Kari Lydersen discusses her new book, Mayor 1% : Rahm Emanuel and the Rise of Chicago's 99%, with a panel that includes Amisha Patel, Brandon Johnson, and Ben Joravsky. The panel offers their assessment of the fight back stirred up by Emanuel and his elitist backers in response to their naked power grab for Chicago's resources and lived space. Brandon Johnson is a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union and community activist. Amisha Patel is Executive Director of Take Back Chicago. Ben Joravsky writes for the Chicago Reader and has been a regular critic of Rahm and observer of the Chicago political scene.
To better understand what the 1% want and their quite open planning to acquire it see "Critical Notes" by Muindi Fanuel Muindi <firstname.lastname@example.org> below:
Critical Notes on World Business Chicago's Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs
“It is not a plan for poverty elimination and community development.” Indeed. The authors of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs decided not to mince any words. They could just have easily added that it is not a plan to launch an ecologically sustainable mode of development, nor is it a plan
to democratize right to the city.
Noam Chomsky has sharply remarked that the terms “economic growth” and “jobs” are, when spoken by capitalist class interests, both synonymous with the term “profit .” A good reader of Marx would be more precise, equating the term "economic growth” with "the expanded production”
of surplus value” and the term “jobs” with "the demand for exploitable bodies” .
The title of the document should therefore be translated as either the Plan for Profit and More Profit, or the Plan to Expand the Production of Surplus Value and Satisfy the Demand for Exploitable Bodies.
In order to generate profit—that is, to expand the production of surplus value, to ensure that investments manage to produce commodities which sell at prices greater than the costs of their production — capitalists must accomplish three fundamental tasks:
Externalize the production and reproduction costs of labor: exploit labor as efficiently as possible by paying workers wages that amount to less than the value they produce, and when possible less than what it will cost the workers to reproduce themselves.
Externalize the production and reproduction costs of inputs and infrastructures: 1) appropriate inputs and construct infrastructures without paying for them or by underpaying for them, 2) avoid paying the economic and ecological costs to reproduce inputs and infrastructures that will deteriorate or be depleted, and 3) avoid paying the economic and ecological costs to properly dispose of or to recycle the bi-products of production processes.
Generate sufficient demand for the commodities produced at prices that realize significant quantities of surplus value. The WBC Plan must be read as an attempt to promote a particular set of apparatuses and institutions to accomplish these three fundamental tasks, i.e. an attempt to promote a particular techno-political accumulation strategy.
All three fundamental tasks require the intervention of state power to ensure that they are accomplished. States discipline and qualify labor with welfare programs or by the use of force. States establish the conditions that allow capitalist firms to cheaply extract inputs by way of subsidies, (post-)imperial forms of domination, and the dispossession of populations. States build and repair the infrastructures that support the dominant regime of techno-industrial production, bearing the costs that capitalist firms cannot and will not to bear. States generate sufficient demand with their own spending, their capacity to coordinate internal markets, and global political-economic
deals. Indeed, every techno-political accumulation strategy and the resistances they engender produce a particular breed of state that accomplishes the three tasks in a particular fashion. The WBC Plan envisions a state that engages in flexible metropolitan governance, a state that fully suits the needs of
capital’s flexible accumulation regime, eliminating and transforming the remnants of Keynesian
Fordist planner state. Capitalist elites, their think tanks, and their bureaucrats hope to create a
network of strategically managed, entrepreneurial metropolitan governments responding to the
exclusively to the pull of global markets, accomplishing the three fundamental tasks by capitalizing
on their unique assets, specifying catalytic products, policies, and interventions, and establishing
detailed operational and financial plans. They imagine a restructuring of the current top-down,
highly siloed federal-state-metro governmental structure that is impeding the effective implementation of new techno-political accumulation strategies. To a large degree, the problems that plagued the big industrial firms of the Keynesian Fordist era and the Neoliberal mechanisms that served as solutions to those problems are to be transposed onto the federal-state-metro
governmental structure. Federal and state governments are more and more to become investors as metropolitan areas are more and more to become investment opportunities, in the manner that big industrial firms more and more became investors as aspects their production, distribution, and exchange processes more and more became dividual investment opportunities. The metropolitan areas that will win the prize of investment from federal and state governments, business, and venture philanthropists are those that are the most e ffective catalysts for the externalization of the
production and reproduction costs of labor, the externalization of the production and reproduction costs of inputs and infrastructures, and the generation of sufficient demand.
Why settle on the metropolitan area as the primary unit of governance? We read in the WBC Plan that, The nation’s economic assets are concentrated in metropolitan areas, which play a vastly disproportionate
role in creating economic value. The geographic proximity of key economic assets and actors enhances their individual and collective productivity by reducing transaction costs and increasing the interactions that
generate innovation. Skilled people and firms located in metropolitan areas have higher productivity and outputs than their peers located outside them. For these reasons, metropolitan regions are becoming the primary competitive units of the global economy. We read a more precise description of this move in Saskia Sassen's Territory, Authority, Rights: Under Keynesian policies, particularly the Fordist contract, and the dominance of mass manufacturing as
the organizing economic dynamic, cities lost strategic functions and were not the site for creative institutional innovations. The strategic sites were the large factory and the processes of mass manufacturing and mass consumer markets, as well as the national government where regulatory frameworks were
developed and the Fordist contract instituted. The factory and the [national] government were the strategic sites where the crucial dynamics producing the major institutional innovations of the epoch were located. With globalization and digitization, and today’s specific territorial and organizational rearrangements,
global cities emerge as such strategic sites. As several of the key components of economic globalization and digitization instantiate in this type of city, they produce dislocations and destabilizations of existing institutional orders and legal/regulatory/normative frames for handling urban conditions. It is the high level of concentration of these new dynamics in these cities that forces creative responses and innovations. While the strategic transformations are sharply concentrated in these cities, many are also enacted (besides being
diffused) in cities at the lower end of national urban hierarchies. Furthermore, particular institutions of the state, such as the executive branch and the Treasury, also are such strategic sites even as other components
of the state lose significance through deregulation and privatization.
So, the metropolitan area is to become the primary unit of governance because it is the metropolitan area that is the primary unit of global production in the integrated world capitalist system. Yes, but why is this the case? How did this come to be? What is so significant about the metropolitan area to capital accumulation today?
Read more "Critical Notes."
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