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(en) Catalunia, The remunicipalitzacions and limits of institutional policy By embat - Articles for discussion (ca) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 14 Mar 2016 11:48:24 +0200

In a few months will mark a year since the last municipal elections, which represented a great advance for confluences left. One of the areas that these formations were presented during the electoral campaign was the remunicipalització utilities. An element that included the demands of many social movements throughout the country, while it was one of the most consistent with the logic that guided these municipal candidates. ---- However, in the months following the elections, the issue of remunicipalitzacions has practically disappeared from the debate, being dragged into that dark area where they believe political bureaucracy, laws and economic interests. Advances which there is much valuable hagut- have been the result of strong focus, but we can still glimpse the wave on the horizon promise remunicipalitzacions able to change the correlation of forces.

When we remunicipalització, we refer to an event of major political significance: the recovery of ownership and / or management control of public services by councils. Since the beginning of this century, the remunicipalització has become an increasingly strong trend throughout the world, especially in key sectors such as water, transport and energy. In Spain, despite some successful experiences, by May 2015 this trend was manifested in one way rather weak, due to strong political and economic resistance.

The confluence municipal leftist found this hostile environment, which has forced many to abandon or drastically reduce remunicipalitzacions their goals. Basically, in Spain there are only two legal ways to remunicipalitzar service not renew the contract or terminate it. Both alternatives have serious difficulties and risks to councils; situation worsened also by some reforms approved by the Popular Party in recent years. Therefore, the difficulties that found the new municipal governments are the expression of a political and legal environment designed to discourage any move that recovery privatized. It is a common strategy in politics capitalist hegemony take time to establish rules requiring future emerging forces to continue playing the same game. And worse, generally also requires transformative movements to close in order to dismantle the institutional framework, thus abandoning its innate vocation to overcome it.

The issue of public services is not a secondary aspect, but it represents a key cog in the struggle against neoliberalism. Privatization and outsourcing of public services destroyed one of the cornerstones of the social compact that had sustained the Western welfare state since the Second World War. An agreement based on wage moderation of the major unions in exchange for policies aimed at ensuring full employment and a series of social rights through so-called universal public services. The commercialization of these rights has broken the balance that had sustained capitalist society in recent decades, submerging large masses of population in precarious and debts. Some of the main advances conquered by social movements in recent years, especially in Latin America, are closely related to the struggle for decommodification of these services and their recovery as universal rights for all people.

It is for these reasons that since Embat remunicipalització consider public services as a strategic and fundamental fight face to build a different society and economy . But we believe that it is not enough simply to restore municipal management of these services, it is necessary to go further and reconfigure the management mechanisms of the public. The land is paid to open to experimentation and cause a radical democratization of these sectors, with the participation of employees, users and the community in general. Moreover, it makes sense not to replicate the mechanisms characteristic of individualistic liberalism, which implies the need to recover the logical group popular in the world. The isolated citizen-elector can never assume the task of collectively managing the economy. It is people, through their social organizations, which must establish itself as counterweight against the institutions.

Lately, it has often spoken of an alleged "glass ceiling" that prevents the demands of the movement could be transformed into reality without the existence of a favorable interlocutor from the institutional sphere. But, considering the difficulties encountered by municipal governments regarding the remunicipalitzacions is fair to say that in the case of institutions there is a "concrete ceiling" extremely difficult drilling. An economic and legal framework designed to override any potential transformation escaping limits. By contrast, social mobilization is not tied to these limitations. Its nature is to disobey the rules and force to create a new game.

Overcoming these mechanisms can only be achieved through a Popular Movement organized to continue raising their flags, always aware that their claims will generate conflict regardless of who governs. It is necessary to take the conflict as a natural element of the movement caused by the inevitable confrontation occurs between the institutions under capitalism and the world popular. In short, to advance remunicipalització of public services is necessary to resume the attack from below. Without this public pressure new and even municipal governments will be powerless to break down barriers and develop imposed far-reaching transformations.

In the 70s, it was said often that was different between left conquer the Government to power. Today, that states are stripped of their sovereignty, this power is getting away from governments, both central and local. Therefore, the role of the Movement today is even more crucial for channeling social transformations. Winning elections can create an environment conducive to certain claims, but in no way can replace social mobilization. The People Power is not in councils or parliaments, but in the streets, workplaces, neighborhoods, and, in short, in all areas of daily life where the organization possible. The Office of the People always tensarà relations with the institutions that are closest to the managers of these instances. Disown this conflict is counter to fear the death of the Social Movement, which does not do any favors neither the masses nor the city councils change.

J. Marinello, militant of Embat - Vallés Occidental.

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