The Chainlink

Chicago & Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay

Hi Chicago bike activist. I am co-author (with Bianca Mugyenyi) of the just released  Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay. We plan to be in Chicago May 30, 31 and June 1.  Would you be into helping us set up event for one of those days?
By the time were are in Chicago we expect to have had few good reviews circulating and to have been on democracy now so hopefully that would help with turnout.
 Here is our website, which we are slowly getting together. http://stopsigns.fairtrademedia.com/

yvesengler@hotmail.com
thanks and take care
yves

Authors offer 14 ways North America’s automobile-dominated transportation system is irritating, irrational, irresponsible and increasingly inhuman

 

The I-14

1.    Cities have been torn down, remade and planned with cars’ needs as the overriding concern.

2.    Behind the wheel it’s me, myself and I.

3.    Only three percent of the car’s fuel energy actually moves what needs to be moved.

4.    Cars encourage sprawl and the privatization of space.

5.    Car-burbs are infertile ground for the social movements necessary to tip back the scale between rich and poor.

6.    The car’s insatiable appetite for space crowds out bikes and pedestrians.

7.    For every mile of travel, the car is dozens of times more likely to cause death and injury than the train, bus or airplane.

8.    Cathedrals are built to worship the automobile.

9. A quarter of our working lives are spent paying for cars.

10. Automotive pollution kills tens of thousands annually.

11. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year to subsidize off-street parking.

12. Driving brings out the beast in the newly evolved human, Homo Automotivis.

13. Auto-dependent development is pushing oil extraction into increasingly sensitive environments.

14. A model of transportation that relies on individuals hopping into two, four or eight thousand pound metal boxes to get from one place to another is utterly unsustainable.

  

 

In North America, human beings have become enthralled by the automobile: A quarter of our working lives are spent paying for them; communities fight each other for the right to build more of them; our cities have been torn down, remade and planned with their needs as the overriding concern; wars are fought to keep their fuel tanks filled; songs are written to praise them; cathedrals are built to worship them. In Stop Signs: Cars and Capitalism on the Road to Economic, Social and Ecological Decay, authors Yves Engler and Bianca Mugyenyi argue that the automobile's ascendance is inextricably linked to capitalism and involved corporate malfeasance, political intrigue, backroom payoffs, media manipulation, racism, academic corruption, third world coups, secret armies, environmental destruction and war. An anti-car, road-trip story, Stop Signs is a unique must-read for all those who wish to escape the clutches of auto insanity.


"Mugyenyi and Engler's Stop Signs is at one and the same time an entertaining, fact-filled anthropological tour of the land of Homo Automomotivis, and the first all-out global ecological critique of the American automobile addiction. Not since Jane Holtz Kay's Asphalt Nation has a book appeared that so clearly exposed the auto-irrationality of the most car-dependent country on earth."
John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review and co-author, The Ecological Rift
 
"This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the impact of the private automobile on our urban transportation options."
David Cadman, Vancouver City Councillor, International President ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability
 
"In Stop Signs, Mugyenyi and Engler take readers on an insightful, fact-filled journey through the primary habitat of the car-dominated species they call Homo automotivis. With wit and originality, they weave travel tales into a convincing argument against the auto economy, culminating with a fresh call to leave car culture behind."
Katie Alvord, Author, Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile

"Mugyenyi and Engler illustrate the relationship between cars and suburban living. You come away shaken, but ready to roll up your sleeves and contribute, however modestly, to constructing a new world in the twenty-first century."
Richard Bergeron, Montreal city councilor, urban planner and author

 

Yves Engler has four published books including The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy (Shortlisted for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non Fiction in the Quebec Writers' Federation Literary Awards)

Bianca Mugyenyi coordinates campaigns at Concordia University's Centre for Gender Advocacy

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What's up with #11, source on this ?

I too am a big fan of more honey than vinegar, while still trying to engage in thoughtful, honest, sometimes tough discussions.

 

As I general rule, I try to avoid picking up the broad brush. Suburbs are a good example.  Some suburbs, especially the older ones built around train stops, have more compact, walkable development than you see in parts of Chicago. There are almost 300 communities neighboring Chicago with a wide range of characteristics.  

 

I do hope we can all agree that the global "we" would be better off if there was less driving and car ownership in general.

 

 

Hello,

I heard through the grapevine you might need a place to stay while in Chicago. I'd be happy to let you stay at my place at Chicago & Ashland, as well as host a party. BTW, I have two cats.

~steven

312-504-7108

 

It's good to see a discussion on these topics though I must admit the point of posting this stuff was more organizational than an attempt for an argument.  It seems a little odd that pointing out the bad things about the private car is taken as a personal offense. If we accept that logic those of us care about the environment and who want cities to be built to serve the needs people would have to keep quiet to avoid offending.  Personally, I find the amount of space devoted to cars and the quantity of pollutants I inject while I try to get around on my bike quite offensive.


In terms of the cost of off street parking the source is Donald Shoup, the UCLA parking focused professor.  Check out his massive book. All the sources are at the back of our book, which I am happy to send people immediately as a PDF if you send me an e-mail to  yvesengler@hotmail.com

for those who are doubtful take a look at the PDF and come to the event on June 1 at open book and make the case for the private car. If anything, the political point of this book is to widen the discussion between those who want to see the landscape structured for the private car and those who believe we need to move completely beyond the idea of individuals jumping in 2000 or 4000 pound metal boxes to get around.

all the best

Yves

Taliban is Taliban as far as I'm concerned.

 

People who are religiously zealous about some great satan or another and want to change the world and elminate all the evils they see. 

 

Yes, when you tell people they are wrong for living the way they are living and set out to "change them" and their way of life whether they want you to or not, you just might get a few of them to speak out against your religious agenda.  I don't care if these Taliban are raving against "worshiping" of the great satan, or the automobile.  

 

Kick down someone else's "cathedral" and expect to hear some squawking.

Sorry, I can't agree to that and I don't think I'm the only one.  I guess I'm not of the same "religion" as the original poster of this thread.  I find it offensive that he wants to kick over my "tabernacle" and doesn't want to give others the right to worship the deity of their choice. 


I find such an attitude sad, and disturbing. 

Gin said:

 

I do hope we can all agree that the global "we" would be better off if there was less driving and car ownership in general.

 

 

Very well said. Stay the course.

yves engler said:

 

It's good to see a discussion on these topics though I must admit the point of posting this stuff was more organizational than an attempt for an argument.  It seems a little odd that pointing out the bad things about the private car is taken as a personal offense. If we accept that logic those of us care about the environment and who want cities to be built to serve the needs people would have to keep quiet to avoid offending.  Personally, I find the amount of space devoted to cars and the quantity of pollutants I inject while I try to get around on my bike quite offensive.


In terms of the cost of off street parking the source is Donald Shoup, the UCLA parking focused professor.  Check out his massive book. All the sources are at the back of our book, which I am happy to send people immediately as a PDF if you send me an e-mail to  yvesengler@hotmail.com

for those who are doubtful take a look at the PDF and come to the event on June 1 at open book and make the case for the private car. If anything, the political point of this book is to widen the discussion between those who want to see the landscape structured for the private car and those who believe we need to move completely beyond the idea of individuals jumping in 2000 or 4000 pound metal boxes to get around.

all the best

Yves

Try this: http://www.emagazine.com/archive/2418

The author of that article is a sometime car reviewer, BTW.

 

As for the talk about "Taliban," that's bordering on Godwin's Law territory. Please, keep it civil, and you might actually learn something about the world.

cutifly said:

What's up with #11, source on this ?
8.    Cathedrals are built to worship the automobile.

GVW is not curb weight and only reflects the total weight the vehicle is rated to carry.

 

Considering my '73 Chevy one ton pick up weighed 6,200 pounds any modern vehicle that weighs over that should probably be set on fire because it is a complete engineering failure.


Todd Allen said:

The list comes from their book.  They are soliciting help for the book tour so it makes perfect sense to tell what the book is about and a book which doesn't offend anyone is likely a pointless book.

 

They are out of towners just passing through.  They probably found the chainlink via a web search assuming they might find some help here and are unlikely to be drawn into an extended flame fest.

 

BTW, the Hummer H2 fell into the over 8,500 lb GVW class which excluded it from CAFE regulations.  And the point that 25% of American's working lives support cars doesn't mean it applies to each and every individual.  It's an average.  Can't speak to the accuracy of the statistics behind the claim but for an individual to dispute it based on the sole sample of themselves shows a disturbing lack of critical thought.


I bet it can't carry one of these...

 

http://www.topgear.com/uk/car-news/knight-xv-2009-06


notoriousDUG said:

GVW is not curb weight and only reflects the total weight the vehicle is rated to carry.

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