Fearless Cities https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/25657/all cached version 19/10/2018 23:59:55 en Jackson Rising https://www.opendemocracy.net/bertie-russell/jackson-rising <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>When a young black attorney was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississipi, rather than ask what the local state could do, he asked, <em>what can we do to the local state?</em> </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Chokwe_Antar_Lumumba.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/1024px-Chokwe_Antar_Lumumba.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Antar Lumumba, Mayor of Jackson, Mississipi. Wikicommons/ NatalieMaynor. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>In June last year, the young black attorney Antar Lumumba was elected the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. Securing more than 90% of the vote, Lumumba’s platform was based on making Jackson “the most radical city on the planet”, something one might not expect from the capitol of a former slave state. Yet this wasn’t the first time a committed black radical had won the mayoral contest of Jackson. Antar’s father – a veteran of the New Afrikan Peoples Organisation (NAPO) and co-founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) – was elected as mayor in 2013, prior to his untimely death at the beginning of 2014. </p> <p>It’s familiar to report on electoral successes as if they’re the end-point of politics, yet, ‘<a href="http://www.redpepper.org.uk/fearless-cities-the-new-urban-movements/">the new municipalism isn’t about winning elections; it’s about building, transforming and distributing power</a>’. To interpret what’s happening in Jackson through the lens of electoral politics is to be blind to the much broader political strategy that’s been taking shape. Behind the media-grabbing headlines of the election of a ‘radical Mayor’ lies the tireless work of educational programmes, the building of cooperatives, the buying-up of land, and the development of alternative democratic structures. This isn’t just the usual ‘movement building’ work we’re all used to talking of. Jackson is a city with a plan. <span class="mag-quote-center">Jackson is a city with a plan.</span></p> <h2><strong>The Jackson-Kush Plan</strong></h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/218031046/The-Jackson-Kush-Plan">Jackson-Kush Plan</a> is a strategy for building an unapologetically revolutionary movement that doesn’t just make promises about the future, but has a method for delivering in the present. Developed by the MXGM from the early 2000’s and made public in 2012, the Plan draws on centuries of political organising, reaching back to the National Negro Convention Movement (between 1831-1864), the establishment of the Freedom Farm Cooperative in 1969, and the efforts in local self-governance driven by NAPO and the Republic of New Afrika (RNA). </p> <p>The Plan is built around three fundamental pillars ‘designed to build a mass base with the political clarity, organizational capacity, and material self-sufficiency to advance the objective of building an autonomous power’ in Jackson and the broader Kush region. These pillars include the ‘Building of a Broad-based Solidarity Economy; the Building of People’s Assemblies; and the Building of an Independent Black Political Party.’ Although the landslide elections of both Lumumba and Lumumba Jr. are important, they have to be understood in the context of this broader plan. </p> <h2><strong>Building a Broad-based Solidarity Economy</strong></h2> <p>As the Jackson-based activist Kali Akuno writes, ‘we have to be clear, crystal clear, that self-determination is unattainable without an economic base. And not just your standard economic base, meaning a capitalist oriented one, but a democratic one’. Taking inspiration from the <a href="http://www.redpepper.org.uk/europe-s-co-op-boom/">Mondragon cooperative in the Basque country</a>, the intention is to build a series of interconnected cooperatives across Jackson and the Kush region, and to foster the development of broader solidarity-economic practices such as time-banks, alternative currencies, resource libraries, and cooperative credit unions. </p> <p>Following the establishment of <em>Cooperation Jackson</em> in 2014, they have a vehicle for coordinating a community land-trust (which has included the purchasing of entire streets as part of a territorial strategy against gentrification), developing a ‘fab-lab’ for skilling-up workers in 3D printing and tech-development, reinvigorating the Peoples Grocery Initiative, expanding the sustainable agriculture initiatives and community kitchens, and establishing a cultural-arts cooperative. <span class="mag-quote-center">It begins by addressing concrete issues in the here-and-now… rather than just a ‘fight for ideas’.</span></p> <p>The purpose of building the solidarity economy is two-fold. Firstly, it begins by addressing concrete issues in the here-and-now, with a focus on immediate improvements to people’s lives rather than just a ‘fight for ideas’. Secondly, it is hoped that organising and reproducing one’self and one’s communities as part of a solidarity economy will aid in ‘developing the capacities of the members or cooperators to shape the world in their image and interest’. Participation in solidarity economic initiatives can help us become the sort of humans we want to be, <em>and</em> change the limits of what we believe can be achieved. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/6-24-1068x659.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/6-24-1068x659.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Kali Akuno, Cooperation Jackson. Labor Notes. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Yet as the Jackson-Kush Plan recognises, the Solidarity Economy, if developed to its logical conclusions, lies at the limit of economic reform possible within a ‘capitalist framework of social production governed by a bourgeois social order’. The building of a Solidarity Economy is not a political project in itself, but one step – a means – and ends in the wider revolutionary strategy. It’s about moving us in the <em>direction</em> of a post-capitalist society. </p><h2><strong>Building People’s Assemblies</strong></h2> <p>The People’s Assembly in Jackson developed as a popular response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and follows in the tradition of the Black Liberation Movement’s efforts of self-determination. The MXGM define a mass peoples’ assembly as the bringing together of at least one fifth of the population of a given territory (such as a neighbourhood, district, or city) to address essential social issues. This means orientating towards ‘developing solutions, strategies, action plans and timelines to change various socio-economic conditions in a desired manner, not just hearing and/or giving voice to the people assembled’. <span class="mag-quote-center">Participation in solidarity economic initiatives can help us become the sort of humans we want to be.</span></p> <p>Currently gathering on a quarterly basis, with the will of the assembly acted on by a series of committees that collectively form the “People’s Taskforce”, the Assembly has two broad functions. Firstly, it’s a vehicle for initiating ‘self-organized’ social projects, which range from forming people’s self-defence campaigns to organising housing occupations. Secondly, it operates to exert pressure on existing government structures, ranging from coordinating direct action campaigns through to boycotts or non-compliance campaigns. </p> <p>Whilst the Peoples’ Assembly is a direct organising tool, it’s also another component of the ‘consciousness raising’ that it is hoped can be achieved through the practices of the solidarity economy. The Peoples’ Assembly – and any other participatory democratic process for that matter – is seen as embryonic of new forms of collective self-governance. The Assembly is both an experiment in exercising leverage over existing conditions, and a process of learning new ways to govern. </p> <h2><strong>Building a Black Independent Political Party</strong></h2> <p>The third pillar of the project demands ‘engaging electoral politics on a limited scale with the express intent of building radical voting blocs and electing candidates drawn from the ranks of the Assemblies&nbsp;themselves’. Where the majority Black population has been routinely exploited, beaten and oppressed by the state apparatus, the decision to occupy established state institutions is contentious. Yet as the Plan cautiously outlines, ‘we have learned through our own struggles – and through our analysis of the experiences of many other revolutionary or liberation movements – we ignore the power of the state at our own peril’.<span class="mag-quote-center"> ‘We ignore the power of the state at our own peril’.</span></p> <p>Crucially, the role of the municipal institutions is not to ‘deliver socialism’ on behalf of its citizens: there is no belief that revolutionary change will be delivered through the electoral system. Rather, the municipal institutions are engaged initially as a defensive effort ‘to negate its repressive powers and to contain the dictatorial power and ideological influence of monopoly capital in Mississippi’. On the other hand, it is hoped that through rejecting established political parties and running candidates selected from the movement, it will prove possible to ‘create political openings that provide a broader platform for future struggles to be waged to restore the “commons”, to create more public utilities (i.e. universal health care and comprehensive public transport), and for the democratic transformation of the economy’.</p> <p>Most immediately – in practice – this looks like promotion of a procurement policy that prioritises the solidarity economy, the development of a “cooperative incubator” that provides a range of start-up services for cooperative enterprises, supporting the establishment of a legally recognized ‘human rights charter’ that must be adhered to in future council policy, the roll-out of participatory budgeting, formally recognising and responding to the Peoples’ Assembly processes, and re-municipalising services from water management to energy production.</p> <h2><strong>Learning from Jackson</strong></h2> <p>To return to the words of Kali Akuno, the fundamental ‘objective of running these candidates and winning these offices is to create the political space and advance policies that will provide manoeuverable space for the autonomous initiatives of the Jackson Plan to develop and grow’. The fundamental point of reference is not the institutions of the state – which are riddled with contradictions and limits – but efforts to establish process of economic and political self-governance. </p> <p>At the same time, ‘the initiative to create a solidarity economy in Jackson cannot divorce itself from social movement activism and class struggle’. Simply promoting ethical procurement policies, remunicipalising services, or building cooperatives does not equate to a revolutionary political project. Without adopting a political expression, such initiatives can never shift the horizon beyond trying to create ‘nicer’ ways of doing capitalism – something that faces inherent structural limits. </p> <p>At a point when a Left government in the UK seems more likely than it has done in many of our lifetimes, we would be wise to learn quickly from the experiences of cities such as Jackson. We need to build municipal strategies that start to deliver immediately, rapidly expanding our cooperative and solidarity economic sectors as part of a conscious political strategy, whilst developing institutions of self-governance that can offer a counter-power to the state. </p> <p>Crucially, we need to go much further than simply devolving decision-making down to ‘smaller’ administrative units such as our cities and regions – we need to develop a politics that <em>transforms them</em>. Rather than asking what can the local state do, social movements need to form around the question of <em>what can we do to the local state?</em> There is no single answer to this question, but the activists in Jackson are demonstrating how a transformational scalar politics is an essential part of any popular socialist movement. </p> <p><em>To find out more about Cooperation Jackson and the J-K Plan, and to find many of the quotes in this article, get a copy of the recent book </em><a href="https://darajapress.com/catalog/jackson-rising-the-struggle-for-economic-democracy-and-self-determination-in-jackson-mississippi"><em>Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy and Black Self-Determination in Jackson, Mississippi</em></a> <em>by Ajamu Nangwaya and Kali Akuno.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/oscar-reyes-bertie-russell/eight-lessons-from-barcelona-en-com-on-how-to-take-bac">Eight lessons from Barcelona en Comú on how to Take Back Control</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/anna-rebrii-musa-fariso-ullar-murat-zkarata/struggle-in-north-kurdistan-interview-with-hdp-mp-musa-f">The struggle in North Kurdistan: an interview with HDP MP, Musa Farisoğulları</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer/10-years-womens-resistance-to-austerity-europe">“This story rarely gets told”: 10 years of women’s resistance to austerity across Europe</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/plan-c/radical-municipalism-demanding-future">Radical municipalism: demanding the future</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> United States Civil society Culture Democracy and government Economics Ideas International politics Fearless Cities Bertie Russell Thu, 13 Sep 2018 17:43:16 +0000 Bertie Russell 119647 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The rising tide for the democratic control of water in Barcelona https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/laia-bertran/rising-tide-for-democratic-control-of-water-in-barcelona <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="normal">Barcelona’s battle to take its water company back under public ownership is reaching its climax in the courts and at the ballot box.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="normal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/675px-Barcelona_Torre_Agbar_01(1).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/675px-Barcelona_Torre_Agbar_01(1).jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Torre Agbar, Barcelona, 2007. Wikicommons/ Alexander Z. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>When the citizen platform, Barcelona En Comú, crowdsourced its manifesto for the Barcelona city elections in 2015, its most popular proposal was to remunicipalize the city’s water company, Agbar (subsidiary of the multinational, Suez Environnement). </p> <p class="normal">Three years on, the government is locked in a struggle for remunicipalization that epitomizes the concerns of the new municipalist movement: protecting the commons, challenging corruption, and harnessing the symbiotic relationship between institutional and non-institutional politics.</p> <p class="normal">The motives for remunicipalization are numerous: a <a href="https://www.tni.org/en/publication/here-to-stay-water-remunicipalisation-as-a-global-trend">global study</a> by the Transnational Institute in 2015 concluded that towns and cities that remunicipalize their water tend to enjoy increased quality and lower tariffs for consumers. Barcelona is no different; the water rights platform <em><a href="http://www.aiguaesvida.org/mapa-aigua-a-catalunya/#territori_gestio">Aigua és Vida estimates</a></em> that water rates set by Agbar-Suez in Barcelona are 91.7% more expensive than those in neighbouring municipalities that manage their water publicly. This is particularly important in the Spanish context, where 17% of the population suffers from “<a href="http://pobresaenergetica.es/es/que-es-ape/">energy poverty</a>”, meaning that they face hardship in paying their electricity, gas or water bills. In Barcelona, where 10 information points have been set up since 2015 <a href="http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/premsa/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Indicadors-municipals-de-pobresa-energ%C3%A8tica-a-la-ciutat-de-Barcelona-Sergio-Tirado-Herrero-RMIT-Europe-.pdf">to advise citizens</a> on their energy rights, over 170,000 people have been found to be suffering from this specific kind of poverty.</p> <p class="normal">Economic arguments aside, remunicipalization is also motivated by an understanding of water as a human right and an essential element of ecological sustainability. According to these principles, water should be governed as a commons, that is, owned and managed collectively and democratically by communities, rather than run for profit. </p> <h2 class="normal"><strong>Perverse effects</strong></h2> <p class="normal">Indeed, in Barcelona, the perverse effects of allowing private companies to manage basic resources are all too clear. In 2012, a public-private water partnership between Agbar-Suez and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) was created to manage water in 23 municipalities, including the city of Barcelona. The deal gave a 15% stake in the new company to the metropolitan government and an 85% stake to Agbar. </p> <p class="normal">However, in 2015, a report by the Catalan Anti-Fraud Office revealed that the partnership was created behind closed doors, without a public tender, and raised questions about the real value of <a href="http://www.aiguaesvida.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Informe-Antifrau.pdf">Agbar’s investments</a>. A subsequent ruling by the Catalan High Court of Justice declared the 2012 concession null and void, thereby opening the door to remunicipalization. The water giant’s only hope now is that the Supreme Court rules in favour of its appeal to restore the contract.</p> <p class="normal">But things aren’t looking good for Agbar. A recent audit by the Barcelona Metropolitan Government has confirmed that Agbar inflated the value of its investments in the Barcelona water company by <a href="http://www.publico.es/public/l-amb-conclou-agbar-inflar-dels-actius-aportats-aiguees-barcelona.html">346 million Euros</a>.</p> <h2 class="normal"><strong>Citizen initiatives</strong></h2> <p class="normal">At the same time, the people of Barcelona are mobilizing for remunicipalization, taking advantage of a new participation tool introduced by the city council: citizen initiatives. This year, for the first time, anyone who collects over 15,000 signatures of support can call a local referendum relating to local laws and policies. </p> <p class="normal">The citizen initiative for water remunicipalization, promoted by over 30 civil society organizations, including Aigua és Vida and the Barcelona Neighbourhood Association, almost doubled this target, collecting 26,389 signatures in the two month window. It will be put to a non-binding city-wide vote alongside three other initiatives this June.</p> <p class="normal">But Agbar-Suez isn’t going to go down without a fight; the company is trying to stop the referendum on water remunicipalization through the courts. <a href="http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/premsa/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Indicadors-municipals-de-pobresa-energ%C3%A8tica-a-la-ciutat-de-Barcelona-Sergio-Tirado-Herrero-RMIT-Europe-.pdf">Agbar alleges</a> that the question – “Do you want water management in Barcelona to be public, with citizen participation?” –&nbsp; is “unclear”, “illegal” and that the city council doesn’t have the legal competencies to ask it. In <a href="http://www.elcritic.cat/investigacio/la-nova-guerra-de-aigua-agbar-contra-la-multiconsulta-de-barcelona-20898">response to the legal challenge</a>, Barcelona’s Councilor for Participation, Gala Pin, has said that <em>“If Agbar is as sure as it claims that it is the best possible manager of Barcelona’s water, it shouldn’t be afraid of letting people decide.” <span class="mag-quote-center">“If Agbar is as sure as it claims that it is the best possible manager of Barcelona’s water, it shouldn’t be afraid of letting people decide.” </span></em></p> <p class="normal">But Agbar-Suez clearly <em>is </em>afraid of losing its grip on Barcelona. While its plan A is to maintain its concession and stop the vote through the courts, it’s already started its ground campaign in case the referendum should go ahead. </p> <p class="normal">The company has launched a huge marketing operation in recent weeks, flooding advertising space on local TV, radio and billboards and sponsoring community initiatives in an effort to clean up its image. This activity is funded, ironically, by Barcelona residents themselves, via those extra high water bills.</p> <p class="normal">It’s become politically fashionable to talk about citizen participation, but too often the idea is reduced to a slogan and participation is employed only at the margins of decision-making. The belligerent legal reaction of Agbar-Suez to the citizen initiative shows that real economic and political power is at stake in the Barcelona referendum. The city government is betting that, with the support from ordinary people at the ballot box, it will be able to take on opposition parties and the global private water lobby and win.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-city"> <div class="field-label">City:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Barcelona </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Barcelona Spain Civil society Democracy and government Economics Ideas International politics Fearless Cities Laia Bertran Fri, 16 Mar 2018 17:28:28 +0000 Laia Bertran 116704 at https://www.opendemocracy.net "We need a feminist constitution" https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/laura-p-rez-pablo-casta-o/we-need-feminist-constitution <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="normal">How is anyone going to go to work if no-one does the ironing, cooks, or looks after the children? I think putting this issue on the table is one of the great victories of March 8. An interview. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="normal"><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/photo5841461797134118533.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/photo5841461797134118533.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Barcelona March 8 feminists on strike. Banner slogan: "Ens aturem per canviar – ho tot: vaga feminista!" “Feminist strike: we strike to change everything.’ All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Laura Pérez welcomes us to her office at Barcelona City Hall, which is still covered with posters from the feminist strike of March 8. On that day, the councillor didn’t go to work; she joined the 24 hour strike called by the feminist movement marching on the streets of the Catalan capital alongside mayor Ada Colau. We were talking to Laura Pérez about the rise of feminism in Spain and her assessment after more than two years at the helm of the Department of Feminisms and LGBTI.</em></p> <p class="normal"><em>Pablo Castaño (PC): How do you understand the sugnificance of Thursday’s feminist strike and demonstrations?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>Laura Pérez (LP):</strong> It was a magical day for all of us who’ve been involved in the transformative process that is the feminist movement here in Spain; a moment of collective expression after months of work. It’s been a turning point, a collective cry of “enough is enough”. Enough of inequalities, of our issues being minimized, of being left off the agenda. And I think what’s been achieved is that the political agenda can’t keep looking the other way. Rajoy will no longer be able to say that this can’t be talked about, that he won’t get involved.</p> <p class="normal"><em>PC: What about the role that the unions played?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP:</strong> It was inadequate, particularly on the part of the biggest unions (CCOO and UGY called a two hour strike while CGT and CNT called a 24-hour strike, as the feminist movement had requested). </p> <p class="normal">It’s obvious that feminism isn’t a priority for the biggest unions. Some of the greatest workplace inequalities are those faced by women working in the care sector, domestic workers. They are subjected to many abuses which wouldn’t be the case if they were men. If the sector was dominated by men, this wouldn’t be the situation. <span class="mag-quote-center">Some of the greatest workplace inequalities are those faced by domestic workers. They are subjected to many abuses which wouldn’t be the case if they were men.</span></p> <p class="normal">And this is a struggle that’s being led by migrant women who have organized in cooperatives and alternative unions, and who are working to raise awareness about this situation. But I think it’s not a priority for the main unions. A two hour strike wasn’t enough, and we also witnessed some male union leaders seeking the spotlight in an inappropriate way. They didn’t seem to understand that their role was to take a step back on that day. </p> <p class="normal">They should have been more active in the daily struggles that fill the squares defending the rights of women in the Catalan collective labour agreements for cleaners, textile workers and many other sectors.</p> <p class="normal"><em>PC: After the success of March 8, what can the feminist movement do to translate this energy into public policies for women?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP: </strong>I think the movement has already done a lot. This issue is now on the agenda, and if there’s been legal progress until now it’s thanks to many women who came before us who, in even more difficult circumstances than today, fought for our rights and for legal equality, for the law against gender violence, among many other issues. </p> <p class="normal">I think we’re in a different moment now, perhaps even a new wave of feminism. First you achieve political, civil, sexual and reproductive rights. And now I think we’re in a time in which many women who have broken the glass ceiling and entered into spheres of power are seeing the limits that still exist.<strong> </strong></p> <p class="normal">As the movement reflects on this current stage the sense is that it needs to keep going, to be consistent. We’ve achieved this turning point, we’ve filled the streets, the media is talking about it. Now it’s time to make our demands. We’re here, we’re not invisible, and we’re not just another sector of the population: we’re 50%. We’ve got to stick together and keep on defending important issues like workers rights, a national budget to tackle gender violence and so many others. <span class="mag-quote-center">We’re here, we’re not invisible, and we’re not just another sector of the population: we’re 50%.</span></p> <p class="normal"><em>PC: Many women from the feminist movement are now in parties and institutional politics. This is a process that has taken place historically, and in other countries as well, and it usually produces tension. What role should political parties play in this new stage of feminism?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP:</strong> I feel part of what’s happening, somehow, though obviously I’m not in a leadership role, because I don’t think there are any in this case. </p> <p class="normal">Feminism isn’t based on the creation of leaders who the masses follow, but on a collective process, always open to question. But I do think we’ve played a role because public institutions offer a new site of action that goes beyond what you can do as a movement. A lot has been said about tension but I haven’t experienced this in Barcelona. </p> <p class="normal">Yes, I’ve had to take on a new role that is sometimes uncomfortable, because it doesn’t allow the same freedom you have in the movement. But it also provides opportunities to add to the work of the movement. Those of us who come from the feminist movement know how it works and we respect it; we don’t want to lead it. But we can use feminist public policy as a tool to collaborate in this process of change.</p><p class="normal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/photo5839239078543994717.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/photo5839239078543994717.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>"Las ninas no quieren ser princesas, quieren ser alcaldesas." “Girls no longer want to be princesses: they want to be mayors.” All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p> <p class="normal"><em>PC: What has been the significance of care work in this strike?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP:</strong> The issue of care work has been at the centre of the strike. What makes this strike different is that we’re saying that we’re going to stop the world turning because we’re taking on the majority of reproductive work, which is usually unpaid. </p> <p class="normal">And the data is there: women dedicate more than twice as much time to care work as men. And this requires us to question the system. It’s a critique of a system of production that invisibilizes half of the population. How is anyone going to go to work if no-one does the ironing, cooks, or looks after the children? I think putting this issue on the table is one of the great victories of March 8. </p> <p class="normal">Starting this summer, Barcelona will have a service dedicated to care work. When you, or a relative, are diagnosed with an illness, or you get old, or you have a newborn, you need care, and that means you need information. If your mother is diagnosed with Alzheimer you’re going to have to renovate your home, find a care centre, someone to help. What working conditions will that carer have? Care is something so everyday, but we’ve made it invisible so it’s really difficult to create public policy that people can understand. <span class="mag-quote-center">Care is something so everyday, but we’ve made it invisible so it’s really difficult to create public policy that people can understand. </span></p> <p class="normal"><em>PC: What are the most important feminist policies implemented by the City of Barcelona since 2015?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP: </strong>There are too many to mention, but what’s most noticeable is the effect on city staff of our gender mainstreaming policy. We’ve set up a mainstreaming department that works with all city departments. Whenever there’s a new plan relating to youth, education, work, culture… it includes this perspective. </p> <p class="normal">We’ve also revised our procurement policy to include a gender perspective and included a gender focus in the city budget. It’s the feminist transformation of the institution. I like to think that we’re inoculating feminism across city hall, to the point where the city planners now call us with questions about their projects, to check that they’re taking gender into account. </p> <p class="normal">Or they’re going to put up a billboard and they check whether the advert on it is sexist or not. At first there was resistance but now there’s active collaboration.</p> <p class="normal"><em>PC: Would you say that the local level is the best for implementing effective feminist policies?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP:</strong> I think it’s the most necessary level because it’s the closest level of government to the people. I know almost all of the feminist movements in the city, or the work that they do, and that’s enriching for my work. </p> <p class="normal">And the fact that they know the institution is behind them helps them to form networks at national level. The impact of the “Anti-Sexist Barcelona” campaign by city hall is so concrete…. you see it in the local festivals, the nightclubs on the waterfront, the Sónar and Cruïlla music festivals. It can communicate more directly and fluidly because it’s a local campaign.</p> <p class="normal">But the national level is also necessary, because the municipal level has its limits in terms of the laws you can pass. For example, in relation to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. I take on these cases, and we’ve created a unit to assist people who’ve been trafficked. This unit, the only one of its kind in Spain, coordinates the public prosecutor, the judiciary the police, social services….&nbsp; </p> <p class="normal">We set it up and we detect the cases but when they reach the courts we don’t have the tools to protect victims, and this makes them extremely vulnerable. We need a law that protects victims. We’ve pushed our local competencies to the limit, and no-one’s done more than Barcelona to deal with trafficking, but we have to call on other levels of government to take it as seriously as us because the situation is really dramatic. </p> <p>Sexist violence is another issue. We’ve invested 5.5. million euros a year, a million and a half in housing, we’ve created specific work programmes for victims, we’ve municipalized the sexist violence services to improve the conditions for workers. We’re investing more and more resources. But will we be able to end sexist violence from Barcelona City Hall? We need a national government that takes it seriously. It’s an issue for the whole of society, not just one city hall. <span class="mag-quote-center">But will we be able to end sexist violence from Barcelona City Hall? We need a national government that takes it seriously. </span></p><p class="normal"><em>PC: Do you think that Barcelona’s feminist policies will last? Would they survive a change of government?</em></p> <p class="normal"><strong>LP:</strong> I’m very satisfied with what we’ve done but you can’t change everything in four years. There weren’t any feminist policies in the city hall before. </p> <p class="normal">For example, the impact of the inclusion of a gender perspective in urban planning, which has been used successfully in Vienna for years, won’t be felt by city residents for a few more years. </p> <p class="normal">Our policies on the care economy or measures to combat the feminization of poverty or to improve women’s health are long-term policies. On March 8 I was with Ada Colau all day on strike and people were saying to us “you need four more years”. We’re creating long-term policies so we’ll need time to change things. </p> <p class="normal">I also think it’s important that we know that civil society is by our side. One of my main concerns is to really bed down policies so that they can’t be changed. And that will be possible thanks to the support of civil society. For example, the training of city staff, gender mainstreaming policies, and policies with a gender perspective won’t be easy to dismantle because people have taken them on as their own. <span class="mag-quote-center">On March 8 I was with Ada Colau all day on strike and people were saying to us “you need four more years”.</span></p> <p class="normal">We had to start from scratch with housing, feminisms… Now there are areas where we’re doing what the movement asked for. By contrast, I get the impression that the Popular Party government in Madrid is being left behind, the movement is way ahead of the current government. </p> <p class="normal">In Barcelona I feel like we’re side-by-side, moving forward and providing solutions. If only we had someone in the Spanish government who would respond and propose a feminist constitution, which is what we should demand right now. </p> <p class="normal">We want a legal framework to meet our demands. That means, not just a cross-party national plan to tackle gender violence, but also funding and a new law against sexual violence. It means a constitution that takes women’s perspectives into account, that has women, who were excluded from the drafting of the current constitution, participate in its design. At the moment, civil society is far ahead of anything that this government is offering.</p><p class="normal"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/photo5841461797134118457.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/photo5841461797134118457.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>March 8, Barcelona: Ada Colau, Laura Pérez and María del Mar García Puig (MP in the Spanish Congress for En Comú Podem). All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p> <p class="normal"><em>This interview was <a href="http://www.publico.es/politica/laura-perez-necesitamos-constitucion-feminista.html">originally published in Spanish</a> in Público on March 10, 2018.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-city"> <div class="field-label">City:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Barcelona </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Barcelona Spain Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Economics Equality International politics Fearless Cities Pablo Castaño Laura Pérez Mon, 12 Mar 2018 12:20:43 +0000 Laura Pérez and Pablo Castaño 116627 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Latin America: fertile ground for political innovations https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/AVINA/Introduction <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Within the framework of this year's "<a href="http://fearlesscities.com/">Fearless Cities</a>" summit, <a href="http://www.avina.net/avina/en/">Fundación Avina</a> and DemocraciaAbierta established a special collaboration to explore the most innovative poltical experiences arising from Latin America. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/am-rica-latina-una-cuna-para-innovaciones-pol-ticas">Español</a> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/democraciaabierta/am-rica-latina-um-ber-o-para-inova-es-pol-ticas">Português</a>&nbsp;Check the project&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/info/avina-interactive-roundtable-english">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/35164595832_1ebf7ab1b2_h.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/35164595832_1ebf7ab1b2_h.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Áurea Carolina de Freitas e Silva, councilor elected through PSOL, Belo Horizonte (Brasil), speaks at the Fearless Cities event in Barcelona, June, 2017. Image: Marc Lozano/Fearless Cities/Flickr. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><h2>A partnership project examining the power of political innovations</h2><p>Latin America has become a formidable hub for multiple political transformations, most of them still in an embryonic state, but capable of planting seeds for the future and encouraging changes in the present. The region's civil society dynamics aim, as they do in other regions of the world, to improve political praxis, democratic institutions and the quality of leadership, with a view to democratising power, adding delibaration and participation to representation.</p><p>In its area of innovation, AVINA promotes the strengthening of the social rule of law and the further development of democratic quality and effectiveness through social, technological and institutional innovations that guarantee citizens the exercise of their rights..</p><p>For its part, democraciaAbierta works to support democratic debate on politics and society, continuously posing questions on the subjects of justice, democracy and freedom. democraciaAbierta contributes to the emergence of a global public sphere in Spanish and Portuguese. In its <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/experimentaci%C3%B3n-pol%C3%ADtica">Political Experimentation</a> section, it opens the field to account for the great amount of political innovation ideas and projects which, through the use of technology, are transforming debate and political action in Latin America.</p><p>In the framework of the <a href="http://clip.lat/nosotros/">CLIP Initiative</a> efforts, and together with Avina, we ask ourselves: how do we construct a joint narrative? As each group works to advance their projects, we ask ourselves: how do we communicate them? Faced with this lack of a common narrative, a joint effort between the policy innovators is needed.</p><p>It's in this effort to build a joint narrative that, coinciding with Barcelona's holding the city event "<a href="http://fearlesscities.com/">Fearless Cities</a>", Avina and DemocraciaAbierta established a special collaboration, taking advantage of some of the memorable experiences that have come after CLIP, such as, among other, Gobierno Abierto de Nariño (The Open Government of Nariño) (Colombia), the legislative mandate of Pedro Kumamoto in Jalisco (Mexico) or the election of councillors in San Pablo (Brazil) through the Bancada Activista (Activist Banking) candidature.</p><p>Bringing together relevant actors in the field that are directly involved in political innovation at the local level, we have sought answers to four major issues shared by all the projects:&nbsp;</p><ul><li>a) <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/vision-of-innovation">Vision of innovation</a>;</li><li>b) <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/national-political-context-limitations-of-local-power">National political context and limitations of local power;</a></li><li>c) <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/international-context-and-its-influence">Influence of the international political context</a>, and</li><li>d) <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/question-of-leadership">The question of leadership</a>.</li></ul><p><strong> We asked these questions to the following Latin American politicians:&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Javier Orteaga Romero, Gobierno Abierto (Open Government), Nariño (Colombia)</p><p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/s-mia-bonfim-0">Sâmia Bonfim</a>, Bancada Ativista (Activist Causus), São Paulo (Brazil)</p><p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/urea-carolina-de-freitas-e-silva">Áurea Carolina de Freitas e Silva</a>, PSOL, Belo Horizonte (Brazil)</p><p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/avina-democraciaabierta/susana-ochoa">Susana Ochoa</a>, Wikipolítica (Wikipolitics), Jalisco (Mexico)</p><p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/caio-tendolini">Caio Tendolini</a>, UPDATE politics, São Paulo (Brazil)</p><p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/jorge-sharp-0">Jorge Sharp</a>, Movimiento Valparaíso Ciudadano (Valparaíso Citizens' Movement), Valparaíso (Chile)</p><p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/avina-democraciaabierta/caren-tepp-1">Caren Tepp</a>, Ciudad Futura, Rosario (Argentina)</p><h3>Check out our special website for this project:&nbsp;<br /><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/info/avina-interactive-roundtable-english">opendemocracy.net/info/avina-interactive-roundtable-english</a></h3><p>&nbsp;</p><p>***</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Fearless Cities DemocraciaAbierta Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:21:45 +0000 DemocraciaAbierta 114761 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sanctuary and refuge cities https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/ignasi-calb-sunny-hundal/sanctuary-and-refuge-cities <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>At <a href="http://fearlesscities.com/" target="_blank">Fearless Cities </a>– &nbsp;we catch up with the Coordinator of the Refuge City Plan of Barcelona City Council, and two fellow panellists, activists from Berlin, Germany and Philadelphia, USA. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_3900.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_3900.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Placa dels Angels, Barcelona, Friday June 9</span></span></span>The Barcelona summit from June 9 -11 was offering political debate, policy exchange and practical workshops featuring mayors and councillors and municipal movement activists who are transforming civil society from below.</p> <p>On the Friday night a magnificent packed rally in the Plaça dels Àngels brought together Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona with Manuela Carmena, Mayor of Madrid, alongside Éric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble (France), Rena Dourou, Regional Governor of Attica (Greece), Jorge Sharp, Mayor of Valparaíso (Chile), Dolors Sabater, Mayor of Badalona, Jesse Arreguin, Mayor of Berkeley, California (USA), a spokesman on behalf of Dejla Hamo, Co-Mayor of Derik, Rojava (who had been denied a visa), Gerardo Pisarello,&nbsp;Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Xulio Ferreiro, Mayor of A Coruña, Pedro Santisteve, Mayor of Zaragoza, Martiño Noriega, Mayor of Santiago de Compostela, Caren Tepp, Councilor of&nbsp;Rosario (Argentina), Andrea Reimer, Councilor of&nbsp;Vancouver (Canada), Helen Gym, Councilor of Philadelphia (USA) and Áurea Carolina de Freitas,;Councilor of Belo Horizonte (Brazil). They came together to share their vision of what it means to be a “fearless city”, from resisting state authoritarianism and combatting the far right to fighting speculation and guaranteeing the rights to the city. Mayor after mayor and local leader explained the importance of defeating the fear that divides communities, and the urgent need on which all were agreed to 'feminise politics' – in order to widen the spectrum of self-management and community management of public goods and common goods. Up to now they declared, cities had been built through "the invisibilisation of the people's will". That has got to change.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_3932.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/IMG_3932.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>Over the week-end speakers from all over the world continued to address such issues as how to organise a municipalist platform; how to deal with the challenges of mobility and pollution; comparing commoning experiments; municipalism in towns and rural areas; housing, gentrification and tourism – a huge challenge in our host city; public space; transparency and the fight against corruption; radical democracy in city councils; social networks; creating non-state institutions; crowdfunding ethics; creating a participatory municipalist candidacy and the economy. </p><p>On the Sunday, there was also a chance to catch up on the innovative work which Barcelona has been doing since September 2015, when Ada Colau launched a call for the creation of a network of 'Cities of Refuge' co-signed by the mayors of Paris, Lesbos and Lampedusa, and later joined by many others across Europe, to support one another in welcoming refugees. She was one of the first city mayors to contest state blockages in parliament and call for direct EU funding to cities to circumvent the national deadlock in the crisis - a crisis they insisted that was not one of migration but of Europe. </p><p>At the roundtable on sanctuary and refugee cities, Ignasi Calvo was joined by Liora Danan,&nbsp;Chief Of Staff at NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, New York City; Daniel Gutierrez, Interventionistische Linke,&nbsp;Berlin; Xristina Moschovidou, Omnes voluntary association, Kilkis, Greece; and Amélie Canonne,&nbsp;Emmaus International,&nbsp;Paris to share what they had learned about the role of cities and towns in challenging the rise of the far right and how local governments and social movements can work to protect human rights and forge inclusive, non-ethnocentric identities. </p><p>Sunny Hundal caught up with the Barcelona Refuge City coordinator after the session to see what has changed over the last year since he came to talk to us at <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/cites-of-welcome-2016">Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit.</a> &nbsp; </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-y21nm0_ijg" width="460" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> Hear more about the precious resource which is 'Fearless cities’ from Daniel Gutierrez, an activist from Berlin who spoke about the frustrations of the confused policies from the German government that make it harder for local institutions to properly help out. So how does Berlin deal with refugees nowadays? <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pLQcKEn2pCY" width="460" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> And from the city of Philadelphia, Helen Gym, a councillor bearing passionate witness to the fight against racism and how people like her are resisting Trump’s Government and striving to make her city work as a Sanctuary City. <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lsCnKQUVHDg" width="460" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>See <a href="http://fearlesscities.com/">Fearless Cities</a></p><p>See <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/cites-of-welcome-2016">Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-ignasi-calb-ram-n-sanahuja/barcelona-city-of-refuge">Barcelona: city of refuge</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/manuela-zechner-bue-r-bner-hansen/more-than-welcome-power-of-cities">More than a welcome: the power of cities</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/new-international-municipalist-movement-is-on-rise-from-small-vic">A new international municipalist movement is on the rise – from small victories to global alternatives</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/oscar-reyes-bertie-russell/eight-lessons-from-barcelona-en-com-on-how-to-take-bac">Eight lessons from Barcelona en Comú on how to Take Back Control</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> <div class="field-item even"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? EU Spain Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Economics Equality Ideas International politics People Flow Cities of Welcome Fearless Cities Sunny Hundal Ignasi Calbó Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:58:19 +0000 Ignasi Calbó and Sunny Hundal 111670 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Eight lessons from Barcelona en Comú on how to Take Back Control https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/oscar-reyes-bertie-russell/eight-lessons-from-barcelona-en-com-on-how-to-take-bac <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>After 20 months in charge of Barcelona, here are eight things we have learned from Ada Colau and Barcelona en Comú.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-30171811.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-30171811.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A pro-refugee protest in Barcelona. 18 Feb 2017. PAimages/NurPhoto/SIPA USA. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><em>“We’re living in extraordinary times that demand brave and creative solutions. If we’re able to imagine a different city, we’ll have the power to transform it.”&nbsp; – Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona.</em></p> <p>On 24 May 2015, the citizen platform <em>Barcelona en Comú</em> was elected as the minority government of the city of Barcelona. Along with a number of other cities across Spain, this election was the result of a wave of progressive municipal politics across the country, offering an alternative to neoliberalism and corruption.</p> <p>With Ada Colau – a housing rights activist – catapulted into the position of Mayor, and with a wave of citizens with no previous experience of formal politics finding themselves in charge of their city, <em>BComú</em> is an experiment in progressive change that we can’t afford to ignore.</p> <p>After 20 months in charge of the city, we try to draw some of the main lessons that can help inspire and inform a radical new municipal politics that moves us beyond borders and nations, and towards a post-capitalist world based on dignity, respect and justice.</p><h2><strong>1.&nbsp;</strong><strong>The best way to oppose nationalist anti-immigrant sentiment is to confront the <em>real</em> reasons that life is shit</strong></h2> <p>There is no question that life is getting harder, more precarious, more stressful, and less certain for the majority of people. In the US and across Europe, reactionaries, racist and nationalist politicians are blaming this on two things – immigrants, and ‘outside forces’ that challenge national sovereignty. Whilst Trump and Brexit are the most obvious cases, we can see the same phenomenon across Europe, ranging from the <em>Alternative für Deutschland</em> in Germany through to <em>Front National</em> in France.</p> <p>In Barcelona, there is a relative&nbsp;<em>absence</em> of public discourse that blames the social crisis on immigrants, and most attempts to do so have fallen flat. On the contrary, on 18 February over 160,000 people flooded the streets of Barcelona to demand that Spain takes in more refugees. Whilst this demonstration was also <a href="https://roarmag.org/essays/barcelona-refugee-solidarity-protest/">caught up with</a> complexities of Catalan nationalism and controversy over police repression of migrant street vendors, it highlighted the support for a politics that cares for migrants and refugees.</p> <p>The main reason for this is simple – there is a widespread and successful politics that provides <em>real</em> explanations of why people are suffering, and that fights for <em>real</em> solutions. The reason you can’t afford your rent is because of predatory tourism, unscrupulous landlords, a lack of social housing, and property being purchased as overseas investments. The reason social services are being cut are because the central government transferred huge amounts of public funds into the private banks, propping up a financial elite, and because of a political system riddled with corruption.</p> <p>Whilst Barcelona played a leading role in initiating a network of “cities of refuge”, simply condemning anti-immigrant nationalism is not enough. In a climate where popular municipal movements are providing a strong narrative as to what they see as the problem – and identifying what they’re going to do about it – it’s incredibly difficult for racist and nationalist narratives based on lies and hatred to take root.</p><h2><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Politics does not have to be the preserve of rich old white men</strong></h2> <p>Ada Colau is the first female mayor of Barcelona. She is a co-founder of <em>BComú, </em>and was formerly the spokesperson of the <a href="http://afectadosporlahipoteca.com/"><em>Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca</em></a><em> </em>(Mortgage Victims Platform)<em>,</em> a grassroots campaign challenging evictions and Spain’s unjust property laws. Colau leads a group of eleven district councillors, seven of whom are women, whose average age is 40. &nbsp;</p> <p><em>BComú</em>’s vision of a “feminized politics” represents a significant break with the existing political order. “You can be in politics without being a strong, arrogant male, who’s ultra-confident, who knows the answer to everything”, Colau <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67CmYlFnOV4">explains</a>. Instead, she offers a political style that openly expresses doubts and contradictions. This is backed by a values-based politics that emphasizes the role of community and the common good – as well as policies designed to build on that vision.</p> <p>The City Council’s new Department of Life Cycles, Feminisms and LGBTI is the institutional expression of these values. It has significantly increased the budget for campaigns against sexist violence, as well as leading a council working group that looks to identify and tackle the <a href="https://medium.com/@BComuGlobal/9-months-building-a-feminist-barcelona-29f50c80e5de#.77r6hjn6w">feminization of poverty</a>.</p> <p>The changing face of the city council is reinforced by <em>BComú</em>’s strict ethics policy, <a href="https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/pdf/codi-etic-eng.pdf">Governing by Obeying</a>, which includes a €2,200 (£1850) monthly limit on payments to its elected officials. Colau takes home less than a quarter of the amount claimed by her predecessor Xavier Trias. By February 2017, €216,000 in unclaimed salaries had been paid into a <a href="https://filadora.barcelonaencomu.cat/es">new fund</a> that will support social projects in the city.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/P1150157.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/P1150157.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ada Colau at a public engagement event that took place in Sants-Montjuïc on 18 February 2017. Photo by Bertie Russell. CC BY-NC-SA.</span></span></span></p><h2><strong>3.&nbsp;</strong><strong>A politics that works begins by listening</strong></h2> <p><em>BComú</em> started life with an extensive process of listening, responding to ordinary peoples’ concerns, and crowd-sourcing ideas – as summarized in its <a href="https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/win-the-city-guide.pdf">guide to building a citizen municipal platform</a>.</p> <p>Drawing on proposals gathered at meetings in public squares across the city, <em>BComú</em> created a programme reflecting immediate issues in local neighbourhoods, city-wide problems and broader discontent with the political system. Local meetings were complemented by technical and policy committees, and an extensive process of online consultation.</p> <p>This process resulted in a political platform that stressed the need to tackle the “social emergency” – problems such as home evictions on a huge scale, or the effect of uncontrolled mass tourism. These priorities came from listening to citizens across the city rather than an echo-chamber of business and political elites. <em>BComú</em>’s election results reflected this broader appeal: it won its highest share of the vote in Barcelona’s poorest neighbourhoods, in part through increasing turnout in those areas.</p> <p>On entering government, <em>BComú</em> then began to implement an <a href="https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/pla-xoc_eng.pdf">Emergency Plan</a> that included measures to halt evictions, hand out fines to banks leaving multiple properties empty, and subsidise energy and transport costs for the unemployed and those earning under the minimum wage.</p><h2><strong>4.&nbsp;</strong><strong>A politics that works never stops listening</strong></h2> <p>Politics doesn’t happen every four years – it is the everyday process of shaping the conditions in which we live our lives. This means that one of the central tasks of a politics that works is to forge a new relationship between citizens and the institutions that we use to govern our societies.</p><p> For <em>BComú</em>, the everyday basis of politics means citizens and civil society organisations directly shaping the strategic plan of their city. It means not just consultation, but active empowerment in helping move citizens from being ‘recipients’ of a politics that is done <em>to them</em>, to active political agents that shape the every-day life of their city.</p> <p>In the first months of occupying the institutions, <em>BComú</em> introduced an open-source platform, <em>Decidim Barcelona</em>, for citizens to co-create the municipal action plan for the city. <a href="http://www.elperiodico.com/es/noticias/barcelona/barcelona-cierra-proceso-participativo-del-pam-con-9000-propuestas-5041286">Over 10,000 proposals</a> were registered by the site’s 25,000 registered users. While that’s a small share of the city’s population, the online process was complemented by over 400 in-person meetings.</p> <p>The <em>Decidim</em> platform is now being adapted to run participatory budgetary pilot-schemes in two districts, as well as being used in the ongoing development of new infrastructure, pedestrianisation and transport schemes. Meanwhile, the municipal Department of Participation is undertaking a systematic rethinking of the ‘meaning’ of participation, looking to move away from meaningless ‘consultations’ and towards methods for active empowerment.</p> <p>This is an imperfect process – and <em>BComú</em> have got things wrong at times, such as the failure to properly engage when introducing a <a href="http://www.citylab.com/commute/2017/01/barcelonas-car-taming-superblocks-meet-resistance/513911/">SuperBlock</a> in the Poblenou district – but the principle is simple. To govern well, you must create new processes for obeying citizens’ demands.</p> <p>At the same time, the structures that built <em>BComú</em> remain in place, with 15 neighbourhood groups and 15 thematic working groups providing an ongoing link between activists and institutions. No structure is perfect, and it remains unclear if these working groups can help <em>BComú</em> avoid “institutionalization” and remain connected to social movements, but the hope is that this model provides a basis for remaining in touch with grassroots concerns.</p><h2><strong>5.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Politics does not begin with the Party</strong></h2> <p><em>BComú </em>is not a ‘local’ arm of a bigger political party, and does not exist merely as a branch of a broader strategy to control the central political institutions of the nation-state. Rather, <em>BComú</em> is one in a series of independent citizen platforms that have looked to occupy municipal institutions in an effort to bring about progressive social change.</p> <p>From A Coruña to Valencia, Madrid and Zaragoza, these municipal movements are the direct effort of citizens rejecting the old mode of doing politics, and starting to effect change where they live. Instead of a national party structure, they coordinate through a “network of rebel cities” across Spain. Most immediately, this means coordinating press releases and actively learning from how one another engage with urban problems.</p> <p>That doesn’t mean that <em>BComú</em> can reject political parties entirely. While the initiative arose from social movements, it ended up incorporating several existing political parties in its platform. These include Podemos – another child of the 15-M movement &nbsp;– and the Catalan Greens-United Left party (ICV-EUIA), which had consistently been a junior coalition partner in city councils headed by the centre-left Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya (PSC) from 1979 until 2011.</p> <p>These parties continue alongside <em>BComú</em>, with their own completely separate organizational and funding structures. But entering <em>BComú</em> has forced existing parties to significantly change how they operate. Coalition negotiations encouraged the selection of new councillors (only two of the elected candidates have previously held office), and they are subject to a tough Ethics Code that considerably increases their accountability.</p> <p>The fluid relationship between the new coalitions and political parties allows for multiple levels of coordination, without having to pass through a rigid central leadership. It may also be replicated in regional government, where the recently formed <a href="http://unpaisencomu.cat/es">Un Pais En Comú</a> seeks to replicate the city government coalition across Catalunya. On a terrain that contains a different set of politics – not least a strong national-separatist sentiment – it remains to be seen whether this latest initiative will be successful.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/P1150175.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/P1150175.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Upwards of 180,000 people demonstrate in favour of accepting migrants and asylum seekers in Catalonia, organised by the group Casa Nostra, Casa Vostra - 18 February 2017. Photo by Bertie Russell. CC BY-NC-SA.</span></span></span></p><h2><strong>6.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Power is the capacity to act</strong></h2> <p><em>BComú</em> does not subscribe to traditional notions of power, whereby if you hold public office, you somehow ‘have’ power. On the contrary, power is the capacity to bring about change, and the ‘occupation of the institutions’ is only <em>one part</em> of what makes change possible.</p> <p><em>BComú</em> emerged after almost a decade of major street-protests, anti-eviction campaigns, squatting movements, anti-corruption campaigns, and youth movements – the most visible form being the ’15-M’ or ‘indignados’ protests that began in 2011. After years of being at a high-level of mobilization, many within these movements made a strategic wager – we’ve learned how to occupy the squares, but what happens if we try to occupy the institutions?</p> <p>Frustrated by the limits of what could be achieved by being mobilized only outside of institutions, the decision to form <em>BComú </em>was to try to occupy the institutions <em>as part of the same movement that occupied the squares</em>. In practice, this is not so simple.</p> <p>Politics is a messy game, full of compromises forced by working in a world of contradictions. In the most practical sense, <em>BComú</em> may be leading the council, but it holds only 11 of the 41 available seats. Six other political parties are also represented on the council, mostly seeking to block, slow-down or weaken its initiatives. Frustrated by these moves – and overwhelmed by the demands of the institutions – <em>BComú</em> formed a governing coalition with the PSC, a move supported by around 2/3 of its registered supporters. But it remains a minority government, and two left parties that refused a similar pact responded by stepping up their block on almost all legislative initiatives. The resulting political crisis delayed the passing of the city’s 2017 budget, which was eventually forced through on a <a href="http://www.publico.es/politica/barcelona-aprueba-presupuesto-2017-finalizar.html">confidence motion</a> when <em>BComú</em> challenged the opposition to unite around another plan – which it failed to do.</p> <p>While this experience has shown the resilience of <em>BComú</em> in the confrontational confines of the council chamber, the key lesson here is that occupying the institutions <em>is not enough</em>. An electoral strategy is not sufficient alone to create change. The <em>power to act</em> comes from a combination of occupying both the institutions and the squares, of social movements organizing and exercising leverage, providing <em>social force</em> that can be coupled with the potential of the <em>occupied institutions </em>– the power to change comes when these work in tandem. It’s been a bumpy ride, but <em>BComú</em> has been able to justify its budget on the grounds that it prioritizes social measures (such as building new nurseries, combatting energy poverty and focusing resources on the poorest neighbourhoods) with reference to the extensive and ongoing process of participation that it has encouraged.</p> <p>One of the biggest dangers in looking to build radical municipalist movements in other cities is to mistake electoral victory with <em>victory</em>, to sit back and think that now we’ve got ‘our guys’ in the institutions, we can sit back and let change occur. &nbsp;</p><h2><strong>7.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Transnational politics begins in your city</strong></h2> <p>In a time where reactionary political movements are building walls and retreating to national boundaries, <em>BComú</em> is illustrating that a new <em>transnational</em> political movement begins in our cities.</p> <p>To this end, <em>BComú</em> has established an international committee tasked with promoting and sharing its experiences abroad, whilst learning from other ‘rebel’ cities such as Naples and Messina. Barcelona has been active in international forums, promoting the “right to the city” at the recent UN Habitat III conference, and taking a <a href="https://www.uclg.org/en/organisation/presidency">leadership role</a> in the Global Network of Cities, Local and Regional Governments.</p> <p>These moves look to bypass the national scale where possible, prefiguring <em>post-national</em> networks of urban solidarity and cooperation. Recent visits of the First Deputy Mayor to the Colombian cities of Medellín and Bogotá also suggest that links are being made on a supranational scale.</p> <p>One of the most tangible outcomes of this level of supranational urban organizing was the strong role played by cities in the rejection of the Transatlantic Trade &amp; Investment Partnership (TTIP). As hosts of a meeting entitled ‘Local Authorities and the New Generation of Free Trade Agreements’ in April 2016, <em>BComú</em> led on the agreement of the ‘Barcelona Declaration’, with more than 40 cities committing to the rejection of TTIP. As of the time of writing, TTIP now looks dead in the water.</p> <p>At this early stage, it remains unclear how this supranational network of radical municipalism may develop. Perhaps the most important step for <em>BComú</em> is to share their experience and support those in other cities that are looking to reclaim politics, helping to build citizens platforms across Europe and beyond. But the idea of a post-national network of citizens also allows us to dare to dream – of shared resources, shared politics and shared infrastructure – where it’s not where you were born, but where you live, that determines your <em>right</em> <em>to live</em>.</p><h2><strong>8.&nbsp;</strong><strong>Essential services can be run in our common interest</strong></h2> <p>The clue to <em>BComú</em>’s strategy for essential services is hidden in its name – the plan is to run them <em>in common</em>.</p> <p>At the end of 2016, and faced with a crisis in the funeral sector in which only two companies controlled the sector and charged prices almost twice the national average, the Barcelona council intervened to establish a <a href="http://ajuntament.barcelona.cat/treballieconomia/en/noticia/a-new-municipal-funeral-company-to-guarantee-quality-and-prices">municipal funeral company</a> that is forecasted to reduce costs by 30 per cent. Around the same time, the council <a href="https://medium.com/@BComuGlobal/barcelona-votes-for-public-control-of-water-a458ad9cdcb4">voted in favour</a> of the remunicipalisation of water, paving the way for water to be taken out of the private sector at some point this year.</p> <p>In February 2017, Barcelona amended the terms and conditions for electricity supply, preventing energy firms from cutting off supply to vulnerable people. The two major energy firms – <em>Endesa</em> and <em>Gas Natural</em> - protested this by not bidding for the €65m municipal energy contracts, hoping this would force the council to overturn the policy. Instead, a raft of small and medium size energy companies were happy to comply with the new directive to tackle energy poverty, and stand to be awarded the contracts if a court challenge from the large firms proves unsuccessful. <em>BComú</em> is also actively planning to introduce a municipal energy company within the next two years.</p> <p>However, it’s important to recognize the major difference between the <em>public</em> and the <em>common</em>. As Michael Hardt <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/feb/03/communism-capitalism-socialism-property">argues</a>, our choices are not limited to businesses controlled privately (private property) or by the state (public property). The third option is to hold things <em>in common</em> – where resources and services are controlled, produced and distributed democratically and equitably according to peoples need. A simple example of what this could look like was the proposal – that narrowly failed only due to voter turnout – for Berlin to establish an energy company that would put citizens on the board of the company.</p> <p>This difference underpins the Barcelona experience. This is not a traditional socialist government that thinks it can run things better <em>on behalf </em>of the people. This is a movement that believes <em>the people</em> can run things better on their own behalf, combining citizen wisdom with expert knowledge to solve the everyday problems that people face.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/ada-colau/first-we-take-barcelona">First we take Barcelona...</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/beyond-ada-colau-common-people-of-barcelona-en-com%C3%BA">Beyond Ada Colau: the common people of Barcelona en Comú</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/plan-c/radical-municipalism-demanding-future">Radical municipalism: demanding the future</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/carlos-delcl%C3%B3s/towards-new-municipal-agenda-in-spain">Towards a new municipal agenda in Spain</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Fearless Cities Oscar Reyes Bertie Russell Wed, 08 Mar 2017 18:04:19 +0000 Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes 109302 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How to build a movement-party: lessons from Rosario’s Future City https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/kate-shea-baird/how-to-build-movement-party-lessons-from-rosario-s-future-city <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Passive, spectator politics is not an option. It is up to the activists to prove that maintaining a party in movement is possible over the long term.<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/kate-shea-baird/c-mo-construir-un-partido-de-movimiento-lecciones-desde-ciudad-fut"> Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/ETICA kindergarten, part of the Ciudad Futura movement (2)_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/ETICA kindergarten, part of the Ciudad Futura movement (2)_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>ETICA kindergarten, part of the Ciudad Futura movement. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>One of the major questions faced by the inheritors of the networked global uprisings of 2010--2011 is how to harness the demands and practices that emerged from these movements, and those that followed in their wake, to create new ways of doing electoral politics. A municipalist movement in Rosario, Argentina, may just have some of the answers.</p> <p>Institutional politics is facing a crisis of legitimacy. Traditional political parties, with their professionalized, hierarchical way of operating and financial dependence on banks and corporations, have become increasingly discredited in the eyes of the growing number of people seeking new, more direct forms of democracy. In this context, activists, social movements and new political organizations across the world are confronted with a common dilemma: how to engage electorally and politically within state institutions without being co-opted or corrupted by them.</p> <p>Some of the organizations currently wrestling with this question, in vastly differing contexts, include Momentum, the group attempting to revive the Labour Party in the UK; citizen platforms like Barcelona en Comú, currently governing the major cities of Spain, and the movement that swept Bernie Sanders to second place in the Democratic primaries in the USA. All have a common aspiration to create a new kind of ‘movement-party’ that rewrites the rules of the political game while maintaining the ability to participate effectively within formal state power structures.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Traditional political parties, with their professionalized, hierarchical way of operating and financial dependence on banks and corporations, have become increasingly discredited.</p> <p>Achieving this balance and creating open, participatory movement-parties that deprofessionalize and feminize politics will require a delicate balance of idealism and pragmatism; a willingness to manage the inevitable contradictions of public office while, at the same time, an ability to resist the often perverse incentives imposed by electoral and institutional dynamics.</p> <p>One of the most inspiring examples of a movement-party in action is <em>Ciudad Futura</em> (Future City), the municipalist movement that won three seats on the city council of Rosario, Argentina, in 2015, making it the third largest party in the city and a contender for the 2019 mayoral elections. <em>Ciudad Futura </em>sums up its philosophy in a single word: ‘hacer’. In Spanish, ‘hacer’ is the verb of verbs, the action word of action words. Translating as both ‘to do’ and ‘to make’ in English, ‘hacer’ means both ‘to act’ and ‘to bring something new into being’. And that’s exactly what <em>Ciudad Futura </em>does; rather than getting bogged down in the abstract, theoretical debates that so often paralyze the left, the organization pours its energies into meeting people’s immediate needs in the neighbourhoods of Rosario.</p> <p>It’s no coincidence that, before registering as a political party in 2013, <em>Ciudad Futura</em> had a decade-long history as two social movements, ‘Giros’ and ‘Movimiento 26 de Junio’. Over this period, both worked to construct economic, cultural and educational alternatives from beyond the walls of city hall. Thanks to the legacy of Giros and M26J, <em>Ciudad Futura’s </em>hundreds of activists now run a network of self-organized projects across Rosario, including the <em>Etica </em>secondary school &amp; kindergarten, the <em>Tambo La Resistencia</em> dairy farm, the <em>Distrito Siete</em> cultural centre, and the food cooperative, <em>Misión Anti-inflación</em>, which helps people to deal with the impact of inflation.</p> <p>The goal of standing in the city elections, the party’s<em> </em>councilor, Caren Tepp, has explained, was <em>“to create a political tool that, while setting out a long-term horizon: socialism for the 21st century, can also materialize - here and now - fragments of a Future City that demonstrate that things can be done differently.”</em> In this spirit, <em>Ciudad Futura’s </em>political programme<em> </em>is based on the experience<em> </em>it has gained from implementing its projects across the city. It is this idea -- that electoral and institutional activity is just one more tool at the service of the movement as a whole -- that is at the core of what defines <em>Ciudad Futura</em> as a movement-party.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Misión Anti inflació food cooperative, part of the Ciudad Futura movement_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/557099/Misión Anti inflació food cooperative, part of the Ciudad Futura movement_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Anti-Inflation Mission. Food cooperative, part of the Ciudad Futura movement. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>Of course, organizations elsewhere in the world cannot and should not attempt to replicate the path taken by <em>Ciudad Futura</em>. However, there are number of principles and practices employed by the movement that could serve to guide to others beyond Rosario.</p> <p>Perhaps the greatest lesson that can be taken from <em>Ciudad Futura</em> is the philosophy of ‘hacer’ (Spanish verb for 'to do'). The urban projects run by <em>Ciudad Futura</em> represent a<em> </em>politics of concrete change; they communicate the organization’s values through action while, at the same time, demonstrating the viability of the economic and cultural models for which it advocates. As the party’s councilor, Juan Monteverde said in an interview with the Spanish online newspaper, Diagonal: <em>“What’s the use of going on about how bad everything is? It serves for nothing. If you have the ability to show that the city can be different, based on concrete practices, that’s where the potential of your project is. Everything else is incidental. Our only unique characteristic is this idea of demonstrating, right now, that there are alternatives, and doing so on an increasing scale.” </em>Importantly, the tangible social benefits that ‘hacer’ produces allow <em>Ciudad Futura</em> to reach beyond traditional political divides and engage with people who don’t identify with the left in the abstract but do appreciate the organization’s achievements in their neighbourhoods.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Perhaps the greatest lesson that can be taken from&nbsp;<em>Ciudad Futura</em>&nbsp;is the philosophy of ‘hacer’ ('to do').</p> <p>A second lesson that can be learned from Rosario<em> </em>is <em>Ciudad Futura's</em> healthy awareness of the limits of public office. <em>Ciudad Futura</em> sees institutional politics as a tool to protect, empower and support the values and practices of its extra-institutional work. According to councilor Juan Monteverde,<em> “For us the opportunity to change things isn’t in the successful legislative work of one councilor (or three, in our case), but in the back and forth between activity within city hall and the movements on the outside.”</em></p> <p><em>Ciudad Futura </em>is also deeply committed to municipalism; to building a project that is distinctively local in content and character. First, at a practical level, it makes sense for a project that seeks to challenge traditional models of representative politics and introduce new forms of citizen participation to start with the level of government that is closest to the people. But beyond this, <em>Ciudad Futura</em> also understands the city as the primary space of democratic conflict and, thus, the most relevant space of political and economic action. It does so while at the same time seeking to challenge the artificial urban-rural dichotomy and questioning Rosario’s ‘consumerist’ relationship with its rural hinterland through projects like its dairy farm and food cooperative. If <em>Ciudad Futura’s </em>hypothesis is correct, anyone aiming to create a ‘movement-party’ should seriously consider doing so at a local, rather than a national, scale.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Ciudad Futura&nbsp;is also deeply committed to municipalism; to building a project that is distinctively local in content and character.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, <em>Ciudad Futura</em> has put political ethics and horizontalism at the heart of its internal functioning; in practice, this means political debate in assemblies and online, salary and term limits for elected representatives, and financial independence and transparency. In addition, membership of <em>Ciudad Futura</em> is based on participation, rather than payment of a membership fee. This means that decision-making is kept in the hands of the activists who make the movement possible; passive, spectator politics is not an option.</p> <p>Of course, <em>Ciudad Futura</em>’s evolution from movement to movement-party is very recent, and it has not yet had to face the tensions that being in government would inevitably bring. But the organization has laid strong foundations for the tests that it will face over the coming years. It will be up to its activists to prove that maintaining a party in movement is possible over the long term.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/simona-levi/catalonian-lessons-civil-society-has-something-to-offer-on-gaming-tab">Catalonian lessons: civil society has something to offer on the gaming tables of governance</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> DemocraciaAbierta Argentina Civil society Culture Democracy and government latin america openmovements Fearless Cities Kate Shea Baird Tue, 15 Nov 2016 14:53:06 +0000 Kate Shea Baird 106823 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Introducing this week's special theme: 'Cities of welcome, cities of transit' https://www.opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/janina-pescinski-cameron-thibos-en-khong-alex-sakalis-rosemary-bechler/introducing-this-weeks <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>openDemocracy and its partners brought activists, academics, and policy makers together in Barcelona late last July to discuss a way forward for refugee-related activism and city welcome policies.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/PA-25870228.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Demonstrators take part in a protest in support of refugees and migrants entering Europe, in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, March 19, 2016. Emilio Morenatti/Press Association. All rights reserved.</p> <p>As migration has become a major issue of debate within Europe, and as states have pursued divergent policies on migrant reception and accommodation, cities have come to the fore as major actors in the reception, relocation and integration of refugees and migrants. </p> <p>Across Europe, as political arguments and differences have arisen over migration, transformative and cooperative models of welcome for new arrivals and people in transit become ever more important. </p> <p>With these challenges in mind, the<b> </b><a href="http://gcm.unu.edu/">United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility</a><b> </b>(UNU-GCM) partnered with openDemocracy and the <a href="http://www.law.qmul.ac.uk/">School of Law, Queen Mary University of London</a> to organise <i><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/files/CitiesofWelcomeProgramme.pdf">Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit</a></i>, a conference that took place in July 2016 in Barcelona. </p> <p>The conference brought together academics, practitioners, policy makers and activists in order to exchange insights, extend networks and produce recommendations for the safe and orderly governance of migration in ways that foreground human dignity.</p> <p>The conference was broken down into four main sessions, each of which will be presented in turn over the course of this week from Tuesday onwards. </p> <h2>Introducing <i>Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit</i></h2> <div style="width:230px;float:right;margin-top:13px;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8ZJm8UwaO9M?list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Anna Terrón Cusí</span></div> <p>But on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/content/od-fp-monday-cow-guest-week">Monday</a>, we begin with <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-anna-terr-n-cus/toward-more-humane-european-asylum-sys">the framing thoughts</a> of <b>Anna Terrón Cusí</b>, Chair of the Advisory Board of the UNU Institute on Globalisation, who explains firstly how this is <i>a European crisis</i>, not a refugee crisis; and secondly, <i><a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154453525559774/">how we have to rethink some fundamentals</a> </i>because "a world where everything but people is moving around is simply not possible". </p> <p>Next, the conference opening address from <b>Ignasi </b><b>Calbó, </b>Director of the Barcelona City of Refuge program, Barcelona City Council, and his colleague, <b>Ramón Sanahuja, </b>Director of Migrants attention and hosting, Barcelona City Council. In September 2015,<b> Ignasi Calbó </b>was appointed by the Mayor of Barcelona, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/ada-colau/first-we-take-barcelona">Ada Colau</a>, to assist all refugees arriving in the city of Barcelona, and to build a comprehensive, permanent and holistic model of how <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-ignasi-calb-ram-n-sanahuja/barcelona-city-of-refuge">to provide them with the necessary services as well as rights</a>.</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jVD6l5bHjGA?list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Ignasi Calbó and Ramón Sanahuja</span></div> <p>Together with his colleague who has been responsible for immigration and intercultural policies, as well as international cooperation in the city of Barcelona, <b>Ramón Sanahuja</b>, they outlined some of the details of <a href="https://youtu.be/jVD6l5bHjGA?list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD">this ambitious new programme</a> to a packed audience at UNU-GCM, having given us some of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRCgQW-ICS4">the background story</a> to Barcelona as a City of Welcome. Afterwards, we <a href="https://youtu.be/690Mzz8goyc?list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD">welcomed the chance to discuss with them</a> whether states and local governments are working against each other when it comes to refugees. <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RPtoBlDfUEY?list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Bue Rübner Hansen and Manuela Zechner</span></div> </p><p>On Monday as well, we introduced you to two of the many social movement activists whose knowledge and commitment, both City Councillors agree, are so important for their plans. <b>Bue Rübner Hansen</b>, a post-doctoral researcher and participant in the refugee city group of Barcelona en Comú, kicks off with his thoughts on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/bue-r-bner-hansen-cameron-thibos/welcoming-refugees-despite-state">what Barcelona is hoping to achieve</a> and is then joined by <b>Manuela Zechner</b>, cultural worker with Barcelona en Comú and Murmurae and research fellow at the Berlin Institute for Migration Research, to tell us more about <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPtoBlDfUEY">the work of the social movements and neighbourhoods </a>in Barcelona and their networks, and the contribution that they are making.</p> <p>Here is their working premise:</p> <blockquote> <p>&quot;The role of solidarity movements in cities is key: these movements have opened space for demands and imaginaries of a different Europe, open to solidarity. We ask how municipalities and locals can help break the deadlock and negative spiral of EU and national refugee policy. Can networks of welcoming cities develop sustainable practices of social composition beyond the politics of identity? Based on our experiences in Barcelona we argue that the time is ripe for grassroots and government practices to be articulated critically.”</p> </blockquote> <p>On <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/content/od-cow-guest-week-tuesday-27-sep-2016">Tuesday</a>, we looked at the ways in which cities are actively developing their own strategies to welcome migrants and to share best practice amongst themselves. The diverse responses of cities such as Gdansk and Karlsruhe to recent migrant arrivals illustrate how cities are redefining themselves as influential policy actors. </p> <p><strong>Thomas Jézéquel</strong>, policy advisor for migration &amp; integration at EUROCITIES, has been working on “city-to-city support on migrant integration”, a pilot peer mentoring project involving 15 cities across Europe. He tells us how Gdańsk in Poland became <a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154457148689774/"><em>a city open to migration and diversity</em></a>. </p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KgZ-CcigBYA?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Susanne Asche</span></div> <p><strong>Suzanne Asche</strong> is head of the cultural department of the German city of Karlsruhe including its libraries, museums, art galleries and festivals, and responsible for human rights, tolerance and cultural diversity in Karlsruhe. She remembers well <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLhUpMTXiSA&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD"><em>how German cities found themselves on their own</em></a> welcoming refugees, and explains how <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/susanne-asche-cameron-thibos/when-refugees-appear-we-take-them-to-art"><em>the city’s arts and artists</em></a> have stepped up to the challenge.</p> <p><strong>Cecile Riallant</strong> has been managing the Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), a global UN/IOM inter-agency programme focused on reinforcing the role and positioning of local authorities, including cities, in linking migration and development. She gives us a sense of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154459492864774/">development potential of migration</a>, if countries and cities can link with each other at the local and regional level, to work together and to evolve best practice.</p> <!--Patrick Taran--> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Qe-tRm8N3B8?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Patrick Taran</span></div> <p>Lastly <strong>Patrick Taran</strong>, President of Global Migrant Associates, who teaches at the Geneva School of Diplomacy and the ILO International Training Centre in Turin <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-patrick-taran/myths-of-migration">addresses three thorny questions</a> in this three part-interview: Is Europe being overwhelmed by irregular migrants? <a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154453520109774/">Can migration help stop Europe’s workforce from shrinking?</a>&nbsp; <a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154453515654774/">How can we stop forced movement in the future?</a></p> <p>One of Patrick’s many starting points is why 85% of people in refugee-like situations are coming from countries that are at war:</p> <blockquote> <p>&quot;If we are talking about addressing the causes and consequences, it seems to me that the place to start if we really want to resolve the problems, reduce the current emergency and prevent future large movements of people who move en masse because they have no choice – then we also need to be looking at mega-state policies in terms of seeking negotiated peaceful solutions to conflict situations, withdrawing arms, and reducing if not stopping arms sales.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <!--Wednesday--> <a name="wed"></a> <p>We focus in on the challenge on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/content/cow-fp-wednesday">Wednesday</a>. State policies across Europe do not always facilitate integration in this way. Despite this, citizens, activists and local governments are coming together to create a ‘culture of welcome’ for refugees. By examining how various players interact on the ground, can new strategies be developed to ensure a better welcome and enable more citizens to get involved? Can such networks develop sustainable practices of social composition beyond the aggressive politics of monocultural identity? We look at the evidence.</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OQFUv13wviE?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Katerina Anastasiou</span></div> <p>We have shared <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPtoBlDfUEY">the vision of Manuela and Bue</a> in Barcelona. Now we move to the major change in fortunes that European migrants and solidarity movements encountered over the last year, as experienced by <strong>Fanny&nbsp;Müller-Uri</strong>, Austrian&nbsp;researcher and activist&nbsp;involved in WatchTheMed, Alarmophone, and the Idomeni camp, and <strong>Katerina Anastasiou</strong>, transnational coordinator of the platform, <a href="http://www.change4all.eu/home.html">change4all</a>. These European fellow-activists tell us about the&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/Mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/moving-europe/long-year-of-migration-and-balkan-corridor">“long summer of migration in 2015, a different world from the one we have now”</a> when migrants and refugees were self-organising and moving in Marches of Hope along the Balkans route, triggering an immense wave of solidarity across Europe…</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V_W730384KI?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Bue Rübner Hansen, Joan Pedro-Carañana &amp; Simona Rentea</span></div> <p><strong>Rocio Cifuentes</strong>, director of the Ethnic Youth Support Team and the Think Project in Wales, brings <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT3W1nAIQ-g">her own specialist message of hope</a> on the subject of community integration and cohesion in a rapidly changing world, with her account of how to tackle Islamist extremism in vulnerable Muslim young people as well as far right extremism in vulnerable white young people, using a proactive, preventative and education-based approach to diversity. Followed by Saint Louis University-Madrid Campus academics <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/joan-pedro-cara-ana"><strong>Joan Pedro</strong></a> (media and communications) and <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/simona-rentea"><strong>Simona Rentea</strong></a> (international relations), both social movement activists in Spain, on how to build the connections that make a difference, <strong>Bue Rübner Hansen</strong> (see Monday)&nbsp;picks up Rocio’s theme, to tell us about the Aarhus anti-radicalisation programme in Denmark (see above).</p> <p>Concerned, like their colleague <strong>Aurora Labio</strong>, researcher on Media, Communication Policies and Democracy at the University of Seville, with <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/aurora-labio-rom-n-mart-n-francisco-n-ez/european-refugees-and-twitter">the challenge of enabling communication</a>, Simona Rentea concludes: </p> <blockquote> <p>“I would challenge the audience who have been very patiently waiting – how do we build those pan-European transnational networks, a federation of struggle or confederation of struggle, how do we pool knowledges and experiences? We are at the very beginning of this thought process about how to do that. How to imagine a bottom-up space for different kinds of social movements. Perhaps we should skip the national level altogether and use this trans-municipality or trans-locality level to re-imagine Europe?”</p> </blockquote> <p>Straight after this session, filmmaker <strong>Dagwami Yimer</strong>, who after a long journey across the Libyan desert and the Mediterranean came ashore on the island of Lampedusa on 30 July 2006, and who is also co-founder and vice president of the Archive of Migrant Memory, treated us to <em>Welcome to Italy: another look at Italy’s welcome to migrants</em> – a showing of five shorts written, shot and directed by immigrant young people in Italy. But first he had something important to say about the proceedings thus far:</p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tdNkTmYNBtU?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Dagwami Yimer</span> <a name="thurs"></a> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/content/od-fp-thursday-cow-guest-week">Thursday</a> moves to the third session of the Barcelona conference, on the recent, controversial, EU-Turkey deal. We can only offer a few highlights, but please see the <a href="http://i.unu.edu/media/gcm.unu.edu/event/3157/CITIES_CONFERENCE_on-line.pdf">conference programme</a> for details of speakers and their contributions in this great panel organised by the Department of Law at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). </p> <p>The increased delegation of border controls to Frontex and the militarisation of the border via the deployment of NATO forces impacts on international and European human rights and refugee law. Is the European Union’s proposed partnership with Turkey, in which Turkey will receive a considerable number of refugees from the European Union, a real solution to the failure thus far of EU refugee relocation initiatives? </p> <p>NGOs and the UNHCR have already raised serious concerns regarding the legality of this move and its compatibility with international and European human rights and refugee law, asking whether there can be common ground for a European law of welcome.</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3HxYFiNJIIs?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Niovi Vavoula & Valsamis Mitsilegas</span></div> <p><strong>Valsamis Mitsilegas</strong>, Professor of European Criminal Law, Director of the Criminal Justice Centre and, since 2012, Head of the Department of Law, QMUL, begins the debate by <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/valsamis-mitsilegas/solidarity-beyond-state-towards-model-of-solidarity-centred-on-refugee">exploring the concept of solidarity in EU law</a>, and particularly the Dublin Regulation and related case-law. The centrality of the state in this paradigm places considerable limits on effective and human-rights compliant responses to refugee flows. But there are alternatives, which could ultimately lead the way in Europe to establishing a constitutionally uniform refugee status. </p> <p><strong>Eleni Karageorgiou</strong> doctoral candidate in Public International Law at Lund University, Sweden, previously worked for the Greek Asylum Appeal Committees, representing its national Commission for Human Rights. She argues that both the Dublin mechanism within the EU and the EU-Turkey deal use <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/eleni-karageorgiou/solidarity-in-european-asylum-policies-response-to">solidarity as a euphemism for avoiding or shifting responsibility</a> and, ironically, for de-solidarising protection, instead of signifying a humane policy.</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AwlXWHhp2HE?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Sergio Carrera</span></div> <p><strong>Aikaterini Drakopoulou</strong> is a Greek Attorney at Law and Member of the Athens Bar Association since 2009. In 2011, she joined the Legal Department of the Greek Council for Refugees – one of the main Greek NGOs in the field of refugee protection – providing individualised legal aid and counselling, and conducting legal research, monitoring both in Athens and the eastern Aegean Greek islands.</p> <p>In <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sergio-carrera-aikaterini-drakopolou/unsafe-turkey-unsafe-europe">Unsafe Turkey, unsafe Europe</a>, she cooperates with <strong>Sergio Carrera,</strong> senior research fellow and Head of the Justice and Home Affairs Programme at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), to explore the high political, legal and ethical cost of the dramatic decrease in the number of entries of asylum seekers to Greece. </p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NFnA_D7JuiE?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Sergio Carrera</span></div> <p>In his presentation, Sergio Carrera lays out the consequences of this “crisis-led way of doing policy, <a href="https://youtu.be/AwlXWHhp2HE">taking rapid decisions which prevent proper scrutiny and democratic debate</a>” in Europe, and concludes that “we can talk about what solidarity means, but <a href="https://youtu.be/NFnA_D7JuiE">when it comes to the rights of people, these are obligations</a>, and it is a responsibility of states to comply with those rights.&quot;</p> <p>Meanwhile, <strong>Niovi Vavoula</strong>, a research assistant at Queen Mary University of London&#39;s law department, has been finalising her research on EU immigration databases and privacy, and working with the European Criminal Law Academic Network and the New Journal of European Criminal Law.</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FSR1qTtly8o?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Sergio Carrera</span></div> <p>She tells us about Eurodac, a pan-European database that currently stores the fingerprints of asylum seekers and certain categories of irregular migrants. Its original purpose was to assist the Dublin system in identifying the country responsible for dealing with an asylum application. In 2013, the database underwent its first significant change; from a merely administrative tool, into a criminal law weapon, a powerful immigration control tool with significant repercussions for the fundamental rights of third-country nationals. Should we be concerned?</p> <p>The session ended with some answers to lively questions on the circle that is being squared by the European Union.</p> <iframe style="float:left;margin-right:20px;" width="220" height="124" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yMWTENVCW-A?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <iframe style="float:left;" width="220" height="124" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ESZiiUk6gRc?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <br style="clear:both;" /> <p>Cécile Riallant found the panel in substantial agreement when she asked:</p> <blockquote> <p>“This new communication from the EU Commission is basically advocating that access to government aid and cooperation from the European Union towards third countries will be subjected to <a href="">the test</a> of how well they are cooperating in the field of migration… And this is also connected to trade policies. So this is what we are talking about: the circle has been squared between access to development aid and cooperation to migration. Do we understand what that means, concretely? This is introducing conditionality and is a major turning point. This is very much the European Union turning its back on its values, because those were the core values of the European Union.”</p> </blockquote> <!--Friday--> <p>As people do cross these borders, formal and informal ‘transit points’ for refugees take centre stage in the Mediterranean migration crisis, from the railway stations, parks, and abandoned buildings in European cities to the ‘jungle’ in Calais’, from the brand new ‘hotspots’ on Lampedusa to the Idomeni camp at the Greek-Macedonian border. </p> <p>These ‘points’ shape and are shaped by local/urban contexts and national and EU policies. This affects practices of solidarity and welcoming in a crisis too often framed in terms of threat and security. Today, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/content/od-fp-friday-cow">Friday</a>, we look at how these migration spaces affect the wider urban and political environment. </p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4wllYV3t294?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Leonie Ansems de Vries</span></div> <p><strong>Leonie Ansems de Vries</strong> is a Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London and the co-Investigator of the ESRC-funded research project ‘Documenting the Humanitarian Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean’. She opens her panel debate by telling us about how the EU uses hotspots for what is seen as the essential business of sorting out,&nbsp; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wllYV3t294&amp;feature=youtu.be">“Who should we protect, and who shouldn’t be protected?”</a> This is a hugely problematic process which is ensuring that increasingly, these are places of hostility and pushback, not least because the sorting is done on the basis of your nationality, and not on the basis of individual rights and needs. However <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/leonie-ansems-de-vries/spaces-of-transit-migration-management-and-migrant-agency">equally striking under these conditions</a>, are “migrants’ continued efforts to move on despite bordering practices, to live their lives in dignity, and to build communities”.</p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;padding-bottom:5px;margin-left:10px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;"><iframe width="230" height="129" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1w606R3v8UA?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Marta Welander</span></div> <p><strong>Marta Welander</strong>, the founder and Director of the Refugee Rights Data Project, argues that national/EU policies, little government support, and a lack of reliable data are contributing to <a href="https://youtu.be/1w606R3v8UA">a deep polarisation</a> amongst European citizens in their response to the humanitarian crisis in Calais. On the one hand, current policies have generated high levels of solidarity among some British and French citizens: on the other, the same policies have fed into and exacerbated demonisation of displaced people in Calais, by framing them as ‘illegal’. </p> <p>Both say that such policies seem to lead to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/leonie-ansems-de-vries-marta-welander/refugees-displacement-and-europ">a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy</a> in which we are “provoking and to a certain extent creating a security threat, or at least creating a very violent and desperate situation for all the parties involved, which in turn can justify to a certain extent the aggressive border policies.”&nbsp; Here they are on the resulting violence:</p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Yej-XlTfdpU?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Leonie Ansems de Vries & Marta Welander</span> <p>We saw a stark example of this logic in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/evie-papada-anna-papoutsi/post-humanitarianism-in-situ-moria-in-flames">the Moria camp that was set on fire</a> on Lesbos last week. But now we move to <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/annalisa-lollo/solidarity-is-political-struggle-free-and-forced-mobility-between-italy-and-france">Marseille and to the El Manba collective</a>, a political group which has been supporting those struggling to move from Italy to France since the summer of 2015. <strong>Annalisa Lollo</strong>, an Italian anthropologist who previously worked with migrants in Bologna and Paris and is now living in Marseille, has the last word:</p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SdMR9ad2rx4?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Annalisa Lollo</span> <blockquote> <p>“To these policies which become day by day more inhuman and unacceptable, we can only reply with international solidarity and creativity denouncing these horrors committed by states, but also taking the chance to publicise and promote the actions of a lot of people who have acted so differently – to support, to help and to be with people on the move. Their freedom is our freedom.”</p> </blockquote> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope"><img style="padding-top: 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/MJIH-icon-140%402x.png" alt="" width="100%" /></a></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/janina-pescinski-cameron-thibos-en-khong-alex-sakalis-rosemary-bechler/introducing-this-weeks">Introducing <em>Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit</em></a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/bue-r-bner-hansen-cameron-thibos/welcoming-refugees-despite-state">Welcoming refugees despite the state</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">BUE RÜBNER HANSEN </span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-ignasi-calb-ram-n-sanahuja/barcelona-city-of-refuge">Barcelona: city of refuge</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">IGNASI CALBÓ and RAMÓN SANAHUJA</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-anna-terr-n-cus/toward-more-humane-european-asylum-sys">Toward a more reasonable European asylum system</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ANNA TERRÓN CUSÍ</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/susanne-asche-cameron-thibos/when-refugees-appear-we-take-them-to-art">When refugees appear, we take them to the art museum</a> <span style="font-size:90%;">SUSANNE ASCHE</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-patrick-taran/myths-of-migration">The myths of migration</a> <span style="font-size:90%;">PATRICK TARAN</span> <hr /> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154457148689774/">VIDEO: How Gdańsk, Poland became a city open to migration and diversity</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">THOMAS JÉZÉQUEL</span> <hr /> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTZKgMKsHuM&list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD&index=18">VIDEO: The impact of migration on development</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">CECILE RIALLANT</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/OQFUv13wviE">VIDEO: Why did the Balkan route close for refugees?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/V_W730384KI">VIDEO: Anti-radicalisation, social movements, and imagining alternatives</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/rocio-cifuentes/so-is-it-refugee-crisis">So, is it a refugee crisis?</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ROCIO CIFUENTES</span> <hr /> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPtoBlDfUEY">VIDEO: More than a refuge, a welcome</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/aurora-labio-rom-n-mart-n-francisco-n-ez/european-refugees-and-twitter">European refugees and Twitter</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">AURORA LABIO and ROMÁN MARTÍN and FRANCISCO NÚÑEZ</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/Mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/moving-europe/long-year-of-migration-and-balkan-corridor">The long year of migration and the Balkan corridor</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">MOVING EUROPE</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/kNf3WBGupvc">VIDEO: What does it take to achieve solidarity?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/eleni-karageorgiou/solidarity-in-european-asylum-policies-response-to">Solidarity in European asylum policies: response to a problem or part of it?</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ELENI KARAGEORGIOU</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/ESZiiUk6gRc">VIDEO: Is returning refugees and migrants counterproductive?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/valsamis-mitsilegas/solidarity-beyond-state-towards-model-of-solidarity-centred-on-refugee">Solidarity beyond the state: towards a model of solidarity centred on the refugee</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">VALSAMIS MITSILEGAS</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sergio-carrera-aikaterini-drakopolou/unsafe-turkey-unsafe-europe">Unsafe Turkey, unsafe Europe</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">SERGIO CARRERA and AIKATERINI DRAKOPOLOU</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/FSR1qTtly8o">VIDEO: How does Europe use databases to control refugees?</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">NIOVI VAVOULA</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/leonie-ansems-de-vries/spaces-of-transit-migration-management-and-migrant-agency">Spaces of transit, migration management and migrant agency</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LEONIE ANSEMS DE VRIES</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/4wllYV3t294">VIDEO: What are refugee hotspots?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/annalisa-lollo/solidarity-is-political-struggle-free-and-forced-mobility-between-italy-and-france">Solidarity is a political struggle: free and forced mobility between Italy and France</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ANNALISA LOLLO</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/SdMR9ad2rx4">VIDEO: The closure of the No Border camp</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/leonie-ansems-de-vries-marta-welander/refugees-displacement-and-europ">Refugees, displacement, and the European ‘politics of exhaustion’</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">LEONIE ANSEMS DE VRIES and MARTA WELANDER</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Mediterranean journeys in hope Mediterranean journeys in hope Can Europe make it? Cities of Welcome Fearless Cities Cameron Thibos Alex Sakalis Rosemary Bechler En Liang Khong Janina Pescinski Fri, 30 Sep 2016 22:00:00 +0000 Janina Pescinski, Cameron Thibos, En Liang Khong, Alex Sakalis and Rosemary Bechler 105573 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Barcelona: city of refuge https://www.opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-ignasi-calb-ram-n-sanahuja/barcelona-city-of-refuge <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Barcelona seeks to welcome refugees and migrants into the fabric of the city, but its efforts have been stymied by the national government.</p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/690Mzz8goyc?rel=0&amp;controls=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Ignasi Calbó and Ramón Sanahuja discuss the division of labour between local and national actors when it comes to welcoming refugees. Duration: 2:09.</p> <p><strong>Cameron: Welcome to openDemocracy. How would you describe what Europe is facing at the moment?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> We always talk about the five myths relating to the ‘unprecedented crisis around refugees’ in Europe.&nbsp; We think, firstly, that this is not a refugee crisis. It is more a crisis for asylum, or the right to asylum – or one could say a humanitarian crisis, not so huge in terms of numbers, but it is a management crisis. Secondly, it is not unprecedented. Look at Bosnia in the 90s or Rwanda, or Congo, or the Central African Republic.</p> <p>We would love to have a European asylum or migration policy because we are pretty sure that this would increase the rights of migrants or asylum-seekers in Spain, but there is not a European answer because European states have their own policies. But in Europe the arrival of newcomers seems suddenly to have shocked people – even though we have seen this before. If you look at the economic migrants who came in considerable numbers during the affluent years in Spain, this was around 30,000 or 40,000 in one year. So we think there is an over-exaggeration of the crisis, and this suggests that it is more of a political crisis than a refugee crisis.</p> <p><strong>Cameron: There are several layers of competence dealing with this political crisis: city councils, state governance, European Commission. How are they working ? Are they working well together, or against each other?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> The states do everything through legislation. They plan these sweeping laws, and major policies of welcoming, but they do not take sufficiently into account the fact that migrants and asylum seekers aim for cities, they ask for services in the cities, and they seek a living and a future there. So there is an irreconcilable gap between the state laws and what is actually happening on the ground.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">There is an irreconcilable gap between the state laws and what is actually happening on the ground.</p> <p>We always say – and Ramón is always very clear on this – that the answer is a properly functioning multi-layered governance. We cannot continue to ignore each other. We are asking for more information, we want to have a political say and input into the decisions around finances and resources, so that we can implement policies for what we are now facing in our cities. And we don’t have this at present.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> The problem is that the European Union is not strong enough to impose this multilevel governance on every state in the EU. Some states have a good internal set-up, with different levels working together and to solve problems through cooperation. This is the way it should be done.</p> <p>But in many other states, including Spain, this doesn’t happen. Take the comments from my good colleague from Karlsruhe, Germany – it is the same problem. They don’t speak to the state. The state doesn’t speak to the <em>Länder</em> (Germany’s federal states). And a lot of distress and misfortune has to take place before the local areas get what they need. It is the same when it comes to funding. There are of course considerable funds for refugees at the European level. In some countries, this funding is held by the state; in others, at state level and also the regions; in some others, Holland for example, cities receive this funding. This disparity really doesn&#39;t make sense.</p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/15513732910_4c7274f5a5_o.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Barcelona. Stéphane Neckebrock/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)</p> <p>Integration, which is always a multi-faceted business, naturally happens at the local level. Nobody would challenge that premise because it is an evident reality. But these policies at the level of the European Union and the state do not really take this into account. They are more focused on flow control than on integration. </p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> We are always talking about how to integrate people, how to welcome migrants and refugees into the European Union, but at the same time we put up physical and legal barriers to prevent them from entering. This is kind of a contradiction.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> There are so many examples! </p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> Too many. It doesn&#39;t make sense! </p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> For example, from the local point of view we know that family regrouping is very good for the integration of migrants. Why? Because it’s normal. It’s not a secret that everybody wants to live with children, a husband and wife together – a family. It’s good for all sorts of reasons – psychological, emotional, political reasons. But some countries are making this family reunification more difficult, therefore are making the lives of many migrants in our cities more difficult, and their integration process more difficult.</p> <p class="mag-quote-left">Trying to make the life of a migrant or an asylum seeker harder really doesn’t mean that they are going to leave.</p> <p>This is one example.&nbsp; There are so many others. Another example is the business of return. The European Union spends a lot of money and invests a lot of money in return, voluntary return and so forth. But perhaps there isn’t much demand for that. Yes, some migrants wish to return. But why focus mainly or only on that? It is not a solution for the cities or most of the people who live in the cities.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> Trying to make the life of a migrant or an asylum seeker harder really doesn’t mean that they are going to leave. You just make their lives even worse. That is very very bad from a political point of view, and from the point of view of social cohesion. You are just going to make people angry, and we have already seen what happens in Brussels and in France if you turn people against the state and against the people who should be welcoming them. If you make things harder for them, they soon ask, “why shouldn’t I be allowed to live like anybody else, like other citizens?” </p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HrEh1psFNbM?rel=0&amp;controls=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Ramón Sanahuja discusses how Europe's cities can effectively welcome and integrate migrants and refugees. Duration: 2:24.</p> <p><strong>Cameron: What is the city of Barcelona doing to help make integration possible, and is the national state helping or hindering that project?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> Politically, Barcelona has an advantage, in that the last 30 years or so of democracy, local policies on integration have remained more or less the same. &nbsp;over the last three years or so. No one who has come into the government of Barcelona has said that the policies we have are useless. One individual might be more left-leaning, the next more rightist, but overall, there has been some consistency. This is very important for city policies. </p> <p>Now again we are trying to make some adjustments to fit the reality. For example, we are not going to create parallel structures for refugees and asylum seekers. There is a difference in legal status if you are a refugee or an asylum seeker, you have the right to work. Illegal migrants don’t have this right. But taking the various factors into account, we are trying not to differentiate between these people and other citizens, because otherwise this could lead to social conflicts and to unrest. </p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> One of the most important lessons we have learned over the last 15 years is that we have to provide welcome policies from the moment zero, and embrace everyone who comes to the city regardless of their legal status. If they are legal, regular, or not – it doesn’t matter. You have to start working with them immediately to include them in access to the health services, the educational facilities, the sports facilities and the libraries. And providing language lessons so that they have more opportunities to work.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Investments in migration has never been seen as expenditure in Barcelona.</p> <p>This is something that, as Ignasi has mentioned, successive local governments have maintained should be the approach, and they have refined these policies over many years. That is an asset that we have as a city. We have to work more on educational opportunities for the second generation; housing, yes. Of course, in some other issues where we are not performing so well… </p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> No, but the thing is that investments in migration has never been seen as expenditure here. It has been seen as an investment in social cohesion. And this is very important, because if you can do it from moment zero, that means that social cohesion is vastly improved, and it is not very expensive to do it in this way.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> It is much cheaper to invest beforehand in sound policies than pay for it afterwards, when you have riots because of ethnic tensions in a neighbourhood. That’s when you have to spend a great deal on major policies to quieten things down, and you lose out.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> And that isn’t just a question of money. It is about whether you treat people like human beings.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> It’s a matter of human rights.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> For example, granting citizenship from moment zero is an incentive for people to integrate sooner rather than later.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> We do have some parts of our society who are sceptical about the benefits of diversity, or critical of diversity. Especially elderly people with less education don’t understand these issues very well, as our surveys tell us, and we have to explain things very carefully. Our mayor, Ada Colau, is really leading the way in conveying a positive and convincing message for everybody, and especially for these people. You can have other politicians who would convey an opposite message to them, and this is very easily done. But our mayor is delivering the right message to convince people to create social cohesion.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> She encourages them not to see migrants and refugees as competitors for social services, but to see them as other people who are also poor. It is to do with her own social background, because she was an activist in her former life, and she was talking to everybody and saying,“ OK. Your enemy is not the outsider. The enemy is inside – the banks, etc…</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> …it’s the Troika who imposes the budget cuts – but it isn’t the migrant who is the problem behind the crisis in the social welfare state. It is not our neighbour, who is suffering the same situation as the rest of us. This message is really important!</p> <p><strong>Cameron: How do you work on these programmes in the libraries and educational institutions and so forth? Do you subsidise these programmes at the city level, or work closely with them to deliver these services?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> The city of Barcelona has always worked closely with these organisations. That’s also city policy. You don’t subsidise their activities just to distance yourself from the problem. Associations, NGOs – they know the territory very well, so they have a lot to say on city policies as well. They know the best way of integrating them, so they are one of the tools we have for integrating people. The association scene in Barcelona is enormous. You have everything. Without civil society, if we only had official policy, we wouldn’t achieve anything. We’d be lost.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Without civil society, if we only had official policy, we wouldn’t achieve anything.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> We have a network of 160 NGOs that work to deliver welcome policies in the neighbourhoods. They provide legal assessment, or advice for people – for example on how to access the health system – etc. There’s all kinds of NGOs, from the church to the neighbourhood associations, sports, etc. – anybody who wants to deliver information and services to refugees and migrants can be part. They can also receive smaller or larger pots of funding for their projects from the city. </p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/27866361601_f78745b175_o.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Barcelona city hall. Josep Bracons/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> We’re also attempting to attract the informal associations now, like social activists, and bring them in as well. </p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> For example, a public servant can do a very good job handing out information. But if this information is provided by an NGO – which can approach individuals and invite them to chat over a cup of tea, or invite them to participate in an activity, or to watch a football match, whatever! – this creates a bond. As civil servants we obviously cannot invite them to do such things, but an NGO can do that. This can create some very strong connections within the community, and that leads to integration and social cohesion. </p> <p><strong>Cameron: You’ve said that multi-level governance would be great, but it’s currently lacking. Are you working horizontally, and trading lessons learned between cities?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> To an extent. The program is very young, it’s only been working since September or so. On top of that, City Hall isn’t the easiest place to work. There are a lot of restrictions. We have a network of cities, but as you might know there have been a lot of elections recently in Spain. So we’ve made a few preliminary steps, but right now we are waiting to let that settle and then we’ll see how the landscape is. We’ll be making a big push on that next year.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> At the European level, we are members of the EUROCITIES group – it’s kind of a lobbying group for big cities. We are trying to promote some initiatives there, and hopefully will influence the European Union as a whole in some way. Our mayor had some meetings with European commissioners, thanks to EUROCITIES. We’ll see if anything comes out of that. We are also part of the strategic partnership called the ‘European Agenda’.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> We’re attempting to use that tools that we already have or the associations that we’re already in, but we are also creating new ones. That said, it would make no sense to create yet another network of cities. There are already hundreds of them.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> I’ll tell you something. At this moment, the City of Barcelona is much better coordinated with the European Union than with the Spanish state. We have been in Brussels two or three times a year to discuss different issues. But since 2011, I – the director of welcome policies in Barcelona – haven’t been invited to Madrid by the ministry for anything! Before there were meetings. But since 2011, we don’t exist. There’s nothing!</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">At this moment, the City of Barcelona is much better coordinated with the European Union than with the Spanish state.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> It’s incredible. What the Spanish state is doing is unprecedented. You tell this to anybody in Europe and they say ‘what?! You’re not talking to the state? They didn’t invite you in all this time to discuss your policies and your activities?’ We are invited abroad all the time – if we wanted we could be doing conference the entire year – but not in Spain, not in Madrid. It’s truly incredible.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> The European Union has this figure, called the national contact points. They are officials, usually from a ministry, who are charged with delivering information from the European Union not just to the national government but to all the different levels of government. So when we go to Brussels, they say, ‘well, haven’t you talked to your national contact point?’ and I have to respond, ‘I have no idea who that is. I’ve never gotten an email or anything! Who is this national contact point –&nbsp;please tell me!’ This is the reality.</p> <p><strong>Cameron:</strong> So it’s not that the Spanish government is hostile to local programmes, they’re just not interested.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> No, not hostile to local governments, I think.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> In my point of view, they are hostile to the concept of coordinating with the others. What they do is say no to Europe, and then privatise the assistance. There’s no other policy than that, and there’s no will to create one. There has also been very little debate about that in the electoral campaigns. </p> <p><strong>Cameron: How many people have come to Barcelona in the past years?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> In the city of Barcelona, in a 10 year span we’ve had probably had about 200,000 new arrivals.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> Some years it was 40,000 a year –&nbsp;quite a bit.</p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> Since then, the figure has been more or less stable. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t coming, just that people are arriving and leaving at about the same rate. We are expecting an increase in the next two years though. Currently Spanish people are leaving Spain to find work, but that will increase demand for labour here and pretty soon migrants will be coming to fill those spaces. Labour markets are funny things like that.</p> <p><strong>Cameron: So you’d say that, at the end of the day, this ‘crisis’ is indeed manageable?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> Yes.</p> <p><strong>Ignasi:</strong> Of course, absolutely. </p> <p><strong>Ramón:</strong> What would London be without migration? London <em>is </em>migration. Paris is migration. <em>Cities are migration, and cities would not exist without migration</em>. It’s our gasoline. Of course it’s manageable. You can do it in a very liberal way, with no rules. This approach has some dangers. Or you can try to improve cohesion through policy, which I think is a win-win situation for everyone: for the city, inhabitants, the economic actors, the migrants themselves, and for the rest of the inhabitants. I mean – I still have problems in the streets everyday because of a lack of cohesion. Because diversity clashes, because the balance is off.</p> <p>There is still work to do, but immigration is unstoppable. It’s linked to demographics and economic cycles. Laws can make immigration more difficult or easier for people, but it won’t stop it. Even Britain with Brexit and all these isolationist policies – despite all of this people will still come. They will arrive by Heathrow and Gatwick and many other entry points, and if there are economic opportunities they will work. It’s like the law of gravity. You can’t fight against that. All you can do is create policies that will either do something positive for everyone, or make it all more difficult.</p> <p>There are small segments of society that will benefit from making immigration, integration, and cohesion more difficult – like politicians who will get more votes in the short term – but the cost is the production of a large amount of social distress that will lead to tensions. Like we saw after the Brexit vote, all these xenophobic attacks where migrants were getting shouted at in the streets. It’s not good – for anybody.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope"><img style="padding-top: 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/MJIH-icon-140%402x.png" alt="" width="100%" /></a></p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/janina-pescinski-cameron-thibos-en-khong-alex-sakalis-rosemary-bechler/introducing-this-weeks">Introducing <em>Cities of Welcome, Cities of Transit</em></a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/bue-r-bner-hansen-cameron-thibos/welcoming-refugees-despite-state">Welcoming refugees despite the state</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">BUE RÜBNER HANSEN </span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-ignasi-calb-ram-n-sanahuja/barcelona-city-of-refuge">Barcelona: city of refuge</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">IGNASI CALBÓ and RAMÓN SANAHUJA</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-anna-terr-n-cus/toward-more-humane-european-asylum-sys">Toward a more reasonable European asylum system</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ANNA TERRÓN CUSÍ</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/susanne-asche-cameron-thibos/when-refugees-appear-we-take-them-to-art">When refugees appear, we take them to the art museum</a> <span style="font-size:90%;">SUSANNE ASCHE</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-patrick-taran/myths-of-migration">The myths of migration</a> <span style="font-size:90%;">PATRICK TARAN</span> <hr /> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/openDemocracy/videos/10154457148689774/">VIDEO: How Gdańsk, Poland became a city open to migration and diversity</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">THOMAS JÉZÉQUEL</span> <hr /> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTZKgMKsHuM&list=PL27HDLFDYbmJAqSzPnnyU6LsiroZlG1rD&index=18">VIDEO: The impact of migration on development</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">CECILE RIALLANT</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/OQFUv13wviE">VIDEO: Why did the Balkan route close for refugees?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/V_W730384KI">VIDEO: Anti-radicalisation, social movements, and imagining alternatives</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/rocio-cifuentes/so-is-it-refugee-crisis">So, is it a refugee crisis?</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ROCIO CIFUENTES</span> <hr /> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPtoBlDfUEY">VIDEO: More than a refuge, a welcome</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/aurora-labio-rom-n-mart-n-francisco-n-ez/european-refugees-and-twitter">European refugees and Twitter</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">AURORA LABIO and ROMÁN MARTÍN and FRANCISCO NÚÑEZ</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/Mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/moving-europe/long-year-of-migration-and-balkan-corridor">The long year of migration and the Balkan corridor</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">MOVING EUROPE</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/kNf3WBGupvc">VIDEO: What does it take to achieve solidarity?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/eleni-karageorgiou/solidarity-in-european-asylum-policies-response-to">Solidarity in European asylum policies: response to a problem or part of it?</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ELENI KARAGEORGIOU</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/ESZiiUk6gRc">VIDEO: Is returning refugees and migrants counterproductive?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/valsamis-mitsilegas/solidarity-beyond-state-towards-model-of-solidarity-centred-on-refugee">Solidarity beyond the state: towards a model of solidarity centred on the refugee</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">VALSAMIS MITSILEGAS</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sergio-carrera-aikaterini-drakopolou/unsafe-turkey-unsafe-europe">Unsafe Turkey, unsafe Europe</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">SERGIO CARRERA and AIKATERINI DRAKOPOLOU</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/FSR1qTtly8o">VIDEO: How does Europe use databases to control refugees?</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">NIOVI VAVOULA</span> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/leonie-ansems-de-vries/spaces-of-transit-migration-management-and-migrant-agency">Spaces of transit, migration management and migrant agency</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LEONIE ANSEMS DE VRIES</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/4wllYV3t294">VIDEO: What are refugee hotspots?</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/annalisa-lollo/solidarity-is-political-struggle-free-and-forced-mobility-between-italy-and-france">Solidarity is a political struggle: free and forced mobility between Italy and France</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">ANNALISA LOLLO</span> <hr /> <a href="https://youtu.be/SdMR9ad2rx4">VIDEO: The closure of the No Border camp</a> <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/leonie-ansems-de-vries-marta-welander/refugees-displacement-and-europ">Refugees, displacement, and the European ‘politics of exhaustion’</a><br /> <span style="font-size:90%;">LEONIE ANSEMS DE VRIES and MARTA WELANDER</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Mediterranean journeys in hope Mediterranean journeys in hope Cities of Welcome World Forum for Democracy 2017 Fearless Cities Cameron Thibos Ramón Sanahuja Ignasi Calbó Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 +0000 Ignasi Calbó, Ramón Sanahuja and Cameron Thibos 105239 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A European network of rebel cities? https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/beppe-caccia/european-network-of-rebel-cities <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In Europe, it is the cities that once again lead the way as places of radical innovation and democratic renewal - and provide answers to the challenges we face in our continent. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/beppe-caccia/una-red-europea-de-ciudades-rebeldes" target="_self"><em><strong>Español</strong></em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-23284091.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/PA-23284091.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ada Colau - the radical mayor of Barcelona. PA images/Emilio Morenatti. All rights reserved.</span></span></span><span>Since the late Middle Ages, cities in Europe have played a crucial role as places of production, craft, artistic and cultural creation, as nodes of extensive trade networks, and as spaces of individual and collective liberation from the previous constraints of servitude.</span></p><p> Urban development has, since then, accompanied moments of historical progress on our continent. And cities are, at the same time, the stage and the main actor in any process of economic, cultural and societal transformation.</p> <p>In recent decades, after the end of the Fordist production model, new forms of work organisation - diffused, immaterial and networked - as well as the increasing financialisation of the economy that has led to land and real estate speculation, have again profoundly altered the nature, role and function of European cities.</p> <p>The combination of these processes has generated new contradictions, dramatic imbalances and growing inequalities which have in turn been exacerbated by the management of the crisis over the last eight years and by the consequences of austerity policies. </p><p>But, at the same time, cities are the scene of resistance and innovation, often in terms of spontaneous ruptures: the place where social protests erupt and mutual cooperation unfolds, where street mobilisations and processes of cultural creation and productive innovation emerge.</p> <p>The European Commission itself has recently stressed the leading role of cities and metropolitan areas and the need for stronger coordination and exchange between them. More than 70% of Europeans live in urban areas, where 75% of energy consumption and 80% of emissions are also concentrated, placing them at the core of the environmental crisis.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Such considerations are even more important facing the legitimacy crisis of EU institutions and of nation-states. Precisely in such a critical context, cities - as was the case in crucial moments of transition in European history - can play again a leading role. They could be places of radical innovation in politics, spaces of actual reinvention of democracy. And in this way they could provide answers to major challenges of our contemporary world.</p> <p>A long "municipalist" tradition is waiting to be rediscovered. This tradition seems today to relive in the experiences of new governments "of change." Most will know the “Plataformas ciudadanas” – civic platforms born from the 15M movements that have filled the squares of the Iberian Peninsula from 2011, and that won in the local elections of May 2015 in some of the most important cities in the Spanish State, starting from the election of Ada Colau as mayor of Barcelona, ​​Manuela Carmena in Madrid and then Valencia, A Coruna, Zaragoza and many more.</p> <p>In this first year of government such cities have already introduced important innovations in local government. They have focused on transparency and on returning to citizens' direct participation to the decision-making process. They chose to invest more resources in new welfare policies that counter the advance of mass impoverishment generated by the crisis. </p><p>They intervened in urban planning, initiating housing policies more favourable to low-income residents. They have set up programs supporting a fairer and more inclusive social economy, by changing the rules of local tenders and procurements. They are trying to “re-municipalise” essential local public services, after the privatisation spree of recent years. </p><p>They decided, even in contrast to national and European policies, to welcome refugees. And, on a national level, they are organising in a state-level network of “ciudades del cambio,” cities of change.</p> <p>What is happening in the Iberian Peninsula is the spearhead, both from a symbolic and a material point of view, of a "new municipalism” that is trying to reinvent democratic practices from the local dimension. </p><p>But it is equally true that the whole map of Europe is dotted with cases of already established or embryonic initiatives, which are testing new possible relationships between citizenship and local institutions, searching for creative answers to the challenges of urban development and social coexistence.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>In this spirit, six months ago <a href="http://www.euroalter.com/">European Alternatives</a> launched an early-mapping project on a European scale of the "cities of change", i.e. those cases where the initiative from below of active citizenship meets with innovative experiences of local governments. The first results are showing a field much wider than expected in the North as in the South, in the East as in the West. </p><p>Here we can mention only a few examples: the cities of Birmingham and Bristol in the UK; the Land of Thuringia in Germany; a Mediterranean metropolis like Naples and a city at the foot of the Alps such as Grenoble; many municipal governments and two regional administrations, those of Attica and the Ionian Islands, in Greece; Polish towns such as Wadowice and Slupsk. </p><p>Some of these first results were presented on May 19 in Naples at <a href="https://euroalter.com/2016/naples-barcelona-alternative-europe">a first meeting</a> together with <em>Barcelona en Comù</em>, which is currently conducting a quest for similar experiences.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>But we cannot stop at a simple, albeit necessary, photographic reconnaissance of what is existing. The experience of the last year has highlighted the limits and contradictions even of these alternative realities. The life of every territory is conditioned by huge interests, crossed by economic and financial flows that are out of local democratic control. </p><p>The same relations between active citizenship and local governments often prove to be problematic. And legal and institutional constraints by higher levels, national and European, severely limit the range of action of even the most innovative municipal or regional administration.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>To prevent these problems inhibiting any real change, we think that two parallel strands need to be crossed and intertwined. First of all, organising the permanent exchange between these innovative local experiences as a mutual learning ground: the transfer of knowledge of single projects, or single civic participation models experienced by this or that city, can help to address and to resolve challenges and to adapt and improve practices already in place elsewhere.<span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Secondly, the construction and development on a European level of networks between the "cities for change" can be decisive in increasing the potential of intervention and political pressure on national governments and European institutions. It can affirm a real protagonism of the communities and local governments in political decisions that affect them. </p><p>In this perspective, the interaction with transnational movements and various initiatives "for democracy in Europe" (DiEM25, among others) is a necessary requirement. An example comes from the recent <a href="https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/3894/barcelona-declaration-european-cities-demands-suspension-ttip-talks">meeting of Local Authorities against TTIP</a>, held on April 21 and 22 in Barcelona, which concluded with a strong call on the European Commission signed by hundreds of mayors.</p> <p>European Alternatives is now strongly committed to these goals. Because we share the thought of Lewis Mumford on the equivalence between the destiny of cities and the destiny of Europe, of which cities are constitutive and original elements. And in these turbulent times, a network of cities of change might just bring the rebelliousness needed to shift the fate of this continent.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/beyond-ada-colau-common-people-of-barcelona-en-com%C3%BA">Beyond Ada Colau: the common people of Barcelona en Comú</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/bernardo-guti-rrez/open-source-city-as-transnational-democratic-future">The open source city as the transnational democratic future </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Fearless Cities Beppe Caccia DiEM25 Sun, 05 Jun 2016 12:55:37 +0000 Beppe Caccia 102715 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Beyond Ada Colau: the common people of Barcelona en Comú https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/beyond-ada-colau-common-people-of-barcelona-en-com%C3%BA <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Since the launch of Barcelona en Comú less than a year ago, Colau has taken pains to emphasize that she is just the most visible face of a movement that is horizontal in structure and collective in spirit.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/7658945.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/7658945.jpg" alt="Ada Colau, campaigning in Barcelona." title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ada Colau, campaigning in Barcelona. Demotix/Lino De Vallier. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><i>"This victory is thanks to the hard work of thousands of people who've shown politics can be done differently" Ada Colau, 24 May 2015</i></p><p>Ada Colau has been making headlines across the world since the shock triumph of the radical municipal platform, <i>Barcelona en Comú</i>, in the Barcelona city elections on Sunday. Colau, who will be the first female mayor of Barcelona, is a well-known and popular figure across Spain, thanks to her time as an activist and spokeswoman for the Platform for People Affected by Mortgages (La PAH). “Anti-eviction activist to mayor” is certainly a compelling story, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what’s going on in the Catalan capital.<i></i></p> <h2><i>Campaigning in common</i></h2> <p>Since the launch of Barcelona en Comú less than a year ago, Colau has taken pains to emphasize that she is just the most visible face of a movement that is horizontal in structure and collective in spirit. It was no surprise that she opened her victory speech thanking the people who had undertaken in the invisible work of logistics, cleaning, childcare, leafletting, and translation that made Barcelona en Comú's win possible.</p> <p>This was not the typical posturing of a party politician. The <i>Barcelona en Comú</i> electoral programme was drawn up by over 5000 people, with contributions made in open assemblies and online, and the strategic and political decisions of the platform are made by the ‘plenary’ assembly, held twice a month. </p> <p>As well as local groups in every neighbourhood of the city, the platform has also given birth to <a href="https://twitter.com/somcomuns"><i>SomComuns</i></a>,<i> </i>a network of cyberactivists who campaign on Twitter and Facebook, and a group of local artists and designers dubbing themselves <a href="https://www.facebook.com/mlgbarcelona?fref=ts"><i>The Movement for The Graphic Liberation of Barcelona</i></a>, who have put their creative skills and the service of the cause.<i></i></p> <h2><i>Party of five</i></h2> <p>The complexity of the make-up of Barcelona en Comú has led to both understandable attempts to simplify it as well as deliberate attempts to misrepresent it. While the foreign press has tended to conflate Barcelona en Comú with Podemos, local critics have accused it of being a rebranding operation by Catalan “post-communist” party ICV. </p> <p>In fact, five existing political forces (Guanyem, ICV-EUiA, Podemos, Equo and Procés Constituent) signed up to the proposal of standing on a joint electoral list. While it is true that the institutional experience and resources of ICV and the political appeal of Podemos have contributed to its success, many of Barcelona en Comú's most active participants come from neighbourhood associations and social movements, particularly <i>indignados </i>from the Spanish Occupy movement. This mix of loosely associated groups and individuals has contributed to Barcelona en Comú's broad appeal and to its success in increasing turnout in some of the city's most deprived areas. <i></i></p> <h2><i>Ada Colau and the ten councillors</i> </h2> <p>The ten other Barcelona en Comú councillors elected alongside Ada Colau on Sunday are a good reflection of the broader composition of the platform, and the fact that six of the eleven are women is an indicator of its explicitly stated <a href="http://roarmag.org/2015/04/barcelona-en-comu-feminist-revolution/">goal</a> to feminize politics.</p> <p>Colau’s number two is <b>Gerardo Pisarello</b>, constitutional scholar and member of <i>Procés Constituent</i>, a movement launched in 2013 with the aim of undertaking a bottom-up constitutional process to construct a “Catalan Republic of the 99%”. On election night, Pisarello dedicated the victory to the memory of his father, one of the “disappeared” under the military dictatorship in his native Argentina.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="es">A tots els que ens han precedit. A la memoria de mi padre y de todas las víctimas de la dictadura argentina. <a href="http://t.co/ggAkNx83iP">pic.twitter.com/ggAkNx83iP</a></p>— Gerardo #BcnEnComú (@G_Pisarello) <a href="https://twitter.com/G_Pisarello/status/602593396532862976">May 24, 2015</a></blockquote> <script charset="utf-8"></script> <p>The election of an Argentinian-born deputy mayor is hugely significant in a city in which the 17% of the population of foreign origin is woefully underrepresented in the spheres of institutional and economic power.</p> <p>Member of both Procés<i> </i>Constituent<i> </i>and Podemos, the lawyer <b>Jaume Asens</b> represents Barcelona en Comú’s stance against institutional corruption, having been involved in legal action related to the Barcenas, Millet and Pujol corruption cases. He has also represented neighbourhood associations in cases against the city council and is defending one of the Barcelona anarchists arrested during the controversial ‘Operation Pandora’. Political scientist and activist, <b>Raimundo Viejo </b>is the second of the representatives of Podemos to have been elected.&nbsp; </p> <p>Environmental scientist <b>Mercedes Vidal</b> is a member of United Alternative Left and former Vice-President of the Neighbourhood Association of Barcelona. She has worked on projects related to urban sustainability and has been active in campaigns for water resource conservation, sustainable mobility, green spaces and urban solar energy. She is active in the platform Aïgua és Vida (Water is Life), which campaigns for the remunicipalization of water services, as well as in the Alliance Against Energy Poverty.</p> <p>Just two of the Barcelona en Comú councillors have previously held elected office; <b>Laia Ortiz </b>and <b>Janet Sanz</b>, both of ICV. As member of Spanish Congress of Deputies, Ortiz has twice been awarded the Avizor prize for the parliamentarian most committed to combatting poverty, thanks to her work taking on energy companies. Meanwhile Sanz has served one term in opposition in the council, with responsibility for environmental policy. Aged 30, she is the youngest elected representative of the platform. Also representing ICV is <b>Agustí Colom</b>, Professor of economic theory at the University of Barcelona. From 2004-2011, he was a member of the <i>Sindicatura de Comptes de Catalunya</i>, the organization charged with overseeing the economic and financial management and accounting of Catalan public institutions.</p><p><i></i><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Like Ada Colau herself, three of Barcelona en Comú's councillors are not associated with any political party at all. </span><b>Gala Pin </b><span style="line-height: 1.5;">has participated in social movements including La PAH, neighbourhood associations resisting gentrification caused by mass tourism, and activism in defence of internet freedom. </span><b>Laura Perez</b><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> has a background in the third sector, specializing in gender and public policy, particularly initiatives tackling violence against women in public spaces. </span><b>Josep Maria Montaner</b><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> is Professor of Architectural Theory at the Barcelona School of Architecture and Co-director of the Laboratory for Sustainable Collective Housing, which has advised the city governments of Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires.</span></p> <p>All Barcelona en Comú's councillors have signed up to the platform's crowdsourced code of political ethics, tellingly titled '<a href="https://guanyembarcelona.cat/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/codietic-eng.pdf">Governing by Obeying</a>'. Its aim is to ensure that the platform's victory serves to “change the rules of the game”, rather than merely substituting representatives of one party for those of another. The code includes salary and term limits, as well as transparency commitments and measures to put an end to the revolving door between public office and industry. </p> <p>On election night, surrounded by her team, Colau returned to her message of active citizenship, underlining the role of the people of Barcelona in holding her accountable once in government. She warned against citizens dropping their guard now that the campaign is over, saying, "winning elections is just the beginning. We need all of you to do this with us and to be the protagonists of our democracy."&nbsp;</p><p><i><span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;">If you enjoyed this article then please consider liking </span><i><b>Can Europe Make it?</b></i><span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;"> on </span><a style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.facebook.com/caneuropemakeit">Facebook</a><span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;"> and following us on Twitter </span><a style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;" href="https://twitter.com/oD_Europe">@oD_Europe</a></i></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/ada-colau/first-we-take-barcelona">First we take Barcelona...</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Fearless Cities Kate Shea Baird Wed, 27 May 2015 21:05:34 +0000 Kate Shea Baird 93152 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Towards a new municipal agenda in Spain https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/carlos-delcl%C3%B3s/towards-new-municipal-agenda-in-spain <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How did Spain's activist-politicians first get onto the ballot paper? Spain's media should take note - through their roots in prominent local struggles and willingness to spearhead radical democratic participation.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body">On Sunday, May 24, the two parties that have ruled Spain since the country’s transition to democracy in the late 1970s were dealt yet another substantial blow, this time in regional and municipal elections. Nationwide, the ruling Popular Party saw support fall from the nearly 11 million votes they received in 2011 to just under 6 million this year. But while much has been written about the impact emerging parties like the anti-austerity Podemos or the right-wing Ciudadanos have had on the established parties, what makes Sunday’s results so remarkable is not what those parties did on their own, but what happened between several political actors at the municipal level.</p> <p class="Body">In Barcelona, the prominent anti-evictions activist Ada Colau won the city’s mayoral race. In Madrid, once a stronghold of the Popular Party, the former judge Manuela Carmena also has a chance to govern, depending on whether her platform and the deteriorating Socialist party are willing to strike a deal. In the four largest cities, it is quite possible that the mayor will belong to neither of the two major parties. The same is true in Galicia’s major cities, Santiago and A Corunha. In Cádiz, Spain’s unemployment capital, another new, anti-austerity platform finished a close second.</p> <p class="Body">Much of the right-wing Spanish press is already attributing these spectacular results to a cult of personality around the people leading these platforms, accompanied by the typical references to populism and Venezuela, with an occasional shout-out to North Korea for extra flavour (as if the resort to these arguments weren’t the epitome of populist rhetoric). What they ignore is why those faces became famous enough to put on a ballot in the first place: their roots in prominent local struggles, their independence with respect to the established parties and their willingness to spearhead bottom-up processes seeking a confluence between new or smaller parties, community organisations and political independents around a set of common objectives determined through radical democratic participation.</p> <p class="Body">The <a href="http://temblormunicipal.zemos98.org/">Spanish hub</a> of the <a href="http://docnextnetwork.org/">Doc Next Network</a>’s <a href="http://docnextnetwork.org/radical-democracy-reclaiming-commons/">Radical Democracy: Reclaiming the Commons</a> project has been documenting this process since it began, through video and other media. Below, you can see a helpful infographic that shows just some of the ingredients with which the new municipalist candidacies Ahora Madrid (Now Madrid) and Barcelona En Comù (Barcelona in Common) cooked up their municipal recipes. They include more obvious reference points like the <em>indignados</em> movement, but also feminist struggles, the copyleft movement or the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico, among many others.</p> <p class="Body"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Municipal Recipes.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Municipal Recipes.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="651" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Radical municipal politics is not an altogether new concept, especially not in Spain. In Catalonia, the Popular Unity Candidacies of the left-wing independence movement have had a notable presence in smaller towns for several years (they also quadrupled their 2011 results on Sunday, for what it’s worth). At the southern end of the country, the Andalusian village of Marinaleda is a well-documented experiment in utopian communism that has been going on for over three decades now.</span></p> <p class="Body">In fact, the so-called father of libertarian municipalism, social ecologist Murray Bookchin, was strongly inspired by the Spanish municipal politics of the 19th and early twentieth century, as well as the Swiss Grey Leagues and the New England townships, when he wrote his influential “New Municipal Agenda”. While he hardly intended to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution—especially not in large urban belts and port cities—in the text, Bookchin outlined four main coordinates: a revival of the citizens’ assembly, the need for confederation with other municipalities, grassroots politics as a school of genuine citizenship and the municipalisation of the economy. Underlying all of these coordinates is “a recovery of a new participatory politics structured around free, self-empowered and active citizens”.</p> <p class="Body">All of these coordinates chime with the program and praxis of the new municipalist candidacies. In the newspaper they handed out as part of their campaign, Barcelona En Comù used almost as much space describing their process (30,000 signatures asking them to run for election, 1,000 campaign volunteers, 200 events organised by self-organised neighbourhood assemblies, 100 meetings with various community organisations in just 10 months of existence) and their vision (“a standard-bearer of social justice and democracy”) as they do outlining their program. The program itself includes 600 measures, ranging from modest but much-needed reforms (e.g., opening up more bike lanes, more social housing), to more radical ones (a guaranteed municipal income, coining a municipal currency).</p> <p class="Body">Several questions remain about the conflict between the ambitions of the new municipalist candidacies and the daunting, path-dependent inertia of an institutional reality that threatens to swallow them whole. Many of those questions are addressed by some of the candidates themselves in the film <em>Municipal Recipes</em>, which you can watch below. </p><p class="Body">In it, they discuss the thought process that led them to make the jump into the electoral arena, how they hope to care for the city, how to make it liveable, the relationship between citizens, social movements and institutions, and the pitfalls of representative democracy, among other key issues. It’s a fascinating glimpse into a remarkable process. Tellingly, one of the most frequently used words in the film is “tension”. As Pablo Carmona of Ahora Madrid puts it, regardless of whether they achieve something like Bookchin’s New Municipal Agenda, they have opened up “a new model of social conflict” in Spain.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/126352895" width="460" height="259" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> </p><p><a href="https://vimeo.com/126352895">Recetas municipales. Una conversación sobre el cuidado de las ciudades</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/zemos98">ZEMOS98</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> <p class="Body">(Click CC for English subtitles)</p><p><em>Municipalrecipes.cc is a campaign carried out by Lucas Tello, Nuria Campabadal, Mario Munera and Guillermo Zapata, coordinated by Sofía Coca.</em></p><p><em><span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;">If you enjoyed this article then please consider liking </span><em><strong>Can Europe Make it?</strong></em><span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;"> on </span><a style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;" href="https://www.facebook.com/caneuropemakeit">Facebook</a><span style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;"> and following us on Twitter </span><a style="font-style: italic; line-height: 1.5;" href="https://twitter.com/oD_Europe">@oD_Europe</a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/fernando-betancor/spanish-election-analysis-of-eathquake">Spanish election: analysis of an earthquake</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/simona-levi/24m-it-was-not-victory-for-podemos-but-for-15m-movement">24M: It was not a victory for Podemos, but for the 15M movement </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain Fearless Cities Carlos Delclós Radical democracy partnership Tue, 26 May 2015 10:56:39 +0000 Carlos Delclós 93075 at https://www.opendemocracy.net First we take Barcelona... https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/ada-colau/first-we-take-barcelona <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This spring, Barcelona has become, once again, the battleground for the radical soul of Europe.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549501/7645725.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Ada Colau. Demotix/Brais G. Rouco. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549501/7645725.jpg" alt="Ada Colau. Demotix/Brais G. Rouco. All rights reserved." title="Ada Colau. Demotix/Brais G. Rouco. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ada Colau. Demotix/Brais G. Rouco. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Just under a year ago, a group of activists, members of social movements, and progressive political forces in Barcelona presented our plan to take back our city council for the people at the May 24 local elections. We're Barcelona en Comú, and this Sunday we have a good chance of kicking out Mayor Xavier Trias and winning back the city for the people.</span></p> <p>But from the start we've felt that our movement is about more than just Barcelona. Some of the problems we want to tackle are particular to our city, like scandalously high eviction rates and the pernicious effects of uncontrolled mass tourism. But many of our concerns, like rising inequalities and a professional political class tainted by corruption, are shared by people in cities all over Europe and much of the rest of the world.</p> <p>We're told we live in a democracy, but many of the most important decisions affecting our lives have been taken out of our hands. We're told to leave it to the experts, that we don't know what's best for us. The Spanish government denies the citizens of Catalonia our right to self-determination, the EU holds secret negotiations on the TTIP, and international financial institutions play Russian roulette with our economies.</p> <p>We can't resign ourselves to this fate.</p> <p>The time has come to restore popular sovereignty and create a democracy worthy of the name. In Barcelona en Comú, we think that the best place to start this democratic, citizen revolution is from the bottom up, from our towns and cities.</p> <p>It gives us great strength to know that we are not the only ones who feel this way. When I visited Greece in January on the eve of their national&nbsp;elections&nbsp;I was struck by the work that Syriza was already doing to improve&nbsp;people's lives in regions like Attica. This week, we’ve received over one hundred international declarations support for our candidacy; intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Slavoj Zizek, activists and writers including Nawal El Saadawi and Owen Jones, and political leaders like Governor of Attica Rena Dourou and London Councillor Jenny Jones – all agree that a victory for Barcelona en Comú would have the potential to act as a model for similar&nbsp;movements in cities across the world.</p> <p>But what does it mean for citizens to take back a city? The answer will vary from place to place, but one thing is clear: it isn't enough just to win elections; we have to change the rules of the game. One of the first things we did in Barcelona en Comú was to crowdsource a code of political ethics for our candidates to make sure we meet the highest standards and to hold us accountable if we don't. The code includes salary and term limits for elected officials, financial transparency requirements, and an end to the revolving door between public office and the boards of private companies. Only measures like this can prevent us from becoming the people we seek to replace.</p> <p>Taking back a city also means putting decision-making in the hands of ordinary people. This doesn't just mean letting citizens vote on proposals made from above, it also means giving them the power to launch new initiatives themselves. For us, a 'Smart City' is one that harnesses the collective intelligence of the people who live in it. We drew up our election manifesto in an open, participatory way. Over 5000 people took part in its development, resulting in a programme that focuses on guaranteeing basic rights, making the city more liveable, and democratizing public institutions. It's a living document, the start of a conversation with citizens that will continue over the next four years should we win the election.</p> <p>Finally, taking back a city means taking it back by, and for, its women and girls. The feminization of poverty and precarious labour conditions in Barcelona must end, as must the exclusion of women from the spheres of political and economic power. I am immensely proud, not only that over half of the candidates on our electoral list are women, but that our programme is based on feminist principles that will put tackling gender inequalities at the centre of all our work.</p> <p>We are proud of Barcelona's history, both as a laboratory for rebellious citizen movements, and as a city open to the world. Now we want to make it the hub of an international network of fair and democratic cities. Taking back Barcelona is just the first step.</p><p><em><span>If you enjoyed this article then please consider liking </span><em><strong>Can Europe Make it?</strong></em><span> on </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/caneuropemakeit">Facebook</a><span> and following us on Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/oD_Europe">@oD_Europe</a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader/listening-to-streets-spanish-case">Listening to the streets: the Spanish case</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/beppe-caccia/european-network-of-rebel-cities">A European network of rebel cities?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/beyond-ada-colau-common-people-of-barcelona-en-com%C3%BA">Beyond Ada Colau: the common people of Barcelona en Comú</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/let%27s-win-back-barcelona">Let&#039;s win back Barcelona! </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/mick-byrne/reinventing-urban-democracy-in-barcelona">Reinventing urban democracy in Barcelona</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Spain openmovements Fearless Cities Ada Colau Podemos: the story so far Wed, 20 May 2015 16:42:55 +0000 Ada Colau 92950 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Reinventing urban democracy in Barcelona https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/mick-byrne/reinventing-urban-democracy-in-barcelona <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Barcelona's citizens are setting aside the historical baggage of the nineteenth and twentieth century struggles of industrial workers movements, inventing a newly resonant language of rights and democracy. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/mick-byrne/reinventar-la-democracia-urbana-en-barcelona" target="_blank"><em><strong>Español</strong></em></a>. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555395/5735406390_2977b43af8_z.jpg" alt="Image of people's assembly in Barcelona" title="People&#039;s Assembly in Barcelona" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People's assembly in Plaça Catalunya. Flickr/Sergio Alvarez. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p><strong><em>“We’re losing Barcelona and we want to win it back.”</em></strong></p><p>These are the opening words of the manifesto of the new electoral alliance&nbsp;<em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcelona_en_Com%C3%BA">Barcelona en Comú&nbsp;</a></em>(which can be translated as "Barcelona for all"). It’s a sentiment that will resonate with city-dwellers across the world. The alliance is already topping some polls in its bid to win this May’s city council elections and bring to an end decades during which urban development became a get-rich-quick scheme for private investors. The Catalan capital, which was a hotbed for radical politics of all stripes in the early twentieth century, immortalised in Orwell’s&nbsp;<em>Homage to Catalonia</em>, is giving birth to a 21st century vision of municipal democracy.</p> <p>This is a vision that cities across Europe need now more than ever. During the 1970s and 1980s devastated urban landscapes emerged from the wreckage of deindustrialisation giving way to a new kind of urban politics in cities from Malaga to Maastricht<strong>.</strong>&nbsp;This new politics, often described as <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/tom-slater/resilience-of-neoliberal-urbanism">“neoliberal urbanism”,</a> is all about extending the role of the market in shaping how cities work. The policy recipe is well known: privatisation of municipal services; promotion of “light touch” tax regimes; a low-wage, precarious service sector and the conversion of housing into an investment asset. These measures, intended to respond to the urban crisis let loose by deindustrialisation,<strong>&nbsp;</strong>have created a new, permanent crisis for the majority of city-dwellers and facilitated the enrichment of a tiny, footloose global elite.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2><strong>Creating an alternative city</strong></h2> <p>The real estate business is emblematic of the soaring inequality and often downright corruption at the heart of this urban model. Our social housing has been privatised, our public spaces are consumer oriented and heavily policed, and our city budgets are often squandered on "mega-events" and "flagship developments" which only serve to boost land values and tourist revenues. But neoliberal urbanism also has global impacts. The integration of real estate and the global financial system, starkly revealed by the global financial crisis, means that urban politics has consequences for everything from Greek sovereign debt to the policies of the Federal Reserve.</p> <p>We all know these problems, and researchers have been diagnosing them for years. But what can be done about them? Discussions about creating an alternative city have tended to focus on grassroots movements, community organising and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Jacobs">Jane Jacobs</a>-style passion for creating liveable cities. These are all essential parts of the process, but one avenue of change has remained curiously outside of the discussion – taking back our local political institutions.</p> <p>This is exactly what&nbsp;<em>Barcelona en Comú</em>&nbsp;seeks to achieve, with an ambitious programme of radical reform. To begin with,&nbsp;<em>Barcelona en Comú</em>&nbsp;is not a political party, at least not in any traditional sense. It’s a “citizen’s platform”, a vehicle for civil society and social movements to bring their work on the streets and in the neighbourhoods to the heart of political decision making. The platform came about through a coming together of social movements, civil society organisations and community groups, many of whom forged close relations during the alter-globalisation movement of the early 2000s and more recently as part of the <em>indignados</em>&nbsp;movement. A strong current of citizen participation was thus evident from the outset, and this has only intensified with neighbourhood meetings, an open process for selecting candidates, and the use of online tools for greater transparency and participation.</p> <h2><strong>Beyond left and right</strong></h2> <p>The term “citizen platform” is more than a re-branding exercise. It speaks to a new orientation with regard to urban social movements in Barcelona, and across Spain, and one which relates to both the divide between citizens and state institutions and the divide between left and right. In relation to the former, city activists have for sometime sought to move away from an “oppositionalist” stance vis-a-vis the institutions of the state, seeking instead to find ways to bring their politics into the sphere of public institutions in a manner which would democratise them instead of depoliticising social movements, as has often been the case in the past. In relation to the latter, many of the new struggles which have emerged in the wake of the Spanish financial crisis, including those against evictions and the privatisation of healthcare and education (all of which have fed into B<em>arcelona en Comú</em>) transcend the left/right dichotomy. They are setting aside the historical baggage of the nineteenth and twentieth century struggles of industrial workers movements, in the process inventing a new language of rights and democracy that resonates with the experience of today’s city-dwellers.</p> <p>The shift beyond left and right has also allowed the new social movements in Spain to outflank the two party political system, under which the socialist and conservative parties have played pass-the-parcel with Spain’s political institutions since the decline of Franco. In a sense,&nbsp;<em>Barcelona en Comú</em>&nbsp;is a municipal politics of the 99%.</p> <p>For this politics to be real it needs concrete measures to subject local representatives to democratic processes. In this regard, all of those running under the&nbsp;<em>Barcelona en Comú</em>&nbsp;banner will sign up to a&nbsp;<a href="https://barcelonaencomu.cat/sites/default/files/pdf/codi-etic-eng.pdf">code of ethics</a>&nbsp;designed to ensure that political representatives implement the policies they have a mandate for and don’t become career politicians. Successful candidates may not earn more than €2,200 per month (including expenses) and can hold office for a maximum of two terms. Moreover, the code of ethics imposes a blanket ban on “double jobbing” and on taking up directorships or board membership in the private sector following time in office, thus putting an end to the “revolving door” between public service and private gain.</p> <p>The urban policies they hope to implement are equally ambitious. These include the prioritisation of social and cooperative housing, as well as the auditing of all vacant housing and measures to put it to use. The platform will also target the most pernicious aspects of the tourist industry in order, as their&nbsp;<a href="https://guanyembarcelona.cat/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/priciples.pdf">manifesto</a>&nbsp;puts it, to “prevent the city’s essential nature from being changed. We don’t want a theme park. We want liveable, inclusive cities and neighbourhoods that provide decent work.” This is an important issue for a city of 2 million which attracts over 7 million visitors annually.</p> <h2><strong>Re-claiming our cities</strong></h2> <p><em>Barcelona en Comú</em>&nbsp;is now, according to the polls, neck and neck with the incumbent centre-right Catalan party&nbsp;<em>Convergéncia i Unió</em>. Sister organisations have also sprung up to contest local elections in Madrid, Valencia and other major cities. The potential for&nbsp;<em>Barcelona en Comú</em>&nbsp;to win the upcoming elections was given a boost when&nbsp;<em>Podemos</em>&nbsp;joined the alliance in February, lending its significant political capital and media presence. This new political party at the national level, which itself emerged from the cauldron of Spain’s&nbsp;<em>indignados</em><em>&nbsp;</em>movement, is topping the polls, providing yet another indication of the radical shake up of Southern Europe’s electoral scene in the wake of disastrous troika bailout programmes</p> <p>It’s too early to say what the outcome of this audacious attempt to democratise local government will be, but what’s happening in Barcelona sends a clear message to all of those who care about cities and the people who live in them. The kidnapping of local government by private interests has been a disaster for cities. It’s time to take back our public institutions.</p> <p><em><span>If you enjoyed this article then please consider liking </span><em><strong>Can Europe Make it?</strong></em><span> on </span><a href="https://www.facebook.com/caneuropemakeit">Facebook</a><span> and following us on Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/oD_Europe">@oD_Europe</a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/opensecurity/tom-slater/resilience-of-neoliberal-urbanism">The resilience of neoliberal urbanism</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/fred-halliday/barcelona-catalonia-real-thing">Barcelona i Catalunya: the real thing </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/tim-baster-isabelle-merminod/podemos-new-type-of-resistance">Podemos, a new type of resistance</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/francesc-badia-i-dalmases/barcelona-needs-to-call-for-vision">Barcelona needs to call for a vision</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-city"> <div class="field-label">City:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Barcelona </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Barcelona Spain Civil society Democracy and government Ideas Fearless Cities Mick Byrne Fri, 27 Mar 2015 10:01:59 +0000 Mick Byrne 91249 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Let's win back Barcelona! https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/kate-shea-baird/let%27s-win-back-barcelona <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Guanyem Barcelona is a citizen platform that has embarked on a mission to solve the current Spanish political crises with their own hands. This increasingly popular political movement aims to remove power from elites and bring democracy to the people.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/555453/14329167578_54b9c31dbe_z.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Guanyem Presentation Barcelona June 2014"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555453/14329167578_54b9c31dbe_z.jpg" alt="Guanyem Presentation Barcelona" title="Guanyem Presentation Barcelona June 2014" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Guanyem Presentation Barcelona 2014. Flickr/Pedro Mata. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>When the <em>indignados </em>occupied the public squares of Spain on May 15, 2011, demanding ‘real democracy’, they changed the terms of public debate. They called for an end of elected officials excessive privileges, measures to tackle corruption in public life, the dismantling of the stale two-party system, and citizen participation in decision-making. Decision-making thus far chimed with the popular mood far beyond those who participated in the occupations, and <em>indignados </em>became the pillars of the so-called <em>nueva política</em> (‘new politics’). Post-May 15, the question became whether this protest movement was capable of being an electoral contender, and if it so, how?</p> <p>2014 was the year that the <em>indignados</em> became politically known and popular. Spain is currently spoilt for choice when it comes to radical democratising movements and political parties, from <em>Partido X</em>, <em>15MParaRato</em>, <em>Procés Constituent</em>, to <em>Podemos</em>, which is now leading national voting polls, less than a year after its launch. The surge in support for the Catalan independence movement is, in many ways, thanks to its promise to solve the problem of inefficient Spanish democratic institutions by creating a new state.</p> <p>However, while international attention has focused on <em>Podemos</em> and the Catalan independence movement, they may miss the formation of a new radical municipal platform that could seize power in the May 2015 local elections. The national elections are still a year away and the Catalan process is deadlocked, which makes the possibility of a new radical municipal platform seizing &nbsp;nstitutional power in the May elections plausible. It would be the first of these movements ever to do so.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Sergio Espin.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Sergio Espin.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="304" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Photo by Sergio Espin, provided by author.</span></span></span></p> <h2><strong>A new radical municipalism</strong></h2> <p><a href="https://guanyembarcelona.cat/lets-win-barcelona/"><em>Guanyem Barcelona</em></a> (Catalan for 'let's win back Barcelona') launched in June this year, a citizen platform whose aim is to ‘take back the city and its public institutions and put democracy back at the service of the people’.</p> <p>The platform’s likely mayoral candidate is the popular anti-evictions activist, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/world/europe/leading-the-charge-against-spains-mortgage-crisis.html?pagewanted=1&amp;_r=1&amp;rref=business&amp;hpw">Ada Colau</a>. She became politically prominent after she accused a representative of the Spanish banking association of being a ‘criminal’ during a parliamentary hearing. Her popularity and oratory flair are undoubtedly powerful weapons in the movement’s bid for mass media attention. Nevertheless, the platform also has deep roots in the city’s social and political activists networks. <em>Guanyem Barcelona</em> is a joint initiative of members of Colau’s <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26228300">Platform for People Affected by Mortgages</a>, local neighbourhood associations and anti-corruption campaigners, as well as a number of Barcelona-based academics, journalists and artists. It has collected over <a href="https://guanyembarcelona.cat/press/30000-people-have-signed-up-to-validate-the-municipal-project-guanyem-barcelona/">30,000 signatures</a>&nbsp;in support and is currently discussing with local political parties, including the Barcelona circle of <em>Podemos</em>, with the aim of standing on a joint ticket at the upcoming elections to the city council.</p> <h2><strong>Rebel Barcelona</strong></h2> <p><em>Guanyem</em>’s choice of the municipal sphere and Barcelona, in particular, as the stage on which to play out its experiment in ‘new politics’, is no accident. 15M itself, of course, was a distinctively urban phenomenon, born of the shared frustrations of the densely concentrated, cosmopolitan, and digitally savvy Barcelona population. Yet, <em>Guanyem</em>’s draft manifesto goes so far as to describe Barcelona as ‘the ideal place to push for a much-needed democratic rebellion’. </p><p>It points to the city’s rich network of local associations and tradition of political activism. It also points out Barcelona’s strategic potential to connect with and reinforce similar democratising ambitions/movements in Catalonia, Spain and the rest of Europe. This theory is proving true; a number of other ‘let’s win’ platforms have sprung up in other cities across Spain since the launch of <em>Guanyem</em> Barcelona. The platform is also backing the forbidden independence vote on 9 November in Catalonia. Ada Colau is unconcerned at municipal institution critics who claim that these institutions lack power to carry out <em>Guanyem</em>’s ambitions. Ada Colau emphasises that power and legal authority is not the problem, rather it is lack of creativity and political will.&nbsp; Ada’s anti-eviction platforms have successfully stopped over a thousand evictions across Spain since 2010 through direct action and civil obedience, which lends her claims a certain credibility.</p><h2><strong>Imagining a different Barcelona</strong></h2> <p>Barcelona is not only one of the many sites where the problems affecting Catalonia and the Spain are playing out, it is also home to the political battlegrounds on which <em>Guanyem</em> is uniquely poised to capitalise. Some of the problems affecting Spain at the moment are evictions, cuts to public education and health services, unemployment and widening inequality. </p> <p>An emblematic example of Barcelona being home to the Catalonian political battleground is that of <a href="http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/05/30/inenglish/1401467871_292407.html">Can Vies</a>. In May this year, the city council evicted and demolished the community centre, which had been run by the Barcelona transport authority in the neighbourhood of Sants for seventeen years. The demolition provoked violent protests and arrests, and, subsequently, the mobilisation of residents from across the city to reconstruct the building brick by brick. <em>Guanyem</em> has supported Can Vies in line with its commitment to neighbourhood organisations and activism.</p> <p>Following the Can Vies incident, the 2014 summer saw a wave of popular demonstrations against the effects of mass tourism in the port neighbourhood of Barceloneta. Anger about rising rents and the proliferation of illegal tourist apartments sparked the protests. The population of Barcelona were alarmed that residents and businesses were being forced out of the area, destroying the fabric of local community life. </p><p>Recent years have also seen tourist ‘hot-spots’ like the Ramblas become no-go areas for Barcelonans, sometimes literally, as in the case of Park Güel, which local residents now have to book in advance to enter. Barcelona is a city of two million inhabitants, which last year hosted seven and a half million visitors. The city council’s target is to increase this figure to ten million, despite the deep popular concerns about current visitor numbers and the city infrastructure incapacity to cope with increasing tourism. Even before the protests this summer, <em>Guanyem</em> was vocal in its <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/mass-tourism-kill-city-barcelona">criticisms</a> of the current model of tourism in Barcelona. At the core of its critique is the claim that only a small elite benefits from tourism, while ordinary people are forced to bear its costs (noise, overcrowding, rising rents and a precarious seasonal labour market).</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Xavi Valls.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/548777/Xavi Valls.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Photo by Xavi Valls, provided by author.</span></span></span></p> <h2><strong>Changing the rules of the game</strong></h2> <p><em>Guanyem</em>’s spokespeople have used strong rhetoric to push for increased transparency and accountability, lamenting at public institutions being held ‘hostage’ by an elite and only addressing their narrow interests. Ada Colau has said that, in order to break this monopoly, it is not enough for citizens to vote once every four years and not take more responsibility. She wants to “change the rules of the game” so that people can participate directly in the day-to-day running of the city, making decisions on everything from the use of public spaces to childcare services. <em>Guanyem</em> Barcelona is already putting this principle into practice in the development of its own policy agenda, by rolling out local <em>Guanyem</em> groups in neighbourhoods across the city.</p> <p><em>Guanyem</em>’s electoral prospects will likely turn on its success at bringing together like-minded progressive political parties to stand on a joint ticket. The platform believes it can mobilise the 50% of the population who do not usually vote in the municipal elections. If it can, the eyes of Catalonia and the rest of Spain will be on Barcelona to see how the ‘new politics’ fares in power.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pere-vilanova/catalonia-spain-deadlock">Catalonia-Spain: Deadlock</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/fred-halliday/barcelona-catalonia-real-thing">Barcelona i Catalunya: the real thing </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/fernando-betancor/catalan-independence-necessary-choice">Catalan independence: the necessary choice</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-city"> <div class="field-label">City:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Barcelona </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? Barcelona Spain Civil society Democracy and government Fearless Cities Kate Shea Baird Spotlight on Spain and Catalonian independence Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:57:39 +0000 Kate Shea Baird 88139 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Barcelona i Catalunya: the real thing https://www.opendemocracy.net/fred-halliday/barcelona-catalonia-real-thing <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The scholar of world politics and openDemocracy columnist Fred Halliday lived and worked in - and fell in love with - Barcelona. In a warm essay written five months before he died on 26 April 2010, Fred celebrates the home of his last years.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>A short while ago, I was invited by the veteran presenter and journalist, Josep Cuní to appear in a debate on Catalonia's TV3<em>. </em>The topic, occasioned by controversy about hostile coverage in the British journal the<em> Economist, </em>was the international image of the country; and in particular what Catalonia, and the Catalan government, could do to improve this situation. By dint of my having lived and worked much of the past five years in Barcelona, and of intending to continue to do so - and also because, while speaking Spanish, I can understand discussion in Catalan - I was invited to take part.</p> <p>A lively, perhaps somewhat <em>fauviste,</em> discussion soon followed: <a href="http://www.pilarrahola.com/3_0/PRESENTACIO/default.cfm">Pilar Rahola</a>, dressed in a suit with large tiger-skin lapels, and someone with whom I came immediately to feel a certain affinity, was in characteristic form, denouncing Catalan politicians for wasting money on “embassies” in foreign cities, while other, wiser representatives of Catalan <a href="http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryWorld/European/Spain/?view=usa&amp;ci=9780195327977">culture</a>, business and journalism, offered their thoughts. With much of what they said I was in agreement; above all the insistence of one participant, a philologist, that “Refusal to learn the language of another people is an insult to them”.</p> <h3><strong>Catalonia’s heart</strong></h3> <p>My own contribution to the debate<em> </em>involved three main points. First, that while in the Catalan debate words and tempers can become heated, Catalans should not overreact to the<em> Economist </em>article, parts of which were inaccurate but other parts (in English terms) “fair comment”. In general, I suggested, it is a mistake for peoples, however strong their national pride, to become too agitated by chance observations made about them. Instead, I suggested, they should take note of the remark by Mahatma Gandhi: “No one ever insulted me without first receiving my permission”.</p> <p>My second observation, and one that causes me as much embarrassment and irritation as it does to any Catalan, is that part of the responsibility for ignorance about <a href="http://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/catalonia.html">Catalonia</a>, and susceptibility to myths about the country, is the fault not of the Catalans but of foreigners: both those who do visit and write about the country, and those who don’t. Indeed, it is striking how in the past two centuries so few foreign writers or travellers, other than Latin Americans, ever came here, in comparison to France, Italy or Greece (or even, further afield, Egypt, Persia, India and China).&nbsp;</p> <p>Nor is it easy to see Barcelona through the lens of modern <a href="http://histories.cambridge.org/extract?id=chol9780521362894_CHOL9780521362894A032">history</a>: no guidebook on sale on the Ramblas will tell the visitor (or, for that matter, a local young person) where to find the monument erected (after the post-1975 <a href="../../../../../../../../article/democracy_power/politics_protest/governance_of_spain_between_rock_and_hard_place">transition</a>)&nbsp; to the <a href="http://www.shapesoftime.net/pages/viewpage.asp?uniqid=10658">International Brigades</a>. And when at last you do locate it, somewhat lost in the middle of a motorway in the northern hills (outside the Tunel de la Rovira, Rambla del Carmel), there is nothing on the sculpture to tell you what it commemorates - but only a quote, eloquent but unsourced, from <a href="http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/d/248/wwh.html"><em>La Pasionaria</em></a>.</p> <p>Third, I suggested that one thing which could help to promote knowledge of Catalonia abroad would be a different literary and cultural <a href="http://w3.bcn.es/V54/Home/V54XMLHomeLinkPl/0,4152,124044670_124048611_2,00.html">image</a>. Of Barcelona, two such images are readily available. The first is a composite of the foreign tourist, student and temporary visitor; of the Olympics and of Woody Allen; of a city of beaches, music, wonderful food, spectacular <a href="http://www.actar-d.com/index.php?option=com_dbquery&amp;task=ExecuteQuery&amp;qid=1&amp;idllibre=4677&amp;lang=en">architecture</a>, of <em>clubs </em>and <em>botellón - </em>for sure one of the most interesting and stimulating (in my view <em>the </em>most) cities in the world, unique in the combination of culture, sea, sun, beauty and sheer <a href="http://www.barcelonametropolis.cat/en/page.asp?id=1">urban</a> exuberance.</p> <p>The second image is that of the capital city of <a href="http://www.en.mhcat.net/">Catalonia</a>, a product of the enormous political, economic and cultural changes of the past century or more, international in aspiration and in its receipt of tourists, but remarkably inward looking. Barcelona is proud of its achievements, but at times rather too closed to the outside world, and strangely negligent of those who visit and come to live in it. It is a city of bright colours but surprisingly introverted social and professional circles. The issue here is not that of the <a href="http://www.orbilat.com/Languages/Catalan/Catalan.html">Catalan language</a> - I enjoy the fact that I get up every morning and know I will have to work that day in three languages - but of a remarkably closed society, curiously deficient in the courtesies, inquisitiveness and practices of hospitality, individual and institutional, which are found in most other states and cultures around the world.</p> <p>Hence my suggestion on TV3<em>:</em> celebration of<em> </em>the new Barcelona of immigrants, technical change, cultural pluralism; in effect, and in the best sense of the word, “postmodern” (and thus necessarily “post-nationalist”). For this, Barcelona awaits its writer, a John Dos Passos, a James Joyce, a Salman Rushdie, a Walter Benjamin, a Herodotus, someone who can capture the many faces and sounds of this city in a kaleidoscopic portrait, at once true to its status as the capital of Catalonia and as one of the great world cities of the 21st century.</p> <h3><strong>Barcelona’s message</strong></h3> <p>This is the Barcelona, above all, that I have come to <a href="http://w20.bcn.cat:1100/GuiaMap/Default_en.aspx%23x=27601.01&amp;y=83987.71&amp;z=0&amp;c=&amp;w=940&amp;h=484">know</a> and to love in the past four years and more: the all-day and light-night vitality of my local café, <em>Tris i Tras, </em>in Plaça Molina; the chilled-out ambience of the <em>xiringuito</em>, <em>El Bierzo, </em>in the middle of the Nova Icaria beach; the Chilean waiter in Sant Gervasi who teaches me leftwing slogans in Mapuche justifying mass land-seizures; the Moroccan family I met on the beach at Barceloneta, who speak only Berber and Catalan; two Argentinean friends, expansive in their hospitality, who host me and my friends in their superchic cocktail-bar <em>Mama-Shake, </em>in Plaça Sant Cugat, one minute from the Santa Caterina market; my Australian co-author, long resident in Papua New Guinea, now a leading translator of Catalan literature, ensconced in her book-lined 18th-century flat in the Born, with the volumes of Joan Corominas as backdrop; my Icelandic designer friend, a formidable imbiber in her own right, who brings 40% proof liquor from her country; the Dominican hairdressers whose salon in Hospitalet is, on weekend afternoons, a social centre for the whole Latin American community, the sound of laughing women, <em>merengue </em>and <em>bachata </em>ringing forth; the Filipino waiter who, on advising me about the best meat dishes in his country, after indicating which can be taken with chicken, pork or beef, then whispers that, of course, the best is dog; my Catalan language teacher, a Palestinian from Los Angeles, whom I meet once a week for coffee and an exchange of linguistic and intercultural anecdotes; not least, my ever vivacious Cuban friend, who on her wedding-day declared to the guests that she was <em>casada pero no capada </em>(married but not neutered)<em>,</em> addressing me as <em>profesor gordo </em>(fat professor). And many more.</p> <p>Above all else, and to me the most universal, eternal and, in these precipitate 24/7 times most pertinent saying, is that philosophy of every Barcelona taxi-driver: <em>O se vive para trabajar, o se trabaja para vivir</em> (You either live to work, or work to live). This, more than any cascades of <em>cava</em>, baubles of Gaudi, or the forty-three varieties of <em>pa amb tomàquet</em>,<em> </em>is the message which Barcelona offers to the world. And, for which, many thanks.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.barcelonametropolis.cat/en/page.asp?id=1"><em>Barcelona Metropolis</em></a></p><p><a href="http://www.en.mhcat.net/">Museum of the History of Catalonia </a></p><p>Michael Eaude, <a href="http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryWorld/European/Spain/?view=usa&amp;ci=9780195327977"><em>Catalonia, A Cultural History</em></a> (Oxford University Press, 2007 / <a href="http://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/catalonia.html">Five Leaves</a>, 2009)</p><p>Juan Goytisolo, <a href="http://www.versobooks.com/books/ghij/g-titles/goytisolo_memoirs.shtml"><em>Forbidden Territory</em></a> (Verso, 2003)</p><p><a href="http://www.pilarrahola.com/3_0/PRESENTACIO/default.cfm">Pilar Rahola</a></p><p><a href="http://www.bcn.es/english/ihome.htm#serveis">Barcelona City Council</a></p><p>George Orwell, <a href="http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780141911717,00.html"><em>Homage to Catalonia</em></a> (1937)</p><p>Robert Hughes, <a href="http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781426201318"><em>Barcelona: The Great Enchantress</em></a> (Random House, 2007)</p><p>John Payne, <a href="http://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/catalonia.html"><em>Catalonia</em></a> (Five Leaves, 2009)</p><p>Fred Halliday, <a href="http://www.saqibooks.com/saqi/display.asp?K=9780863565298&amp;sf=KEYWORD&amp;sort=sort_title&amp;st1=halliday&amp;m=1&amp;dc=11"><em>100 Myths about the Middle East</em></a> (Saqi, 2005)</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Fred Halliday (1946-2010) was most recently <em>Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats</em> / Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (<a href="http://www.icrea.cat/web/home.aspx">ICREA</a>) research professor at the <em>Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals</em> (Barcelona Institute for International Studies / <a href="http://www.ibei.org/">IBEI</a>). He was from 1985-2008 professor of international relations at the London School of Economics (<a href="http://www2.lse.ac.uk/internationalRelations/Home.aspx">LSE</a>), and subsequently professor emeritus there<br /><br />Fred Halliday's many books include <em><a href="http://www.saqibooks.com/saqi/index.asp?TAG=&amp;CID">Political Journeys: The openDemocracy Essays</a></em>&nbsp;(Saqi, 2011); <a href="http://www.sas.ac.uk/publication_view.html?id=726"><em><em>Caamaño</em></em><em>&nbsp;in London: the Exile of a Latin American Revolutionary</em></a>&nbsp;(Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2010); <a href="http://www.ibtauris.com/Books/Society%20%20social%20sciences/Politics%20%20government/Political%20activism/Terrorism%20armed%20struggle/Shocked%20and%20Awed%20How%20the%20War%20on%20Terror%20and%20Jihad%20Have%20Changed%20the%20English%20Language.aspx?menuitem=%7B5E667009-66A3-482D-B3BE-6BBF6F416DBC%7D"><em>Shocked and Awed: How the War on Terror and Jihad Have Changed the English Language</em></a> (IB Tauris, 2010); <a href="http://www.saqibooks.com/saqi/display.asp?K=9780863565298&amp;sf=KEYWORD&amp;sort=sort_title&amp;st1=halliday&amp;m=1&amp;dc=11"><em>100 Myths about the Middle East</em> </a>(Saqi, 2005); <em><a href="http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521597412">The Middle East in International Relations: Power, Politics and Ideology</a> </em>(Cambridge University Press, 2005); <a href="http://www.saqibooks.com/saqi/display.asp?K=9780863563829&amp;sf=KEYWORD&amp;sort=sort_title&amp;st1=halliday&amp;m=10&amp;dc=11"><em>Two Hours That Shook the World: September 11, 2001 - Causes and Consequences</em></a> (Saqi, 2001); <a href="http://www.saqibooks.com/saqi/display.asp?K=9780863560781&amp;sf=KEYWORD&amp;sort=sort_title&amp;st1=halliday&amp;m=7&amp;dc=12"><em>Nation and Religion in the Middle East</em></a> (Saqi, 2000); and <a href="http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?is=0333653297"><em>Revolutions and World Politics: The Rise and Fall of the Sixth Great Power</em> </a>(Palgrave Macmillan, 1999)</p><p>A version of this essay is also published in <a href="http://www.barcelonametropolis.cat/en/page.asp?id=1"><em>Barcelona Metropolis </em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/anthony-barnett/fred-halliday-1946-%E2%80%93-2010">Tributes to Fred Halliday 1946 – 2010</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/david-hayes/fred-halliday-1946-2010-tribute-0">Fred Halliday, 1946-2010: a tribute</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/eta">Eternal Euskadi, enduring ETA</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/the-miscalculation-of-small-nations">The miscalculation of small nations </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/article/tibet-palestine-and-the-politics-of-failure">Tibet, Palestine and the politics of failure </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/conflict/malvinas_ghosts_4591.jsp">The Malvinas and Afghanistan: unburied ghosts</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/gloablisation/global_politics/yemen_murder_arabia_felix">Yemen: murder in Arabia Felix</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/democracy/article_2092.jsp">The crisis of universalism: America and radical Islam after 9/11</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/globalization/article_1673.jsp">Looking back on Saddam Hussein</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/what-was-communism">What was communism? </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fred-halliday/other-1989s">The other 1989s</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/1968-the-global-legacy">1968: the global legacy </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/globalization/spain_memory_3974.jsp">España: memory for the future</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> Spain Culture International politics Globalisation global politics europe arts & cultures Fearless Cities Fred Halliday Spotlight on Spain and Catalonian independence Wed, 09 Jun 2010 21:37:41 +0000 Fred Halliday 54648 at https://www.opendemocracy.net