All municipalist meetings should be followed by a barbecue. Or, preceeded by, or take place during.
Another thoughtful and inspiring gathering around municipalist strategies yesterday as we read over the draft of the Barcelona en Comu International Committees statement for starting municipalist platforms in America. Much to unpack; from ideas around pluralism, difference, power, and notions of commonness, there’s obviously a lot of cultural and political translation to be done between a European and American municipalist model. And yet, so much to grab on to, desire, feel energized and inspired by. An aspect that stuck out for me which bridged this cultural divide was the necessity to begin and aggressively maintain a desire to build critical connections around ideas between people and existing publics, maintaining a close but healthy distance from the electorate. This isn’t to say that an “authentic” municipalist platform will avoid electoral politics, more so that it will access the electorate as a means and not an end. Much more to unpack, many more connections to form and sustain, and more barbecues to have after our get-togethers as well, because you know, those are where those critical connections take root.
We need a new way of doing politics, not just new politicians:
A politics that is really by and for the people.
A politics that works to combat economic inequality.
A politics that works for the common good.
A feminized politics, driven by collective intelligence and concrete action.
A politics with racial justice at its heart.
A participatory politics, where people have power more than once every four years.
An open source, flexible politics, that can be adapted to the contexts of our big cities and our rural communities.
An ethical politics, with zero tolerance for corruption and cronyism.
Join us on Sunday, June 18 @ 2pm for our second meeting on Municipalism. We will be meeting at, of course, The Future (2223 E 35th St).
During this meeting, we’ll get to know each other and discuss a draft statement of principles (quoted above) being written by US activists working with Barcelona en Comú international to define municipalism in a way that’s relevant and responsive to the US context.
We’ll use this meeting to talk with each other and to read, discuss, reflect and critique the document. We’ll send this feedback back to the working group as an illustration of the participatory politics we are striving to create.
A full first draft is still being prepared. We will distribute it before the meeting.
Time / Location
Sunday, June 18
2223 E 35th St
Minneapolis, MN 55407
See you at the Future!
Didn’t get the memo? What is Municipalism?
As we slip deeper into a presidential crisis, we direly need new social and political ideas. Municipalism is a social movement inspired by the idea of creating a new relationship between people and power: Municipalism isn’t about electing better politicians. Municipalism is about changing the relationship between institutions, social movements and citizens. Elected representatives are just the institutional branch of a movement that is based in the streets and neighborhoods, where the real power resides. Municipal movements work both inside and outside of institutions, building dual power and creating concrete solutions. Municipalism depends on active, organized and independent social movements that support representatives to enact their demands – and push them when they don’t… Find out more by coming to the meeting.
A wonderful turnout on a beautiful spring afternoon for a talk about Spain’s Municipalism movement and the ways, and possible roadblocks, of energizing something similar here in Minneapolis. I am extremely excited to move forward; generating more questions, moving those questions around through publications and assemblies, and activating the thoughts and ideas which come to the surface through these processes. This will all take a tremendous amount of work, but the commitment and desire expressed by those who assembled along the Midtown Greenway this afternoon gave me confidence that it’s an achievable proposition.
And another huge thank you to Marc Herbst, and to Fernando Canteli de Castro for sharing his experiences and considerations of working through municipal strategies in Spain with Barcelona en Comu. As we ended our gathering with today, “onward, to something!”
Dear Friends and Conspirators:
Our political system is hopelessly broken: corporate elites control the state, white supremacy has been mainstreamed, and democratic institutions do not represent the people. This is not just a description of our situation; it is also a global problem. Many around the world, including anti-fascists, workers, anarchists, and others seeking radical change, are working on alternative models for democracy and finding incredible success. One that excites us is the Municipalism movement in Spain under the banner of Barcelona en Comú (Barcelona in Common). The movement is working to ensure that public institutions respond directly to the will of the people and not to the interests of a handful of corporate or political leaders working behind closed doors. Going beyond the simple act of voting, it is a “politics from below” that invites citizens into the direct democratic management of the city in order to ensure that public institutions are always accountable to the people.
Over the next year (or more) a number of us who find interest and value in organizing, reflecting, and, most importantly, acting on these ideas have decided to convene a series of talks and workshops on Municipalism and direct democracy. Our conversations begin next week at Beyond Repair. We welcome you to attend, add your thoughts, and become collaborators in this process.
We have invited artist / theorist Alan Moore to Minneapolis to discuss his research and work with the Municipalist and self-governance communities in Spain and Europe and the anarcho-art punk scene of late 1970s lower Manhattan. From his work as a founding member of Colab, whose project The Real Estate Show is one of the best-known artist squat actions in New York history, to his research on anarchist squats and collectivity in Europe, Alan’s broad and rich history with critically and creatively engaging space and its politics serves as a productive bridge for the many of us; artists, activists and thinkers whose work engages the social and political landscape of our day-to-day lives with each other.
Below you will find the various events we have scheduled for next week, as well as opportunities for “critical downtime” while Alan is in town. Please feel free to join us for any and all of them. We are excited to invite you, and anyone else you feel would value inclusion, into this urgent conversation.
Sam Gould, John Kim, Bruce Braun and a growing list of others…