Local Protests, Global Movements
Capital, Community, and State in San Francisco
Publication Year: 2013
Using San Francisco as an illuminating case study, Beitel analyzes the innovative ways urban social movements have organized around issues regarding land use, housing, urban ecology, and health care on the local level to understand the changing nature of protest formation around the world.
Reconciling the passing of New Left Ideals and the emergence of mobilization on a global scale, he assesses the limits of contemporary urban movements as conduits for advancing a radical political program. Beitel argues these limits reflect recurrent problems of internal fragmentation, and the manner in which liberal democratic institutions structure processes of political participation and interest representation.
Published by: Temple University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Over the years, several people have contributed invaluable help in the writing of this book. my dissertation advisers, John Walton and Fred Block, offered criticism and guidance during a much earlier iteration of the research, which formed the basis of the present work. my intellectual and political comrade and dear friend rene poitevin provided several incisive criti-cisms of earlier drafts and much-needed moral support that helped me sustain the commitment to bring this story to a wider public. i also thank the housing ...
1. Situating San Francisco
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This book is the result of my spending nearly ten years as both a par-ticipant in and critical observer of anti-gentrification and housing rights struggles in San Francisco. In 1998 I set out to write what I had initially intended to be an analysis of the residential property market. San Francisco was at that time being swept by a tidal wave of investment capital and speculative finance fueling the dot-com boom. My intent had been to delve more deeply into the social, economic, and cultural factors giving rise to an unprecedented ...
2. Constructing San Francisco’s Growth Control and Housing Rights Movements
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This chapter tells the story of the emergence of San Francisco’s land use and affordable housing movements. All the movements recounted in what follows can date their origins to the battles against the proposed freeway extensions and to the urban renewal movements that occurred in the 1960s. These movements have typically been treated as distinct social move-ments motivated by different and often antagonistic agendas and political priorities (DeLeon 1992). The case studies in this and the following chapters ...
3. A Framework for the Analysis of Urban Movements
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The overview of land use and tenant activism in San Francisco reveals that local activists have achieved notable success in imposing far-reaching regulatory controls on land use and the rental housing market in San Francisco. These struggles have similarly succeeded in expanding the range and scope of citizen participation in local government. The San Francisco Planning Department and the Redevelopment Agency have been forced to open up proj-ect planning and review to allow for a greater degree of citizen participation ...
4. Dot-com Boom and Struggles in the Mission
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Chapter 2 documents the emergence of the land use and affordable hous-ing movements in San Francisco. This chapter extends this analysis through a case study of neighborhood resistance to gentrification and residential displacement in the Mission District from 1998 to 2008. During the height of the dot-com boom and the period immediately thereafter (1998–2002), anti-gentrification struggles in the Mission were arguably one of the most intense and contested urban land use struggles to erupt anywhere in the ...
5. The Public-Private Partnership: The Case of Mission Bay
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It is by now a widely accepted tenet of critical urban analysis that federal urban retrenchment, by requiring cities to ruthlessly compete to attract and retain private investment, has largely subordinated local policy choice to the rationalities and dictates of the private market (see, for instance, Hack-worth 2006; Swyngedouw 2007; Fainstein and Fainstein 1983a; Fainstein 2000; Einsinger 1998; N. Smith 2002; and Brenner and Elden 2009). For most ur-ban analysts, retrenchment has severely constrained the space for opposition ...
6. Urban Movements and the Question of Urban Governance
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This chapter examines local electoral politics as an arena for progres-sive social activism. Most activists in the land use Left and tenant/ housing rights sectors today embrace the value of tactical participation in the electoral arena. Far less consensus exists, however, for building a mul-tisectoral political organization that might unite various constituency-based organizations—the Left pole of San Francisco’s civil society—around a com-mon political program. Particularly in the post-1970 period, urban actors have ...
7. Local and Global Implications of San Francisco
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The case studies presented thus far raise a series of questions regarding how we should evaluate the achievements and limits of urban movements. To reiterate, urban social movements have several defining characteristics that distinguish them as a distinctive “species” of social activism. They are lo-cated outside the worksite, and are centrally concerned with mitigating prob-lems and dislocations brought about by the ever-more intensive circulation of capital through the built environment. Far from being a largely reactive defense ...
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About the Author
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Karl Beitel is a writer and scholar currently living in San Francisco. His work has addressed urban theory, the global economy, and U.S. foreign policy....
Page Count: 230
Publication Year: 2013
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth