You are here

A.7.a. Resistance to Energy and Water Privatization

Volume Two -> A. Campaigns for Social and Economic Justice -> A.7. Opposing IMF Policies and Privatization -> A.7.a. Resistance to Energy and Water Privatization

Opposition to privatization continues in many parts of the world. For example the The Times of India reported in January 2014 a threatened strike by power engineers in the state of Uttar Pradesh opposing state plans to privatize power supplies in four cities. It is impossible to provide solid references for all these struggles, but those cited below give an impression of the breadth of resistance.

Abramsky, Kolya, Sparking a Worldwide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in Transition to a Post-Petrol World, Edinburgh and Oakland CA, A.K. Press, 2010, pp. 480

Chapters by authors from 20 countries on developments in energy sector and struggles.

Bakker, Karen, The “Commons” versus the “Commodity”: Alter-Globalization, Anti-Privatization and the Human Right to Water in the Global South, Antipode, Vol. 39, issue 3 (June), 2007, pp. 430-455

Examines different (though overlapping) alternatives to privatization developed through North-South and red-green alliances and argues concept of the ‘commons’ most effective basis for a strategy of action.

Brennan, Brid ; Hoedeman, Olivier ; Terhorst, Philipp ; Kishimoto, Satoko ; Balanyá, Belén, Reclaiming Public Water. Achievements, Struggles and Visions from Around the World, Amsterdam, Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory, 2005, pp. 284

Translations: Spanish
Buhlungu, Sakhela, The Anti-Privatisation Forum: A Profile of a Post-Apartheid Social Movement, Johannesburg, University of the Witwatersrand, 2004, pp. 22

A case study for the University of KwaZulu-Natal project Globalisation, Marginalisation and new Social Movements in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Davidson-Harden, Adam ; Naidoo, Anil ; Harden, Andi, The Geopolitics of the Water Justice Movement, Peace, Conflict and Development, issue 11 (Nov), 2007, pp. -33

Food Empowerment Project, Water Usage and Privatization, Vol. 2016, Cotati CA, Food Empowerment Project, 2015

Useful summary analysis including brief case studies of corporate misuse of water and resistance to them (and further references): Nestle in US, Vivendi and Suez in Mexico, Bechtel in Bolivia and Coca Cola in India.

Hall, David ; Lobina, Emanuele ; de la Motte, Robin, Public Resistance to Privatisation in Water and Energy, Development in Practice, Vol. 15, issue 3-4 (June), 2005

Examines role of different types of opposition in ‘delaying, cancelling or reversing the privatization of water and energy’, including success in Nkondobe (South Africa), Paraguay where parliament voted in 2002 to suspend indefinitely privatization of state-owned water and Poznan in Poland in 2002, and failure of campaigns in UK, Chile and Philippines.

Olivera, Oscar ; Lewis, Tom, ¡Cochabamba! Water War in Bolivia, Cambridge MA, South End Press, 2004, pp. 224

Romano, Sarah, From Protest to Proposal: The Contentious Politics of the Nicaraguan Anti-Water Privatization Social Movement, Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 31, issue 4, 2012, pp. 499-514

Shiva, Vandana, Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit, Cambridge MA, Southend Press, 2002, pp. 156

Outlines 9 principles of ‘water democracy ‘ and highlights activism against corporations claiming water supplies.

Shiva, Vandana, Resisting Water Privatisation, Building Water Democracy, Mexico City, World Water Forum, 2006

Includes information on successful local campaigns:

  1. against Coca Cola bottling plant, closed in 2004, leading to national campaign “Coca-Cola-Pepsi Quit India Campaign’;
  2. resistance to water diversion in Uttar Pradesh;
  3. campaign in Delhi against raised tariffs and proposed privatization.