Report from the National Assembly of The Italian Forum for Water Movements

Rome, 24-25 November 2012.

The Italian Forum for Water Movements held its national assembly a year and a half after its extraordinary referendum victory.

The discussion began with an analysis of this intense year, marked by repeated attacks from all levels at the outcome of the referendum, which expressed the will of 26 million people.

It was agreed that it was a year of strong resistance by the movement for water, which promoted local and national initiatives for the remunicipalisation of water services, a campaign for civil obedience and mobilizations against the consolidation of large multi-utilities. A year, that has demonstrated the persistence of local grassroots building and the political subjectivity of the movement as well as a reinforcement of the reasons behind the referendum victory.

This assembly, attended by over 150 people, from dozens of local committees of the movement for water (from the following regions: Abruzzo, Lazio, Tuscany, Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, Piedmont, Veneto, Campania, Marche, Emilia Romagna, Liguria, Lombardy, Sardinia, Apulia, Molise, Trentino), national associations, trade unions and different groups working on the defense of common goods produced great discussion from the working groups that now allows us a massive re-launch of our initiative, starting from our indispensable priority that has always guided our collective action: water is a common good and a universal human right, integrated water services must be fully remunicipalised and managed with the participation of local communities.

It was shared and agreed that the achievement of this goal will cross cut all the initiatives and campaigns emerging from this meeting, that now, even more so than before, they need to be re-launched, extended and spread all over the country: from the resolutions of popular initiatives for the remunicipalisation of water services, to the campaign on civil obedience and addressing projects of major multi-utilities.

This assembly and the richness of discussion has allowed the movement a further leap in the quality of analysis and proposals:

a) With the deepening of the global crisis and the implementation of neoliberal policies dictated by the big banks and financial capital, remunicipalisation also involves a strong initiative against the financialization of water and common goods and a move towards social re-appropriation of resources for a new public finance;

b) The recognition of the absolute importance of reclaiming democracy and places of collective decision-making at all levels;

c) The need to project of the initiatives of the Italian Forum of Water Movements in European and international dimension, especially since the most dramatic challenges in these years is at the continental level.

All proposals emerging from the three key issues identified in the reports of the working groups was taken on board. The rich discussion that emerged in these two days is a starting point to advance the processes of real connection between the water movement and all the other movements fighting for common goods and for another social model: seeing our environment and territory as a dimension of collective action and the construction of new practices among committees, movements and public service workers. It will be at the territorial level where an intensification of initiatives and the practices to be put in place will be required.

In particular, the plenary session on Sunday assigned the following priorities and dates:

  • National action in Reggio Emilia, Saturday 15 December
  • 23 to 27 January, European days of mobilization against the financialization of our commons and life;
  • Update and re-launch of the initiative for the remunicipalisation of water
  • Re-launch the campaign for civil disobedience
  • Strengthening of the campaign for the European Citizens' Initiative "Water is a human right".

Forum Italiano dei Movimenti per l’Acqua