This essay was first published almost two years ago in August of 2016 by a friend of the project. We re-publish it here as we feel it is more timely than ever as the struggle grows against ICE, borders and, more generally, against this whole carceral society.
“Positioned increasingly as a ‘capital of capital’ in the Pacific Basin, Los Angeles has been surging toward the ranks of the three other capitals of global capital, New York, London, and Tokyo (its Pacific Rim cohort). […] Los Angeles broadcasts its self-imagery so widely that probably more people have seen this place – or at least fragments of it – than any other on the planet. As a result, the seers of Los Angeles have become countless, even more so as the progressive globalization of its urban political economy flows along similar channels, making Los Angeles perhaps the epitomizing world-city, une ville de venue monde.”
Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory
Our Present Material Conditions in Los Angeles
“Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward. We risk falling further behind in adapting to the realities of the 21st century and becoming a City in decline. […] Los Angeles is sinking into a future in which it no longer can provide the public services to which our people’s taxes entitle them and where the promises made to public employees about a decent and secure retirement simply cannot be kept. City revenues are in long-term stagnation and expenses are climbing. Year by year, our City – which once was a beacon of innovation and opportunity to the world – is becoming less livable”
The Los Angeles 2020 Commission (Dec. 2013)
What follows is an essay we first learned of via our friend El Chavo! His description is an apt introduction to this important essay. The only thing we’ve done is removed the gendered language of some of the essay. Though we may not agree with everything in this essay, we think it stands as a powerful counter-narrative that viewed the Chicano riots of 1970 as merely a police riot. This essay has been pivotal to our own anti-political understanding of the possibilities for revolt and life in Los Angeles:
The following is a hard to find text about the 1970 Chicano riots in East LA, supposedly written by Herbert Marcuse but really written by the Bay Area 1044 situ group of that time. I find these essays on riots quite illuminating in their attempt to understand these periods of intensity as opposed to the typical lefty line of denouncing all violence.. Unfortunately, these views are rare in LA (or the rest of the world for that matter) and most locals subscribe to the line touted by whatever ideology is currently in favor.
[Originally published in French by Lundi Matin on Feb. 14th, 2016. Translated into English by ediciones ineditos. Translator’s note: “banlieue” is translated as “suburbs” in this piece but in France, the “banlieues” on the outskirts of Paris carries a connotation closer to “the hood,” often accompanied by xenophobic and racist stereotypes of its racialized residents.]
Interview with Samir of the Suburbs & Immigration Movement (MiB)
Ever since the abuses of the Aulnay-sous-bois police had been made public, the evening riots in the Parisian suburbs have shown no signs of stopping, this despite the calls for calm and threats from the Executive branch. A reader of lundimatin had thus found it pertinent to send us an interview he did with Samir, a militant who came out of the Suburbs & Immigration Movement. Samir talks about his politicization in the suburbs in the ’90s, the riots of November 2005, the role of neighborhood associations and gives us his point of view on the current movement calling for #JusticePourTheo. He offers up a particular analysis on the prolonging of the riot within militant action, including its role within politics and its conjunction with other forms of struggle.
Bruno Astarian has published a translation of his own work, noting errors in the edition we published.