Direct Democracy, Constituent Power, & the Common(s)

We will explore how to build power from below. Speakers include Alison Chopel, Universidad de Puerto Rico; Ndindi Kitonga, Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid; Kermit O; and Yvonne Yen Liu, Solidarity Research Center.

We will be presenting this panel at the Ostrom Workshop at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN on Thursday, June 20th 2024 from 2:45 PM to 4:15 PM ET. We are making our panel available for people to attend virtually by livestream.

Building Power in Place

Building Power in Place is an introduction to the theory and praxis of movements we describe as radical municipalist. The toolkit will share practical tips to apply municipalist strategy to your local organizing context. And, it will include key takeaways, lessons learned, and case studies to inspire and support municipalist projects.

The editorial team that produced the toolkit will introduce it to a target audience of grassroots organizers on July 6th 2024. A panel geared towards a broader audience will be scheduled on September 17th (the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street).

Student Intifada

You are invited to the panel by Solidarity Research Center on the campus uprisings across the world on Wednesday, 5/15/24 at 9:00 AM PDT/11:00 AM CDT/12:00 PM EDT.

Speakers include Mark Rudd, former member of Students for a Democratic Society and Weather Underground; Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS Movement for Palestinian rights; and students from liberated zones around the world.

Yvonne Yen Liu from Solidarity Research Center will facilitate.

Intercommunalism

You are invited to the fourth panel of the Municipalism Learning Series on the theory and practice of intercommunalism on Wednesday, 2/14/24 at 1:00 PM PT/3:00 PM CT/4:00 PM ET.

Assembly

You are invited to the third panel of the Municipalism Learning Series on assembly on November 30, 2023 at 1:00 PM PT/3:00 PM CT/4:00 PM ET.

Support the 2023 Municipalism Cohort Fellowship

We ask for your help in supporting the 2023 Municipalism Cohort Fellowship. Your contribution is ey to sustaining the fellowship program.

Meet the 2023 Municipalism Cohort Fellows

We are extremely excited to introduce our inuaugural cohort of fellows. We accepted 27 participants, representing local organizing initiatives from across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Some of our participants organize low wage workers, others the unhoused, and some towards the abolition of the carceral state. All seek to build democratic power at the municipal level.

Introducing the 2023 Municipalism Cohort Fellowship

The 2023 Municipalism Cohort Fellowship is a 12-week online program, beginning on September 16, 2023 and ending December 2, that presents radical municipalist theory and practice to grassroots organizers trying to reclaim the right to their cities and self-organize as rebel cities.

Municipalism and Labor

Workers are rising up and taking back cities from capitalists and corporations. Unions are negotiating for benefits for the community and not just members, emerging from behind the fortress. This moment of labor insurgency in the aftermath of the pandemic, which laid bare the disposability of the working class, has echoes in historical struggles to make cities more livable and democratic.

Municipalist Moment

You are invited to the inaugural panel of the Municipalism Learning Series. This is the municipalist moment. The movement to gain democratic control of cities and towns is ascendant from Los Angeles to Barcelona to Jackson, Mississippi. People are crafting municipalist platforms, reclaiming the right to the city, and self-organizing as rebel cities.

What is municipalism?

We collected key ideas in the municipalist movement and provide a brief description and links to further readings. Click on the icons along the circumference of the circle below to explore.

Radical Municipalism

Radical municipalism ultimately aims to build alternative polities based on the commune to replace politics that reproduce the nation-state, patriarchal power structures and colonial capital accumulation.

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Direct Democracy

Direct democracy, according to Bookchin, through forms such as citizens assemblies, provide practical and effective institutions that can be implemented across the globe to counter an increasingly hierarchical republicanism and help replace the nation-state.

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Dual Power

We define #DualPower as “two powers, one proletarian (democratic) and one capitalist, coexisting and competing for legitimacy during the transition away from Capitalism.”

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Feminizing Politics

A feminized politics seeks to emphasize the importance of the small, the relational, the everyday, challenging the artificial division between the personal and the political.

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Right to the City

The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources: it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city.

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Fearless Cities

Fearless Cities is an informal global movement of activists, organizations, councilors and mayors that are working to radicalize democracy, feminize politics and drive the transition to an economy that cares for people and our environment.

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Revolutionary Intercommunalism

The people of the world, that is, must seize power from the small ruling circle and expropriate the expropriators, pull them down from their pinnacle and make them equals, and distribute the fruits of our labor that have been denied us in some equitable way.

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Radical Pluralism

How can we, after acknowledging the radical otherness of the other, engage in a real dialogue with him or her? The key is hospitality.

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Solidarity Economy

Solidarity economy (SE) is a post-capitalist framework that emerged in Latin America and Europe in the 1990s. It rejects state-dominated authoritarian forms of socialism, instead affirming a core commitment to participatory democracy. Furthermore, it is explicitly feminist, anti-racist, and ecological, and advocates for economic transformation that transcends all of forms of oppression, not just class.

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People's Movement Assembly

The assembly is a constellation of social movement organizations and people that seek to govern themselves.

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Commune

The founding of the Commune in Paris was but a first step towards the building of the Universal Republic: a Commune of Communes encompassing the entire globe and uniting all peoples in a confederacy of liberatory democracies.

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Municipalist Syndicalism

By adopting a municipalist agenda, the labor movements of the new working class have the power to democratize not just the union, but also the city itself.

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Municipalism is the emergent global movement to seize the city and liberate it from neoliberal capitalism and the nation-state. Municipalists see the urban areas as the new site of contestation for popular power and material resources. The metropolis is where people can build alternatives to capitalism based on cooperation and solidarity, neighbors can assemble to govern themselves, and a subjectivity for a new world can be born.

Municipalism comes in many different flavors and forms. The tradition we subscribe to and are inspired by is radical municipalism — the vision that our movements usher in the transition from the coercive and hegemonic structures that rule over us towards decentralized and networked alternatives based on the principles of direct democracy and the solidarity economy. Feminized politics are valued — collaboration, dialogue, and horizontality — over heteropatriarchy and the logic of domination.

Experiments in dual power are small but growing in number. They include:

  • Barcelona en Comu is the people’s platform that arose out of the Indignados movement and anti-eviction struggles, and elected an activist Ada Colau into the mayor’s office. The platform is connected to the Fearless Cities network.
  • Rojava is the movement for autonomy, feminism, and direct democracy in the Kurdish region of northeastern Syria. The leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), Abdullah Öcalan, embraced the framework of democratic confederalism after reading Murray Bookchin’s books.
  • Cooperation Jackson is based on the 40-year old vision and plan to foster economic democracy and self-determination for Black communities in the Deep South. Their struggle has inspired countless other cooperative cities to arise.

Municipalism Learning Series

1920 Hillhurst Avenue #V920
Los Angeles, California 90027
United States of America

[email protected]

(323) 539-7654

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