This is how Christiania’s self-management work’s
Christiania’s self-management is built on, that every individual has a responsibility for his/her own life and his/hers home.
The resident’s in an area have a common responsibility for the area’s development and condition.
All Christianit’s, about 650 grown up’s and 200 children, have to take responsibility and action, if there is to be development in the local community. Through the individual Christianit’s self-discipline and the community’s close network have we created a district, almost without crime, violence and fear, and the responsibility is not only for the psychological environment.
Self-management also means, that if a resident is not keeping up his home, there will be no authority to come and do it for him/her.
In the individual areas the self-management work in the same way.
Another important element in Christiania’s self-management is, that we work with a flat and manageable decision structure, there support’s and strengthens the grassroots foundation. This way it is reasonable easy for a group, there is burning for an idea, to describe it and seek support and economical support from the community, for a realisation of the project.
After that, it is the responsibility of the group to use, manage and maintain the project – this is activism and self-management. That way we avoid an elite and top-managed development of our town. Here there is room for dream’s and fire-soul’s, with social and physical free-room to develop new idea’s and initiatives.
The starting point is always, that the resident’s decide for them self, why, when, and how we will develop our town.
· Community- meeting
Christiania’s highest authority is the community-meeting. Here we discus the issues and problems that affect the whole of Christiania. At community-meetings all Christianit’s can come and give his/her opinion. All Christianit’s has obligation to follow the community-meetings decision. The number of meetings is as needed.
Christiania is split up into 14 local areas of different sizes, some areas have 10 residents, the larger have more than 80.Every area have responsibility for decisions made in their close environment. The residents in the area in a joint venture develop the area and its housing policy, make users rights agreements with the corporations and associations, prioritize renovation, maintain new projects, approve new residents and solve problems among neighbours.If the area-meeting is not able to solve a problem, it can be brought on to the community-meeting. On the other hand, area-meetings are often used as a preparation dialog forum for issues at community-meeting level.
· Area-cashier meetings
Here the 14 area-cashiers and one representative from the economic-group.The meeting is once a month.
The economy-meeting, in daily talk we call in the common-box, it take care of Christiania’s common economy and development of Christiania’s superior economy frame. All the institutions under the common-box participate.The head-cashiers, area-cashiers and people applying for loans from the common-box, 3 has meeting obligation.The meeting is held once a month.
· Budget community-meeting
Budget community-meeting discus and decide the budget for the community-box what comes in and what goes out.
Here for example they can decide if we have to pay more for our users right 4.
Typically, the meetings are held as a succession of yearly theme meetings.
Christiania’s three cashiers’ takes care of the daily operation of the common finance’s.
The economy-group also takes care of payment for electricity and water to Copenhagen Energy and the municipal contribution margin.
The group also make presentation for the budget meeting.
The corporate-meeting has the purpose of supporting and inspire the more than 80 Christiania corporations transversely.Here we discus problems about the daily operations, user’s rights agreements and payment to the common-box.The corporate-meeting stand under the economy-meeting, and all corporations send a representative, and the cashier from the economy-group.
At the building-meeting the work of the building office is discussed.
The meeting discus and evaluate building projects that have already started, both in the planning phase and in projects already on the way.
It also take care of applications for 1/3 part agreements and the green loan fond.
The meetings are held once a month.
The purpose of the contact-group is to be a connection between the defence ministries, the fortification and nature secretary (FNS) and Christiania.
The contact-group has mandate to discuss and handle conflicts between Christiania and FNS for example in the renewal of the framework agreement. The contact-groups job is to pass the dialog on to the area-meetings, before the results come to a final decision at the community meeting. Meetings are held when needed.
(used to untill 2004, thereafter meetings has been between SES (Palaces and Properties Agency) and Christianias negotiation Group.
After the initial plan was dumped a new contact group was created, and they has been having meetings with SES.
The group is the connection between Christianshavns local authority in discussions about solution models for traffic and parking problems.The group is composed of interested and dedicated Christianit’s, and they meet as the need arise.
Democracy is a long and difficult process, there sometimes can be exhausting, when every participant has the right to participate in the discussions. Manny problems are often so full of conflicts, that it is impossible to reach an agreement in one or a couple of meetings.
Therefore it takes some decisions processes month or even years, but that dos not mean that the quality is less.
Decisions that are forced through, will not be respected and lived by anyway, and have therefore poor value. That everyone participate in the discussions sometimes make the meetings chaotic, but it has the effect that the structure has spaciousness and prevent the social marginalizing and expulsion that we usually se in the rest of the Danish society.
In Christiania you are never cut of from influence on the development in your local environment, even if the social status for example is alcoholic, foreigner, physical or psychological handicapped.
The value in being held as a participant in decisions processes lessen the risk of “falling out” of other society functions and thereby be further marginalized.
· The last word
The last word in this history has not yet been written. Christiania’s existence is threatened like never before. The governments co-operation with The Danish People’s party has lead to a radical tightening I the politic for Christiania. One moment they want urban renewal, the next moment they want to dismantle us.
The next moment they start an idea competition, the next moment they want to tear all the houses, on the embankment by the lake, down. There is no doubt – they want to kill Christiania. We have since 1991 had a framework agreement with the government. In this period we have developed Christiania within these frames, agreements and practices that we have agreed upon. That is why we don’t understand the complaints from the government’s statement of may 6. 2003, that we now have 98 illegal new renovations and additions, when we feel we have kept all our obligations.
The new idea competition is absurd. It is build upon that we should have committed breach of contract and they can therefore take away our users rights and thereby our self-management. This is not true.
The idea competition overlook more than ten years co-operation between FNS and Christiania about the development of our free city. The idea competition is hostile towards Christiania and value the military installation, without looking at the values in the self-growing, self-building and social Christiania. Architect planning is absurd in relation to Christiania. Because the essence of Christiania is the unorganized and organized development, where the frames are filled after the users needs or sudden ideas.
The left-wing talks about “Minimal-state,” “freedom and less state-intervention,” “let the people bloom” or “the open community:” These are headlines from Anders Fogh Rasmussens book 1993, from “social-state to Minimal-state. This is coherent with the way Christiania lives. Normalisation with rules, laws and management like the rest of Denmark will in fact mean killing Christiania’s self-management. A notion that it is possible to keep the picturesquely part of Christiania is absurd and grotesquely. There would only be a hollow shell left. The free – town Christiania is “The canary in the coalmine.” We warn Denmark: The oxygen in the society Is about to run out.
The last up to date (not copied from the status report) concludes, that the government, with their new bill about Christiania, has put words to what always has been their intention….beneath their fine/user friendly words. This mode for people to be together must be removed The symbol value is to great, and in their eyes threatening for their society-order, because you cannot make money on it.
They want to tear down Christiania Christiania’s self-management After more than 30 years in our free-town we have, through our near-democracy established a sustainable town district with a lot of obvious advantages.
Dynamic with room for all good and crooked ideas, sustainable when it builds directly on the residents possibilities and needs, un-bureaucratically and without the need for a extensive management and legislation. Democratic because those responsible for decisions also has to realise them. Pedagogically because we all through a comprehensive and open dialog understand and respect the decisions made. This materiel about self-management is copied from our status report. The status report make status about our self-management from 1991 to 2003. You can find the “Status Raport” under “Information om Christiania” – it’s only available in Danish.