Why we get together
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.
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.
This movement has inspired the City of Amsterdam, the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the many international partners who are organising the international conference Future is Public: Democratic Ownership of the Economy.
Welcome and conference introduction
Rutger Groot Wassink, Alderman for Social Affairs, Diversity and Democratisation of Amsterdam
Plenary Panel 1 (Two sessions)
Democracy and our climate in crisis: New municipalism as the response
Moderator: Laura Flanders
Strategies for energy, water, and housing for all
Eloi Badia, city councillor, Barcelona – Barcelona En Comú
Daniel Jadue, Mayor of Recoleta, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Renate Brauner, Special representative of the city, Vienna
Anne-Sophie Olmos, city councillor, Grenoble
Philip Glanville, Mayor, London Borough of Hackney
Strategies for strong local economies and workers’ rights
Asima Shaikh, city councillor, London Borough of Islington
Karol Ważny, city councillor, Gdansk (Poland)
Rutger Groot, Alderman for Social Affairs, Diversity and Democratisation of Amsterdam
Gilles Perole, city councillor, Mouans-Sartoux (France)
Freddie Bailey, city councillor, Preston (UK)
Keynote Speech by David Harvey
Questions and answers
Plenary Panel 2
Moderator: Laura Basu (openDemocracy)
National and supranational policies enabling democratisation of local economies
- Kate Aronoff – Green New Deal for climate, racial and gender justice
- Charles Santiago, Member of the Parliament of Malaysia – Affordable public services for all
- Ernest Urtasun, MEP (Greens / EFA Group) – Municipalize Europe!
- Cat Hobbs, We own it – Democratic public ownership of public services
- Duncan McCann, New Economics Foundation – Publicly-generated data as a public good, the role of cities in data sovereignty
Three parallel sessions
1. Democratic public ownership at the local, regional and national level to fight privatisation
Moderator: Hilary Wainwright, Red Pepper / Transnational Institute
- Thomas Hanna, Democracy Collaborative
- Sylvia Chi, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
- David Hall, former director of Public Services International Research Unit
- Edurne Bagué (Water Observatory of Terrassa, Spain
2. De-privatisation, public ownership and community control as strategies for energy democracy and climate justice
Coordinated by Lavinia Steinfort, Transnational Institute
- Abeer M. Butmeh, PENGON Friends of the Earth Palestine
- Arnau Piqué, Ingeniería Sin Fronteras Catalonia
- Johanna Bozuwa, Democracy Collaborative
- Daniel Chavez , Transnational Institute
3. Communities reject for-profit public services: New corporate strategies, privatisation and de-privatisation of water waste, health care and education
Coordinated by Iris Strutzmann and Oliver Prausmüller, Chamber of Labour Vienna (AK Wien)
- Leonhard Plank, TU Wien
- Vera Weghmann, Public Services International Research Unit
- Cecilia Gondard, Eurodad
- Thomas Enghausen, Deputy chairman of FOA, Denmark
- Olivier Petitjean, Multinational Observatory, France
Open space 1 (60 mins)
Call for pitches: Participants can suggest their own initiatives to share studies, expertise and experiences, and initiate new discussions.
- Public control of the food system
- Countering health care privatisation in the global south
- Municipalize Europe! Overcoming EU obstacles to reigning in AirBnB
- Regenerative city
- Young Scholars Initiative – Researching remunicipalisation
The main focus of Day Two is the de-privatisation of public services and strategies for democratic local public ownership, building on lessons from the worldwide remunicipalisation movement.
Video message and recap of Day One
Plenary Panel 3
Remunicipalisation today: achievements and challenges
Moderator: Ana Méndez de Andés, Madrid 129
- Eau de Paris – 21st century innovation in a public water company by Benjamin Gestin
- Norway – readiness for private bankruptcy brings waste services back to public by Bjørn Pettersen, Norwegian Union for Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet)
- Berlin – How the city buys back and implement a municipal rent regime – Experiences form Berlin by Florian Schmidt, city Councillor, Berlin
- Ireland – stronger local government means better local services by Mary Murphy
- Canada – services back in-house, mobilising workers` knowledge by Canadian Union of Public Employees(CUPE)
- Global survey on remunicipalisation and municipalisation by Satoko Kishimoto
Open Space 2 (60 mins)
Call for pitches: participants can suggest their own initiatives to share studies, expertise and experiences, and initiate new discussions.
Feminist approach in care taking services, Right to public education, The future is public transport!, Building a pro-public research network, Learning from the Yugoslav of self-governing socialism
Three parallel sessions
1. The fight for remunicipalisation: opportunities and challenges
Moderator: David McDonald, Municipal Services Project
Workers’ & citizens’ alliances:
- Seoul (urban transport)- Wol-San Liem, Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union (KPTU)
- Jakarta (water), Tommy Albert Tobing, Indonesian Legal Aid Institute Foundation
- Lagos (water and waste), Akinbode Oluwafemi, Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Nigeria
- Berlin (housing), Aaron Bruckmiller, ‘Deutsche Wohnen enteignen’ campaign
- Ireland (waste and local government services)
- Chile, Alexander Panez Pinto, Movement for defence of water, land and environment
- Barcelona (water), Míriam Planas, Engineering without Borders, Catalonia
2. Transforming public finance for a pro-public future:
How pension plans plays a role in the privatisation of public infrastructure around the world.
Coordinated by Robert Ramsay, CUPE (Canada)
Moderator : Susan Spronk, Municipal Services Project
- Kevin Skerritt, Senior Researcher of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
- Camilla Zarate, Movimiento por la Agua y la Tierra in Chile
- Stuart Fegan, GMB – Britain’s General Union
3. Cities and people’s alliances:
From public-community-worker partnerships to regional urban rural solidarity
How the concept of Public-common partnerships helps unite us to promote our vision and actions.
Facilitated by Bertie Russell, Sheffield Urban Institute
- Julie Perkins, GWOPA- Global Water Operators Partnerships Alliance
- Samuel Ventura from El Salvador, Platform for public community partnerships in Americas (PAPC)
- Aqua Publica Europea
- Thomas Marois – SOAS University of London, Public-public banks partnership, Public investment bank for Green New Deal
15:30 – 16:15
Alternative Sinterklaas celebration with spacial guest and music – history of Black Pete by by Black Archives
Panel discussion: The way forward, reflections on next steps and what unites us
Moderator : Roos van Os, 99 van Amsterdam
- Daria Cibrario, Public Services International
- Andrew Cumbers, University of Glasgow
- Míriam Planas, Engineering without Borders, Catalonia
- Alexander Panez Pinto, MODATIMA (Movement for defence of water, land and environment-Chile)
4 December, Wednesday 8–10pm:
6 December, Friday 10am–3pm:
International Strategy and follow up meeting (max 50)
7 December, Saturday 10am–1pm:
TNI, international partners meeting
The 2-days local conference by City of Amsterdam on The City of Tomorrow: Democratising the Neighbourhood Economy
London Borough of Islington Councillor
Rutger Groot Wassink
Alderman for Social Affairs, Diversity and Democratisation of Amsterdam
Special Representative of the City of Vienna
Mayor of city of Recoleta, Chile
City Councillor, Grenoble
Engineering without Borders, Catalonia
Barcelona en Comú, City councillor
Mayor, London Borough of Hackney
Member of the Parliament of Malaysia
Public Services International
Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union
Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria
Fellow at Type Media Center
Eau de Paris
The Democracy Collaborative
Maynooth University, Ireland
New Economics Foundation
Foro del Agua, El Salvador
We Own It
The Danish Union of Public Employees (FOA)
SOAS University of London
Ana Méndez de Andés
Abeer M. Butmeh
PENGON, Friends of the Earth Palestine
Asian Pacific Environmental Network
University of Glasgow
Aqua Publica Europea
Red Pepper / Transnational Institute
Alexander Panez Pinto
Movement for defence of water, land and environment, Chile
Hart voor de K Buurt
Hart voor de K Buurt is located next to the Kraaiennest metro station (20 minutes ride on metro Line 53 from Amsterdam Central Railway Station) in Amsterdam’s South-East borough, the Bijlmermeer.
Main venue (for plenaries and registration) is the Ghanese Church (address: Kempering 58 Amsterdam, Zuid Oost 1104 KG).
Workshops are at the local community center – Buurthuis in Dutch, Bontekraai (address: Kraaiennest 68) and the Mosque Taibah (address: Kraaiennest 125)
All venues are close to each other and within a few minutes’ walking distance.
The Bijlmermeer neighbourhood is home to almost 50,000 people of over 150 nationalities.
NO CONFERENCE FEE
The Future is Public International Conference will serve lunch and dinner (vegetarian buffet) on 4th and 5th at the venue.
One meal voucher (7.5 Euros) can be purchased at the venue
Simultaneous translation in French and Spanish will be available during the international conference.
La traduction simultanée en français et en espagnol sera disponible pendant la conférence internationale.
La traducción simultánea en francés y español estará disponible durante la conferencia internacional.
All hotels are close to metro stations (line 53). We advise you to book your room as soon as possible. Demand for hotels is always high in Amsterdam.
Price per night is in Euro
Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam
50 m from Wibautstraat metro station (lines 51, 53, 54)
85 Verlengde van Marwijk Kooystraat 30, 1114 AC Amsterdam
Close to Spaklerweg metro station (lines 51, 53, 54)
Julianaplein 6, 1097 DN Amsterdam
150 m from Gaasperplas metro station (line 53). There are options for 3-6 person rooms (80-100 Euros for one room)
Amstelvlietstraat 4, 1096 GG Amsterdam
Close to Spaklerweg metro station (lines 51, 53, 54)
Diemerhof 20, 1112 XN Diemen
600 meters from Venserpolder metro station (line 53), this is a hybrid hostel and hotel. A bed in 4-6 bed dormitory room is available from 17 Euros a night.
Speakers and guests will stay at this hotel.
Loosdrechtdreef 3, Zuidoost, 1108 AX Amsterdam
150 m from Gaasperplas metro station (line 53)
Travel support for
campaigners and activists
The organisers are not able cover the costs of participants’ travel. We will work to support participants’ accommodation in Amsterdam, if this support enables you to participate in the conference.
If you would like to apply for accommodation support, please apply here:
IN COLLABORATION WITH
Collaboration with Asia Europe People’s Forum (with financial support from EC DEVCO), Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED), Vigência! (Brazil), Eurodad (Europe), Platform for Public Community Partnerships in the Americas (PAPC), M-Power project (Municipal Power), Corporate Europe Observatory, Food and Water Watch (USA), Transform!Denmark, APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence, UK), Platform for the Remunicipalisation of Public Services in Madrid, ITF (International Transport Workers Federation), ODG (Observatori del deute en la globalització, Spain), Universidad Abierta de Recoleta (Chile), openDemocracy (media partner), The Laura Flanders Show (media partner).