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".
Water sort of is a basic human right, and he’s entitled to it just like you and me.
If the protester would walk due east, he’d find a big river. I’m sure no one would care how many buckets of water he takes out of it.
Someone had a good point recently, they are going after many of the small people when they’d get more mileage after the biggest offenders.
According to the Detroit Metro Times:
As the segment reported, Joe Louis Arena owes roughly $80,000, and Ford Field about $55,000. Palmer Park Golf Club and the VA Hospital both owe an estimated $200,000.
Dude on the right has a “hands off my pension” shirt on.
how bout you spend some of that pension on your water bill eh????
I assume we’ll see the startup of a welfare program to help the disadvantaged with their water bills, same as they do with heating bills. In my area it’s called LIHEAP, a heating energy aid program.
So if you privatize say, park management, the private management company all of a sudden owns the park itself?? Liberals need to at least come up with more coherent lies, or they're not going to save any fat lazy Dem union jobs.
Sell that ginormous TV behind you?
Good. Ifs youse don’t pays your bill, they cuts youse a$$ off.
“What isnt a human right to a liberal?
Life, Liberty and Property.
she could start by selling that big ass tv..
The man on the right has an interesting t-shirt. I wonder what pension he lost and where he worked.
Keeping what you earn.
Somebody has to pay for all that. If they are jacking up the price, then that's just plain wrong. So the only solution is to have pumps every couple blocks and people carry their water in buckets to and from.
Wouldn't that be awful, especially in winter? I saw a small town in Russia where most have water to the house but some still had to carry from the pump.
There should be something they could do. Water is one thing I never heard they had assistance for. Maybe below a certain income level they should have it paid for by grants or something.
The alternatives are too draconian. Have your kids snatched and living in unsanitary conditions, a public health hazard.
“what is Morgan Freeman doing there?”
He’s pretending he’s God again. Gonna “part the sea” of red tape and get everybodys water turned back on.
Let’s see. A group of people want a product but they don’t want to pay for it. They want others to labor for it without compensation.
Where have I heard of this before?
Life, Liberty and Property.
I agree, and ironic that the ultimate human rights are not recognized by liberals/progrssives.
Yes, one wonders about their budgetary restraint.
I thought this was satire. It’s not? Hahahaha. Funnier still!!!
Not a human right to libs, right you are.
Good call. That’s at least 3 o4 months of water.
It’s almost as if obligations mean nothing at all.
I also love the red “revolution” shirt in the image.
In what community can people live and have water and not pay the utility company? This is crazy.
I guess you could have a well...but then you need electricity to pump it.
Tap water you have to pay for. They can go down to the river with a bucket, so they actually are not being denied water.
“Pay your bill.”
But that would mean no cable, cigarettes, or visits to the beauty salon.
Aren’t they near a lake or something? Who says they have to be supplied with water for free?
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 its just water.
I see people walk around here that have nicer shoes, cars and phones than we can afford and they don’t work.
LOL, that is a fact.
They expect us taxpayers to foot the bill for everything. Remember those women who thought that since Obama was elected they’d have no more rent, utility, car or grocery bills?
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