Safe to say that these results reflect a clear crisis of representation alongside growing support for ecological and social transition, the defense of the commons, the advance of the feminisation of politics and a significant increase in citizen-led movements with representation on electoral lists.
There is solid evidence that privatisation costs more and undermines human rights. The resistance to privatisation has turned into a powerful force for a positive cause, that of (re)municipalisation, which refers to reclaiming and creating new public services on a municipal level.
We live in a moment of crisis and opportunity, and the Spanish experience shows that it is possible to incorporate veteran left parties, grass roots activists and disfranchised social democratic and progressive voters into broader transformative processes.
The goal is thus not to repeat the tightly-knitted knot and inherited linear understanding of power, but to weave a new political geography, a new terrain of distributed power. No longer is this a challenge of an expansive fiefdom to be owned and controlled, but a series of humans whose relationships need to be collectively organized.
In reality, the municipalism of the Fearless Cities means that winning local governments and making them stronger is only part of a broader political strategy based on building power from the bottom up, both within and outside formal institutions.
In moving together, municipalist movements are already demonstrating internationalism — in the “old” sense of working together across boundaries. Yet this internationalism provides the crucible for working towards internationalism in a “new” sense…
How can representatives at all levels really learn to listen, and (to use a current buzz word) to co-produce solutions with their constituents – not just members of their own party, but with the full diversity of voices, including those whose starting positions might be difficult to understand or accept?
To get an idea of what we want the future to look like, we need to take inspiration from and learn from those already building the institutions of tomorrow, today. In the next few installments, we’ll be highlighting movements and initiatives that we think are some of the seeds of a new world, already sprouting.
In both Spanish and Catalan, the word ‘marea’ means both ‘tide’ and ‘powerful social movement.’ Barcelona en Comú has set high – maybe unachievable – goals for the city. But they’re not expecting to go it alone.
Fear and uncertainty seem to have settled into our societies, not only among citizens, but also political leaders and transnational corporations who see their capitals and centres of power stagger in the face of the combined effects of slowing global economic growth, imminent energy decline and increasing climate chaos. In this context, we are witnessing a multitude of responses, with three approaches that stand out.
Almost every global city has a similar dynamic – a battle between the finance capital that seeks to make money from the city and the needs of the residents who seek to make the city their home. Rarely do we see residents successfully push back against the power of finance capital. But for those wanting to know how this can be done, look to Barcelona.