Urban Democracy
An Internet Journal                                         No. 1, March 2001


  Urban democracy is illusory  as long as mayors, town directors, city councils no matter how well-meaning are under inescapable and  unchecked pressure from regional, state or federal governments to cut spending, and from business to lower taxes and offer other incentives, or face an exodus of companies as well as forfeiting any chances to attract investors that offer additional employment  opportunities.

  Urban democracy is a necessity if democracy in society at large is to be real. Without meaningful ways for ordinary people to influence and shape the most vital conditions of their lives in their immediate surroundings, the democratic process is a mere façade, and  political democracy is offering only the perhaps illusory promise of our potential, as ordinary citizens, to achieve real democratization, a real say, in our own affairs.

We propose to create a forum of international, democratic debate. 
A forum for the people,  the woman and man "in the street," 
for their grass roots organizations, for concerned scientists, artists, writers... 
And for those engaged in politics who have decided to put the goal of strengthening 
political participation of ordinary citizens on the top of their agenda. 

We know that municipal (and regional) democracy cannot 
but fail if society at large is not fully democratized, 
in the sense of meaningful influence and  a real voice 
for the majority that is at present allowed only to vote 
every four or five years while the important 
decisions are taken by professional 
politicians susceptible to the pressures of the few, 
most often those with a lot of money. 

But we also know that society at large cannot be fully 
democratic if local (and regional) affairs are left 
unattended by local people failing to empower 
themselves to decide the very things that affect them 
in an essential way  at their very doorsteps. 
Local reform, aiming at an increased say of the many 
in everything vital for their communities, 
it is the prerequisite for democracy in our societies. 

Write us!  e-mail: urbandemocracy@aim.com