[Marxism] The Struggle For Water In Detroit
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Tue Apr 14 13:04:55 MDT 2009
The Struggle For Water In Detroit
By Jesu Estrada
Jesu: Marion, please give our readers background on the Detroit water
Marian Kramer: People came into the office during the late nineties with
problems with utilities like lights and gas. We found out some of them had
their water shut off. If they are the head of the household, not having
water lays the foundation for having children taken away. So a family’s water
was off, but parents were keeping it a secret. We found out that between
2001-2, some 40,700 people were without water.
We held direct action campaigns against the Detroit Water and Sewage
Department (DWSD) and finally developed a water affordability plan so no one
would have to pay more than $40 and so there would be no water shut offs. We
struggled and finally got the Detroit City Council to pass the Water
Affordability Plan and to make it a program of the DWSD. We had to expose and call
out certain sectors of the Detroit City Council who were not supporting
the program. We exposed that the water department was being privatized.
In 2006 we found out that the number of homes without water had gone up to
45,000. Victor Mercado, the head of the DWSD, claimed in 2006 that the
Water Affordability Plan could be implemented by July of 2006. They never
implemented the program.
They finally implemented a program in September of 2007 but they changed
the name to the Detroit Residents Water Assistance Program — which is our
program — but they had gutted it. The program would only service 1,100
people. Our plan would help 45,000 or more. Our program laid the foundation for
no more shut offs.
Today, we have a huge utility committee to insure that the original water
affordability plan goes through. This time we are going to the legislative
branch. Now we are getting petitions and going through the process to get
the program on the ballot. We are going to blanket Detroit so they
understand the plan and come out to vote.
In Detroit we have four new people on the City Council. One campaigned on
the water issue, but ended up switching to the administrative side as soon
as he was elected. There is outrage about who these city council members
represent. They are tied to the corporations. Even the corporations are not
paying their water bills. The working class suffers daily from not having
water. Water is a human right; it should not be shut off. People should pay
according to their income and the infrastructure should be upgraded to
create more jobs.
Jesu: What can our readers do to help your cause?
Marian: The U.S. Social Forum has chosen Detroit for its 2010 event. It
would be good if people around the country get on with us so that we can
discuss water rights on a national level. Also, send letters to our Gov. J.
Granholm for a moratorium on water shutoffs in the state of Michigan. Pressure
should also be put on President Obama. Call Michigan Welfare Rights at
(313) 964-0618 or (313) 964-2500 or visit the website at http://www.mwro.org/.
Marian Kramer is co-chair of the National Welfare Rights Union
**************Access 350+ FREE radio stations anytime from anywhere on the
web. Get the Radio Toolbar!
More information about the Marxism