Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Mon Aug 16 09:42:23 PDT 1999

At 12:04 PM 8/16/99 -0400, Doug wrote:
>NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani has effectively privatized one of the great
>public spaces in the U.S., Central Park. Though the city still owns
>the park, it's managed by the Central Park Conservancy, whose chair
>is Wall Street hedge fund hotshot Richard Gilder (who was also a
>major stockholder in Valu-Jet Airlines). It's now illegal to hold any
>kind of event involving more than a handful of people without a
>permit - and permits are not easy to come by. You can even be
>arrested for carrying a protest sign in the park. Not on the grounds
>of prohibiting speech of course - on quality of life grounds.

Doug - I did not say that urbanization is an antidote to crypto-fascims aka "Adolf" Giuliani. It is not. What I was saying is that it is virtually impossible to avoid environmental degradation, elimination of public spaces and social cohesion in suburban development. Urban development, on the other hand, makes it quite possible to avoid these ills. But it does not prevent imposing political restrictions on public freedoms either.

I would furthermore argue, however, that urban environment makes it far easier to fight such political restrictions than suburban one. Yoy can still organize a demo in NYC, even if behind police lines. You cannot organize even that in, say, Westchester county - for a very simple reason, the lack of public space and social cohesion (aka solidarity) make it virtually impossible.

Another thought: talking about "quality of life" may not be all crypto-fascist hogwash (even though some of it undoubtedly is). Many people are really sick and tired of 'crime and grime' in city cores, and they genuinely want to see their quality of life improve.


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