Privatisation is one of the scourges of our times. For the last ten years it has been an instrument for the transfer of wealth from labour to capital all over the world, to rob state assets turning them into private property, to line the pockets of the cronies of political masters, a lever to increase worker exploitation, to deny services to the poor, to reduce quality for all except the very rich, to open up poor countries to the pillage of the multinationals.
In countries like Colombia privatisation brings death. Like Plan Colombia it is a death policy. Children who cannot buy drinking water will die, pregnant women who cannot afford healthcare will die, without pensions the elderly will die. All these are direct, predictable results of the policy. It is economic genocide. The IMF knows this, the World Bank knows it, George Bush and Tony Blair know it. And yet they still push on with the privatisation policy as a fundamental element in the economic programme they are imposing on the world. Why?
The answer is as obvious as it is simple – it is a policy geared to the demands of the multinationals. What will stop them is not the strength of argument, but the strength of resistance. The resistance in Colombia is of world significance. A powerful campaign against privatisation has brought public services in Cali under workers control, for now at least. But at terrible cost. The Colombian resistance has much to teach us, not least because it has many sectors and is fighting on all fronts – against privatisation, against US invasion, against imperialist globalisation, for social justice, for human rights, for the environment, for the future.