[Podcast] Chicago, Detroit, and the Evolution of the Occupy Movement

For half a century now, the top one percent of the top one percent have denied the right to the city, by confusing people that individual rights were all that mattered. They turned us all from citizens into consumers, and told everyone that you have the freedom to choose what music to listen to, what television shows to watch, what low-wage job to accept or what good job to compete against a hundred other applicants, what tiny basement suite or SRO to rent if you can’t afford anything better. But you’re told that when it comes to the true right to the city, you only get a few small choices every few years. And these choices will always have to get prior approval from the 1 percent, and the financial markets, and the real estate markets, before we’re even allowed to make any choice at all.

Demand more. Demand the right to the city. It belongs to all of us.

–Elvin Wyly (in an excerpt from To Claim the Right to the City, Turn Left)

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Photo by Elvin Wyly (2010). Available at http://www.geog.ubc.ca/~ewyly/imaginer.html.

The urban Occupy movement began in September 2011, and it continues to evolve. On the program, urban geographer Elvin Wyly talks about the Occupy movement as collectively claiming a right to the city – a right to live in just cities that are socially and economically equitable.

We then speak with an organizer from Occupy the Midwest, which is a Detroit conference drawing people from midwest cities and beyond. We discuss the socio-economic contexts of Chicago and Detroit, and this regional Occupy conference as part of the evolution of the movement in a part of the country particularly devastated by neoliberal capitalism.


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