A radical change is taking place. Cities around Europe – through platforms, movements and international networks – are creating paths for citizens to participate in and influence politics directly.
Joan Subirats, one of the founders of Barcelona’s municipalist platform Barcelona en Comú, discusses how cities can deal with uncertainty and provide a new type of protection, reverse the trend of tech giants owning all our data, and even defy their nation-states on issues such as refugees. The ‘level of responsibility’ of municipalities is high because they have very broad agendas, in terms of responding to the demands of citizens. However their ‘level of powers’ – what they are able to do – is much lower. Not everything can be solved locally, it is obvious.
Should we have more coordination at local level, to have a direct dialogue with the European Union, skipping the state level? Can we have a European network of cities of change that acts as a counterpower, as much to the European Union as to nation-states?