PostDem (VII). David Fernàndez: parliaments. The CUP: one foot on the street, one foot in the Parliament

Notes from the Institutions of the Post-democracy: globalization, empowerment and governance conference, organized by the CUIMPB and the Communication and Civil Society program. Held in Barcelona, Spain, the 17th August 2013. More notes on this event: postdem.

David Fernàndez. Parliaments. The CUP: one foot on the street, one foot in the Parliament.

We are living the complete exhaustion of the current regime, including a deep defeat of the ideologies of the left.

One of the main factors of this exhaustion and defeat is the privatization of politics: the statement that politics have nothing to do with the citizenry. This paved the path of the total privatization not only of politics but of everything that was the common interest, ending up in the privatization of the welfare state.

Should we recover the institutions as we knew them? Should social movements enter these institutions?

Indeed, there already are many institutions working within the system but with different mindsets such as Coop57, SomEnergia. Xarxa d’Economia Solidària or La Directa.

The CUP benefits from all the social movements that are initiated just after the death of the Dictator Franco and the recovery of the Democracy in Spain. Of course, all the anti-globalization movements of the late XXth century and beginnings of the XXIst century. Deeply rooted in municipalism, the CUP begins to create local assemblies to concur to the municipal elections all over Catalonia, being part of the Parliament out of the question.

But the changes in the way of doing politics and the change in the sensibility of Catalonia regarding nationalism and independentism, the CUP decide to concur to the national elections and win three seats in the Parliament.

The three main courses of action are popular activation, civil disobedience and building of alternatives.

It is a crucial strategy to recover the commons and the common good for the citizenry. In material or infrastructural terms — recovering the assets and the strategic resources of a territory/community — but also in terms of superstructure — recovering the governance of the several institutions that have exert power over the citizenry or can influence public decision-making.

Power is not a space, but a relationship. Thus, if one aims at changing power, one has to change a relationship of power, a relationship usually between two parts: a third party and oneself. Changing relationships of power, thus, begins with changing one’s own practices.

Ways the whole thing can change: feudalist capitalism , democratic fascism or any other form of subtle authoritarianisms, or an egalitarian solution.


Arnau Monterde: how is made compatible being in the Parliament and being an assembly-based party on the outside? David Fernàndez: “It’s complicated”. The way it is done is creating 15 work groups within the organization which translate their diagnosis and decisions to the MPs so that they can use the information and decisions in the Parliament. There are also geographic groupings that help to vertebrate the territory.

Ismael Peña-López: technically speaking, the commons is a privatization of the public goods. Is privatization the way to (re)build the common sphere? David Fernàndez: we should separate the goals from the ownership of the commons. If the commons are headed towards providing a public good, this is what is most important, more important than technical ownership. There is no much difference between common and public. In this scenario, private/common ownership is only a second best when one cannot dispute the design of the State and how power is distributed.


Institutions of the Post-democracy: globalization, empowerment and governance (2013)