By Chris Wright
We have passed from what Guy Debord called urbanism to what I would call suburbanism. Suburbanism is a new resolution to the spatial problems which arise with capital’s main dynamic of separating the producers from the means of production, from each other, and from their products, while then needing to bring them back together in a manner appropriate to valorization. All of the above not only applied to the labor process inside a production facility; it applied to the entire structure of space.
The de-linking of lived space from worked space in the form of workers moving to the suburbs (and not even to the suburbs their job moved to) breaks the relationship between workplace and residents. The effects of this break were visible in many strikes in the 1980s and ’90s, where workers in the plants were often white and had fled from the now Black and Latino neighborhoods where the plants were located, undermining any possible unity. The Chicago and Detroit newspaper strikes were an especially stark presentation of this problem.
In the United States in particular, a series of national peculiarities came together to allow a singularly divisive housing policy: suburbanization.