, contre l’évacuation policière des migrants de l’université de Saint Denis

      Depuis le Mardi 30 Janvier 2018, plusieurs dizaines d’exilés occupent le bâtiment A de l’université de Saint Denis. Aucun d’entre eux ne peut se laisser réduire au terme de migrant, étant porteur d’une histoire riche et singulière. Ils sont là après avoir traversé de nombreux obstacles et surmonté d’innombrables difficultés, pour fuir la condition de misère qui était la leur dans leur pays.

      En tant que personnels de l’université de Saint Denis, nous avons reçu pendant plusieurs semaines des messages électroniques de la présidence de l’université nous informant de la situation. Quasiment quotidiens au début, 30 janvier, premier février, 3 février et 7 février 2018, ces messages étaient marqués à la fois par la volonté de se montrer solidaire face au durcissement de la politique du gouvernement à l’égard des migrants et de maintenir la continuité du service public.

      Dans un message du 3 mai 2018, la présidence nous informait alors que le comité de médiation, mis en place au début du mois de mars 2018, était arrivé à des avancées significatives, solutions spécifiques trouvées pour la dizaine de femmes présentes parmi les migrants, prise en charge des mineurs par les organismes compétents, augmentation des capacités d’accueil du Département Universitaire de Français Langue Etrangère (DUFLE), démarches entreprises pour trouver des logements et mise en place d’un suivi individualisé de chaque exilé afin qu’il soit accompagné dans son projet d’installation en France.

      Avec ces annonces, nous avions le sentiment que la présidence s’engageait dans un véritable suivi au moins à moyen terme et dans une recherche de solutions.

      Enfin, Jeudi 14 Juin 2018, nous recevons un dernier message électronique par lequel le comité de mobilisation nous fait part de l’échec des démarches qu’il avait entreprises avec la préfecture. Vous le remerciez pour son travail sanitaire, sécuritaire et administratif, mais force est de constater que la faiblesse de la réponse apportée par notre université est révélatrice de l’état de l’université en général, dans sa difficulté à penser le monde qui l’entoure et qui bouge, alors même qu’elle se doit d’être le lieu par excellence du débat d’idées et d’une pensée créatrice, vivante et en mouvement.

      Pire, nous apprenons en marge du conseil d’administration de l’université de Saint Denis du Vendredi 15 Juin 2018 qu’une intervention et une évacuation policière ont été approuvées par la majorité des membres du conseil d’administration, vous laissant pleine possibilité de passer par ce recours à partir du Dimanche 17 Juin 2018.

      Comment Vincennes à Saint-Denis, après avoir depuis son origine accueilli des étudiants étrangers, baisserait-elle aujourd’hui les bras devant les quelques migrants qui se sont réfugiés dans ses locaux, sous le climat délétère de la loi asile immigration ?

      C’est pourquoi nous demandons instamment à la présidence de l’université de Saint Denis de renoncer à faire appel aux forces de l’ordre pour évacuer les migrants.

      Nous vous demandons de continuer à chercher avec les acteurs concernés toutes les solutions possibles pour accompagner ces migrants dans leur projet d’installation en France comme il en était question dans votre message électronique du 3 mai 2018.

      Il nous semble que c’est seulement à travers ce type d’engagement que notre université pourra fêter dignement son cinquantième anniversaire.

      http://fischer02003.over-blog.com/2018/06/petition-pour-les-migrants-de-saint-denis.html

    • Saint-Denis : le spectre de l’expulsion plane sur Paris 8

      Dans la nuit de lundi à mardi, entre 100 et 300 soutiens aux migrants occupant l’université Paris 8 à Saint-Denis ont dormi sur place. En cause ? La rumeur d’une intervention policière. Cédric, l’une des personnes solidaires, rembobine le fil de l’histoire. « La semaine dernière, dit-il, la présidente [NDLR : Annick Allaigre] nous a annoncé qu’à partir du 17 juin, elle souhaitait que nous ayons quitté les lieux, sous peine de faire intervenir la police » Sollicitée, la présidence n’a pas souhaité réagir. De son côté, la préfecture indique qu’elle « n’a pas été saisie par l’université pour intervenir dans une éventuelle évacuation ».

      Lundi, les soutiens apprennent « de plusieurs sources » l’hypothèse d’une évacuation policière. « On a lancé un appel d’urgence pour que les gens viennent », explique Cédric. Mélanie* en fait partie. Alertée à 22 heures, elle file rejoindre les personnes déjà sur place.

      « Vers 1 heure, on a fait un point, pour savoir quel comportement adopter en cas d’intervention », retrace-t-elle. Les soutiens optent pour une attitude pacifique. Les troupes s’organisent. Certains font des tours de garde. Les quelques connaisseurs du droit d’asile discutent des risques juridiques encourus par les exilés. Le tout, dans une ambiance « stressante », mais « bon enfant ». « Les gens mettaient de la musique, buvaient du thé… », raconte Mélanie.

      A partir de 5 h 30, voyant que la police n’arrive pas, les soutiens commencent à quitter les lieux. « Il y aura des personnes solidaires tous les soirs », annonce Cédric.
      *Les prénoms ont été modifiés.

      http://www.leparisien.fr/seine-saint-denis-93/saint-denis-le-spectre-de-l-expulsion-plane-sur-paris-8-19-06-2018-778170

    • Appel à soutenir le Patio Solidaire !

      Le Patio solidaire·mercredi 20 juin 2018, campus universitaire de Saint
      Martin d’Hères

      Depuis le 5 décembre 2017, le Patio Solidaire est occupé par une
      soixantaine de personnes prises dans des situations administratives
      diverses. La majorité de ses habitant.e.s sont en situation de demande
      d’asile. Légalement, l’État doit leur fournir un hébergement. Ce qu’il
      ne fait que rarement. La plupart sont aussi concernées par les
      procédures de Dublin. Le ministère de l’Intérieur cherche à les déporter
      vers les premiers pays par lesquels elles sont entrées en Europe
      (souvent l’Italie). Ces pays sont les seuls où leur demande d’asile
      peut-être étudiée.
      Le Patio Solidaire est un ancien laboratoire de droit au cœur du campus.
      Autogéré, il est progressivement devenu un espace de vie, d’échanges et
      de rencontres entre étudiant.e.s, enseignant.e.s, activistes,
      chercheur.e.s, habitant.e.s du Patio, de Grenoble, de Saint Martin
      d’Hères et au-delà, en exil ou non.

      Mi-mars, une lettre était envoyée au Président de l’Université, au
      Vice-président en charge de la Recherche et à l’ensemble des membres du
      Conseil d’administration (CA). Elle revenait sur la richesse des liens
      tissés au Patio et la diversité des activités qui s’y sont déployées
      (formations mutuelles, recherches collectives, ateliers artistiques,
      sorties culturelles, organisation d’évènements publics...). Un ouvrage
      collectif est même issu d’une de ces rencontres et sera bientôt publié.
      Il est intitulé « Le bureau des dépositions. Angle de transformation des
      politiques migratoires et des Etats-Nations capitalistes ». La lettre
      proposait le vote d’une motion qui viserait à maintenir le Patio et
      améliorer les conditions d’hébergement et de vie jusqu’à l’ouverture
      d’un nouveau lieu d’habitation et de travail sur le campus selon des
      modalités à discuter collectivement.

      Le 23 mars, une délégation du Patio intervenait donc au CA pour exposer
      la situation et les revendications des habitant.e.s. Le CA votait
      finalement, à l’unanimité, « la prolongation de l’hébergement transitoire
      des migrants jusqu’au 30 juin 2018 accompagnée de la poursuite des
      démarches visant à aboutir à leur relogement ».

      Aujourd’hui, nous sommes à une semaine de cette échéance du 30 juin et
      l’équipe présidentielle ne répond plus à nos sollicitations. Le 6 mai,
      nous répondions au Directeur Général des Services, Joris Benelle, suite
      à sa demande d’intervention des services techniques pour des
      prélèvements d’amiante. Dans cette réponse, nous nous inquiétions déjà
      de l’absence d’avancées concernant le relogement des habitant.e.s et la
      relocalisation du Patio dans un bâtiment plus adapté. Le 5 juin, nous
      écrivions au Président de l’UGA pour le rencontrer et discuter des
      engagements pris fin mars. Ces messages sont restés sans réponse.

      Au delà du 30 juin, nous ne savons pas quel sort sera réservé au Patio
      par une équipe présidentielle qui fait la sourde oreille.
      Nous nous donnons rendez-vous vendredi 22 juin à 8h30 au Patio pour
      marcher ensemble vers le Conseil d’Administration. Nous nous y
      rassemblerons pour petit-déjeuner, intervenir à l’assemblée, y présenter
      nos revendications et interpeler l’équipe présidentielle pour obtenir
      des engagements fermes.
      Puis, dès samedi 23, rendez-vous au Patio à partir de 15h pour fêter les
      6 mois de vie du Patio avec des conférences-débats, repas et concerts.
      Enfin, le lendemain, un tournoi de foot est organisé à partir de 13h.

      M. le Président, soyez innovant !

      Inventons avec le Patio le lieu d’une Université-Monde solidaire, et pas
      celui de la répression d’une expérience humaine et politique unique !

      Reçu via la mailing-list du patio, le 20.06.2018

    • "Paris 8 expulsé, on occupe à la rentrée !"

      Texte d’intervention de personnes solidaires qui ont participé à l’occupation du bâtiment A de Paris 8 aux côtés des exilé.e.s, sans papiers, migrant.e.s .

      Nous, personnes solidaires, avons occupé aux côtés des exilé.e.s, sans papiers, migrant.e.s, le bâtiment A de l’Université Paris 8 du 30 janvier au 26 juin 2018. Les revendications de l’occupation sont claires : des papiers et des logements pour tou.te.s. Le samedi 19 avril 2018, après 3 mois de mobilisation, la présidente de l’Université Paris 8, Annick Allaigre, a annoncé que selon le Ministère de l’Intérieur, tout.e.s les occupant.e.s auraient des papiers. Un mois et demi plus tard, elle nous apprend l’échec du plan de négociation et nous informe de notre expulsion prochaine, qui a eu lieu le 26 juin.

      Ce texte n’est pas un bilan, ni un résumé de 6 mois de lutte. C’est une intervention politique qui propose des axes pour la suite de notre combat contre le racisme d’Etat français.

      La violence spectacle et la violence bureaucratique

      Le 26 juin à 4h40 du matin, la police envahit Paris 8 pour nous expulser. Alors que quelques jours plus tôt, nous avions réussi à faire annuler l’expulsion par la présence massive de personnes solidaires, le nombre encore plus grand ce matin-là n’a pas suffi.

      Ahmed, occupant de Paris 8 raflé par la police et déplacé au gymnase du Raincy, nous dira « quand ils sont arrivés on croyait que c’était une opération antiterroriste ». Hordes de camions de CRS, flics masqués style GIGN qui descendent en rappel avec des cordes sur le toit, pince sur le dos, masse à la main, équipement anti-émeute, « sale pute » et « si vous parlez arabe, on vous casse la bouche », coup de poing, de pied, de bouclier, yeux cramés par le gaz, évanouissement. L’Etat met en scène sa toute-puissance en offrant sa violence en spectacle.

      L’autre violence, c’est la violence sourde, lisse, parfaitement huilée et bureaucratique qui fait monter 194 migrant.e.s, exilé.e.s et sans papiers dans des bus à destinations inconnues. Ici, pas d’insultes, de coups, pas de mise en scène viriliste et raciste : la banalité d’une rafle. Quand la préfecture, dans son communiqué post-expulsion, nous dit que « cette opération d’ordre public s’est déroulée dans de bonnes conditions et qu’aucun incident n’a été relevé », il faut savoir lui donner raison pour comprendre la nature de la chasse aux migrant.e.s. Cette violence-là n’a rien d’exceptionnel, de spectaculaire, de « disproportionné », c’est la routine d’un Etat raciste qui traque, trie, enferme et déporte en silence. Allez à Porte de la Chapelle, il ne s’y passe rien : une zone d’attente en plein air, le quadrillage et le harcèlement policier en plus. Même quand les gens y meurent, ils y meurent en silence, le visage caché et le nom tu. La violence n’y est pas un événement. Elle ne s’offre pas à l’indignation perplexe de tribunes d’universitaires, à l’esprit de communion des manifestations happening devant le Sénat contre une loi qui n’a rien d’inédit ou à une énième tirade révoltée contre les « bavures » policières. Il est bien plus facile de s’émouvoir 48h d’un coup de matraque, d’un gazage ou de l’histoire de l’Aquarius alors même qu’on est content de pouvoir retourner prendre le soleil sur les quais à Jaurès, une fois que tous les migrant.e.s qui y vivaient ont été raflé.e.s.

      Cette violence-là appelle à s’organiser et à lutter politiquement avec celles et ceux que la police, la préfecture et la mairie « évacuent » comme des déchets.

      Les camps de tri

      Les occupant.e.s de Paris 8 ont été bougé.e.s sans jamais savoir où, entre le gymnase Kellerman à Porte d’Italie et le gymnase du Raincy. De là, l’Etat a organisé leur dispersion vers Vaux le Penil, Nanterre, Villiers-le-Bel et Cergy. En moins de 48h, certain.e.s avaient été trimballé.e.s entre 3 lieux différents. Ce qui frappe, c’est la simplicité avec laquelle les espaces civils sont convertis en espaces concentrationnaires : ici, une salle de classe de Paris 8 devient la scène d’un tri racial entre étudiant.e.s français.e.s et migrant.e.s sans papiers ; là, un gymnase (Le Raincy, Porte d’Italie, Viliers-le-Bel), une patinoire (Cergy) ou encore un centre de tri de la poste (Vaux-le-Penil), deviennent des camps. Tout espace est déjà un camp en puissance. Entassement dans de petites salles sur des lits de camps, numéros d’identification, nourriture jamais halal servie avec des gants en plastique, couvre-feu, équipes de sécurité en permanence et BAC qui tourne le soir.

      Les associations qui gèrent ces « hébergements d’urgence » (Espérer 95, Secours Islamique, Emmaüs, Empreintes, etc.) sont les larbins de l’Etat raciste qui leur délègue le travail de tri : prise d’empreintes, tri administratif, transfert à la préfecture, tout ça sans interprète. Ils parlent de « mise à l’abri », nous parlons de tri raciste. A Vaux le Pénil, où le règlement intérieur n’a jamais été traduit ni expliqué, des personnes qui étaient là depuis 4 mois étaient toujours persuadées de ne pas avoir le droit de sortir le dimanche.

      Dans son communiqué, la préfecture nous explique que les occupant.e.s « ont été pris.e.s en charge par les services de l’Etat et pourront ainsi bénéficier de mise à l’abri » et que « cette démarche permettra de procéder à des examens individuels de situation au bénéfice des migrants et à des orientations administratives adaptées et respectueuses de droits des intéressés ». Ici aussi, on doit se garder de dire que la préfecture nous ment. Au contraire, il faut la prendre au pied de la lettre quand elle nous dit que le droit est « respecté » puisque le CESEDA (Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et demandeurs d’asile) codifie avec une grande application, toujours plus innovante mais fermement coloniale, la violence légitime qui s’applique à « l’étranger ».

      C’est pourquoi nous occupons

      Nous ouvrons et occupons des bâtiments parce qu’ils sont vides ou qu’ils appartiennent à l’Etat. Nous occupons des facs parce que ce sont des lieux où se perfectionnent déjà les techniques d’un tri de race et de classe, comme demain nous occuperons des préfectures, parce qu’on y catégorise, gère et déporte à grand renforts de convocations, tampons officiels, derrière des masques de fonctionnaires.

      Nous occupons parce qu’il ne s’agit pas de lutter pour imposer une meilleure application de la loi ou sanctuariser le droit d’asile mais de lutter contre ce droit. C’est ce code raciste qu’est le CESEDA (Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d’asile), sur lequel l’Etat s’appuie, ainsi que les pratiques de ses administrations, qui mettent à la rue et fabriquent industriellement des étranger.e.s illégalisé.e.s. C’est le droit, et pas l’entorse au droit, qui enferme dans les centres de rétention, qui déporte vers le Soudan, le Mali, l’Algérie ou l’Afghanistan.

      Nous occupons pour ne pas reconduire les catégories de l’Etat et de ses bras armés ou gantés, la préfecture, les flics, l’OFII, l’OFPRA, la CNDA, les centres de rétention, la police aux frontières. Nous occupons pour lutter contre l’Etat procédurier raciste qui s’ingénie à traiter les exilé.e.s

      individuellement, par l’application de sa doctrine du « cas par cas », qu’il s’agisse du droit d’asile ou de sa politique de régularisation des sans-papiers. Nous occupons pour que ces luttes deviennent collectives.

      Nous occupons pour faire corps, pour que ce corps s’organise, nomme ses objectifs et qu’il ait des bases d’action. Pour briser la ségrégation politique organisée par l’Etat entre français et non français, avec ou sans papiers, pour construire une lutte collective qui rompt l’isolement politique des uns et des autres. Nous occupons pour tenir une position avec en tête cette déclaration tunisienne : Ni police ni charité : un toit pour s’organiser ! Pour que ces moments d’organisation soient déjà des victoires contre le néolibéralisme raciste de l’Etat français républicain et contre l’architecture européenne ségrégationniste. Nous ne voulons pas être de celles et ceux qui "regardent sombrer les bateaux qui demandent à accoster". Parce que notre lutte est antiraciste, nous construisons une solidarité en actes, nous luttons avec et jamais pour.

      Nous occupons parce que la rue tue, en été plus qu’en hiver, quand la solidarité est en vacances et que la mairie de Paris coupe les points d’accès à l’eau. C’est sûrement, nous dit le poète soudanais, que je suis venu « pourrir dans les rues de Paris, ces rues nettoyées à grandes eaux chaque matin... alors je ne sais plus si je suis un bout de viande ou un morceau d’asphalte ».

      Nous occupons parce qu’on nous dit « tout est mieux que la rue », tandis qu’on se suicide dans les centres d’hébergement. Dans ces centres comme dans la rue, on perd son nom pour gagner au mieux un numéro et il faudrait en plus dire merci.

      Nous occupons parce que c’est à nous de réquisitionner des bâtiments parmi les 205 000 vides dénombrés à Paris.

      Soyons dans la rue cet été, occupons à la rentrée

      Après l’expulsion, nous avons vu le tri se faire, les retours à la rue après 10 jours dans un gymnase, les expulsions sans raison d’un centre d’hébergement, les gens qui partent pour éviter un rendez-vous à risque à la préfecture, celles et ceux qui partent simplement parce que ça devient insupportable. Tel le chasseur qu’il est, l’Etat raciste a fait une grande prise en détruisant ce printemps tous les campements de Paris et en expulsant Paris 8 puis en enfermant dans des centres le temps d’un tri administratif. Aujourd’hui dans la rue, après ce tri, il ne reste plus que les personnes expulsées de leur centre, en fuite, déboutées de l’asile, autrement dit le « surplus issu du tri ». En fait, ce surplus représente les personnes à rafler. Depuis le début de l’été, la rue est le terrain d’une chasse à l’homme de grande ampleur.

      Si notre occupation n’a jamais été une mise à l’abri humanitaire mais un combat politique contre les politiques raciste de l’Etat français envers les exilé.e.s, migrant.e.s et sans-papiers, la lutte ne saurait s’arrêter à l’expulsion d’un lieu. Du point du vue de la temporalité de lutte des exilé.e.s, il y a une continuité évidente entre l’avant et l’après-occupation.

      A toutes les personnes solidaires, nous tenons à rappeler que Paris 8 ne doit pas marquer le début et la fin d’une « expérience » politique de la solidarité. L’occupation n’était qu’un moment, une modalité d’organisation particulière à un certain contexte d’une lutte de longue date bien plus large.

      C’est dans la rue que la guerre se livre déjà cet été et se livrera à la rentrée.

      C’est là qu’on nous trouvera pour s’opposer aux rafles, c’est là qu’on s’organisera pour occuper.

      Des personnes solidaires ayant participé à l’occupation de Paris 8

      https://blogs.mediapart.fr/la-chapelle-en-lutte/blog/140818/paris-8-expulse-occupe-la-rentre-e

  • Verso
    The Colonial Gas Machine: Teargas Grenades, Secular Humanist Police, and the Intoxication of Racialized Lives

    For the privileged, tear gas is an event; for the colonized, it composes a fundamental aspect of life.

    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3507-the-colonial-gas-machine-teargas-grenades-secular-humanist-police-a

    Pourquoi ça gaze autant ? Chez nous y’a pas l’OTAN.

    Alors si y’a la guerre, ça va durer longtemps.

    (Why so much gas? Back home, there’s no NATO.

    So, if there’s war, it’s gonna last.)

    Lunatic, “B.O,” Mauvais Œil

    After the deaths of Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, two young inhabitants of a Paris banlieue, during a police tracking in October 2005, revolts in Paris banlieues took place for several weeks and then rapidly spread all over France. During the fourth night of combat between the police and the inhabitants of the cité (i.e. “housing projects”) Les Bosquets, the police threw a teargas grenade in the mosque in which Muslim residents were praying during the month of Ramadan. This event defined the frame of discussion of what was happening in Les Bosquets. The combination of toxicity as such and of what was seen as the contamination of sacred space created a sense of scandal that erased all the structural reasons behind the revolts in the first place and how the population itself saw this particular aggression against the mosque. In the following days, no word was uttered in the media about the many, albeit less spectacular grenades that exploded every day in Les Bosquets, and in other cités, and only a few words were spoken about the ton of grenades that were thrown before and after this event. Nothing was said about the life of teargas grenades outside the scandal of their explosive spectacle.

    Indeed, a major contradiction lies at the core of the representation of teargas grenades. On the one hand, these grenades operate every single day in the world, and also potentially everywhere: in occupied territories when the colonized reclaim their land as in Palestine or North Dakota, in urban ghettos in the peripheries of imperial metropoles throughout the West, when inhabitants rebel against the colonial management of their life, in any country of the Global South when the postcolonial state fails to realize its old promises, in the center of imperial metropoles during class protests in times of so-called “crisis” of capitalism. Despite their pervasiveness in the everywhere-and-every-day, teargas grenades are definitely not seen as everyday objects of modern life. Teargas grenades are associated with the logic of event. A teargas grenade explodes with an aura of spectacle, appears during a clash and supposedly in response to a given event. Although the metropolitan leftist activist may occasionally experience the effects of teargas grenades, the latter do not compose an everyday aspect of their life. Toxicity, in our colonial context, is an event only for the privileged while it composes a fundamental aspect of life for the colonized.

  • Essays in Honor of Nancy Fraser

    http://habermas-rawls.blogspot.com/2017/08/essays-in-honor-of-nancy-fraser.html

    Feminism, Capitalism, and Critique

    Essays in Honor of Nancy Fraser Ed. by Banu Bargu & Chiara Bottici (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) 332 pages
    http://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783319523859#otherversion=9783319523866

    Description

    This edited collection examines the relationship between three central terms — capitalism, feminism, and critique — while critically celebrating the work and life of a thinker who has done the most to address this nexus: Nancy Fraser. In honor of her seventieth birthday, and in the spirit of her work in the tradition of critical theory, this collection brings together scholars from different disciplines and theoretical approaches to address this conjunction and evaluate Fraser’s lifelong contributions to theorizing it. Scholars from #philosophy, #political_science, #sociology, #gender_studies, #race_theory and #economics come together to think through the vicissitudes of capitalism and feminism while also responding to different elements of Nancy Fraser’s work, which weaves together a strong feminist standpoint with a vibrant and complex critique of capitalism.

    Contents [preview] https://books.google.dk/books?id=mDkuDwAAQBAJ&pg=PP3&lpg=PP3&dq=Feminism,+Capitalism,+and+Criti

    1. Introduction - Banu Bargu & Chiara Bottici
    2. From Socialist Feminism to the Critique of Global Capitalism - Richard J. Bernstein
    3. Debates on Slavery, Capitalism and Race: Old and New - Robin Blackburn
    4. Feminism, Capitalism, and the Social Regulation of Sexuality - Johanna Oksala
    5. Capitalism’s Insidious Charm vs. Women’s and Sexual Liberation - Cinzia Arruzza
    6. The Long Life of Nancy Fraser’s “Rethinking the #Public_Sphere” - Jane Mansbridge
    7. Feminism, #Ecology, and Capitalism - María Pía Lara
    8. Recognition, Redistribution, and Participatory Parity - William E. Scheuerman
    9. (Parity of) #Participation – The Missing Link Between Resources and Resonance - Hartmut Rosa
    10. Curbing the Absolute Power of Disembedded Financial Markets - Alessandro Ferrara
    11. Hegel and Marx: A Reassessment After One Century [video] - Axel Honneth
    12. Crisis, Contradiction, and the Task of a #Critical_Theory - Rachel Jaeggi
    13. What’s Critical About a Critical Theory of Justice? - Rainer Forst
    14. Beyond Kant Versus Hegel - Amy Allen
    15. Nancy Fraser and the Left: A Searching Idea of #Equality - Eli Zaretsky

    Nancy Fraser’s Bibliography

    See also Lucas Ballestin’s review of the book here:
    https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/3320-redefining-feminist-scholarship-nancy-fraser-s-work-celebrated-in-a

    via http://02mydafsoup-01.soup.io/post/631018711/Essays-in-Honor-of-Nancy-Fraser

    #Nancy_Fraser
    #Feminism #Capitalism #Critique #Essays