Sunday, December 14, 2014

A ‘liveable’ Auckland?



Auckland Sky City Casino Capitalism

Much hot air has been generated by the promoters of Auckland City as a ‘liveable’ global city. But hot air cannot disguise the reality that the working class has always paid for the city which exists only to serve the interests of the capitalist class. ‘Liveable’ ultimately means living standards. The truth is that its population only ‘lives’ in the city to exploit or be exploited.

Fred Engels wrote about how capitalist cities worked nearly two centuries ago. Industry is concentrated along with finance and services in urban areas to maximise profits. Workers are housed in the cheapest housing, transported the shortest distances, and worked for the longest hours under the most exploitative conditions to serve profits. Everything else is bullshit.

Democratic reforms, local body elections, City ‘visions’, public consultation on planning, and so on, are a cheap veneer pasted over the bottom line of accumulating profits. They are no more than the pretence that urban living is has more ‘human’ value than that of labour creating value for capitalists. Even leisure activities in parks, playgrounds, beaches and art galleries, are no more than the replenishment of workers physical and mental capacity to produce profits. Auckland is no exception.

From its founding by British settlers in the 1840s Auckland was constructed around the port, cheap housing for workers in the valleys and colonial mansions for the rich on the hills, and public transportation between home and work. Later as NZ capitalism developed, Auckland reflected these changes and went through several distinct stages, as the national economy went from a colony in the 19th century, through the period of economic nationalism from the mid 30s to 1980s, to the open, deregulated re-colonised semi-colonial neo-liberal Super City of today.

What distinguishes the Super City from its earlier forms is SkyCity.com. The Super City concentrates city government in one big bureaucracy to rule over the people on behalf of Sky City the high point of Casino capitalism. Auckland gambles its future on the speculative bubbles of property, banking and the stock market parasitic on the production of value.

Today, Auckland is ‘liveable’ for the parasitic ruling class and the middle class that services it, and increasingly ‘unliveable’ for the exploited, taxed, tolled and otherwise oppressed working class. The fate of Auckland cannot be separated from the crisis-ridden global economy. It will be ruined by the plunder of Casino Capital, or it will be re-invented by the power of the working class to expropriate Capital and plan Auckland to meet the needs of the proletariat.
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