municipality(redirected from Gemeente)
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in bourgeois states, the elected local administrative bodies and bodies of self-government. In some countries, such as the USA and Great Britain, only urban administrative bodies are called municipalities.
Municipalities are elected by the people of an administrative-territorial unit. According to bourgeois law, they are public corporations. As a rule, municipalities consist of an executive bureaucracy and an elected council headed by a mayor or burgomaster. Municipalities may own community enterprises, housing, and other properties. They supervise public schools, sanitation services, and the local police, and in a number of countries they administer various institutions providing medical and social welfare services. Local taxes are their main source of revenue.
During the period of imperialism, especially under the conditions of state-monopoly capitalism, the municipalities as the bodies of local bourgeois self-government have gradually lost their independence in local affairs and are becoming agencies of the central state administration. Their activity is regulated and controlled by the machinery of state. Financially, the municipalities find themselves extremely dependent on subsidies from the central authorities. A deep crisis characterizes municipal administration in the developed capitalist countries. At the same time, the municipality, as an elected body, is an important institution of bourgeois democracy. The working class and the Communist parties in the bourgeois countries wage a continuous struggle to win a majority in the municipalities, to expand their socially useful services, and to make them more attentive to the interests of the working people. In France, Italy, and a number of other countries, the progressive forces have made significant gains in municipal elections and occupy strong positions in many municipalities, holding either the mayoralty or a majority of seats in the council.