Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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March 20, 2011
planning the city

By the late Robert Fitch:

Someone looking for a fundamental point of departure to contrast Soviet and New York regional planning in 1929 would be poorly advised to seek it out in doctrinal differences between socialism and capitalism. . . .

[W]hile the Soviets rely to a greater extent than the Manhattanites on mobilizing popular support, both plans are formulated and executed in classic bureaucratic fashion. The technical information goes from the bottom to the top, and the planning decisions from the top down. The aims of the plans are not politically debatable because the aims could not survive a free debate. . . .

The Soviets seek to accumulate state capital; the regional planners seek to use the state to aid them in their efforts to accumulate private capital. But if the mere domination of the state over production makes Stalin's Russia socialist, then we should also unfurl the red banners for Pharoah's Egypt.

from his tour de force historical essay, "Planning New York," in the out-of-print but cheaply available The Fiscal Crisis of American Cities, ed. Alcaly and Mermelstein (Vintage, 1977)

[If, as a thought experiment, we take the last ten words of the above excerpt as true, would that make Moses

Moses --



some distant cousin of Nestor Makhno?]