Folkebevegelsen for bevaring av vann som felleseie

Civil disobedience in Barcelona  (Lest 3311 ganger) Skriv ut

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Trude  Torsdag 10. Mai 2012, kl. 18:08

Country of origin
Name of the proposed action
Who pays is the one who rules: civil obedience action
Name of the organizatio n , group or network proposing the action
Aigua és vida (Water is Life, in Catalan)
Organization’s website

Description and motive for the action

Barcelona citizens find themselves utterly defenseless before a public and
basic service, as may be Water. Hence, and backed up by a judgment dated
October 2010, “the price that the Societat General d’Aigües de Barcelona,
AGBAR (the name of the public company offering watering service in
Barcelona) charges for the service rendered to the citizens of Barcelona is
illegal”, as “there is no tender agreement signed”. It adds that “we are
facing a null tender due to the lack of all eligible previous procedures”,
which implies “relevant material repercussions, as the management of the
water supply service in the city of Barcelona and the performance of SGAB
(currently AGBAR) in its quality of permit holder of said service are
considered unlawful”. Thus, the price of the bill referring to the amount
charged to the citizens of Barcelona for the service rendered “is unlawful”
and so, these installments must be cancelled, as well as the VAT thereof.
This action aims to be an example for other cities in the world to take the
same actions one by one, following the experience in Barcelona. We are
facing a situation of privatization of the public water supply and sanitation
services, especially in Greece, Portugal and Italy, despite the examples of
successful public services, such as the one in the Netherlands.
This action seeks to open a first door for all active citizens in the defense of
water and basic related services outside the logic of the market. The ACT!
will be the engine to build alternatives and to resist to privatization, as well
as to build water and sanitation public services with social participation and
under social control, where the real runners and controllers of this public
service were the public.
Given this alarming situation it has been a year since the Platform Aigua és
Vida started denouncing the deregulation of water, the impunity and the
lack of control over AGBAR’s actions and the social plundering that
reification of water means to all citizens.
We must also remember the devastating impact that AGBAR (subsidiary of
the French multinational SUEZ) provoked to the Southern countries and the
strong social opposition upon its arrival to Latin America: expulsion from
Buenos Aires, Santa Fe province, Cordoba city in Argentina, from La Paz –
High Bolivia and East Maldonado in Uruguay. Not to forget the water war in
Cochabamba (Bolivia) and the constitutional processes in Uruguay, Ecuador
and Bolivia, where the Human Right to water linked to a public and
participative management is recognized. Further information on this failure
in Latin America can be found in the work “Drowning: Rising and fall of
multinational companies in South America” (original title –Spanish-: “Con el
agua al cuello: Ascenso y Caída de las multinacionales en sudamérica”)
On the other hand, we must remember the serious impact of watering
multinational companies in Africa (Mali, South Africa, Gambia, Tanzania,
Malawi or Ghana) and Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia or Philippines). The work
“Mirage on the Water” (original title –Spanish-: “Espejismo en el agua”) is at
your disposal at:
All conflicts within the Spanish territory can be found in the work “Water, as
life, is not a good merchandise” (original title: El agua como la vida, no es
una mercancía) (
la-vida-no-es-una-mercancia.pdf), as well as a summary of all
struggles around Europe (Constitutional referendum in Italy, Berlin
referendum, the turning back to local administration of water in Paris, the
campaign against its privatization in Portugal or the change into watering
social management in Greece).
Given the serious impacts that privatization of watering public services is
implying worldwide, both at the North and at the South, and the situation
that we are living in Catalonia, we decided to focus in one of the main
watering multinationals, this is AGBAR-SUEZ, in order to achieve a changing
action. Therefore, we propose to start a campaign relying on the
refusal of paying the unlawful charge to AGBAR. Due to the
aforementioned judgment, we call it “civil obedience” and not “civil
All 8.000€ derived from ACT!2012 would be dedicated to three basic
1. Process map of the alternative charging of the fee
2. Diffusion campaign and information on the proposal
3. Legal advice
Specific r esult expected from the action
Recovery of public services, which politicians assigned to the private market
unlawfully and without appearing in any election program, in order to bring
them back to the citizenship.
Bringing back to public local management the watering service in
Arising to debate the need of having watering and sanitary service managed
in full by the public system.
Kind of action
Civil disobedience
Citizenship participation
As it has been introduced, citizenship is the main actor. Although there is a
quite important activity on popular education, collective thinking and
citizenship empowering, there is a need for citizens to step forward and
participate in the “civil obedience campaign”, this is, paying the fee
directly to the Ajuntament de Barcelona instead of paying it to
Term / Agenda
Autumn 2012
Organizations that could become collaborators
Local, social, syndical, ecologic, supportive or academic institutions and
social movements. The platform of Aigua és Vida is already a multi-sector
and multidisciplinary platform.
In an international level, it is closely coordinated with multi-sector networks
as Reclaiming Public Water, Water Justice Movement, European Watering
Network, Red Agua Pública, Red Vida.