The AEPF this year in Brussels brought together citizens for dialogue, solidarity and action, as a platform from which to oppose corporate-dominated, undemocratic and neoliberal responses to ongoing crises.
Since the awakening of the squares in 2011 the political atmosphere in the Spanish state has changed dramatically. “Frustration, despair and fear, instead of being channelled towards the far right, have gone towards the creation of opportunities to meet other people facing similar situations, support each other and resist.”
Anna Pizzo is a director of Carta (a partner in Eurotopia), and has been a councillor for three years in the Lazio region. Inspired by the experience of Porto Alegre, she has been working on ‘the borderline’ between the movements and the political institutions, in order to open up the Lazio regional council to the demands and pressures of the movements.
Jeronimo Fernandez Cortes, 43, is a member of the Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas Calí (Federation of Gypsy Calí Associations), an organisation that is a participant in the Albacete Participation Forum.
‘Citizens’ participation’ is a fashionable political concept, but one that increasingly means all things to all people. It is time to reclaim ‘participation’ from those who would use it simply to legitimise existing political institutions, argues Joan Subirats.
Since 2002, the number of municipalities across Europe which have taken up participatory budgeting in some form has grown from just a handful to well over 150. Yet the nature – and success – of the schemes varies widely.