After a year and a half of protests by trade unions and citizens, of demonstrations and debates throughout the Madrid community, on Sunday, March 4th a people’s consultation was held in the surrounding municipalities, organized by the Platform against the privatization of the Isabel II Canal (Privatizacion del Canal Isabel II), by the Movement M-15 (Indignados) and by several social and political groups.
100 polling stations were set up by M-15, 50 by neighbourhood groups, 40 by Izquierda Unida and 120 by the Platform.
The consultation was organized because local authorities rejected the request put forth by thousands of citizens and several municipalities to review the privatization process of the public company that supplies water to 6 million people.
Throughout the community a total of 319 polling stations were set up, where people were asked: “Do you agree that the Isabel II Canal should remain 100% public?”
After counting the votes at 295 polling stations the result was remarkable, it is estimated that in the end about 180 thousand citizens had voted, and of those, 98.9% voted YES.
In a press conference, the promoters declared: «We know that this consultation is not binding, that now the local authorities should stop the privatization process, but we know that it is up to us to continue fighting. We do know that we have given the people a way to express their opinion. Until a few months ago people knew nothing of this privatization, while now most of them are informed and ready to defend the public management of water.
This is a great victory for the Madrid movement and for ours as well.
Now more than ever there are not only new groups of opinion, but people’s movements capable to put forth proposals and fight for the protection of Water as a Common Good.
Movements that are able to tip the scale of social relations. We feel less alone!
This is a very important step in the creation of a European Water Network which can review the liberal policies of the financial power in Europe.
In Marseille we will have to opportunity to forge bonds with Spanish, European and world movements.
Because it is written Water but it is read Democracy!