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The Future is Public


Towards Democratic Ownership of Public Services

Resistance to privatisation has turned into a powerful force for change. (Re)municipalisation refers to the reclaiming of public ownership of services as well as the creation of new public services. In recent years, our research has identified more than 1,400 successful (re)municipalisation cases involving more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries around the world. 

But this book is about more than just numbers. It shows that public services are more important than ever in the face of the climate catastrophe, mounting inequalities, and growing political unrest. Together, civil society organisations, trade unions, and local authorities are crafting new templates for how to expand democratic public ownership to all levels of society and opening up new routes to community-led and climate conscious public services.

The Covid-19 crisis has made clear the disastrous effects of years of austerity, social security cuts, and public service privatisation. But it has also demonstrated that public services and the people who operate them are truly the foundation of healthy and resilient societies. As privatisation fails, a growing international movement is choosing (re)municipalisation as a key tool for redefining public ownership for the 21st century. 

Download the full book here or individual chapters below. 


Table of Contents 

Introduction by the Editorial Team 

Part 1. Reclaiming public services around the world 

Chapter 1 Norway: Bankruptcy sparks more than 100 cases of remunicipalisation
Nina Monsen and Bjørn Pettersen

Chapter 2 Paris celebrates a decade of public water success
Célia Blauel

Chapter 3 Canada: Local insourcing in face of national privatisation push
Robert Ramsay

Chapter 4 Problems without benefits? The Danish experience with outsourcing and remunicipalisation
Thomas Enghausen

Chapter 5 Africa: Private waste service failure and alternative vision
Vera Weghmann

Chapter 6 National, regional and local moves towards public ownership in the UK
David Hall

Chapter 7 Putting the ‘public’ in public services: (Re)municipalisation cases in Malaysia and the Philippines
Mary Ann Manahan and Laura Stegemann

Chapter 8 Rebuilding public ownership in Chile: Social practices of the Recoleta commune and challenges to overcoming neoliberalism 
Alexander Panez Pinto

Chapter 9 United States: Communities providing affordable, fast broadband Internet
Thomas M. Hanna and Christopher Mitchell

Part 2. From (re)municipalisation to democratic public ownership 

Chapter 10 A new water culture: Catalonia’s public co-governance model in the making
Míriam Planas and Juan Martínez

Chapter 11 The empire strikes back: Corporate responses to remunicipalisation
Olivier Petitjean

Chapter 12 The labour dimension of remunicipalisation: Public service workers and trade unions in transition
Daria Cibrario

Chapter 13 Knowledge creation and sharing through public-public partnership in the water sector
Milo Fiasconaro

Chapter 14 Transforming the state: Towards democracy-driven public ownership
Hilary Wainwright

Chapter 15 Putting energy democracy at the heart of a Green New Deal to counter the climate catastrophe
Lavinia Steinfort

Conclusion by the Editorial Team 


edited by Satoko Kishimoto, Lavinia Steinfort, Olivier Petitjean
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