methodology 7

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South California

With Mike Davis

The methodology week “El Cajon” is proposed my Mike Davis. American writer, political activist, urban theorist, and historian, Davis is best known for his investigations of power and social class in his native Southern California.

El Cajon is a poor, aging suburban city of 100,000 people, 25 km east of San Diego. The former 'meth capital' of California, it shelters the largest (30,000 plus) Iraqi refugee population in the United States and they have turned its formerly country-western main street into a cosmopolitan 'Little Baghdad' as well as building the second Chaldean Cathedral in North America.  All levels of local government, however, are controlled by Christian fundamentalists (their take-over of the town and surrounding areas was a famous incident in the rise of the New Right in the Reagan years) who have used every means to oppose and criminalize the Iraqi immigration.  There are four Christian mega-churches who act as political machines in the (area which also includes the city of Santee, site of a notorious school shooting) and support in power the Duncan Hunter congressional dynasty. Hunter Jr. was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump while his father was the architect of the first segment of the Border Wall between San Diego and Tijuana.  They are financed by the General Atomic, the private company that builds the 'Predator.' .... The theme in other words is the intersection of US Middle East politics, the Mexican-American border, Christian nationalist politics, and suburban poverty in a single place, with each of these forces leaving highly visible imprints on the built environment.  The five days would include a visit to Tijuana and a tour of San Diego's military-industrial landscape.