‘Building Red-Green Alternatives: Can Commons challenge Neoliberalism from below?’

International transform! Conference

HK København
Svend Aukens Plads 11
2300 Copenhagen S


This is the sixth international conference organized by the Transform!Danmark network, continuing its work to help develop left alternatives in the economic and ecological field.


The principal focus of this year’s conference will be the issue of ‘Commons’ seen as an integral part of the debate on developing alternatives to growth – and to neoliberalism – and transforming society.

The ‘Commons’ and the common goods – as for example clean air, water and soil – are today under attack by investments and privatization, and are met by popular movements and pressure from below creating counter-movement and alternatives. The discussion of ‘Commons’ is about the management of our common resources, it is about responsibility for the climate and the planning of our common future.

The speakers will also focus on the results of the fight against privatization. In relation to the ‘Commons’ we will further include: fracking, the extraction of raw materials, and climate change; we focus on ‘Commons’ as a tool of the trade union movement, and as an alternative in the cooperative movement.

Registration: kontakt@transformdanmark.dk

Participation fee (to cover for food and drink during the day): 100 DKK (to be paid in cash at the entrance)

Organisers: Transform!Danmark in cooperation with the transform! europe network, and supported by Enhedslisten/the Red­Green Alliance, Grobund (left educational association), Det Ny Clarté, Solidaritet, AfrikaKontakt, Kritisk Debat and others.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

9:30 Registration and coffee/tea

10:00 Welcome


Tom Kucharz, Spain, Ecologistas en Acción.
“How to use ‘Commons’ in defending public goods and transforming society”
The threat of privatisation of public goods and services in Europe and globally. Experiences from concrete struggles against TTIP, CETA, etc. and other so-called “free trade” agreements in Europe and elsewhere.


Satoko Kishimoto, Japan, Transnational Institute (TNI), Amsterdam. A Coordinator of the Public Alternative project in TNI and Reclaiming Public Water Network since 2005. Her latest edited book is ‘Our Public Water Future: The global experience with remunicipalisation’ (2015).
“Reclaiming public services as Commons: strategies for Remunicipalisation and Democratisation”
In the past 15 years, there have been at least 235 cases of water remunicipalisation in 37 countries, affecting more than 100 million people. Despite growing evidence failure, promotion of privatisation and PPPs has remained strong as a solution for financing public services and infrastructure. Local authorities are facing a major challenge in how to finance public services and infrastructure without entering into PPPs and other neoliberal options.

11:45-12:00 Break

12:00-13:00 Questions and debate

13:00-14:00 Lunch

14:00-16:30 Parallel seminars

Seminar 1: The dangers of extraction – keeping raw materials in the ground

Sukhgerel Dugersuren, Mongolia, Executive Director of Oyu Tolgoi Watch, human rights and environmental defender.
“Extraction in Mongolia”
Since early 2000s there have been heavy extraction in South Gobi Desert to the detriment of environment, human communities and animals in this ecologically sensitive region. Traditionally local communities are nomadic herders roaming with their animals through thin pastures of the Gobi. Large mining corporations have taken away not only pastures but most importantly the life sustaining water resources in this desert environment. The corporation do not recognize traditional rights of indigenous population extracting underground water at 870 m3 per second rate for their mega mines.

Llorens Planagumá, Catalonia, Spain, geologist, promoting laws against fracking.
“Fracking in Europe”
The environmental impacts in rural landscapes: Danger of contamination of groundwater supplies due to the use of chemical products; overexploitation of the aquifers given that fracking requires large amounts of water; traffic and noise associated with heavy industry.
Hydraulic fracturing is not compatible with other economic activities such as agriculture and tourism. Europe needs to promote policies that will defend the right of people to live in a healthy environment and the protection of the environment in which people live should be declared as of public interest.

Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Greenland, MP of Inuit Ataqatigiit.
“Global Warming and Extraction in Greenland”
Greenland is rich in raw materials and some Greenland politicians wish to make the most of this to the benefit of the economy. Plans for extraction include extraction of uranium and fossil oil. What are the consequences of this for the environment, for the climate and for the population?

Seminar 2: Commons and Cooperatives – and the struggle against privatisation?

Chantal Delmas, France, co-coordinator of the project of ‘Commons’ in transform! europe network, and on social re-appropriation in Espaces Marx (France).
“What can bring the concept of Commons into the Labour Movement?”
How can the labour movement fight against “There Is No Alternative”?
The question of ownership in the private and public sector.
May we rethink institutions and the question of state through the concept of Commons?

Julieta Paredes, Bolivia, poet and author, part of Women Creating Community, co-founder of Mujeres Creando, a Bolivian anarcha-feminist collective.
“Women creating Commuinty”
How to create Community from the perspective of indigenous women. How does the Community relate to society as a whole? How can communities improve the role of indigenous women? 

Fred Freundlich, Basque Country, USA and Spain, a professor of cooperative enterprise and cofounder of a masters’ program on the social economy at the Faculty of Business, Mondragon University in the Basque Country of Spain.
“The Commons in the Core Economy? Potential Clues from the Mondragon Cooperative Experience”
Mondragon is a large, integrated network of over 100 worker cooperatives in many sectors. Over 50 years of experience, Mondragon has developed a perspective on the Commons and the enterprise that many people think is important to social change movements. This perspective is based on broad worker ownership in the core economy within a framework of solidarity and intercooperation among enterprises.

16:30-16:45 Coffee break

16:45-17:30: Concluding debate in plenary between the speakers of the conference and the participants on the main topics of the day 


More detailed information concerning speakers and their contributions at: www.transformdanmark.dk