22 November 2007

Cities of Tomorrow

Perhaps cities can only ever be imaginary. Certainly, a map or a photograph is not sufficient to realise a city, let alone a name, or a municipal balance-sheet. Everyone has a different way of codifying the city. Ebenezer Howard, an autodidact, and the author of “Garden Cities of To-morrow” (1902), used a series of trite diagrams, including the “Three Magnets” one shown here. Howard’s proto-PowerPoints are still popular even in the most exalted intellectual circles, and rightly so. They imply a striving to comprehend the phenomenon of urbanism, which by now, 2007, and by any definition, has embraced more than half the population of the world.

Modern urbanism is the creation of the dominant elite of town-dwellers, or in other words the burgers, or in French, the bourgeoisie. Their cities are places of alienation, where workers in particular commonly regard themselves as sojourners, or temporary residents. The laws of apartheid were an overprovision, like belt and braces. The bourgeois city alienates, with or without special laws. Only through socialism, and in the full abolition of the class divisions which haunt every corner of the city fabric, can the division between town and country be broken down and abolished.

The Communist University’s
Plug-in City is a city of the mind, but it is no less real than any other conception of the city. Its Dialogue Page has now been extended with links to some other forums, including the famous DEBATE forum, forever associated with Patrick Bond. (By the time of the next South African general election, the DEBATE e-mail forum will have been in existence for ten years).

The drive to recruit more subscribers to our
Communist University and to other dialogue and distribution groups has been working very well so far. The YCLSA Discussion Forum is cooking, with more than 400 members. That is more than ten times bigger than it was a month ago. The membership of the new, dedicated, Umsebenzi Online distribution list stands at 144 after only two weeks. The CU membership is a fast approaching 1350. (The special list for those who require attachments as well as links, CU with Attachments, must be added to the number on the main list).

The latest Umsebenzi Online came out yesterday (see the link below). It contains the latest (No. 6) in the series called “The Revolution is On Trial”, by SACP GS Dr Blade Nzimande. It is a controversial one! Be warned to read it more than once, because as always with Umsebenzi Online, this is original work.

Don’t forget the list of Coming Events linked below. Each listed item is a link to more details of the particular event. See, for example, the “Marx in Soweto” event scheduled for 1 December 2007. Please
e-mail the CU with details of all your scheduled events (not forgetting the date, the time and the venue) for inclusion on this page.

Click on this link:

Umsebenzi Online, Revolution on Trial 6, 21 November 2007

Coming Events


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