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Alba, Anna Charisse

BS Sociology 4-1

Memo on Harvey's "Rebel Cities"

A fraction of the book "Rebel Cities" has been discussed in class before so what I will
be doing is reiterating my points and elaborating them. The main focus is still on the
role of the cities as the command centers of multi national corporations and the
effect that it has on urban housing. Harvey has further emphasized the example
that had happened in Paris under the rule of Bonaparte and the implementation of
urban housing strategies that has pushed the slum people of Paris away from their
settlements,therefore transforming Paris into what it is today: an urbane area
catering to the lifestyles of the elite,providing leisurely opportunities to shop and
rejuvenate, with its milieu of spas,haute couture shops and five star spas with
Michelin ranked restaurants. Behind this faade, nobody can actually see the slums
and the poor people of Paris, for the y are hidden from view.

The fact that even though the struggle for human rights has advanced, it is somewhat rooted in
capitalism and entrepreneurship. There is still the focus on private property,even in the concept
of human rights. We are still focusing on the individual right of each citizen (I.e. the right to
proper housing, right to education amongst others). In the current conditions, individual rights
still triumph over human rights. This is still rampant in areas which are very populated (I.e the
slum areas in Manila and Cebu).
Urbanization seems like a key tool in harnessing capital and cheap labor. In this article, there had
been a talk of how entrepreneurs should manage low costs and that is by cutting back on the
wages of the laborers, on which urbanized areas (which often contain slums with people who
migrated from the country side to the city) gladly provide. Low wages in exchange of long
working hours. As surplus is always produced , capitalists always find places where their
excesses would be converted to high profit. An example of this is the 12 hour work policyin
factories who only offer minimum wages and forced buying of the surplus by the workers
themselves.
With the perpetual need for new resources and the threat of competition, capitalists always find
ways to offload their surpluses, a matter that always deals with military involvement and the
political matters. One example of this kind of deal is the offloading of clothing shipments of
branded apparel ( I.e. Guess, H&M amongst others) from Vietnam which is locally sold as
"overruns " here in Manila. In order to finish the deal, the exporters strikes up a deal with the
government, in this case The Philippine Government, in the form of tax holidays or low taxes in
exchange for under the table negotiations.
Overall, this book calls to revolutionize the city, to make it open to everyone without the
affiliation to capitalists and again, to claim the rights to the city.