Volume 52, Issue 4 July 2020

This issue of Antipode is published amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which continues to have a global reach and impact. The uneven geographies and consequences of the pandemic, particularly the way it aligns with what Ruth Wilson Gilmore has described as “life-shortening” racialized inequalities, emphasise the entrenched and deathly consequences of neoliberalism.

This issue opens with a symposium edited by Devine and Baca, “The Political Forest and Green Neoliberalism”, which uses Peluso and Vandergeest’s idea of “the political forest” to illuminate key aspects of the articulations between everyday relations of power and unequal access to resources. A cluster of the papers here consider forests in relation to various transnational processes. Corson uses a discussion of the US Agency for International Development’s environmental program in Madagascar as a lens to consider some of the transnational relationships that constitute green neoliberalism. Our very own Kiran Asher draws attention to the ways in which Afro-Colombian movements use translocal and transnational linkages to keep alive alternative ethno-territorial imaginaries. Goldstein follows the smoke from Indonesia’s peat fires as it travels upwards into the atmosphere and across political borders.

Another key thread here is the relations between forests and the post-colonial state. Lukas and Peluso trace the impact of colonial and post-colonial authoritarian rule on Java’s political forests. Marijnen and Verweijen’s account of illegal charcoal production in the forested areas of eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo uses a polymorphic approach to foreground diverse articulations of the political by disaggregating the notion of “the state”. Forsyth examines resistance to the proposed Kaeng Sua Ten dam in northern Thailand drawing attention to the way protestors’ reproduced some aspects of formal expertise because this enabled them to contest the state on other themes.

Peluso and Vandergeest close the symposium with reflections on the way particular forms of comparative methodology grounded in field research helped to shape their conceptualisation of the political forest. Such innovative use of comparison is central to Karaman et al.’s account of “plotting urbanism” which draws insights from work in Shenzhen, Lagos, and Istanbul to position piecemeal negotiations over particular plots of land as key to ordinary processes of urbanisation. A concern with the violent and contested articulations of urbanisation is also central to a number of the papers here.

Ortega uses the term “necroburbia” to engage with the “violent peripheries undergirding rapidly growing megacities like Manila”. Griffiths and Repo explore the horrific forms of daily violence which structure the lives of Palestinian women scrutinising the relations between border checkpoints on the West Bank, part of Israeli security infrastructures, and the family home. For Sumich and Nielsen in their account of middle class housing in Mozambique they draw attention to the ways in which a fractured political aesthetics that has been central to the social and political landscape of Mozambique since independence. Through a detailed focus on social media campaigns in Aotearoa-New Zealand, Meese et al. emphasise that forms of representational violence and stigmatisation of poverty are being contested in innovative ways.

A focus on the generative spaces forged through resistance and organising is shapes Roca’s account of three different workers’ centres in New York City. This account draws attention to the ways in which their strategies are connected to logics of action and socio-spatial relations and positions such centres as integral to the making of solidarities. As formidable movements against entrenched racist killing and white supremacy take shape across and between cities in the United States it is an important reminder that such events are underpinned by such placed histories of organising.

The Antipode Editorial Collective, July 2020

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