The result, David Graeber suggests, is that:
From an urban perspective even the production of value needs to be re-thought. For example, Marx insisted that transportation is value and potentially surplus-value producing. The booming logistics sector is rife with value and surplus value production. And while General Motors has been displaced by McDonalds as one of the largest employers of labor in the US, why would we say that making a car is productive of value while making a hamburger is not? When I stand at the corner of 86th and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan I see innumerable delivery, bus and cab drivers; workers from Verizon and Con Edison are digging up the streets to fix the cables, while down the street the water mains are being repaired; other workers are constructing the new subway, putting up scaffolding on one side of the street while taking it down on the other; meanwhile the coffee shop is making coffees and in the local 24-hour diner workers are scrambling eggs and serving soups. Even that guy on the bicycle delivering Chinese take-out is creating value. These are the kinds of jobs, in contrast to those in conventionally defined manufacturing and agriculture, that have increased remarkably in recent times and they are all value and surplus value producing. Manhattan is an island of huge value creation. If only half of those employed in the production and reproduction of urban life are employed in the production of this sort of value and surplus value, then this easily compensates for the losses due to the industrialization of agriculture and the automation in conventional manufacturing. This is the contemporary proletariat at work and Springer is quite right to complain that much of mainstream Marxist thinking has a hard time getting its head around this new situation (which, it turns out, is not wholly new at all). This is the proletarian world in which many social anarchist groups have been and still are embedded.
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Böhm S, Dinerstein A and Spicer A (2008) (Im)possibilities of autonomy: Social movements in and beyond capital, the state and development. Social Movement Studies 9: 17-32.
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But this does not preclude collaboration and mutual aid with respect to the many other common anti-capitalist struggles with which we are engaged. Honest disagreements should be no barrier to fertile collaborations. So the conclusion I reach is this: let radical geography be just that: radical geography, free of any particular “ism”, nothing more, nothing less.