Join us in Jo'burg, mid-May, for decommodification prep-com

Patrick Bond pbond at wn.apc.org
Mon Apr 8 11:41:27 MDT 2002


(International enquiries to pbond at wn.apc.org)

                               (Apologies for cross-posting)

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT -- SEE ALSO http://www.queensu.ca/msp

                                        Services for All?

                  Water, Electricity and other State Responsibilities
   of the New South Africa and the World  Summit on Sustainable Development

***

 The Municipal Services Project and our Partners invite you to join leading
local intellectuals and activists, and global-justice strategists Dennis
Brutus (SA/US), Oscar Olivera (Bolivia), Vandana Shiva (India),
Njoki Njehu (Kenya/US), Camille Chalmers (Haiti), Maude Barlow
and Tony Clarke (Canada), and Colin Leys (Britain), for:

 A Conference of Local & International Research Relevant to Social-Justice
Strategies & Struggles of Labour, Communities, Women and Environmentalists

***

16-18 May 2002, Johannesburg

at Wits University Graduate School of Public and Development Management in
Parktown, and Funda Centre in Soweto

***

Until liberation in 1994, South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle was often
fought out over specific problems that ordinary people experienced in state
services delivery. Whether mandatory Afrikaans in the schools of Soweto
(1976), racially-biased services in Port Elizabeth (late 1970s), inadequate
housing in Durban (early 1980s), forced removals and oppressive
public-sector labour relations (throughout), or rent and services boycotts
across the country's townships (mid-1980s-early 1990s), local-level
grievances generated intense political mobilisation and visionary demands
for change.

 Since the late 1990s, resistance has emerged to what some term class
apartheid. Evidence is found in the resurgence of mass-popular social
movements, isolated eruptions of anger (and state repression), persistent
trade union campaigns, rural people's protests, non-payment of bills,
illegal reconnection of water and electricity, fury over new public-health
epidemics, and many other forms of advocacy, activism and social anger.
These remind us that South Africa is still not free-certainly not until the
essential state services guaranteed in the Constitution are finally
available to all.

 But with privatisation, corporatisation, service cut-offs, full-cost
recovery policies, broken electoral promises, bureaucratic obstruction,
corruption, political demobilisation and repression of legitimate dissent,
that day sometimes appears further away than ever before.  So we are
compelled to come together to reflect upon these and other questions:

 . What progress has been made to assure the society's constitutional rights
to state services, and to empower workers, communities and women to bring
those services to all our people in ways that are affordable, humane,
pro-women and environmentally sensitive?

 . How does the unequal distribution of essential municipal
services--especially water, sanitation, electricity, waste removal, as well
healthcare, housing and others-afflict our society, and in particular, our
women, children and elderly, our health (and especially the health of our
five million HIV+ citizens), our municipal workers, our communities, our
natural environment?

 . Is the privatisation of those essential services so far advanced that we
will now send a large portion of our services payments to a Paris or London
corporation, instead of circulating those scarce resources back into our
municipalities and communities?

 . Will the free lifeline services promised in the 1994 election (and again
in 2000) finally become a reality, or remain a public-relations gimmick?

 . What has driven the South African government to cut off the water and
electricity supplies of more than ten million of our 42 million people, and
what can we do to prevent any further cuts? Are the courts effective? What
kinds of social protests safeguard social rights?

 . Are other cities in Southern Africa, and across the world, similarly
affected, and how are progressives in these places reacting?

 . Is the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development-to be held in
Johannesburg's wealthy Sandton suburb in August-September--a useful venue
for aggrieved communities, workers, women and environmentalists to make
their case for `Services for All!', or just another money-eating elite
talk-shop? Will the New Partnership for Africa's Development's commitment to
privatised infrastructure make it part of the problem?

 . Who are our international allies-and opponents--in campaigns to
decommodify essential services?

 . What arguments are emerging, locally and globally, against our rights to
essential services, and how do we rebut these?

 . What analyses, strategies, tactics and alliances will allow us to achieve
economic, social and environmental justice?

The Johannesburg conference sponsored by the Municipal Services Project--and
many of our labour, community, environmental and think-tank allies--will
educate, inspire and ready us for the next stages of analysis and activism.
Join us from 16-18 May in Johannesburg. Overlapping with our conference, a
world-class New Social Movements Film Festival will take place from 15-17
May on evenings in the same venue. Join us for entertaining documentaries
that make the links between local and international campaigns for water,
electricity and a decent environment, and the neoliberal economic policies
which so many campaigns must ultimately confront and defeat. Some resources
are available for low-income organisations outside Johannesburg to send
representatives. Additional events are being planned for visiting
international and regional experts, who will be available in other South
African locations. For further information, please contact Greg Ruiters
(064greg at muse.wits.ac.za) (phone 2711-717-4373) or Patrick Bond
(bond.p at pdm.wits.ac.za) (2711-717-3917).


****************************************************************************

Services for All?

Draft Programme of Events, 15-18 May

***

WEDNESDAY, MAY 15: NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS FILM FESTIVAL

7PM RECEPTION for 7:30 SCREENING (UNTIL 10:30) (WITS UNIVERSITY GRADUATE
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT AUDITORIUM, 2 ST.DAVID'S ROAD,
PARKTOWN)

WELCOME FROM DENNIS BRUTUS; SCREENING OF AN INTERACTIVE FILM, SOUTH AFRICA
AND GLOBALISATION: WHICH SIDE ARE WE ON? AND OTHER NEW SOCIAL-JUSTICE
DOCUMENTARIES

***

THURSDAY, MAY 16: BRIEFING FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS

9AM-4PM (ACROSS JOHANNESBURG) Orientation for international guests by local
progressive tourguides: Alexandra/Sandton/Soweto tours and Museum
Africa/Workers' Museum/Library visit

5:00PM (WITS P&DM AUDITORIUM) CONFERENCE
BRIEFING PLENARY:         THE STATE OF SOUTH AFRICAN STRUGGLES FOR STATE
SERVICES

7-10:30PM (P&DM AUDITORIUM AND GROUND FLOOR LOUNGES) DINNER, CONTINUATION OF
NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS FILM FESTIVAL, HIGHLIGHTING SA
GRASSROOTS/LABOUR/ENVIRONMENT DOCCIES

***

FRIDAY, MAY 17

9:00-11AM (P&DM AUDITORIUM)
PLENARY 2:      THE GLOBAL NEOLIBERAL THREAT

11-11:30AM tea break

11:30-1PM (P&DM, FIRST FLOOR)
FIRST WORKSHOPS:   A NEW SERVICES APARTHEID?
  WORKSHOP 1A: WATER PRIVATISATION IN SA TOWNS
  WORKSHOP 1B: CORPORATISED MUNICIPAL SERVICES
  WORKSHOP 1C: WATER/ELECTRICITY COST RECOVERY CONTRADICTIONS
  WORKSHOP 1D: SOUTHERN AFRICAN URBAN WATER PRIVATISATION

1-2PM (P&DM COURTYARD) Lunch

2-3:30PM (P&DM, FIRST FLOOR)
SECOND WORKSHOPS:         WATER, AT WHAT COST?
  WORKSHOP 2A: GAUTENG WATER WARS
  WORKSHOP 2B: WATER PRIVATISATION IN SA CITIES
  WORKSHOP 2C: RURAL WATER SUPPLY CONTROVERSIES
  WORKSHOP 2D: INTERNATIONAL LESSONS OF WATER COMMODIFICATION

3:30-3:45PM Tea break

3:45-5:15PM (P&DM, FIRST FLOOR)
THIRD WORKSHOPS:        STRUGGLES FOR SERVICES
  WORKSHOP 3A: TRADE UNIONS V. PRIVATISATION
  WORKSHOP 3B: COMMUNITIES V. SERVICES CUT-OFFS AND HARMFUL INFRASTRUCTURE
  WORKSHOP 3C: ENGENDERING SERVICE DELIVERY
  WORKSHOP 3D: ENVIRONMENTALISM AND BROWN POLITICS

5:30-9PM (P&DM AUDITORIUM AND LOUNGES)
RECEPTION, DINNER, CONTINUATION OF NEW SOCIAL MOVEMENTS FILM FESTIVAL,
HIGHLIGHTING INTERNATIONAL SOCIAL JUSTICE DOCCIES

SATURDAY, MAY 18
9:00-10:30AM (P&DM AUDITORIUM)

PLENARY 3:     ALTERNATIVES FOR SA & THE WSSD:
LABOUR-COMMUNITY-WOMEN-ENVIRONMENT

10:30-10:45AM tea break

10:45-12:15PM (P&DM AUDITORIUM)
FOURTH WORKSHOPS:   NEXT STRATEGIES/TACTICS
  WORKSHOP 4A: PUBLIC-PUBLIC PARTNERSHIPS
  WORKSHOP 4B: LIFELINE SERVICES & BLOCK TARIFFS
  WORKSHOP 4C: RESURRECTING PROGRESSIVE MUNICIPAL PLANNING
  WORKSHOP 4D: INFLUENCING THE WSSD, INSIDE AND OUT

12:30-2PM (P&DM COURTYARD) Lunch and then travel to rally

2-5PM (FUNDA CENTRE, SOWETO) RALLY, STREET THEATRE, DISPLAYS, MUSIC

(Partners include International Forum on Globalization, SA Municipal Workers
Union, International Labour Research and Information Group of the University
of
Cape Town, Alternative Information and Development Centre, and community,
environmental and women's groups)




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