Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Poster of the Week

Are You Ready For Big Water?
Danielle Foder; Street Art Workers (SAW)
Offset, 2006
United States

This week’s featured poster, created by Danielle Foder as part of Street Art Workers (SAW) in 2006, draws our attention to one of life’s most necessary resources: water. Universal to every living being on the planet, the right to water access is perhaps one of the most pressing issues of our time. This poster criticizes the increased privatization of water, asking that we “protect water for people. Not for profit.”

At the beginning of this year, California declared a state of emergency in the face of a historic and unprecedented drought. While California is facing its own water crisis, the issue of water access impacts countless throughout the world. Detroit recently shut off water service to thousands of residents who could not afford to pay their bills. Over the past decade, Detroit city residents have seen the rates of water costs more than double, while the city’s poverty rate has risen to nearly 40 percent, putting the cost of basic running water beyond reach for tens of thousands of households. According to Detroit Water and Sewerage Department records, industrial and commercial businesses owing millions have not been touched.

In April 2000, a popular struggle against water privatization in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city, organized a movement against rising water costs from the U.S. based Bechtel corporation. Through a broad alliance of farmers, factory workers, rural and urban water committees, neighborhood organizations, indigenous communities, and students, the U.S. corporation was forced to leave the country, restoring popular, democratic control of natural resources to the people.

As the struggle for water access intensifies throughout the world, we can learn from people-led movements working to find solutions to the global water crisis we face.  As the late Charity Hicks, co-founder of the Detroit People’s Water Board wrote, "We will not let water be used as a weapon to remake the city in a corporate image. We will re-establish what it is to live in a democracy, with a water system that is part of the commons, that affirms human dignity and that ensures everyone's access."

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