"Small but concrete victories": on The New Municipalism
Welcome to Monday morning... and we're still digesting last Thursday's UK General Election result, not rushing to any responses. We tried to lay out a different style of policy-making in our Alternative UK Manifestos series - which, in their visionary and practical spirit, will be relevant beyond any particular electoral date in the calendar. We'd love to hear your responses to them at email@example.com.
But in the meantime, we try to bring you news of alternative ways of expressing your political power... and here's a report setting up the Fearless Cities conference that happened in Barcelona this weekend (we have profiled before). The opening paragraphs of this Open Democracy article are a clarion-call for the "new municipalism" - a town/city level politics which brings many more new voices into the process, from beyond the usual ideological definitions. Which we like:
The municipalist movement is made up of an ecosystem of organizations working within and beyond electoral politics at local level. It’s a movement defined as much by how it does politics as by its goals, and it is this insistence on the need to do things differently that gives municipalism its unique strength in the current context.
Municipalism works at the local scale. In an age of xenophobic discourses that exclude people based on national or ethnic criteria, municipalism constructs alternative forms of collective identity and citizenship based on residence and participation.
Municipalism is pragmatic and goal-based: in a neoliberal system that tells us ‘there is no alternative’, municipalism proves that things can be done differently through small, but concrete, victories, like remuncipalizing basic services or providing local ID schemes for undocumented immigrants.
Municipalism allows us to reclaim individual and collective autonomy; in response to citizen demands for real democracy, municipalism opens up forms of participation that go beyond voting once every few years.