The event will bring together social movement, academia, trade unions and local government representatives among others to discuss and strategize collectively around the recent development and strategies around remunicipalization worldwide as well as emerging models of local democracy and economies that work for the people.
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We are living in a crucial moment. Cities are on the front lines of today’s most urgent challenges, including fighting climate change and rising inequality, as well as the need to support refugees and provide universal access to public services that are human rights including housing, drinking water and sanitation services, energy, health care and education. These global problems call for public solutions.
A growing network of progressive, green municipalities is developing strategies to tackle these and many other critical issues. Cities are well positioned to explore direct democracy, and advance innovative economic models that build community wealth and create decent jobs. At the same time, we need a national level of coordination and ambition to reverse market fundamentalism, which is the root cause of our collective economic and social crises. Profit-driven, market-based policies led to the privatisation of our public services and to the denigration of solidarity and public service.
Public ownership is at the heart of an alternative vision, one that puts people, public services and the planet first. It is our social obligation to develop integrated climate and energy policies for decarbonisation – for the sake of future generations. We can and must build public services and systems that support healthy and sustainable communities that advance social, racial, gender, economic and climate justice. Democratic renewal must also go hand-in-hand with our work to advance public ownership at the national, regional and local levels.
The organisers of this conference share a sense of urgency. Far-right political movements seek to capitalize on people’s insecurity and anger, and are using racism and xenophobia to further divide societies. It is critical that progressive forces offer solidarity and concrete solutions - decent jobs, public services for all, and vibrant local economies. We must provide viable public alternatives that meaningfully engage and support communities, instead of fostering fear and insecurity. Future is Public: Democratic Ownership of the Economy will provide a unique opportunity to connect actors on the local and national levels and exchange strategies for economic democracy globally. Our public future lies in the hands of communities – not corporations.
The event is being organised by the City of Amsterdam in collaboration with Transnational Institute (TNI) and its international partners: Public Services International (PSI), Austrian Federal Chamber of Labours (AK), Multinational Observatory, Ingeniería Sin Fronteras CATALUÑA (ISF), Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU), We Own It (UK), University of Glasgow (Scotland), Norwegian Union for Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Democracy Collaborative (USA), MODATIMA (movement of defence of water, land and environmentChile), Aqua Publica Europea, Municipal Services Project (MSP Canada), EPSU (European Federation of Public Service Unions).
Collaboration with ITF (International Transport Workers Federation), the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV), Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED), Vigência! (Brazil), Danish Union of Public Employees (FOA), Eurodad (Europe), Mildred E. Warner - Cornell University, Amrta Institute (Indonesia), Platform for Public Community Partnerships in the Americas (PAPC), M-Power project (Municipal Power), Open Democracy (media partner), The Laura Flanders Show(media partner).