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Following hard-won liberation struggles against various forms of colonialism, India, Brazil, and South Africa have now emerged as power players on the global stage. While their governments are imbued with the history and rhetoric of past left movements, these countries’ major cities are spaces of contestation, pitting the need for universal housing, water and electricity access and employment against the realities of global austerity in the neoliberal age.
This tension is brought closer to home through mega events such as Brazil’s upcoming World Cup (2014) and Olympics (2016), as well as South Africa’s World Cup (2010) and India’s Commonwealth Games (2010). These events seek to transform urban centers of the Global South into cosmopolitan world cities, at the expense of retracting public spaces and services, displacing hundreds of thousands, and further marginalizing the urban poor. How do left governments in these countries address the contradiction of fighting for social justice in a neoliberal world?
Urban Convergences will take this framework as an opening for a series of discussions on how activists, government actors, and academics are confronting these new realities for a vision of a socially just city in the 21st century.
Convened by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office in conjunction with The New School Graduate Program in Design & Urban Ecologies.
September 27–29, 2013