Round tables and workshops
The question of organisation has surely been the most overlooked issue of the institutional cycle, also among municipalists initiatives. The absence of consistent organisational experiences has produced, on too many occasions, an increasing isolation and autonomy of the municipal groups. This has happened not only in the worst sense of a growing institutionalisation of the previous, but also in the sense of their inability to face the political boundaries inscribed in the institution.
In these round tables and workshops we will address the need of ensuring the continuation of the experiences of movement and counterpower beyond the institutions. We will also have a look at the developments and new experiences developed during this time.
A growing amount of groups are formed to fight for basic rights beyond those related to labour. These experiences, out of which the PAH can be considered the most developed prototype, have been given the name of “social unionism” or “metropolitan unionism”. They are devices of the struggle for democracy in favour of the rights of the citizenry as a whole community, but above all organisational experiments capable of creating subjectivity and empowerment.
The aim of the workshops in this theme group is to discuss the construction of organizations that, whether they are decoupled from the institutions or not, create rights through collective self-organisation and grass-roots movements.
The debate about what to do with those public services that have been privatised, outsourced and subcontracted has been on the table since the arrival of the new municipalist governments. There is a lot of pressure against remunicipalising by industrial lobbies, mass media and the establishment parties. At the same time, the unions have often pointed out several conflicts related to labour improvements, but also to the remunicipalisation of the services. How to handle an effective remunicipalisation of public resources?
Social and environmental clauses and other mechanisms designed to compensate for the effects of urban capitalism are lately being applied in public contracts as well. Cooperative networks have a central role in this context. What kind of relationship should there be between cooperativism and local governments? How to overcome the dependency between the public provider and private service? What are the problems in this relationship and how could we avoid the formation of clientelist networks that are so typical of the previous cycles?
Reapropiarse de los bienes comunes: producir movimiento, datos, norma. https://www.diagonalperiodico.net/blogs/funda/reapropiarse-bienes-comunes-producir-movimiento-datos-norma.html
Communication is an essential tool accompanying processes of conflict. In an era that could be called “communicative paradigm”, it is indispensable to create our own spaces, public spheres that are autonomous in relation to the agenda of the mass media. Since 15M, a new postmediatic sphere has been under construction in the social networks and in the blogosphere, and it has been fundamental to the development of the movement.
How to confront the construction of tools for communication and discussion capable of serving the project of democratic municipalism? What examples exist today that could be replicated in other cities? These are the questions that will open the workshops of this theme group.
Nuria Alabao. ¿Qué medios para qué revolución?
Fernán Chalmeta: ¿Cómo dejar de ser un punching-ball en manos de los medios? Reflexiones sobre municipalismo y comunicación
Besides being forms of collective and democratic management of common resources, self-managed social spaces also bring along the creation and sustenance of communitarian ties. Many of these spaces or experiments are results of previous victories achieved over the public administration or private interests.
The current phase of the institutional assault has brought to light new opportunities to reproduce these kind of initiatives while it also demands re-thinking the central question of autonomy. Autonomy to produce a social fabric capable of inspiring the action of the institutional options of change, whilst also maintaining itself when those options cease to be in positions of power, or when those options become institutionalised.
In this theme group we expect to share the necessity of reproducing these experiences –how to defend them? how to extend them?– and their relationship with the institutional sphere – what demands for what autonomy? We also want to think about the possibility of articulating a network of spaces of this kind. Naturally, we are not starting from scratch, and count on a myriad of previous experiences and new opportunities that are being launched in this context.
The current model of mobility, related to a diffuse and functional city, allocates the largest part of urban land to the motorised transportation. The consequences: increasing privatisation of the space assigned to mobility, higher pollution rates and deterioration of public health, unsustainable energetic model and increasing difficulties to move around the city that affects the lower income groups disproportionately. This urban model causes thousands of premature deaths, discriminates against low income groups, and excludes children, elders and those with reduced mobility. However, the economic crisis has displaced the private vehicle as a nuclear element of social advancement and, besides, an increased connectivity in the digital era has ruined the high added value of motorised transport and the urbanism that accompanied it.
At this point the social gap in the cities is becoming more and more expressed as a dispute about the organisation of the roads and side walks of the city, because they take up the immense majority of the public space. What could be the strategic lines for recovering the compact city from the urban point of view? How can we ensure the right to mobility for precarious sectors? Around which objectives can we build alliances among pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users? How can we recover the autonomy of the districts in order to reorganise their urban scene?
European cities share certain similar problematics. The historical and economical characteristics and above all the shared geopolitical frame (the European Union) point towards a common horizon of challenges. Some of these challenges involve reverting the policies imposed by Brussels, gaining control over the hosting of refugees and fighting privatisation and commodification of the commons.
Municipalism stands for rebuilding at the local level organisational forms that allow both a self-governance more respectful of life, and the sustainable use of resources in order to benefit the whole community. In this workshop, the objective is to reinforce the networks among European municipalist movements towards the goal of drawing a shared strategy and to producing as much synergy as possible.
Texto comisión internacional de Bcomu
Among the different processes of people’s unity candidatures formed throughout the state, the incorporation of the feminist perspective –in a specific way and transversally to every theme and working group– was considered necessary.
From different feminist groups, we have been contributing to the collective construction of municipal policies in order to create an accessible, inclusive and truly democratic model of a city for the diverse groups that inhabit it. It should be a city that has as its goal the violence-free life, that guarantees sexual and reproductive rights in a context of sexual and gender diversity and is organised around the care activities, recognising the co-responsibility between genders and the wider community.
After one and a half years of government in the Municipalities of Change, the municipalist feminist policies are not progressing as expected, and the feminist voices are no longer being listened to. We propose these issues for the debate so that, all together, something truly diverse.
ELENA CASADO De parejas, afectos y violencia de género. (PDF)
RITA SEGATO La escritura en el cuerpo de las mujeres asesinadas en Ciudad Juárez. (PDF)
TIJERAS PARA TODAS Textos sobre violencias machistas en los movimientos sociales. (PDF)
AUDIO (Justa Montero, Lucas Platero, Fefa Vila y Javier Saéz)
AUDIO (Justa Montero, Lucas Platero, Fefa Vila y Javier Saéz)
To audit and to leave unpaid the illegitimate municipal debt and to abolish the Montoro Law, or the Law of Budgetary Stability that is tormenting the actions of the city councils, are today central challenges for the local democracy.
Many city councils have already picked up the proposal of undertaking citizen’s debt audits that have been crafted by social movements over the last years. In fact, more than 600 public officers have signed the Oviedo Manifesto that rejects illegitimate indebtment and austerity politics.
Beyond the support and political will of the town halls, there is a double challenge. On the one hand public policies have to be suggested and they should be implemented with the support and control of the citizenry. On the other, in order to outline any of these battles, there must be a coordination of the efforts in the supramunicipal level. We can only confront the tremendous challenge of reverting austerity politics by way of unifying efforts. The same goes for conceiving solutions at larger scales for the failed model of municipal financing that is, for now, dependent on successive real estate cycles, one of the few ways the city councils can obtain resources.
The starting point of this workshop will be the following questions: How can a Municipalist Front be formed so that it brings together the candidatures, the organisation created to run for elections, the social movements and other forces? Which tools and processes are available as leverage against those laws blocking local democracy? Which proposals are already on the table?
Entendiendo la deuda http://auditoriaciudadana.net/entendiendo-la-deuda/
Manifiesto de Oviedo: http://manifiestodeoviedo.org/
¿Cómo organizar un Frente Municipalista? https://t.co/FPrJuWzwz8
Our cities are traversed by borders, which is a reality the citizenship tends to banalise and hide. Among many other power relations, these borders raise shameless walls between our non autochthonous neighbours and their possibility to access the most basic goods and rights.
As many other aspects, the issues related to migration are determined by decisions and laws dictated from upper levels than the municipal one. However, it is in the “proximity” where false differences and distrusts generated by the establishment according to its interests can be eliminated. Interests focused on making a cheap labour force out of the migrant workers, with no rights and to be used as scapegoats in future crises.
The strength of a municipalist movement is basically rooted in its capacity for cross-cutting the struggles of those ‘at the bottom’. To that end, the mix of autochthonous and migrant militants is vital. In this workshop, we will try to determine those strategies needed for building this essential alliance and for refuting those criminalising discourses, based on false security arguments, that seek divide us.
In a democracy, the question “Who rules?” should have a simple answer. However, in our cities decisions are normally taken based on the interests of local power groups. Besides, the resources of municipalist movements for weakening these structures are limited.
This workshop will focus on two hypotheses: 1) Anonymity is one of the reasons informal power networks are still taking place with impunity, that is why one of the objectives of this workshop is to share and find communicative and social actions able to make these networks public. 2) Opaque businesses have generated a clutter of companies that can only be untangled through a big efforts in investigation. The goal is to find ways to share the work and results of such investigations so they can be useful to other local groups. In case of criminal activity, the results of such investigations could even be reported in court by the municipalist movements, so that they would not be subjected to the interest of the institutions or political parties.
The development of these communicative and social actions, the putting together of the information of an investigation, or the reporting of cases all require a source of funding that is not modest at all. Topics of how and where to find funding will be discussed in the workshop too.