Whose Cities? Our Cities!

October 3rd, 2017 7:30 PM
10 week session
The Marxist Education Project
Whose Cities? Our Cities!
21st Century Urban Class Struggles
Organized by Thomas Wensing

In New York City, the self-proclaimed ‘real estate capital of the world’, working class housing has become either unaffordable or as cramped as was the housing of the 19th century. The class that built and continues to build New York City can no longer afford to live here. Meanwhile, the international bourgeoisie with hyper capital accumulation, perch themselves in luxurious multi-roomed lofty palaces as occasional residences. These part-time palatial perches serve often as repositories of gains from nefarious smuggling, laundering and other activities all over our globe or as tax havens, stealing revenues from our working class comrades all around the globe. We are seeing the same pattern in Paris, London, Tokyo, Lagos, Rome and other metropolitan areas. As these housing inequalities grow they are increasingly being met with resistance.

Cities have always been sites for class struggle, but the increasing interconnectedness of global markets has meant a new global elite – hedge fund investors, Russian oligarchs, oil sheiks -- are now purchasing properties on an unprecedented scale and hiding their identities behind shell companies. This pressure at the top drives up the prices of real estate and rents across the spectrum, with market-rate housing replacing affordable and rent controlled stock, displacing tenants.

Our group will begin this fall reading Friedrich Engels’ The Housing Question, and David Harvey’s Rebel Cities. We then focus on David Madden and Peter Marcuse’sIn Defense of Housing, which explains the causes and consequences of the housing crisis. Next, we’ll look at Fear City by Kim Phillips-Fein on the state fiscal crisis as centered in New York City in 1975

We conclude with Zoned Out, edited by Tom Angotti and Sylvia Morse, which exposes how the zoning of New York prevents comprehensive planning for the future and mainly functions as a tool to exacerbate differences of class and race.

Our aim is to gain the historical and theoretical understanding that can inform our fight to wrest control of our cities from the capitalist class, and to discuss how cities can be reorganized to meet the human needs with sustainable environments.

Thomas Wensing works on residential and commercial projects at Morris Adjmi Architects. He holds licenses as an architect in both the UK and the Netherlands. He grew up in Den Helder, The Netherlands, and graduated from Delft University and Columbia University. His teaching experience includes the AA in London, Eindhoven University, and the University of Kent, in Canterbury. Thomas is a regular contributor to Blueprint Magazine and other publications.


$95 / $110 / $125 sliding scale
no one turned away for inability to pay

The Brooklyn Commons
388 Atlantic Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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