Right to Water: Stop Water Privatization!

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What do lack of water, lack of health care, job loss and privatization have in common? They all hurt families and violate our HUMAN RIGHTS!!!

In 2009, the people in the United States who are employed are working hard but are not getting the quality of life they deserve. America’s social contract continues to erode at a time when jobs  are becoming less and less secure. The sad fact is that workers today need to fight much harder for their rights because unions, which improved workers’ lives by organizing them into powerful groups, today represent only 7.4% of the private sector workforce.  Also the U.S. corporate relationship with its employees has dramatically changed. In a world of new global and domestic competition, corporations  have shifted their main objectives to maximizing shareholder returns, regardless of the effects of their actions on the interests of workers, communities, or the economy.

This same mentality is being applied on the local level in local city governments. Take for example, the residents of Highland Park, Michigan, known as the birthplace of the auto-industry. The tremendous job loss they suffered BEFORE the financial meltdown, is now accelerating.  They have received water bills as high as $10,000; they have had their water turned off, their homes foreclosed, and are struggling to keep their water, a basic human right, from being privatized.  Their city government, desperate for revenue, is willing to take the water away from families that can’t pay more for it. This reality is documented in the the Water Front movie.  The movie raises awareness that water privatization is not affecting only poor countries. Everywhere in the world, people are facing difficulties in accessing water. Covering all water issues, from pricing to privatization, and especially the human right to WATER, the Water Front movie (see trailer http://www.waterfrontmovie.com/media) sends a strong message on the way public participation and action can overcome problems.

The Women’s Economic Agenda Project firmly believes that the right to water goes hand in hand with the right to health care.  Water is one of the most essential elements to good health and we don’t just mean simply being “healthy”. We mean that people have the right to reach their highest attainable standard of mental and physical health. Health means a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not just the absence of disease. This Fall, WEAP will be hosting a film screening of the film The Water Front. It is our hope that through awareness raising, we can begin to shed light on how the struggle in Highland Park is a greater reflection of an attack on human and worker rights. Please watch our Website for more information regarding this proactive effort to educate and engage the residents of the Bay Area around what we can start doing to ensure our HUMAN RIGHTS are preserved!  To get more information contact WEAP at socialjustice@weap.org.

Introductory Resources:

             –Michigan Welfare Rights Union
            –The Water Front
            –The Water Channel

*Photos courtesy of The Water Front website.


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