Abolishing The Metropolis

abolishing the metropolisThis post contained an draft version of a dissertation section. A more recent version is now available on the works page.

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4 thoughts on “Abolishing The Metropolis

  1. Little heavy with optimism at the end, hey? And life is qualitatively better in the “country”, where we have what Williams referred to as “breathing space.”

    Thanks for your writing.

    -Frere Fontaine

    1. It’s my proposition that The Metropolis abolishes the distinction between the town and the country. And here’s why I think that: previously, cities were defined as accumulations of material that required outlining agricultural lands to survive. With the coincidence of the two great revolutions of the 20C, the second green revolution (based primarily on the introduction of fossil fuel to agricultural production through mechanization and fertilization), and the second enclosure movement (the spanning of most space, and the turning inward of property rights toward intellectual property), the town-country divide is no longer comprehensible.

      In the country, one has wifi and cell service(and though spotty, is often better than in hood), which has ushered in a new era of surveillance and control, and the local gossip probably knows where you are and what you’re doing at all time, which prevents any form of anonymity. In the city, however, density covers your tracks. People are always being caught up in dragnets, yet even more people are never caught up with. Consider this: serial killers are likely an urban phenomena.

      In a previous time, peasant rebellions were possible because a people who already controlled their landbase treated the state as a take-it-or-leave-it situation, and would sometimes decide to leave it. Contemporary rural life has nothing in common with the life of a peasant, as there is no longer a one-way dependency whereby the city relies on the country but the country is self-sufficient. For those interested in global revolution, the idea of mass peasant rebellions – such as those that occurred for millennia, those that characterized the decolonization struggles of the 20C, and the few that still happen in pockets around the world – is no longer a useful model because they can “take leave of the state” while we can’t, as we are all too dependent on Biopower and The Spectacle to find an autonomous base of power established in “the country” to fight from (because I don’t think it exists as autonomous, or as “the country”).

      Post-industrial societies need a totally new model for revolution.

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