Skip to comments.‘We are hiding out with no water’: Detroit privatizers deny poor people their right to water
Posted on 06/28/2014 5:50:44 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Every week, as some 3,000 additional families water is shut off by their public utility, Detroiters protest on Freedom Friday.
We are hiding out in our own house with no water, Shelah, a 15-year-old youth and poverty skola whispered on the phone to me. She went on to tell me she and her mama and 9-year-old brother were among thousands of poor families who have had their water service cut off in the last few months by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.
Since spring, up to 3,000 Detroit households per week have been getting their water shut off for owing as little as $150 or two months in bills. This is the Detroit facing water privatization in which upward of 150,000 customers, late on bills that have increased 119 percent in the last decade, are now threatened with shut-offs. Detroit organizers estimate this could impact nearly half of Detroits mostly poor and Black population between 200,000 and 300,000 people.
Privatization is the U.S. corporate answer to everything, and to Detroit, like Chicago and New Orleans and Oakland and hundreds of other U.S. cities, this means the private corporate theft of all of our public resources, including schools, parks, streets and housing. As us poor folks know, the result is we end up water-less, house-less, street-less and park-less gentrified out of our own neighborhoods, schools and communities and shuttled into the biggest profit-maker of them all: plantation prisons.
This is nothing new. Poor people are always getting our so-called public utilities shut off. When me and my mama were dealing with our life-long poverty and about to be houseless in Oakland, all of our utilities were cut off. The first thing that happened was my mama was afraid CPS would find out and mark her as negligent. This is part of the deep criminalization and Catch 22 that poor families face all the time, causing us to not even seek so-called help for fear of more theft, removal and criminalization.
Since spring, up to 3,000 Detroit households per week have been getting their water shut off for owing as little as $150 or two months in bills.
My friend was put into foster care after her water got cut off, Shelah whispered. She and her brother are among the many children who are now at risk of seizure by Childrens Separation Service, as it might as well be called, because after they take everything away from us poor folks, then they threaten to take our children. Thats when we went into hiding, she concluded.
This is nothing new. Poor people are always getting our so-called public utilities shut off.
Grassroots organizers have been fighting back.
A coalition of grassroots groups like Detroit Peoples Water Board, Food and Water Watch and Canada-based Blue Planet Project issued a report on June 18 containing the testimony of people who are affected by the service shut-offs and said they were given no warning. They submitted the report, Submission to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation regarding water cutoffs in the City of Detroit, Michigan, to the United Nations naming these shut-offs as a violation of human rights.
The U.N. answered back: Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights, the U.N. officials said in a news release. Because of a high poverty rate and a high unemployment rate, relatively expensive water bills in Detroit are unaffordable for a significant portion of the population.
The public water system, a prized resource worth billions and sitting on the Great Lakes, is now the latest target of the private developers and these mass water shut-offs of our peoples homes are a way to make the so-called public utility more attractive in the lead up to its privatization.
Disconnection of water services because of failure to pay due to lack of means constitutes a violation of the human right to water and other international human rights, the U.N. officials said in a news release.
As po folks, our so-called public resources are always under attack, our so-called free lives, which were used, stolen and exploited to build this stolen land they call amerikkka, are always at risk of eviction, displacement, gentrification, death by police terror and/or incarceration. This is why us poor and landless stolen and diasporic Afrikans, criminalized, false bordered, indigenous and po folks at POOR Magazine are actively creating an international model for poor people-led change we call Homefulness in Deep East Ohlone Land (Oakland) where we take our stolen resources back, self-determined by us, and teach descendants of stolen wealth hoarders to redistribute their families stolen and hoarded blood-stained dollaz.
This is what we at POOR Magazine call Community Reparations. And this model needs to be practiced across the United Snakkkes of Amerikkka and the world so these violations of our human bodies, our communities and our land will cease to occur.
All power to the people in Detroit!
Pay your bill.
I notice how they gloss over the nonpayment of utilities portion to shriek and propagandize about those same utilities being shut off.
When did water become a right? Where is that protected in the Constitution?
Not even government monopolies can afford to run when people aren’t paying their bills.
What isn’t a human right to a liberal?
What is Morgan Freeman doing there?
Christianity, gun ownership, White males, etc...
My water company will shut off at 10 days.
But I don't worry...I pay my bill, you bunch of freeloading gibsmedats!
Apparently water is not a priority for these folk. I wonder what is? They receive more than $500. weekly in gov benefits. I guess they figure that money should be used for nice things instead of plain ole water. They should get their water free because it’s just water.
Don’t you just love Agitprop?
What the hell is a “skola”?
I don’t know, but he sure has nice handwriting!
When an organization does not meaningfully collect debts owed, the debtor base is being educated not to expect having to pay that debt.
The customer base needs to be reeducated.
In past circumstances, new programs have to be vetted by all stakeholders, focus groups need to be used, a media campaign needs to launch, ALL DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS MUST BE AFFECTED.
Wowsers I read this then went back and looked for the sarcasm tag.
I read something the other day about a group of investors who said they can bring the cost back in line with the median rate of $40 to $45 but the department must eliminate the debt first. They say sliding scales and metering for individual usage are also options.
The people will be better off.
Go to the link and read the similar article underneath it.
Apparently, in these people's "minds", "public" is synonymous with "free".
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