Dear frends,I send the appeal that are spreading from Italy after the start of the referendum campaign against water privatization, greetings,Marco Iob
Italy: towards two referenda for water as a commons The Italian Constitutional Court has finally accepted the call of the referendum on the 12th january of this year. It had been demanded by one million and 400.000 electors after a huge national mobilization to collect that amount of signatures. It is now starting in Italy the referendum campaign that aims to repeal the regulations which made compulsory the privatization of water services and to pave the way to the public and participatory management of this common resource.The Referendum represents now a great challenge for the Italian movement for many reasons. First, it will require a great effort in order to reach the minimum number of votes (50% + 1 of the Italian voters). With less than this it won't be valid. Secondly, the political significance of the vote; talking about privatization of water means revealing the readiness of civil society to understand the concept of water as a commons. The choice will be between the market and the citizens themselves, through public and participatory management aiming to protect the commons and not to maximize the profit they might generate.The success of the Italian referendum might represent therefore a turning point in the liberal policy Europe has been implementing particularly in the last several years.This turning point comes from the grassroots level: it took hundreds of local committees, environmental associations, catholic associations, trade unions, NGOs, and individual citizens from across the whole nation to make this possible. They have come together and have been organizing since 2006 in the Italian Forum of Water Movements and have been sending requests, doing proposals, fighting every day to gain more and more democracy and participation.The victory at the referendum will also represent a great blow to the powerful water corporations who are wanting to turn water into their biggest business in Europe and in the rest of th world. We are therefore calling upon all international movements, networks, organizations and local authorities caring for building of a new world policy on the commons in order to have your support during the referednum campaign against the privatisation of water in Italy; international civil society must be aware of and continue to pay attention to this important process. It might in fact give more strength to the European movements and start a new path of changes right at the core of the “old” liberal Europe towards a Europe of commons.
Italian Forum of Water Movements