A project to explore how the commons transform public action in Europe
Spain and the Commons, at crossroads between municipalism and social struggles ? – June 3rd-7th 2019

For this third expedition, the Enacting the Commons consortium is leaving for Barcelona to meet the world of commons in Spain. Since the democratic transition in the 1970s, the usual political forces have been questioned over the succession of terms and the Spanish citizens have brought about other movements in this political landscape. Putting the commons as a political principle, several citizen lists thus won the last municipal elections, drawing their roots from movements linked to the right to housing, to “occupy” or even to the opposition to the economic models of “platform capitalism” which are falling on the territory (UBER, Cabify, Airbnb, etc.). Today, Barcelona and Madrid embody a municipal trend marked with the seal of the commons, which seeks an alternative to traditional governments by basing its actions on an alliance strategy between governments, social movements and social forces. For this study trip, we will arrive at the dawn of the new municipal terms, which will be an opportunity to draw a first assessment, to see the ambitions to come, and to question the thriving ecosystem of the commons in Barcelona.


What are the new forms of democracy and citizen involvement that have been invented in recent years within these municipalities and their administrations? Goteo and Platoniq, who are exploring new economic models for the commons, for instance, have worked on the establishment of new infrastructures (physical or digital) for the funding and development of citizen expression and civic participation. Another example carried by the Barcelona City Council: the Decidim platform, a “common”, free and open platform where we find code, documentation, a legal framework, collaborative interfaces, communities of users and facilitation. Spain is also a field of innovation in terms of data processing, citizen digital practices and activist movements have found their occurrences within the municipality.


How do the movements and struggles around the right to the city or the right to housing, for instance, allow them to draw new ways of thinking “in common” the cities of tomorrow? Regarding rights to the city and co-construction of the city, the Spain is a gold mine for our explorers of commons. A key player in activism for the right to the city, PAH (Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca), for example, is at the origin of a popular legislative initiative (a bill directly supported by the people) against the evictions which are rampant in Spain. We will also focus on collectives of city stakeholders (urban planners, architects, designers) who develop tools and processes to create suitable spaces for a collective and shared conception of the City.


What new cooperative forms are invented through the commons movements? Re-examining the management of some “public goods” of general interest such as mobility or energy (Somobilitat, Somenergy). These new cooperative forms question the traditional models of the economy and markets, but also the potentials re-appropriation and creativity of civil society in these spaces abandoned by the public actor.


Discover the program of the study trip here: Program-ETC3


As well as a slideshow of the trip’s hot rendering, during a skype session with the mirror group: journaldebord_ETC # 3

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