What’s the address of your local oligarch?
Prof. Robles-Durán dedicated a series of episodes of #CitiesAfter… to the international oligarchy and how dark money is appearing to control our cities. Listen to four special edition episodes to hear the ways the ultra wealthy appear in public through museums, luxurious developments and even “public” spaces.
On #CitiesAfter…, Miguel Robles-Durán tells us where the oligarchy hits the concrete. Listen to the show on your favorite podcast player!
Robles-Durán introduces this mini-series with a look at the international oligarchy- whether they’re in Moscow or New York. Oligarch business districts have been developed in major cities at the command of dark money in the search for legal loopholes, fiscal gymnastics, and money laundering. He uses the examples of New York’s Hudson Yards and Russia's Moscow International Business District to reveal the system of lawyers, accountants, architects, creatives and financiers that serve international oligarchs.
“Suddenly, in their static architectural form, all the oligarchs of the world and those that have enabled their economy become next door neighbors.”
In the second episode, Miguel welcomes Laura Raicovich, author of Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest, to discuss major art institutions, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the dark money that funds these spaces and some organizations that are trying to reimagine cultural spaces with equity and care at the forefront.
“There has to be a national conversation about what culture means in the United States. In this distillation of time and space and wealth and power, what we have is the need to counteract that with a far more diversified cultural sphere."
How did the neoliberal agenda push public resources into the hands of private stakeholders and what can we do to reclaim and reinvest in truly public spaces? Prof Miguel continues the series by asking what “public” means in an oligarchy, when most of the resources are controlled by the few.
“The monopoly power over urbanization over large territories is a dictatorial right given to oligarchs by capitalism to enjoy profitable play over the rights of others, to steer the public to whatever direction he pleases, to speculate over the complete life of the planet, humans and other species, and to be revered as the one visionary.”
Finally, we end the series in conversation with one of the world’s foremost researchers on public space, Miodrag Mitrašinović. They compare ultra-oligarchy developments to people first plazas and imagine how we can take back the means of production of urban space away from oligarchs and philanthropists.
“Class struggle is with us more than ever. And I think it's more important than ever to address it head on. What is the process of production of urban space? What conditions underlie it? And how can it be reappropriated?”
Listen into the show for these conversations and more at the intersection of our neighborhoods and the world economy- daring us to imagine cities after capitalism.
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