In this guest post, written on request, Jan Willem Goudriaan, Deputy General Secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), updates the experience with the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on the Human Right to Water. Based on a discussion of the struggles over water privatisation in Thessaloniki/Greece, he assesses how the ECI has been linked with local struggles and demands for an alternative Europe (for the earlier post see European Citizens’ Initiative on Water and the alternative to Austerity Europe).
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
Privatisation is a truly fantastic thing. Privatising public services would result in four benign consequences, we are told: (1) the production of services becomes more efficient and, therefore, cheaper; (2) the quality of the services is improved; (3) the cost of services for the consumer is reduced; and (4) companies providing these services can still make a profit. And this all as a result of private services being subject to the competitive pressures of the free market. Like a perpetuum mobile, a hypothetical machine which continues to function once activated, privatization would have an inevitable and continuing positive impact once implemented. In this post, I will critically evaluate these claims against the background of my research on the Italian water movement against privatisation (see Road to Victory and La lotta continua) and discuss why it is that this discourse continues to enjoy such widespread acceptance, although it is empirically so obviously wrong.
Sunday, 4 May 2014
Thursday, 1 May 2014
Against the background of the global and Eurozone financial crises as well as austerity sweeping across Europe, the pressure on privatising public services is immense. The story of the Italian water movement, a broad alliance of social movements and trade unions, which successfully mobilized for a referendum against the privatization of water in June 2011, is a story of hope for alliances involved in resisting privatization elsewhere. From 25 March to 8 April, I conducted a series of interviews with members of this movement. In this post, I will report on the emergence and ultimate success of this movement in the referendum.