[[To write]] of [[Diaspora]] and [[Indigeneity]] is to write, among [[other things]], of [[home]].What is a [[Diasporic space]] How do Diaspora communities shape the physical space around them? Robert Moses [[the politician]] was Jewish, but let’s not confuse outsized influence for the quotidian steadfast work of communities. How is [[New York]] a [[Jewish space]]?We must not construct an opposition between [[Indigeneity->Indigenous]] and [[Diaspora]]. Many Indigenous communities, after all, LIVE in a [[Diaspora]]. Rather, the productive distinction is in the difference of perspectives, and the questions they raise. When we are [[fighting]] to be considered Indigenous, and therefore indispensably connected to, a certain area that we may or may not reside in, how is that distinct from the struggles of when we are in a [[Diasporic space]], attempting to be considered connected to but definitionally alienated from a [[certain area?]][[^^1^^->notes]]Of course, writing of [[Diaspora]] and [[Indigeneity->Indigenous]] is not only to write of [[home]], but also to write of Others. The Other and the Subaltern have become conflated recently, which goes to show how much of theory is written from the perspective of Gentiles and White men, how much of theory is written by the Others. You remember the Others. The Ones who came, the Ones who took, the Ones who didn’t understand plain language, the Ones who demanded, the Ones who humiliated, the Ones who murdered, the Ones we fought, the Ones over there, the Ones whose ways our not our ways. The Other is not the Subaltern. The Others wouldn’t recognize a Subaltern until that Subaltern breathed a deep breath of air and in doing so, moved the Others boot one inch off the neck. At which point, as the oxygen soaks in, the Subaltern ceases to be.[[^^2^^->notes]] Home is a highly sentimental term, often associated with a nostalgic longing for childhood, and intentionally disassociated from a [[“house”]] which is taken to be a strictly architectural assemblage, divorced from the emotional and temporal constructions of a “home”. But [[we know]] that the material, spatial conditions are inextricable from the socio-cultural, and even the psycho-emotional. [[Where is home?]] "The objective space of a house—its corners, corridors, cellar, rooms—is far less important than what poetically it is endowed with, which is usually a quality with an imaginative or figurative value we can name and feel; thus a house may be haunted or homelike, or prisonlike or magical. So space acquires emotional and even rational sense by a kind of poetic process, whereby the vacant or anonymous reaches of distance are converted into meaning for us here."
Edward Said, [[Orientalism]], Pg. 5540 Faneuil place is a two story colonial style building, constructed in 1922, situated on a roughly 9300 square foot lot in the middle of a street filled with similar buildings, lawns, driveways, garages. Though not currently for sale, it has an estimated value of slightly over 600,000 USD. It cost 300,000 USD when my parents bought it in 1988, so it just about kept up with inflation. What is the relative depth of that information compared to what I could say of family meals spent shouting joyfully and crowing with laughter, of peeling the bark off the sycamore tree in the back yard and feeling guilty for hurting a fellow living thing, of the night my mother hit me with a shoe, of the night my parents stopped my suicide attempt and held me? How are these sets of data related? Similarly, how does either way of viewing my childhood home relate to stylistic critiques of it as an example of 1920s colonial architecture, historical analysis of the neighborhood of Huguenot Heights (a name my father always dismissed as real estate hyperbole) and the city of New Rochelle, socio-political analysis of 40 Faneuil’s residents over the years, and [[so on->What]].When I was 19, I pursued my religious education to an orthodox kibbutz in the north of Israel, on the Jordanian border. I was told toward the end of my time on kibbutz that I should have been paired with a kibbutznik family to watch over and care for me, as the other volunteers had been, but I never was. I eventually made friends with other volunteers, but the majority did not speak English, or were visiting the kibbutz with a pre-designed program, which made demands on their time, whereas I was on my own. My primary memories of this time were of loneliness and boredom, tho not, interestingly enough, unhappiness. When I wasn’t working, mostly in custodial duties in the large communal dining hall, or in a classroom learning Hebrew with other volunteer-students, I would spend my hours in the meager and freezing cold concrete “moadon” or volunteer clubhouse, where there were a few ancient computers with semi-reliable internet access, a television, and some magazines.
Investigating the magazines one raining and frigid afternoon, I discovered a remarkable article in a journal of biblical archaeology. It discussed medieval and early modern European Christian pilgrims written accounts of the geographical features of Palestine. These were men and women, the article pointed out, who had grown up along the Seine, or the Rhine, massive rivers, and in coming to Palestine, had crossed the Alps and other enormous mountain ranges. What were their thoughts on the trickling creek that is the Jordan, which they had come thousands of miles to see? Or the gentle, hill-like rise of the mountains of Gilboa, where Saul fell on his sword? According to this article, they would write of the crashing torrents of the Jordan, and the mighty, snow-capped peaks of the mountains. In other words, confronted with a reality in which the geographical features that had consumed their imagination and sent them on a long journey from home could not, on a purely physical level, compare with the geographical features of their home, they rejected that reality. The Jordan, long interpreted as an overwhelming spiritual boundary, simply cannot be read as a relatively easily forded body of water. The mountains of Palestine, which will skip like rams at the sound of God’s voice, are impossible to visualize as mere swells in the landscape, even when one stands in front of them.
Said’s imagined geographies and his much-needed critique of their effect on policy aside, how can we analyze this relationship between land, desire and text? Why does a religious poetics allow us to replace real landscape with imagination? Particularly I’m interested in the interplay of the features of home that is somehow profane, unholy, and in the Jewish case, [[Diasporic->Diaspora]], and how those features compare to a land that is deeply imagined and cherished as holy. I grew up along the Hudson and the Long Island Sound. When I saw the Jordan, I couldn’t help but notice its diminutiveness. So too Jerusalem paled in comparison to the vastness and strangeness of my native [[New York City->New York Jew]] . When Golus is, in many senses, better than Zion, what are we to make of our eternal longing for [[home]]?
“Housing, habitation - the human ‘habitat’, so to speak - are the concern of architecture. Towns, cities, - urban space - are the bailiwick of the discipline of urbanism. As for larger, territorial spaces, regional, national, continental or worldwide, these are the responsibility of planners and economists. At times these ‘specializations’ are telescoped into one another under the auspices of that privileged actor, [[the politician]]. At other times their respective domains fail to overlap at all, so that neither common projects nor theoretical continuity are possible” Henri Lefebvre, The Social Production of Space, pg. 12Of course, [[that attitude]] towards the place you're from changes [[how]] you relate to the place you are, whether that's leaving a corner unpainted to remember a destroyed city[[^^5^^->notes]] or not affording a tv because you're too busy making the house smell of faraway spices, or even just making a lot more noise than the neighbors. It makes a shape in space, that [[sort of longing]], and not just in the place longed for, but in the place where the longing is done. By longing to "return", by keeping our traditional ways, it could be believed that we are saying, "this is not home."[[^^6^^->notes]] But [[home]] is [[more things]] than "The place I'd go back to in a perfect world." This all could be solved by a notion of [[home]] that transcends space. A family is home with each other, and need no building to cement that togetherness, we could say. But this is denying the architectural and concrete nature of [[home]], and of humanity. A certain softness, a certain amount of confinement and safety, a certain number of needs being met in one space, that is [[home]].[[^^8^^->notes]]When the people of a diaspora make their new homes, what practices do they use? And are those practices distinct from practices used by people to make their homes in general? Is leaving the family [[home]], is leaving the womb, [[a kind of diaspora]]?If it is, we have rendered the term meaningless and useless.[[^^9^^->notes]]“To accept [the concept of Social space] is at once to [[eliminate the simplistic model]] of a one-to-one or ‘punctual’ correspondence between social actions and social locations, between spatial functions and spatial forms.” - Lefebvre, Production of Space, pg. 34People and spaces both live more complicated lives than they are given credit for. A factory is a site of labor, but also labor unrest. A house is for sleeping and eating in, but is where social reproduction-in both the sense of sex and in the sense of education-take place. What’s more, the space can accomplish these things seemingly independently of the actions of the people in the space. A child born in a [[palace]] is a sort of prince, regardless of what he is told about his stature. The details of a home, or an office building, or a school, or a prison, [[convey values, represent society, form that society.]]Perhaps this is what Yi Fu Tuan means when he says “One can no more deliberately design such [intimate] places than one can plan, with any guarantee of success, the occasions of genuine human exchange.” [[^^10^^->notes]] We cannot predict the multiple significances of any space. I am reminded of Frederick Law Olmsted, writing after the completion of Central Park, that “a large part of the people of New York are ignorant of a park. They will need to be trained in the proper use of it and be restrained in the abuse of it.” Olmsted, terrified of his creation turning into another of the loud, messy and sensual pleasure gardens that were popular sites of lower class leisure in the 19th century, installed not only “keep off the grass” signs, but a police force for the park, the gray-coated Sparrow cops. [[^^11^^->notes]] What would he have thought of the Ramble, the stretch of “wild garden” between 73rd and 78th street, becoming an enduring fount of anonymous public sex for the city? Spaces are full of potential, even, and maybe especially, when they become “places” in Tuan’s definition, that is, sites of intimacy and human connection. Which is why I find Tuan’s description of such places disappointingly narrow. “Hometown,” he writes, “. . . may be plain, lacking in architectural distinction and historical glamor . . . a small familiar world . . . devoid of features of high imageability.” [[^^12^^->notes]] What of those of us who make our homes in places of “high imageability”? Those of us who grew up surrounded by grand works of architecture, frequently referenced in film and literature? In other words, what about New Yorkers? We need a definition of place that includes all the iterations and lives that a city can contain. Additionally, we need to consider intimacies other than the ones Tuan waxes sentimental about. Anonymous sex is intimate AND public[[^^13^^->notes]]. [[A murder is intimate, and therefore, so is a riot.]]“[The sheltered being] experiences the house in its reality and its virtuality, by means of thoughts and dreams.” - Gaston Bachelard. This is true of all space and is the milieu, the middle that we are attempting to overflow. (Deleuze and Guattari) Bachelard is certain that there is a primordial truth backing all these thoughts and dreams, that we can discover something essential about humanity by exploring these “felicitous spaces.” My disagreement stems from two doubts that are one doubt. What of non-felicitous space? What of the housing and environs of moments of violence and decay and horror? [[Are they any less intimate than the space of warmth, nourishment, love?]] And furthermore, if our experiences can be so different, one from another, is there such a thing as humanity? can we all be said to have some sort of common or shared origin? Does the house, the hut, the cave belong to all equally? If so, then why not the [[Palace->palace]]? [[I]] have attempted [[a rhizomatic model]] of writing as described by Deleuze and Guattari (1987). In this approach as I understand it, instead of tracing an idea from its [[roots->What]] to its [[branches->notes]], that is, through its evolution, the idea is represented as whole and connected by virtue of its surroundings to each other idea presented. Each section is an entry way into [[my thought]] on these matters. Diaspora is a [[generative condition]].[[^^3^^->notes]] That is to say, when you or someone you love used to live in a place you can't anymore, but you miss that place so badly that you orient your whole life to be about living in the place you can't live in and won't return to, it creates something new. New places, new relationships, new ideas and languages. What is Diaspora's relationship to exile, [[alienation]] and [[migration]]? Most Diasporas are named after a place of origin, and not a place of shelter or refuge. Does the subject in a Diaspora feel [[alienation]] from the Diaspora's place of refuge, where they are? Or from the Diaspora's point of origin? From both?There is some argument to be made for the defining of Indigeneity as a form of struggle, a long battle for survival in the face of [[enormous repressive technologies]].[[^^7^^->notes]]In Moyshe Nadir's searing 1932 satire, Messiah In America, the scam artist and theater promoter, Menachem-Yosef, hires his assistant Jackie's greenhorn, pious uncle to be the Messiah that Menachem-Yosef will bring to the masses, for five dollars a share. When they need to take promotional photos, the Messiah grows scared of the camera, which he's never seen before.
Messiah: It won't hurt, will it, Yankele?
Jackie: No, uncle, it won't hurt. Why should it hurt?
Messiah: How should I know? This is America.
A fundamental Diaspora experience is ignorance of place. We are in [[America]] now. How should we know what hurts?[[^^4^^->notes]] We wander through strange streets that narrow and widen in unexpected spots, branch into other paths and ways. Here, [[how]] can we make our [[home]]? Of course, to our children, who are also in Golus, in Exile, how can they ever know another home?"Being Indian has never been about returning to the land. The land is [[everywhere->a kind of diaspora]] or nowhere." - Tommy Orange, There There, Pg. 11
"Native peoples' connection to the land is not just cultural, as it is usually, and often sentimentally, understood; it is also political - about governments, boundaries, [[authority over people and territory->the politician]]." Maureen Konkle, Writing Indian Nations, pg. 2-3, quoted in Lisa Brooks, The Common Pot, The Recovery of Native Space in the NortheastWalt Disney and Robert Moses were rare creatures, non-politicians who controlled vast amounts of land. Of course, they WERE politicians, in the sense that they were familiar with power and other powerful people, could navigate the ins and outs of bureaucracies, corporations, egos. But Disney’s training was as a commercial artist, and Moses’ as a technocrat, and that is who they entrusted their land to, which is why [[New York]] was planned for the proper movement and investment of [[capital->gold]], and Disney World and Land were created as pleasing displays of creativity at its blandest. In the late 20th century, the two projects, their architects long dead, would come to have reason to envy each other: Disney a mere sliver of New York’s earning power and tourist draw (although it would finally surpass it in the early 21st century), [[New York->home]] desperate for Disney’s vast and precisely designed social control mechanisms. Famously, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in his work, The Sabbath, asserted that the Sabbath day in Judaism is a "cathedral in time," that Jews don't labor in the morally and spiritually inferior realm of [[space->“house”]], but rather, through history and worship, in the heavenly realm of time. It is a temptation, therefore, to work outside Judaism, the Jewish religion, and instead work with the nebulous concept of Jewishness, the ethno-cultural characteristics of the Jewish people. But this separation is not only extremely difficult to make, but unproductive. What would [[Jewish space->New York Jew]] be without talmudic, religious concepts of the eruv, the Shabbos boundary within which all Jews are said to be living in a common courtyard through which carrying is permitted? How would we note a Jewish neighborhood if not for the promulgation of mezzuzos on doorways, prompting each pious Jew to kiss her hand and tenderly tap the container of the holy scroll with the words of the Shema on it?[[How to]] write of New York without nostalgia? When reading about New York, one runs into nostalgia like a wall. The longing inherent in the descriptions of [[the ever-changing city]], the desire for one or two changes before, is palpable in most 20th century work about New York. How do we find a New York without the greasy haze of memory and love? Can we or should we?
The continent, which is to say, Turtle Island, is abundantly more [[open->What]] than the concept of America, which tends, in English discourse, to narrow to the [[United States.]] What is this affective state? James Baldwin called it, "the sorrow of the disconnected."[[^^14^^->notes]] Marx says it exists in direct proportion to one's accumulated capital, in inverse proportion to how much one "thinks, loves, theorizes, sings, paints, fences, etc."[[^^15^^->notes]] When we mention alienation from land, what are we describing? In some sense, isn't all [[migration]], all movement, an alienation from land? [[But this is a disingenous universalization->a kind of diaspora]]. The truth is, land is central to many ways of being. This centrality of land to a people could be what we call [[Indigeneity->Indigenous]]. Motility is the ability of an object to move. Mobility, the ability of an object to BE moved. Humans have both, and when we think of migration, we tend to assume one or the other. In the United States of [[America]], we tend to emphasize motility. The people who come here do so of their own accord, and if they don't like it here, if they are not in accord with what we consider "American values" then we suggest they use their motility to go elsewhere. We do not speak of displacement. We do not speak of forced removals. We do not speak of pogroms. We do not speak of [[other things]].[[1.->Indigeneity]] Boyarin, D. & Boyarin, J. (2002). Powers of Diaspora: Two essays on the relevance of Jewish Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Pg. 12
[[2.->other things]] Spivak, G. (1999). A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Boston: Harvard University Press
[[3.->that attitude]] Boyarin D. & Boyarin J. (2002). Powers of Diaspora: Two essays on the relevance of Jewish Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Pg. 10
[[4.->generative condition]] Naydir, M. (2018). Messiah In America: A drama in five acts. (Translated by Michael Shapiro). Reims, France: Farlag Press. Pg. 40
[[5.->Diasporic space]] Talmud Bavli, Baba Basra 60b
[[6.->Diasporic space]] Boym, S. (2001). Future of Nostalgia. NYC: Basic Books. Pg. 12-13
[[7.->fighting]] Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing Methodologies. London: Zed Books Limited. Pg. 7.
[[8.->sort of longing]] Tuan, Yi Fu. (1977). Space and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pg. 137-138
[[9.->a kind of diaspora]] Boyarin, D. & Boyarin, J. (2002). Powers of Diaspora: Two essays on the relevance of Jewish Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Pg. 25
[[10.->convey values, represent society, form that society.]] Tuan, Yi Fu. (1977). Space and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pg. 141
[[11.->convey values, represent society, form that society.]] Olmsted as cited in Blackmar and Rosenzweig (1992). The Park and the People. Chapter 9. Footnote 3
[[12.->convey values, represent society, form that society.]] Tuan, Yi Fu. (1977). Space and Place. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Pg. 144-145
[[13.->convey values, represent society, form that society.]] Delaney, S. R. (1999). Times Square Red, Times Square Blue. NYC: NYU Press.
[[14.->alienation]] Baldwin, J. (1956). Giovanni's Room. NYC: Dial Press
[[15.->alienation]] Marx, K. (1844). Human Requirements and Division of Labour Under the Rule of Private Property. Retrieved from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1844/manuscripts/needs.htmThe United States is [[continually disowning]] and [[disowned by]] New York City, but this is ridiculous. There would be no United States without New York, [[no New York without the United States]], not as either [[currently]] exists. New York is nothing without the Midwest, without California. Without an empire behind it, without a grand and glorious West to lead people onward and outward, without frontiers and genocide and death and promise, New York would have no significance at all. It is as a Golden Door that the city endures, and with no [[gold]] behind it, it would only be an oddity.New York has us all fooled. We think, if the Capital of Capitalism is in such a sorry state, ruined by money, glutted on money, fat with money and misery, then, we assume, the whole wide world must be just as fat, just as miserable. Because New York is so popular that no one goes there anymore, we think the very ideology on which it rose must also be near the end. But what if Capitalism is still out there, waiting, with a fourth and fifth act? What if there's [[another city]] waiting to rise?One could start by writing about [[the centrality of nostalgia]] to New York, its value to the city, the immense dollar amount that could be placed on the many ways the city sells its past. In general, [[dollar amounts->gold]] help dispel nostalgia.“[[The urban renewal->the ever-changing city]] taking place in the present is no longer futuristic but nostalgic; the city imagines its future by improvising on its past. The time of progress and modern efficiency embodied in clock towers and television towers is not the defining temporality of the contemporary city. Instead there is a pervasive longing for the visible and invisible cities of the past, cities of dreams and memories that influence both the new projects of urban reconstruction and the informal grassroots urban rituals that help us to imagine a more humane public sphere. The city becomes an alternative cosmos for collective identification, recovery of other temporalities and reinvention of tradition.”
Excerpt From: Svetlana Boym. “The Future of Nostalgia.”The Palace belongs to all of us because it is nationalized through and on account of [[violence that has touched us all->enormous repressive technologies]], violence that is raw, violence that is revolutionary, violence that is personal, violence that is intimate. But the Palace, the Tower, the Monument, the City, belonged to us before that, because they were constructed with violence as well. No one is arguing that the architect and patron didn’t begin with a special relationship with the building, that their vision and materials aren’t the reason it exists. We only argue that architect and patron have forfeited sole claim to the structure by virtue of the brutality that was used in construction, and the violence done by its existence. By the violence of its existence, I mean that the only way to escape a building is to imagine what else it could be. New York City originates in the commissioners of the 1811 street plan because they drew the grid. New York City originates amongst us Jews because we walk its streets. New York City originates from the Haudenosaunee because it is their labor that shapes the skyline. New York City belongs to the Lenape, because only they, in their indigenous and rightful claim to the land, hold space for the land itself.Of course, intimacy and [[violence->other things]] can be difficult to disentangle. As a case in point, we can look at the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, documenting the Sadomasochism scene in downtown [[New York]] while pursuing a variety of sexual thrills that involved violence to his body and others. “We should perhaps here introduce a distinction between [[the city->New York]], a present and immediate reality, a practico-material and architectural fact, and the urban, a social reality made up of relations which are to be conceived of, constructed or reconstructed by thought. . . If one adopts this terminology, the relations between the city and the urban will have to be determined with the greatest care, by avoiding separation as well as confusion, and metaphysics as well as reduction to the immediate and tangible. Urban life, urban society, in a word, the urban, cannot go without a practico-material base, a morphology. . . . The urban is not a soul, a spirit, a philosophical entity." Henri Lefebvre, The Right to the City
As such, what is the proper approach to writing of a city? Here I am attempting a mix of literary theory, critical human geography, local history, personal reflection, my best approximation of what the Situationist International called [[Psychogeography]]. What image of the city will be reached this way? Mine. Mine and perhaps, no one else’s.
Ironic that the only way to explore the City as a reality, as a soulless entity, is to explore it with [[my soul->I am attempting a mix of literary theory, critical human geography, local history, personal reflection]] How to locate the self in a city? A city's most alluring property is its ability to erase all sense of self, to leave one achingly alone but anonymous, part of a crowd, a street. But we do build lives here, build selves, situate ourselves in intricate contexts where the City is "at best. . . a sub-system, a sub-whole." [CITE LAFEBVRE] I am a fifth-generation [[New York Jew]], counting from my earliest ancestor to make a home in the city and its surroundings, Tudras Sugofsky. Being a Jew is consistent, [[I carry it with me->Diaspora]] my whole life. Being a New Yorker could be contingent, it is possible I have forfeited the right to the identity since leaving the city. Is [[home]] such a fragile concept? [[Where is home?]] "You know geography, and you think everything is down in it; not at all. We Jews live without geography. . . . And yet it is a truly Jewish town, a real Jewish metropolis. It has everything a town needs, even two or three [[lunatics]]! And it has a reputation for [[commerce]], too!" - I.L Peretz, the Dead Town“Movie stars who have led adventure-packed lives are often too egocentric to discover patterns, too inarticulate to express intentions, too restless to record or remember events. Ghostwriters do it for them.
In the same way I was [[Manhattan’s ghostwriter->I]].”
Excerpt From: Rem Koolhaas. “Delirious New York.” iBooks. Koolhaas’ unquestioning acceptance of Belden’s identification of indigenous peoples with New York’s past is unacceptable. It overlooks the ongoing survival of the Delaware tribes that inhabited the islands of New York before the series of [[forcible removals->other things]] that have lead them to their current settlements throughout North America, and the incalculable contributions of indigenous New Yorkers to the city, including Haudenosaunee iron workers who built much of [[the skyline->Indigeneity]] that Koolhaas contemplates.
In "Delirious New York" the postmodern architect Rem Koolhaas makes an ambitious attempt to reverse engineer the actual skyline of Manhattan into an ideology of Architecture, that he calls Manhattanism. Early on in the work he claims to have found the general thrust of Manhattanism in a racist declaration by the 19th century historian Ezekiel Porter Belden. “Civilization, originating in the east, had reached the western confines of the old world. . . North American barbarism was to give place to European refinement.” Koolhaas dismisses Belden's [["mythologizing"]] and "disregard for the facts" but claims that the statement [[nonetheless]] epitomizes the foundational violence and ambition of New York City, its constant attempt to destroy its past in search of the new. Koolhaas points out that if Barbarism is to give way to Refinement in the City, then what was once Refinement must by course of time become Barbarism, to be replaced by the next Refinement. So the City grows, but never progresses, despite an obsession with Progress. The City, like memory, is an iterative process, things happen over and over again, refining, imitating, sinking into habit. In the haziness of early attempts at memory, Myth takes root. After Myth comes History, with its institutional biases. For this reason, New York is founded on the White Dutchman Peter Minuit's famous swindle of the Lenape, and not on the Black Dominican Jan Rodrigues' marriage into the Lenape, even tho this marriage took place 13 years before Minuit's exploitative deal. Although perhaps we are discussing different histories, Minuit's being that of New York, Rodrigues' being that of New Yorkers. Either way, there is a temptation in Rodrigues' story to completely change the mythology of Manhattan, to remember Rodrigues as our foundation, an immigrant, a talented linguist, a man open to the culture of the Island he found himself on, entrepreneurial with his small stock of ironwork tools to trade. But in doing so, we would erase much of the truth of New York City that is found in the more widely known story of Minuit: [[Cruelty->other things]], [[displacement->another city]], dishonesty.What if, when we pictured a city, we pictured an assemblage of hallways, streets, roads? In other words, what if we saw a city not as a location on its own, but a convoluted path BETWEEN two points, a labyrinth meant to confuse and delay? A city as no more than an inconvenience between those who would move seamlessly from suburb to suburb? Then we would be thinking like [[someone who can build a highway->the politician]], then we would be thinking like power. But crucially, we would also be thinking like a pair of feet, moving through the city. We would be seeing the city as a series of movements, from bed to bathroom to kitchen, out the front door, through the hallway, down the stairs or elevator, into the street. The city to be navigated is a joy to the citizen, and [[a terror to the powerful]]. Why? Perhaps because the City-as-a-path is an intolerable inefficiency. Walter Benjamin, (I believe it is in One Way Street, but I could be wrong) describes the difference between copying out and reading a sentence as the difference between walking a road and seeing it from the air. Seeing the path from the air takes less time and has a sweeping, comprehensive view, but it misses all the charms of the journey.In what ways is a city antifascist? Despite the fact that civilization, in all its hierarchies and oppressions, would not be possible without the settlement, the stratification of labor, the creation of leisure for some and crushing poverty for others that the City entails, there is something in cities that resists Fascism. Or at least, in America, they are constantly at odds, [[we are told by Fascists that we are not real America->United States.]], that we are a site of something else, something unassimilated. The City resists by accepting, it accepts by ignoring, it ignores by overwhelming, it overwhelms by attracting, it attracts by accepting. The City is a wide open space that consumes and absorbs, it is [[an ocean]]."So that the one thing I am certain of is what I set out with … that New York Is Not America … and of that I am certain—certain sure—because all, all the rest, the inhabitants of Terre Haute, of [[Seattle, of Los Angeles, of St. Augustine, of Norfolk, Va., or Boston, Mass->another city]] … all, all the rest of the inhabitants of the Republic of the United States of North America will assure you that New York is not that." - Ford Ford Madox, New York Is Not America“The affective imagined community is frequently identified with a nation, its biography, its blood and soil. Yet identification with a city-be it New York, [[St. Petersburg, Sarajevo or Shanghai->another city]]-is no less strong throughout modern history. Urban identity appeals to common memory and a common past but is rooted in a man-made place, not in the soil: in urban coexistence at once alienating and exhilarating, not in the exclusivity of blood.”
Svetlana Boym. “The Future of Nostalgia.”Amongst many such internal contradictions within Fascism, there is a paradox of space. Fascists, on a metaphorical level, fear oceans, wide open spaces that consume and absorb, that flow and change, that one is lost in. Walls must be constructed, commanding structures must spring up to fill these spaces. Women are one such metaphorical space, and are detested and controlled accordingly. [CITE THEWELEIT] But Fascists are also martial thinkers, they think in terms of strategic territory, rises of land that give tactical advantages, open plains that can be swept across, wide boulevards to be paraded down. In this, more physical sense, a Fascist does not hate the ocean. Rather, he hates [[the City->New York]], [[its alleyways and hidden corners->a rhizomatic model]].What comes after New York? What will take its place? I moved to Philadelphia about two years ago. I could afford to buy a house here. I'm still on Lenapehoking, the Land of the Lenni-Lenape of the Delaware peoples. I'm still a Jew. I miss my family, who are all in New York still, but I see them most months. [[Where is home?]] There are many dreams of New York City but probably the oldest one is the money dream, the get rich quick dream. By immortalizing Minuit's sharp-dealing as our foundation [[myth->"mythologizing"]], we have entrenched New York's reputation for opportunity, for rewarding quick wits or hard work or criminal behavior. Money is to New York what water is to Venice. It is what makes the city remarkable, and it is what will ultimately [[destroy the city.->another city]] The pain of Diaspora is not just in its creation, the horrible moment of [[alienation]], when home becomes "the mouth of a shark" as the poet Warsan Shire has put it. It endures and proliferates. My great-grandparents' trauma becomes my grandmother's coldness becomes my mother's anxiety becomes my depression. We all fear the outside world, this wide exile we have found ourselves in. We jump at shadows, we apologize too much, we hold our children far too tightly to our chests. We are mad and maddening, driving each other deeper into our fears, as a way of caring. Love, for me, was knowing that someone was at [[home->Where is home?]], worrying.When we call New York a Jewish space, are we gesturing fondly at its synagogues, its houses of learning, its ritual baths, as we would gesture at some familiar fixture in [[our house->Where is home?]]? Or are we smirkingly pointing at the banks, at [[Wall Street->gold]]? Who is this we? Are we Jews calling New York [[home]]? Or are [[antisemites->an ocean]] noting an infestation that must be [[excised->continually disowning]] if the United States is to remain Christian? [[Who is talking?->I]][[Indigenous]] people are made when they are endowed with their land by their Creator, but in a sense, they are created by the same thing that creates Diaspora. When violence moves a people, that people, adrift, become potential settler colonialists. When settler colonialists arrive in the land of a people and violently seize it, that people become Indigenous by contrast. But this is to essentialize a dispute between Diasporic communities and Indigenous ones. What unifies them is a violence that rends the heart, [[destroys the mind->lunatics]], poisons the soul. The force that attacked Native Americans and beseiged the entirety of Turtle Island at the end of the 15th century had cut its teeth on the Jews of Europe, and the racialized violence that became the United States inspired [[Nazi Germany->an ocean]]. There is no Hitler without Andrew Jackson, there is no Columbus without Torquemada.