A New Municipal Uprising?




Several articles in the past month have chronicled the emergence of an emerging municipal uprising in several U.S. cities, mirroring developments in Europe in response to the failure of statist politics, and anticipating increasing attacks on basic human rights by the new U.S. administration.

2016 municipal assembly in Naples, c/o

ROAR Magazine helped launch the discussion on a positive, forward-looking note in late November, with an essay citing the confederalist approach to municipal politics pioneered by Murray Bookchin. A Seattle Weekly story profiled the emergence of new Neighborhood Action Councils in every district of the city and a essay, coauthored by an activist working with the municipal movement in Barcelona, extolled kindred efforts in New York and across the US, inspired in part by David Harvey’s call for “rebel cities.” A companion article originally published in Spain called for a globally coordinated municipalist network.

On a related, but somewhat different track, long time labor activist and author Jeremy Brecher of the Labor Network for Sustainability has posted a comprehensive review of the widespread protests and campaigns across the US in response to the new presidential administration. Brecher calls for a strategy of “social self-defense,” inspired in part by various dissident movements in central Europe during the 1980s and ’90s. Among the many important developments highlighted here is the emergence of “sanctuary cities” across the US to defend immigrants, along with many other strategies to protect human rights, democracy and the planet. Another writer who’s stepped forward with especially insightful commentaries on the current state of US politics and ways forward for social movements is the social and educational theorist Henry Giroux, who has examined the politics of disorientation and the prospects for a renewed sense of “militant hope,” among other recent contributions.