ada colau

ada colau.png


intro’d to Ada via David‘s nov 2016 post on barcelona braving the commons:

On a visit to Barcelona last week, I learned a great deal about the City’s pioneering role in developing “the city as a commons.”  I also learned that crystallizing a new commons paradigm – even in a city committed to cooperatives and open digital networks – comes with many gnarly complexities.

so.. are coops commons..?

The Barcelona city government is led by former housing activist Ada Colau, who was elected mayor in May 2015.  She is a leader of the movement that became the political party Barcelona En Comú (“Barcelona in Common”). Once in office, Colau halted the expansion of new hotels, a brave effort to prevent “economic development” (i.e., tourism) from hollowing out the city’s lively, diverse neighborhoods. As a world city, Barcelona is plagued by a crush of investors and speculators buying up real estate, making the city unaffordable for ordinary people.


Barcelona En Comú is not just a movement, it must operationally assist the varied needs of a large urban economy and provide all sorts of public services:  a huge, complicated job.

What happens when activist movements come face-to-face with such administrative realities and the messy pressures of representative politics? This is precisely why the unfolding drama of Barcelona En Comú is instructive for commoners. Will activists transform conventional politics and government systems into new forms of governance — or will they themselves be transformed and abandon many of their original goals?

a nother way

Barcelona En Comú realizes that *boosting that commons collaborative economy is an act of co-creation with commoners, not a government project alone.

or perhaps.. *it would be the compromise.. keeping us from authentic common/ing.. keeping us from authentic us..

So the city has established new systems to open and expand new dialogues.  …*policies. …a web platform for public deliberation and **decision making.

perhaps not common enough..let’s try ie: *only two ‘policies” and **no consensus sought/agendaized..


Some sympathetic allies worry that Barcelona En Comú is superimposing the commons ethic and language onto a conventional left politics – that it amounts to a re-branding of reform and a diluting of transformational ambitions.  Critics wonder whether the commons is in danger of being captured by The System. They ask whether “participative governance” in existing political structures is a laudable advance or a *troubling type of co-optation.

i suggest.. *troubling..


There will always be gaps, uncertainties and complexities that are encountered for the first time, which can only be addressed on-the-fly with creative improvisations

so let’s design for just that.. ie: short


Francesca Bria: transformational change is difficult because “the public sector was not designed to serve the people.”

spot on.. so .. do-over time



Sadly, this is absolutely true. City governments are usually designed to cater to wealthy developers, investors and corporations.

sounds like medical trek to cure cancer.. et al

agenda ness (ie: money as os) .. is eating our pants


The term (smart city) implies a private black box of proprietary technology that can be purchased, but is off-limits to ordinary mortals. Not quite a vision of the commons. Systems, not people, lie at its heart.


As the host for the Smart City Expo, the city government wanted to broaden the discourse of “smart cities” at this event, and so it invited the likes of me and David Harvey, among others.

david harvey


I also focused on a variety of commons-based urban initiatives such as the Bologna Regulation for the Care and Regeneration of Urban Commons, participatory budgeting, data commons and platform cooperatives.

coops.. budgeting.. nicer version of smart city mentality.. of cancer research.. we have to let go of measuring transactions..


the deeper point remains:  How to integrate commons-based systems with the complex realities of city governments and markets as they exist today?  Or must commons occupy a *different sphere entirely?

I confess that I do not have a fully satisfying answer to these questions.

*diff .. for (blank)’s sake


it is paramount that in doing so commons affirmatively protect their sovereignty and integrity of vision.

indeed.. partial ness is killing us


A third, more precarious option is to “stay on the threshold, neither in nor out.”  But is that sustainable?

absolutely.. that’s us.. and where regeneration is ongoingly possible


on DiEM25 – feb 2016

on being ashamed from all the dying happening..

today we are ashamed as well when we see that hundreds of thousands of evictions keep happening in spain.. as thousands of empty houses accumulate.. in the name of financial power and speculative interests..

everywhere.. no?

we’ve got to go the iwan baan (aka: self-organizing) route.. for (blank)’s sake

and being ashamed about greek bros/sis

choosing fraternity over fear.. coop over competition

find/follow Ada:

link twitter

Alcaldessa de Barcelona. Perquè estimem aquesta ciutat, guanyem una ! [We are a citizen platform w a collective project for transforming Barcelona]

her site:

I was born in the early morning of 3 March 1974, in Barcelona. Just a few hours earlier, Franco’s fascist regime had murdered Salvador Puig Antich in Barcelona’s La Modelo prison. This fact, which my mother reminds me of every year on my birthday, had a profound impact on me and has driven my commitment to social change.

‘We have more power than they’ve led us to believe’

barcelona site:

wikipedia small

Ada Colau Ballano (Catalan: [ˈaðə kuˈɫaw]; Spanish: [ˈaða koˈlau]; Barcelona, 3 March 1974), is a Spanish radical left-wing representative, and the current Mayor of Barcelona since 13 June 2015, the first woman to hold the office. Colau was one of the founding members and spokespeople of the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages), which was set up in Barcelona in 2009 in response to the rise in evictions caused by unpaid mortgage loans and the collapse of the Spanish property market in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Ada Colau has not ever worked in the private sector, nor has an undergraduate degree.


mayor ness