Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Victims Of The Metropolis

Where are the heroes, the colonisers, the victims of the Metropolis?
Brecht, Diary entry, 1921
It's been about twenty years since I first saw Ajegunle for the one and only time. I was young and just beginning an extended period of fieldwork in Nigeria. I stayed in Lagos for a few days and went to Ajegunle (known locally as "Jungle City") with Tunde, a social activist. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for what I witnessed: the utter pity of human deprivation where people - hundreds of thousands of people - somehow eked out the conditions of survival.

In his brilliant essay on the South's Planet Of Slums, Mike Davis quotes Dickens:
I saw innumerable hosts, foredoomed to darkness, dirt, pestilence, obscenity, misery and early death.
In part, some of today's slums have recapitulated the early experiences of unfettered industrialisation. But others, like those in Lagos, confound this link. Slums exist despite the absence of industrialisation with economies broken apart by catastrophic economic primitivisation and market anarchy.

I was reminded of this formative experience by a recent piece written by John Vidal, headlined "Everyone here wakes up angry" - the words of the Lagos poet and activist, AJ Daga Tola. AJ goes on:
Everyone here wakes up in anger. The frustration of being alive in a society like this is excruciating. People find it very hard and it is getting worse. Day in, day out, poor people from all over Africa arrive in this place, still seeing Lagos as the land of opportunity. They are met at the bus stops by gangs of youths who demand payments. There is extortion at every point. Only one in 10 people have regular work.
Vidal offers us an exemplary piece of first-hand reporting. And he provides a much-needed reality check against the pieties and platitudes of the Commission for Africa's recent report. There is plenty of evidence here that the Commission's rhetoric will not be matched by action if recent policies are anything to go by: the niggardly attitude of the G8 and World Bank; the absence of any serious plan for debt relief (Nigeria has paid its debts twice over and still owes $67 billion); the multilateral institutions promoting still more disastrous privatisation schemes; and so on.

Why has this happened? A recent report of the United Nations' Human Settlements Programme offers a partial answer. Its findings move beyond the usual circumspection ofUN reports and lay the blame squarely on the policies of neoliberalism.
The primary direction of both national and international interventions during the last twenty years has actually increased urban poverty and slums, increased exclusion and inequality.
It's neoliberalism they're talking about, not "bad governance" or "cultural failings" or the usual excuses. And yet, despite all the evidence, the Commission for Africa offers nothing but more of the same. The result is already the global catastrophe of urban poverty. Today, Lagos is the node of what Mike Davis calls "probably the biggest continuous footprint of urban poverty on earth". The Commission's policy prescriptions will likely make things worse.

In the face of this stark reality, the "planet of slums", something urgent and proundly radical needs to be done. A new politics and a new sense of social action will have to be framed by and for the wretched of the earth. The Left has, by and large, shirked its responsibility to the world's informal proletariat whose organisational spaces are the marketplace and slum streets, not the factory floor. Grassroots activists like AJ offer some hope for change as do examples from elsewhere. Once, in the nineteenth cetury, the great movements for working class emancipation came from the fetid industrial cities. In the twenty-first century will a new movement for emancipation spring from the victims of the dystopian metropolis?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo, This blog is pretty neat. You should check out mine sometime. It pretty much covers online paid review survey related stuff.

11:50 am  
Blogger Dokdo Island said...

offers or buyers
These days trade business much easier since internet development.
On net, we can find well made trade portal site.
In fact, those cool sites help your trade business.
How many countries? what kinds of products?
Yes, we can not count.
Around the world, someone looking for your products, and a company
want to import your goods.
Trade portal site become huge marketplace so it called "emarketplace."
How many emarketplace do you know.
Which emarketplace do you recommend.
I am proudly tell you the emarketplace "buykorea.org"
You may not buy korea, but you can buy and sell what you want.
Buykorea.org trade service managed by kotra(un profit trade agency)
Your marketing budget will be save and business increased.
Check what do you want to know about

2:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I really like this one. I have a website that talks mostly about make money at home uk You should check it out sometime.

12:43 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for allowing me to read all this information regarding paid surveys online. Maybe you would find interesting also my blog covering paid surveys online.
Thanks very much again.

5:22 am  
Anonymous Scott Arthur Edwards said...

Dear friend, Here is an opportunity for you that is taking over the internet. The compensation plan is second to none. The spill over will blow your mind and the educational products are of the highest quality. Knowledge is power and nobody can ever take that away from you. Join me in this business and see for yourself what you will be getting. Click here: FREE Information

5:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice site!
[url=http://afqezghc.com/qpnj/ukfj.html]My homepage[/url] | [url=http://upcbdurs.com/igkt/agdc.html]Cool site[/url]

3:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done!
My homepage | Please visit

3:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done!
http://afqezghc.com/qpnj/ukfj.html | http://ucghpwlj.com/pqby/bkgb.html

3:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hallo! ;)
wow... what brainsick newz!
what do U consider about it?

3:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest news. Viagra, cialis


9:14 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[url=http://didrex-moza.blogspot.com/]didrex[/url] http://didrex-moza.blogspot.com/
See you.

1:30 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site about
money making opportunity. I am bookmarking it.
Please also visit my site aboutmoney making opportunity

11:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Classifieds for our community. Buy, sell, trade, date, events... post anything. Adquity Classifieds.


9:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Online Companies will pay YOU from $5 to $125 for Each Survey!
Get paid to participate in online focus groups $50 to $150 per hour!
Get paid to try new products - keep the products and get paid too!
Get paid to preview movie trailers $4 to $25 per hour!
Get paid $5 to $95 per hour to take surveys offline!
Get paid to travel! Earn $100's each month just for traveling!
You get paid to drive your car $1000 to $3000 per month!marketing softwaer survey
marketing softwaer survey

9:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Classifieds for our community. Buy, sell, trade, date, events... post anything. Adquity Classifieds.


7:32 am  
Anonymous viagra said...

Disaster is likely to wreak havoc in the life of an individual as soon as he becomes victim to erectile dysfunction and the most significant dreadful consequence of erectile dysfunction is that the afflicted man becomes incapable of facilitating erections required for sexual intercourse. The sexual vacuum resulted from erectile dysfunction prompts the sufferer to opt for anti-impotency pills, most especially the viagra medication that was approved by FDA (Food and Drugs Administration) as a clinically effective drug to cure erectile dysfunction in men. Viagra is meant to be administered by patients only after availing of viagra prescription from the doctor. The prescription for Viagra provided by the doctor spells out that the patient suffering from erectile dysfunction seriously need Viagra to treat his disorder and further authorizes the patient to avail of Viagra from the pharmacist.

2:36 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Generic Viagra has helped millions of men with erectile dysfunction achieve improved erections. This pill is shown to help men get and keep an erection for successful intercourse.

2:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Generic Cialis gives good results and treats erectile dysfunction problem effectively. Generic Levitra is available in 20-mg tablets and is taken only when needed. Take Generic Levitra no more than once a day. Generic Viagra is an oral treatment drug that has been developed to combat erectile dysfunction. The fundamental ingredient within the product is sildenafil, which essentially serves to work within the body, through the improvement of the blood supply into the penis, thus along for firmer, longer lasting erections.

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Generic Viagra is in a class of medications known as PDE-5 inhibitors, which are used to treat cases of male impotence. Generic Propecia is a steroid reductase inhibitor, works by reducing the amount of the hormone dihydrotestosterone in the body. This may block certain types of hair loss in men. Viagra is the best choice medicine for erectile dysfunction as it can be taken regardless of the age of the patient and works unhindered with most medicines.

4:30 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home