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How San Francisco's housing protest movements help us understand global mobilization

Local Protest, Global Movements

Capital, Community, and State in San Francisco

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Karl Beitel

"Local Protest, Global Movements is a well-written analysis of recent developments in the nation’s most interesting city, offered from a progressive perspective and enhanced by case studies. This book focuses attention on the larger historical/political/global context, state–civil society relations, the role of protest and urban social justice movements, and citizen participation—providing lessons for cities well beyond San Francisco."
Chester Hartman, Director of Research, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, and author (with Sarah Carnochan) of City for Sale: The Transformation of San Francisco

A history of the antigentrification and housing rights movement in San Francisco, Local Protest, Global Movements examines the ability of local urban movements to engage in meaningful contestation with private real estate capital and area governmental leaders in the era of urban neoliberalism.

Using San Francisco as an illuminating case study, Beitel analyzes the innovative ways urban social movements have organized around issues regarding land use, housing, urban ecology, and health care on the local level to understand the changing nature of protest formation around the world.

Reconciling the passing of New Left ideals and the emergence of mobilization on a global scale, he assesses the limits of contemporary urban movements as conduits for advancing a radical political program. Beitel argues these limits reflect recurrent problems of internal fragmentation, and the manner in which liberal democratic institutions structure processes of political participation and interest representation.

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Excerpt

Read Chapter 1 (pdf).

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Reviews

"Beitel’s illuminating study of San Francisco’s land use and development politics documents how labor, environmental, and housing activists joined forces in an urban movement to block the worst of neoliberalization in this famously progressive city. His constructive critique of how resource constraints, competing agendas, and state cooptive power changed fusion to fission should be particularly valuable to scholars and activists alike."
Richard DeLeon, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, San Francisco State University, and author of Left Coast City: Progressive Politics in San Francisco, 1975–1991

"This book is as much a celebration of San Francisco as a brooding about San Francisco's disorganized dissent. Local Protest speaks to academics grappling with the relevance and salience of progressive urban social movements in an era of neoliberal austerity.... Beitel's thoughts about progressive (dis)organization can be useful and instructive.... thought-provoking."
Urban Affairs Review

"This book...should be of interest for a broad audience of academics and activists."
American Journal of Sociology

"Local Protest, Global Movements provides a much needed update to the case literature on urban social movements in San Francisco. In so doing, it makes an important contribution to theory about locally based resistance to neoliberal global capital.... Organizers and scholars of urban social movement theory will be interested in Beitel's analysis of what makes movements successful.... The in-depth theoretical discussions make this book best suited to an audience of scholars and graduate students, though organizers and practitioners may be interested in the lessons about the success of social movements."
Housing Studies

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Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Situating San Francisco
2. Constructing San Francisco’s Growth Control and Housing Rights Movements
3. A Framework for the Analysis of Urban Movements
4. Dot-com Boom and Struggles in the Mission
5. The Public-Private Partnership: The Case of Mission Bay
6. Urban Movements and the Question of Urban Governance
7. Local and Global Implications of San Francisco

Notes
References
Index

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About the Author(s)

Karl Beitel is a writer and scholar currently living in San Francisco. His work has addressed urban theory, the global economy, and U.S. foreign policy.

Subject Categories

Community Organizing and Social Movements
Sociology
Urban Studies

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