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Local Protests, Global Movements

Capital, Community, and State in San Francisco

Karl Beitel

Publication Year: 2013

A history of the antigentrification and housing rights movement in San Francisco, Local Protests, Global Movements examines the ability of local urban movements to engage in meaningful contestation with private real estate capital and area governmental leaders in the era of urban neoliberalism.

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

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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1. Situating San Francisco

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pp. 1-17

This book is the result of my spending nearly ten years as both a participant 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...

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2. Constructing San Francisco’s Growth Control and Housing Rights Movements

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pp. 18-45

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 movements motivated by different and often antagonistic agendas and political...

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3. A Framework for the Analysis of Urban Movements

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pp. 46-61

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 ...

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4. Dot-com Boom and Struggles in the Mission

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pp. 62-91

Chapter 2 documents the emergence of the land use and affordable housing 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...

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5. The Public-Private Partnership: The Case of Mission Bay

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pp. 92-114

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, Hackworth 2006; Swyngedouw 2007; Fainstein and Fainstein 1983a; Fainstein 2000; ...

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6. Urban Movements and the Question of Urban Governance

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pp. 115-148

This chapter examines local electoral politics as an arena for progressive 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 multisectoral political organization that might unite various constituency-based ...

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7. Local and Global Implications of San Francisco

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pp. 149-192

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 located outside the worksite, and are centrally concerned with mitigating problems ...


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pp. 193-200


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pp. 201-214


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pp. 215-219

About the Author

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p. 220-220

E-ISBN-13: 9781439909966
E-ISBN-10: 1439909962
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439909959
Print-ISBN-10: 1439909954

Page Count: 230
Publication Year: 2013