238 VI. Doing
239 FROM CORPORATE GLOBOPOLIS TO PROGRESSIVE CITIES IN ASIA insurgencies have broadened beyond those for democratic reform to now include protests against (global) corporatization of government through, e.g., privatization of public services. They are also widening in their diversity in going beyond places of work to the “right to the city”. 39 Protests against global economic summits such as APEC, environmental pollution, and unfair labor practices now also add to those against lack of affordable housing, the loss of public parks, evictions for megaprojects and global spectacles, and the loss of livelihoods to mini-marts, among others. In other words, they are responding to all of the crises noted above. 40 In all of these expressions of discontent, even in the same country, cities respond differently, and in almost every country, some cities have become known as being more progressive than others. Especially where decentralization of government powers has been significant, national political systems are experiencing previously unexpected openings for progressive leaders without national political connections to rise to municipal government and on to the national stage. The meteoric rise of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) as a progressive mayor of secondary city, Surakarta, to become Governor of Jakarta and President of Indonesia in less than two years is one of the most prominent cases in point, and is one that would not have been possible even a decade ago. Now with democratization and thoroughly devolved system of government, the potential increases for the aspirations of local people to be transformed into progressive actions by government through the electoral processes. While many tendencies and trends, notably the rise of civil society in the public sphere, are crucial dynamics in addressing the crises of corporatization, they are insufficient in explaining why some cities are better able to respond than others. And while leadership is also crucial, a “magic mayor” is not alone capable of changing political scenes. Following from Clavel’s 41 pioneering studies on progressive cities in the U.S., preliminary research in Asia shows that a critical factor in the emergence of progressive cities through the windows of reforms is local grassroots mobilizations that have extensive histories beginning well before the appearance of a progressive government. 42 As in Surakarta before Jokowi’s mayoral tenure, this well observed accumulation of social capital in that city had no predetermined expression, however, and progressive leadership was paramount as well. Also to be noted is the reality that progressive leadership must invariably engage in coalition building within government, which encounters its own bottlenecks and reversals as well as successes. The combination of progressive urban culture and leadership is perhaps still exceptional, though research on the local state in Asia also remains too limited to address this question.