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.

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.

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)


+ Register for this event

6 December, Friday 10am–3pm:

International Strategy and follow up meeting (max 50)

7 December, Saturday 10am–1pm:

TNI, international partners meeting

6-7 December:

The 2-days local conference by City of Amsterdam on The City of Tomorrow: Democratising the Neighbourhood Economy


Call for Workshop Proposals

Propose a workshop at the open space:


Guest Speakers

Asima Shaikh, London Borough of Islington Councillor

Asima Shaikh

London Borough of Islington Councillor

Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam

Rutger Groot Wassink

Alderman for Social Affairs, Diversity and Democratisation of Amsterdam

Renate Brauner, The City Councillor of Vienna

Renate Brauner

Special Representative of the City of Vienna

David Harvey

David Harvey



Daniel Jadue

Mayor of city of Recoleta, Chile

Anne-Sophie Olmos

City Councillor, Grenoble


Miriam Planas

Engineering without Borders, Catalonia

Eloi Badia, Barcelona en Comú, City councillor

Eloi Badia

Barcelona en Comú, City councillor

Philip Glanville

Mayor, London Borough of Hackney


Charles Santiago

Member of the Parliament of Malaysia


Laura Flanders


Daria Cibrario – Public Services International

Daria Cibrario

Public Services International


Wol San

Korean Public Service and Transport Workers Union

Akinbode Oluwafemi, Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria

Akinbode Oluwafemi

Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria

Kate Aronoff – a fellow at Type Media Center

Kate Aronoff

Fellow at Type Media Center

Benjamin Gestin, Eau de Paris

Benjamin Gestin

Eau de Paris

Johanna Bozuwa, The Democracy Collaborative

Johanna Bozuwa

The Democracy Collaborative

Mary Murphy, Maynooth University, Ireland

Mary Murphy

Maynooth University, Ireland

Duncan McCann

New Economics Foundation

Samuel Ventura, Foro del Agua, El Salvador

Samuel Ventura

Foro del Agua, El Salvador

Cat Hobbs – We Own It

Cat Hobbs

We Own It

Satoko Kishimoto, Transnational Institute

Satoko Kishimoto

Transnational Institute

Laura Basu – openDemocracy

Laura Basu


Thomas Enghausen FOA

Thomas Enghausen

The Danish Union of Public Employees (FOA)

Thomas Marois – SOAS University of London

Thomas Marois

SOAS University of London

Ana Mendez de Andes – Madrid 129

Ana Méndez de Andés

Madrid 129

Thomas Hanna – Democracy Collaborative

Thomas Hanna

Democracy Collaborative

Abeer M. Butmeh

PENGON, Friends of the Earth Palestine

Chi Sylvia

Asian Pacific Environmental Network

Cecilia Gondard


Leonhard Plank

TU Wien


Andrew Cumbers

University of Glasgow

Lavinia Steinfort

Transnational Institute


Aqua Publica Europea

Hilary Wainwright

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.


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

Volkshotel  – 3 stars – €100

Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam

50 m from Wibautstraat metro station (lines 51, 53, 54)

Bastion Hotel Amsterdam Amstel – 3 stars – €85

85 Verlengde van Marwijk Kooystraat 30, 1114 AC Amsterdam

Close to Spaklerweg metro station (lines 51, 53, 54)

Meininger Hotel Amsterdam Amstel – 3 stars – €87

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)

QO Amsterdam – 4 stars – €220

Amstelvlietstraat 4, 1096 GG Amsterdam

Close to Spaklerweg metro station (lines 51, 53, 54)

Via Amsterdam – 2 stars – €40

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.

Campanile Hotel Zuid-Oost – 3 stars – €64–89

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:



Register for the conference


Live stream the conference


Hosted by

Transnational Institute TNI
99 van Amsterdam

Co-organised by

AK Wien
Public Services International Research Unit
Public Services International
Municipal Services Project
Enginyeria Sense Fronteres
FOA Sammen Gor Vi Forskellen
Fagorbun Norway
Aqua Publica Europa
Democracy Collaborative
FNV Overheid
Canadian Union of Public Employees
European Public Service Union
We Own It UK


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).

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