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02 2016

The Institute for Democracy and Municipalism (Institute DM)

Periódico Diagonal

Translated by Kelly Mulvaney


The Institute for Democracy and Municipalism (Institute DM) introduced itself this morning in Madrid. The initiative’s objective is "to stimulate the cycle that was started by 15M beyond its current limits, or to work so that the democratic revolution continues its course,” as its promoters point out. The think tank, as one of its founders, the sociologist and historian Emmanuel Rodríguez, describes it, “aims to become a space of reference at the levels of debate, education, research and political discussion.” Ultimately: “to animate and promote the emergence of ideas that stimulate a change in the political cycle.”

“In this setting of theoretical-political weakness, of incredible struggle, of precarized intelligentsia, our idea is to create an institute and become communal in shared production, to get many inputs that are coming from many places and to try and translate and interpret what is happening,” explained the Professor of philosophy and councilperson of Ahora Madrid, Montserrat Galcerán, at the opening of the event at Teatro del Barrio. “It is about taking back the battle of ideas,” Rodríguez pointed out, “always anchored by the positions of movement, and not departing so much from the institutional.”

The new organism, born directly from experiences such as the Observatorio Metropolitano of Madrid or Fundación de los Comunes, aims to work on the idea of democracy in a radical sense, so as to promote “the continued liveliness of democracy made from below,” remarked Rodríguez.

Further, the think tank aims to address three rubrics: political economy from a horizon of the crisis of capitalism, the European scenario and its conflicts, and the construction of movement. For this the organization will work on producing research projects, books, reports, spaces of self-education (in collaboration with Nociones Comunes, the self-education space of the associative bookshop Traficantes de Sueños) or forums, among other activities.

“The institute does not aspire to be the collective brain of anyone, or to be another one, and the ideal would be for more initiatives like this to begin,” clarified the sociologist before the public began asking questions about its scope of action. Dedicated to the metropolitan area of Madrid, but with support from and close relations with other areas of the Spanish State, like the Galician Mareas or different nodes of Fundación de los Comunes, the organization will depend on an assembly to which the population will be invited to participate.

The introductory event continued with the forum “Towards a Second Transition?,” in which the councilperson of Ahora Madrid and promoter of the Institute, Pablo Carmona, as well as the representatives of Podemos in the Madrid Assembly, Carmen San José and Isidro López.