Years ago, Karachi could embrace and accompany many people. It was a calm and sleepy city. It was not like today’s Karachi — most populated and polluted. Since the partition, the flow of people has never stopped moving into Karachi. This rapid and massive urbanisation has shattered the dreams of thousands. According to Mr Alioune Badiane, the UN-Habitat Director of Programmes, “Today, 1.6 billion people do not have access to adequate shelter around the world. One billion of those live in informal settlements, and about one in four people live in conditions that harm their health, safety, prosperity and opportunities.” In Pakistan, United Nations World Cities Report 2016 has named Karachi’s Orangi town the largest of the world’s five largest slums. In his book Planet of Slums, Mike Davis writes, “In 1950, there were 86 cities in the world with a population of more than one million; today there are 400, and by 2015 there will be at least 550. For the first time, the urban population of the earth will outnumber the rural.” And According to Martin Ravallion of the World Bank, “currently, a quarter of the world’s poor dwell in urban areas, and this percentage is going to be 50 per cent by 2035.” The lives of those in slums are terrifying and painful; poor starving people are oppressed and dispossessed. It is not exactly like the movie Slum dog Millionaire. It’s precisely the opposite. If anything, it is more like the movie, The City of Joy, where Hasari Pal moves to Calcutta with his family for a better life and ends up living in a slum area populated with lepers and poor people. According to a report, several police mobiles led by Inspector Khan Nawaz surrounded Juma Morio Goth, a small village of about 250 houses in Deh Langheji, district Malir. They were accompanied by bulldozers, wheel loaders and dump trucks. Their objective: to demolish a number of huts and make way for a housing society through the village. Our urban cities have been turned into commodities. A radical struggle is needed against the capitalistic tactics of urbanisation. It’s time to reinvent, reclaim and remake the cities according to our collective needs and desires Juma Morio and Ali Mohammed Gabol are among at least 45 goths (villages) that fall within the areas of four dehs of former Gadap town that are now part of district Malir and are being affected one way or another by the construction. Oppressed communities are being bulldozed. The life of a hut and those that dwell within comes cheap; they can be crushed as and when the elite want. Life in an urban slum is full of squalor and deprivations. Arundhati Roy writes, “If people in a slum are on a hunger strike, no one gives a sh*t.” No one knows about it, even as publicity stunts by politicians run on media 24/7. According to the Article 38-D of the Constitution of Pakistan, “The state shall provide basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief for all such citizens, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race, as are permanently or temporarily unable to earn their livelihood on account of infirmity, sickness or unemployment.” The state doesn’t shelter them, and when they make their own, they are thrown away. This has happened even in the capital of Pakistan; but there has been some resistance from settlers and the Awami Workers Party. It is the time to study urbanisation in Pakistan. David Harvey defines it as “the right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city… the freedom to make and remake our cities.” In this regard, recently a workers’ resistance has started its campaign with the slogans “reclaiming the cities or right to the land.” It’s a campaign and mobilisation of masses to get registered ancient villages and informal settlements in Hyderabad, Thatta, and other areas of Sindh, and get basic facilities of life. David Harvey’s Accumulation by Dispossession is a critical analysis of how capitalism works. Indigenous people, their land, resources, culture and environment are dispossessed by capitalists. The Thar Coal Project in Sindh is one example. The corporations justify their actions through the rhetoric of development. This is the development through which many are swallowed, and lands are snatched. The capitalistic urbanisation takes place through the process of displacement and dispossession. It is foundational for the reproduction of capitalism. Our urban cities have been turned into commodities. A radical struggle is needed against the capitalistic tactics of urbanisation. It’s time to reinvent, reclaim and remake the cities according to our collective needs and desires. The writer is a student of MPhil International Relations at University of Karachi Published in Daily Times, July 23rd 2018.