Written by Romy Kraemer, from Guerrila Foundation
Why We Support the New Municipalist Movement & Why You Should Too
For most English speakers, the word municipality is an awkward, administrative word that usually rings hollow, and it is hard to imagine that it is a much more exciting word to native speakers of other languages. It is defined as ‘a single urban administrative division having corporate status and jurisdictions as granted by national and state laws to which it is subordinate’ – instantly evocative of Kafkaesque bureaucracy.
However, the latin etymology stems from mūnicipium, which means free town, a town whose people were (Roman) citizens, governed by their own laws, and magistrates and it is
“these ancient concepts of freedom, self-organisation and citizen-ownership that are the cornerstones of the New Municipalist Movement.”
Over the past three years we have witnessed citizen platforms gaining political power and recovering their communities and common subjectivity across Europe and elsewhere in the world. Often in places where the economic and political crises of our time hit the hardest, cities and citizens are standing up to defend human rights, democracy and the commons. Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Messina and Naples, Grenoble, Frome and other ‘Indy Towns’, Rosario, the list goes on.
We have seen Kurdish cities emerging as beacons of participatory democracy in Turkey and Syria, young pro-democracy Hong Kong activists being elected to legislative power while criticising Chinese state oppression, and the Municipal Counter-Voice awakening in the United States in response to Trumpism in the form of Sanctuary Cities.
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