The City From Below
March 27th-29th, 2009
The city has emerged in recent years as an indispensable concept for many of the struggles for social justice we are all engaged in - it's a place where theory meets practice, where the neighborhood organizes against global capitalism, where unequal divisions based on race and class can be mapped out block by block and contested, where the micropolitics of gender and sexual orientation are subject to metropolitan rearticulation, where every corner is a potential site of resistance and every vacant lot a commons to be reclaimed, and, most importantly, a place where all our diverse struggles and strategies have a chance of coming together into something greater. In cities everywhere, new social movements are coming into being, hidden histories and herstories are being uncovered, and unanticipated futures are being imagined and built - but so much of this knowledge remains, so to speak, at street-level. We need a space to gather and share our stories, our ideas and analysis, a space to come together and rethink the city from below.
To that end, a group of activists and organizers, including Red Emma's, the Indypendent Reader, campbaltimore, and the Campaign for a Better Baltimore are calling for a conference called The City From Below, to take place in Baltimore during the weekend of March 27th-29th, 2009 at 2640, a grassroots community center and events venue.
At the same time, we also want to productively engage those within the academic system, as well as artists, journalists, and other researchers. It is a mistake to think that people who spend their lives working on urban geography and sociology, in urban planning, or on the history of cities have nothing to offer to our struggles. At the same time, we recognize that too often the way in which academics engage activists, if they do so at all, is to talk at them. We are envisioning something much different, closer to the notion of "accompaniment". We want academics and activists to talk to each other, to listen to each other, and to offer what they each are best able to. Concretely, we're hoping to facilitate this kind of dynamic by planning as much of the conference as possible as panels involving both scholars and organizers.
- Gentrification/uneven development
- Policing and incarceration
- Tenants rights/housing as a right
- Public transit
- Urban worker's rights
- Foreclosures/financial crisis
- Public education
- Slots/casinos/regressive taxation
- Cultural gentrification
- Underground economies
- Reclaiming public space
- The right to the city
- Squatting/Contesting Property Rights
- Urban sustainability
Please get proposals to us no later than the 30th of January, but preferably before January 1st.
c/o Red Emma's
800 St Paul St.
Baltimore MD 21202