26 May 2-4pm, register here.
How can we as communities and social movements reimagine and reclaim our cities, towns and villages?
For many of us, the local elections in May 2021 again provided little chance to change things. Local government has been decimated by successive legislative changes and austerity. Westminster politics provides little hope, with the biggest attack on our civil rights in decades underway and Covid having shown us the consequences of inequality like never before.
Yet the pandemic has made us focus on our neighbourhoods. We have checked in on each other, shared food and started mutual aid groups. Solidarity has flourished where the state’s welfare network keeps withering, and it is clear we cannot rebuild the old system that has driven us into the current crises.
Could this be the moment for a new political energy grounded in the local? What do we want our cities, towns and villages to look like? How do we build that?
Around the world, people are organising to take back their cities, towns and villages. In Amsterdam a red-green city council has rejected the aim of infinite growth in favour of an economy based on living within the planet’s means. Barcelona is moving towards a feminised politics based on consensus, public assemblies and participation. Jackson, US is challenging structural racism by moving towards a solidarity economy. Naples has created urban commons, spaces managed collectively by the people.
What about the UK? What does change look like on the local level?
This event is an invitation to this conversation. We will hear from councillors that have taken over small towns and those building a new municipalism in cities. We will discuss with social movements how we can imagine and build local places that are feminist, anti-racist, open to all and built for communities rather than housing speculators. We will also ask how these social movements are organising through decentralised means.
Cooperation Town, a new network of community food co-ops, organising on streets and estates across the country.
Shadwell Responds, a group of local residents in Shadwell representing a number of local institutions coordinating local efforts to support our community, and to identify gaps in provision – however big or small.
Pam Barrett, Be Buckfastleigh which works with the people of Buckfastleigh and surrounding areas to create a range of activities and services which connect people to each other, their community and to nature and the environment.
Michelle Tylicki, artist and subvertiser
It’s Our City! Sheffield a community-led network of citizens in Sheffield thinking, talking and working together on issues of common concern to us all.
Solidarity Against Neoliberal Extremism, Glasgow, a group working to build a social movement of social movements, bringing together all those who want to transform our city of Glasgow for the many.
Sasha Josette, Breathe, which aims to use community organising to support a just transition.
Moussa Amine-Sylla, community organiser and trainer based at Selby Centre in Tottenham.
Jacquelyn Strey, organiser with the East End Trades Guild that aims to create an ethical and sustainable recovery starting with affordable rents for all small businesses.
Nirushan Sudarsan, Butetown Matters, a network of young leaders passionate about our communities. Using social media, stories and campaigning to raise awareness and amplify issues and to share positive stories.
Citizens Assembly South Tyneside, was formed by local people who felt that our ‘ordinary’ voices were seldom heard – and even less often acted on – by those taking the decisions on our behalf. CAST aims to engage and empower the people of South Tyneside.
This event is being collaboratively organised by Cities for Change, Research for Action and Municipal Enquiry.
Cities for Change Forum is a two-month online programme initiated and facilitated by the city of Amsterdam. With, for and by residents, neighbourhood groups, social organisations, NGOs, officials, administrators and anyone interested.
Research for Action is a worker co-operative that produces research to support social, economic and environmental justice and facilitates democratic processes. Through in-depth investigations into vested interests as well as researching alternative economic models, Research for Action produces informative and accessible material to bring about long lasting change.
Municipal Enquiry is a collaborative project supported by the Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust set up with the aim of developing a more widely shared understanding of what it will take to defend and expand public spaces and processes for collective discussion, community level democratic decision making, common ownership and public action for the common good. Its starting point is the recognition that in order to build more inclusive, participatory, solidaristic and equitable forms of community and municipal control there is an urgent need to collectively address the undemocratic forces, inequalities and hierarchies that have harmed so many municipalities around the UK, over many years.
This event takes place on zoom. Link will be sent to those registered closer to time.