Exactly two years ago, the local elections in Spain returned an unexpected result, in the proportions and in its political effects: The lists of “civic platforms” conquered the main city, electing mayors in Madrid, Barcelona and many other smaller cities. And Friday night, in the Catalan metropolis led by Ada Colau, began the international meeting Fearless Cities, promoted by Barcelona en Comú. It will be launched in a few weeks and will be attended by over 600 accredited participants, from more than 180 cities in 40 different countries.
To all effects, it is the first opportunity for the initiatives, which have identified privileged ground in democracy and local self-government, to meet. For the promoters, the starting point is that “in the world, a growing number of large and small cities sided with the defense of human rights, democracy and the common good.” The goal of the meeting is to “enable local movements to build global networks of solidarity and hope in the face of hatred, the boundaries and the old and new walls” that surround them.
These are very significant numbers and a rich articulation of plenary and thematic workshops with activists, mayors and councillors from around the world (complete program: www.fearlesscities.com ) reveal a growing phenomenon, which is now defined by many as “new municipalism.” A phenomenon that springs precisely from the changes at the Spanish elections of May 2015. But that would be, in turn, incomprehensible without the historical cycle which began with 15M’s demonstrations in 2011, the mass movements that have since burst onto the Spanish social scene in subsequent waves, and finally the different political experiments that have developed in this context.