the inert arsenal: a call to action

a hammer is useless without a nail. a nail is useless without a hammer. but used together, both are powerful and effective at impacting the world around them. no tool is useless. it is only useless when it is misused. it is only useless when it is relied on solely to bring about change.

the failure of le corbusier's architecture, or perhaps only attempted implementations of it, is its naive belief in the ability of buildings to shape people. in fact, the opposite is true - people shape buildings. you cannot solve the issue of poverty or crime without addressing the (correct) root causes. attempting to get rid of them through a building project is totally ineffective, unless you first provide universal housing alongside other universal public services. the soon to be demolished/redeveloped cumbernauld city centre was failed by forces completely outside of the control of the hunk of concrete itself. sure, it had design flaws, but the much greater design flaws are the contradictions of capitalism that cause places like cumbernauld to be underdeveloped in the first place. and much like these contradictions, architectural design flaws are beneficial to a certain group of people - the cladding used on grenfell tower, for example, served the purpose of maximising profit. this highrise tower, this symbol of inner-city poverty and neglect, is the deformed offspring of le corbusier. existing under a capitalist system, this idyllic unité d'habitation has become a commodity - produced for the lowest possible price and sold for the highest, all while disregarding the 'red tape' that, God forbid, prioritises human lives over keeping costs down. capitalism loves to consume all its opponents in order to neutralise their threats - the reason banks turn rainbow for pride month is the exact reason it has weaponised universal housing against the working class, the very class it should serve.

but, while acknowledging the limitations of reform within the capitalist system, we shouldn't completely abandon these efforts. just because we can't use a hammer without a nail doesn't mean we should drop the hammer and never pick it back up again. all architects should have a sense of social responsibility - they certainly do less harm if their hearts are in the right place. if there's even a chance of them standing up to the establishment, they're better than another non-questioning drone. much like the story of the drowning man who prays to God to save him and turns down all offers of help, we can't rely solely on a messianic figure who will one day establish instant fully-functioning perfect communism. simply understanding why the homeless person is on the street doesn't make you any better than anyone else if you refuse to help them in any material way. marxists, as self-proclaimed materialists, are often the largest idealists and mystics of all, living in imaginary realms of endless theoretical debate, while christians, motivated solely by faith and belief, go out and perform acts of socialist praxis. you can be an idealist in belief and a materialist in practice, and vice versa. the beliefs are the foundation, but much like any good architect would argue, a foundation is only as good as the building that takes place upon it.

"To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." - Proverbs 21:3 (NIV)
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it." - Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach
"For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him." - Genesis 18:19 (NIV)
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” - Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations
“Dreams and reality are opposites. Action synthesizes them.” - Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

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