Since winning the 2015 municipal elections in Barcelona after seemingly coming out of nowhere, Barcelona en Comú has captured worldwide political attention. The party currently holds a majority 11 out of 41 of the seats in the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, including Barcelona mayor Ada Colau. The win overturned years of reign of groups such as the Socialists´ Party of Spain (PSC) in local government.
Barcelona en Comú is an entity in Barcelona that can be described as many things – initially called Guanyem Barcelona (let´s win Barcelona), it began as a democratic citizen platform in 2014 and carried out on a left-wing, citizen-focused agenda in the following months. 300,000 citizens signed its collectively-created manifesto, and the group began to campaign for the 2015 municipal election cycle with support from groups such as Podemos, a left-wing populist party, Procés Constituent, a pro-Catalan independence social movement, and ICV-EUiA, an left-wing electoral coalition made up by Initiative for Catalonia Greensand United and Alternative Left. The next year, the 10-month-old group had won the majority in the elections, technically catapulting it into the status of a political party. However, some members of the group emphasize the irregularity of this descriptor with Comú´s main goal: to unite a variety of citizens regarding a multitude of social issues.
The main face of the party is Ada Colau, who became the first female mayor, or alcadessa, in the city´s history in 2015. Colau has been rooted in local activism for years, especially in regards to evictions and housing problems in the city, and helped to found Barcelona en Comú on a platform of local activism and citizen advocacy. Despite the election win, there was initial hesitancy within Comú about appointing one representative of a collective citizens´ platform.
Comú specifies four main principles for ¨Winning back Barcelona¨, which describes the goal of transferring power back to citizens rather than just institutions in power. They are as follows: Guaranteeing basic human rights and dignity for all people, boosting an economy of social and environmental justice, democratizing institutions for people and power for people to decide on the city they want, and taking on an ethical commitment to the citizenry.
Comú has established both neighborhood and district groups in Barcelona that address the needs of each area, similarly to the district committees within the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona.