|Water protesters in Ireland. Photo: William Murphy, Flickr|
|Scene from one of the massive protests in Cochabamba, Bolivia in April 2000 from |
There’s something about struggles like these over water that give us the ear of the general public in ways that most of the time we only imagine. As Oscar Olivera, the trade unionist leader of Coordinadora del Agua in Cochabamba during the water revolt, pointed out, ‘We always repeated those slogans “Death to the World Bank”, “Death to the IMF”, “Down with Yankee imperialism” but I believe that [the water war was] the first time that the people understood in a direct way.’
|Demonstration of up to 100,000 people in Dublin in October 2014 against a new Water tax and under the slogan Water is a human right Picture Dara Robinson/flickr/cc) from |
In Ireland, many of the political arrangements that seem to be immutable may well turn out to be as thin and vulnerable as they were in Bolivia – and are proving to be in places such as Greece and Spain.
As Brendan Ogle, trade unionist and spokesperson for the Right2Water campaign (@right2water), has said about the achievements of the movement in Ireland: ‘Until now people felt alone; they felt that what the Troika want, what the IMF want, what the ECB want, is what the government will deliver, not what the citizens want. They now know that they’re not alone.’
There’s something about water and the ways that it unites people in common cause that can expand people’s horizons to the possibilities of broader social change. And while moments of victory – when edifices crumble – are unpredictable, fleeting and rare, when they do happen, we sometimes find that everything is changed.
In the words of Maria Eugenia Flores, ‘In the face of so much injustice, we stood up and lost our fear.’
Thomas McDonagh is a researcher and project coordinator at the Democracy Centre based in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He is contributing author of Unfair, Unsustainable and Under the Radar: How Corporations Use Global Investment Rules to Undermine a Sustainable Future and Corporate Conquistadors: The Many Ways Multinationals Both Drive and Profit from Climate Destruction
Original Url http://www.redpepper.org.uk/from-ireland-to-bolivia-theres-something-in-the-water/
- Video. Water war in Cochabamba Bolivia and future scenarios (from Blue Gold: World Water Wars), June 2013 uploaded by bavajose
- Privatizing Europe. Using the Crisis to entrench Neoliberalism. Working Paper. Jospeh Zacune Transnational institute
- From Water Wars to Water Scarcity: Bolivia’s Cautionary TaleEmily Achtenberg Rebel CurrentsNACLA 6th May 2013
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