Between November 2018 and February 2019, the largest corporation in the world (Amazon) and the largest city in the United States (New York) organized a strange, absurd and often infuriating public spectacle.
For just three months, the following happened: Amazon announced that they had chosen New York as a place for one of their two new headquarters. announced the deal they made with the city and New York; groups representing workers, tenants and immigrants fought fiercely against the Amazon, while the mayor, the governor and the supporters of the deal were trying to protect him; several key politicians, most of whom had previously encouraged Amazonia to come to New York, became hostile to the company; And then, with no warning and little fanfare, Amazon announced that they were no longer pursuing New York for their corporate headquarters. Opponents had won, and the Amazon was sent for packing.
In the last few days, New Yorkers were celebrating or boiling, depending on their position, and discussing between themselves what exactly happened and what it meant. It is clear that this was not just a one-time battle between a disgusting billionaire and an angry, densely populated. Stunning New York dance with Amazon tells us a lot about the state of urban politics in the United States and the kinds of struggles we need to get involved if we want to change the balance of corporate power and the power of people.
made by the fact that the US federal system allows Amazon to host a race for cities around the country to compete at the bottom to prove they will offer the company generous subsidies, extensive tax breaks and weak rules. This is indeed a parody that needs to be considered in legislation, but it is also a demonstration of the enormous power of corporate capital in defining urban development priorities for cities.
He also shows the changing economic mix that American planners and politicians are striving to attract. Given that in the past cities have been accused of "purging smoke pipes" or developing competitive packages to attract factories from one city to the next, cities now deal with "skyscraper pursuits" or seeking huge investments in real estate (in this case it is obvious that this is not a one-off struggle between a disgusting billionaire and an angry, densely populated region
Throughout the country we have witnessed an increase in the state of real estates, a faction of the government, whose interests are always in line with the escalation of the value of land and property On the municipal level, we see that planners represent nobleness as a public good to be promoted, at the national level we are witnessing the choice of a luxury entrepreneur in our highest office. Amazon strives to benefit from this rage and rightly predicts that politicians across the country will figure out ways to meet them and the capital of the real estate they are calling. Long Island City, Queens, has been the subject of planned deindustrialisation for more than 35 years, with a series of governors and mayors who seek to displace production and stimulate the spread of soft corporate offices and luxury residential complexes. Ed Koch and Governor Mario Kwomo, the father of the modern governor of New York and Amazon's apologist, Andrew Kuoom, contributed to the heat by providing a billions of dollars for mixed-use development called Hunters Point South. The next mayor, David Dinkins, presented a coastal plan that encouraged the massive transformation of the area, and his successor, Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, offered generous subsidies to companies like MetLife to find them there.
quickly under the mayor of Michael Bloomberg after his reconstruction in 2001
This may sound obvious, but it is a big turn from a simple planning practice that tends to privilege rights. of property owners and looking a little more than advice and consent from the rest of us. Public administration, on the other hand, is the claim that the city is a collective product of the inhabitants' labor – in the sense of the material production of streets and buildings, the cultural production of neighborhoods and common spaces, as well as the social reproduction of residents and workers. The fate of the city belongs to those who have done it, not just to those who possess it. profit ". Anti-gentrification movements such as the one that scare the Amazon can be seen as part of the long-standing legacy of the struggle against the working class against the expropriation of labor from capital. In classical cases, workers are revolting against the bosses to steal their surplus; here residents are facing developers and politicians to alienate people from the spaces they have built.
The city is an expression of people's will and that the will can be called upon to regain the plans of those who want to usurp her work. This type of mobilization is key to the rejection of corporate authority and resistance to the rise of real estate. With the launch of Amazon, the time is ripe to renew our drive for public governance and rethink the goal of urban planning.