April 2014: Our water is not for sale

Saturday 5 April 2014
The Gresham Hotel O’Connell St., Dublin (Ireland).

Conference on the Politics, Selling and Privatisation of Water
Convened by Brid Smith, People Before Profit candidate for Europe
Sponsored by Unite the Union

“Water promises to be the 21st century what oil was to the 20th century: the precious commodity that determines the wealth of nations” - Fortune Magazine

Water is a basic human need and therefore ought to be a basic human right. Yet, those who profit from its overuse and abuse are determining the future of one of the earth’s most vital resources. A handful of multinational corporations, backed by the World Bank and the European Union, are aggressively taking over the management of public water services around the world, dramatically increasing the price of water to the local residents and profiting from the people’s search for solutions to the water crisis. The corporate agenda is clear water should be treated like any other tradable good, with its use determined by market principles. At the same time, governments are signing away their control over domestic water supplies by participating in trade agreements and institutions that effectively give private corporations unprecedented access to the water of signatory countries.

Irish people have long resisted the introduction of water charges and following a sustained three-year campaign succeeded in abolishing water charges in 1997. Now under the guise of EU imposed austerity water charges of €300 plus per year are being imposed. Water charges are just the latest burden the Government plans to impose on the Irish people — after bin charges, the Universal Social Charge and the Property Tax along with wage cuts and welfare cuts of austerity — all designed to keep the banks and our European paymasters sweet.

The “Our Water is Not for Sale” Forum will bring together activists opposed to charges, environmental and anti-capitalist campaigners from Ireland and Europe as well as leading campaigners from South America to discuss the wider politics of water and privatisation; we will to consider how they relate to climate change and other environmental issues; and crucially, we will focus on developing strategies of resistance.

Conference hightlights

  • Marcela Olivera from the Great Water Revolt in Cochabamba, Bolivia 2000
  • Professor Mike Gonzalez from Venezuela
  • Plus speakers from UNITE –the Union, and from campaigns in Ireland and Europe 

Read the provisional timetable and more on the website of People before profit alliance