About Public Services and Democracy

26 September 2009

The Public Services and Democracy Project (‘New Politics’) is part of the Economic Justice, Corporate Power and Alternatives Programme and seeks to improve public services and strengthen democracy by empowering workers and citizens to take back control of our economic and political institutions.

Read about our activities in 2012 here

Working together with partners in critical networks and movements in particular in Latin America, Europe, East Asia, and Southern Africa, TNI’s Public Services and Democracy Programme aims to:

  • Work with actors both within state institutions and in social movements to strengthen popular sovereignty, especially at a local and regional level, generalising the innovations where appropriate to a national level. This includes the development of a network of municipalities and civil society organisations working for popular sovereignty, as well as the critical analysis of the limits of ‘participatory’ institutions that serve merely to legitimate the existing order and diffuse movements for genuine change. 
  • Provide research support for public sector workers, managers and citizens developing positive alternatives to reform and improve public services and the social efficiency of public sector institutions. The forms of such reforms vary  but share the common aim of releasing and developing the capacity of public sector staff through strong workers' organisations and democratic management. 
  • Work with activists in social movements (including organisations of labour)  and those engaged in building parties of a new kind to explore the problems and potential of rethinking political organisation, the conditions for success and the reasons for failure of experiments so far.
  • Create a space for the development and debate of ‘networked politics’ which draws on innovations and metaphors from the open software community and open web communities, as well as insights from the experiences of social movements and political parties. 
  • Work with engaged intellectuals and activists to understand the implications of the current economic crisis for developing new political institutions.

Recent publications from Public Services & Democracy

Polarising Development – Introducing Alternatives to Neoliberalism and the Crisis

Social movements and critical scholars have triggered renewed debate on possible different futures for on developmental change. They  are no longer tethered to the pole of ‘reform and reproduce’. A new pole of ‘critique and strategy beyond’ neoliberal capitalism has emerged

Our Public Water Future

Privatisation on the backfoot as new book shows that the growing wave of cities putting water back under public control has now spread to 37 countries impacting 100 million people.

Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South

After three decades of privatization and anti-state rhetoric, government ownership and public management are back in vogue.

Organising workers’ Counter-power in Italy and Greece

Austerity in Greece and Italy has struck workers' particularly hard, but it has also been the context for radical innovations in ’organising the unorganised’, building new kinds of work spaces and even taking control of production.