[Marxism] SWP madness

Patrick Bond pbond at mail.ngo.za
Fri May 10 20:12:07 MDT 2013

On 5/11/2013 1:17 AM, Louis Proyect wrote:
> ======================================================================
> ...in the latest Militant newspaper, something I used to sell avidly 
> and that Malcolm X hailed, there's a warning that the government is up 
> to no good by seducing workers into buying houses.

It's easy to be flippant about this crew, I guess. However, the problem 
of assessing whether housing finance /develops /or instead 
/underdevelops /particular geographical (or racially-constituted) sites 
is an old one. It is difficult to assess because there is not only a 
spatial but also a temporal unevenness. (And we could also get into 
aspects of uneven and /combined /development whereby the race or other 
'non-capitalist' factors are interwoven tightly with market-sourced 
exploitation within housing finance.)

Though different sites had different experiences, it seems to me that 
the circle turned from systemic /redlining/ to /predatory/ lending from 
around 1985 when the S&Ls went wilding partly because they'd run out of 
'burb markets and were hit by competition from big mortgage 
securitisation, when commercial bankers were hit harder by Community 
Reinvestment Act protests (I worked on many at the time and witnessed a 
bit of a shift during the late 1980s) and especially after the 1989-91 
real estate crash and S&L melt, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac got 
sub-prime lending going and the big auto companies' internal financing 
strategies turned from factory expansion to mega-mortgage purchases. And 
now, following the 2007-09 crash, it's back to redlining.

It's an old story, and the 15-20 year ups and downs of property markets 
were well known by the more sensitive of bourgeois economists like Simon 
Kuznets, and reinterpreted for policy purposes by Dean Baker 
(relentlessly in the mid-2000s just before the bubble burst) and for 
marxian purposes by David Harvey (in /The Urbanization of Capital 
/nearly 30 years ago). I learned about this from the anti-gentrification 
work of the late Neil Smith (e.g. 
but the theory (the 'rent gap') is also prefigured in his broader study 
of /Uneven Development /which is online now at 
http://neil-smith.net//(though for some reason the link's broken right 
now)./ Here's where I try to sum up the theory: 

A PhD that I did in this spirit - trying to assess when uneven 
development is amplified by finance and when it is dampened during 
financial repression - is here (with a Zimbabwe case study): 


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