Tuesday, October 05, 2010

bolivia resisted corporatist parasitism....,

Alternet | The revolt of Cochabamba was celebrated by social movements because it was the first blockage in a seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of privatization. There is a photo of the Bolivian water war that is almost as iconic as the unknown hero who defied the tanks in Tiananmen Square. It shows a solitary indigenous woman, with plaited hair and pleated skirt, launching a slingshot against an implacable line of armed police.It symbolises the valiant resistance of the people of Cochabamba who succeeded in April 2000 in throwing out the Californian multinational company Bechtel that had privatised their water and pushed rates sky-high.

Yet it also captures the sense of the overwhelming power structures that resistance to water privatisation faced. For the year 2000 marked the height of a wave of water privatisation across the developing world, when almost all institutions from the World Bank to the IMF to the European Union argued that only the private sector could hope to bring clean water to everyone. The revolt of Cochabamba was celebrated by social movements because it was the first blockage in a seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of privatisation.

Ten years after the Water War, with the benefit of hindsight, it increasingly looks like Bolivia's water war was not a solitary heroic act, but marked the very beginnings of a turning point on water privatisation.