The massive concentration and growth of corporate power poses a major threat to what remains of public services, highlighting the ever-deepening crisis of democracy, and the urgent need for people to reclaim the state.
The future of our public services will be as central to the next election as the future of the economy. The experience of Newcastle City Council shows that most political party leaders are wrong when they believe the solution lies in further competition and outsourcing.
‘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. This issue of Eurotopia explores different models of participatory democracy in Europe.
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.
‘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.
Everywhere – from Brazil to Britain, from Barcelona to Berlin – the reality behind the language of ‘participation’ is contested, complex and contradictory. To encourage and support participatory democracy, a political party has to lead processes of experimentation, critical reflection and challenge, through which people are able to educate themselves to become subjects and therefore knowing actors.
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.
Bolivia's proposed new constitution is an innovative and progressive document constructed out of the struggles by social movements in recent years, however securing national consensus will be an uphill struggle. An in-depth analysis of Bolivia's constitutional process.