These three articles by Californian Marxist Mike Davis deal with the respective situations of the world’s richest and poorest people. For two billion of the poorest there is life in the mega-slums and for some of the richest there is life in the artificial paradise of Dubai. ‘Planet of Slums’ is about this new situation of mega-slums whose inhabitants are largely outside the global circuits of production and what this might mean for the class struggle. Davis writes: “The global growth of a vast informal proletariat, moreover, is a wholly original structural development unforeseen by either classical Marxism or modernization pundits…a true global residuum lacking the strategic economic power of socialized labor, but massively concentrated in a shanty-town world encircling the fortified enclaves of the urban rich.” ‘The Pentagon as Global Slumlord’ is about how the US military attempts to police some of the world’s mega-slums. ‘Sinister Paradise’ is about one of those “fortified enclaves of the urban rich” which is being built and serviced by imported workers who can be deported for striking or forming unions.
Mike Davis is the author of numerous books most of which are well worth reading. They include two excellent books about Los Angeles, City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear and Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World.
The front cover pictures show a slum in Mumbai (Bombay) and an artist’s depiction of the Burj Dubai tower which will be the world’s tallest building when completed.