Because cities serve as the centers of global capital, they hold great potential as spaces of social struggle against capital, particularly by bringing participatory democracy to life. Social movements worldwide are inventing new strategies for challenging the ruling apparatus and democratizing government so power can be wielded for the needs of the many instead of the few.
Right to the City (RttC) evokes geographer David Harvey’s book, Rebel Cities, and calls for a movement that links intersectional, anti-gentrification struggles to other movements against economic and social oppression. RttC envisions a national alliance built through shared principles and a common theory of change.
YES Magazine offers ideas about transitional reforms that shift away from the market and toward building the commons, in the sense of creating democratic forms of governing, finance, and production. They are not reforms that are easily won, but they are not impossible either—and have been or are currently being implemented in at least one city.
This article traces the history and functioning of “The Jackson Plan” in Jackson, Mississippi, rooting it in slave-era resistance, civil-rights organizing, and grassroots disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The central element is a three-part plan of building people’s assemblies, a network of progressive candidates, and a “solidarity economy.” The aim is to develop dual power, meaning power outside the state while not ignoring opportunities within the state to negate repression, counter capital flight, and build the “commons” from healthcare and transportation to the democratic transformation of the economy. The strategy is being implemented through campaigns around youth education and skill-building, urban farming, worker organizing, and local elections.
This article, written by activists in Barcelona En Comu, describes how democratic municipal movements can create links, share strategies, such as the feminization of politics, support other struggles, and build an international network.