The Right to the City in an Age of Austerity

In Greece, resistance to austerity comprises a mosaic of struggles for a right to the city, conceived as the collective self-determination of everyday life.

When talking about Greece and “the crisis,” it is easy to fall in the trap of “Greek exceptionalism.” After all, it is through essentializing orientalist narratives that austerity and structural adjustment have been justified: the Greeks are corrupt, lazy and crisis-prone, and they should be adapted and civilized for their own good. There is a flipside to the orientalist gaze, however, which ascribes extraordinary qualities to the other: the Greeks have a surplus of collectivism, revolutionary zeal or solidarity, which makes them more likely to organize and resist.

Both these narratives prevent us from seeing that the conditions that brought about the “Greek crisis” are prevalent in many parts of the world, that capital is moving towards policies of exclusion and dispossession even in the capitalist center, and that resistance is not the prerogative of southern peoples, but will soon be the only reasonable response even in the north. In fact, the “Greek crisis” is neither “Greek” — since it is only a symptom of the shift of global capitalism towards a new regime of accumulation based on shock and dispossession — nor is it a “crisis” in the sense of an extraordinary event. Instead, it represents a new normality that threatens to shake the very foundations of social coexistence. Nevertheless, Greece has been a privileged spot for observing how this global paradigm shift plays out within the boundaries of a single nation-state.

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Comments of the Sustainability Impact Assessment of the TiSA

The comments below have been sent by the European Water Movement to the Ecorys TSIA of TiSA study team after the publication of its draft Final Report commissioned by the European Commission.

Preliminary remark: our comments are based on the EU 2nd revised offer of November 2016 while the Sustainability Impact Assessment is based on the EU revised offer of May 2016.

1/ EU offer for TiSA goes beyond GATS

The European Parliament resolution on TISA asks for “do not go beyond GATS 1994/1995”. The European Commission does not respect this resolution since the EU offer for TiSA goes beyond GATS. For example, Market Access and National Treatment is offered for waste water services (CPC 9401) with GATS modes 1, 2 and 3 by the EC while GATS has only modes 2 and 3. Similar liberalisation for GATS mode 1 for Market Access and National Treatment can be found in other environmental services (CPS 9402-9406, CPC 9409).

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Water for Sale

The report highlights the impacts decades of trade agreements have had on global freshwater supplies and on the human rights to water and sanitation. It warns of the dire consequences of a new generation of trade agreements and calls for a drastically different trade regime that would protect people and the environment.

Potential impacts of CETA on water and water services

Dear MEP,

We, the undersigned organizations, would like to call on you to vote against the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada, which endangers freshwater resources and water services at both sides of the Atlantic.

After thorough analysis of the CETA text and the Joint Interpretative Instrument, we have found several provisions within the CETA which pose serious threats to watersheds and public water and sanitation services in Canada and the EU:

-- Water is included in CETA despite all the promises that it would be out of negotiations and despite the opinion of the European Parliament in its resolution of 8 September 2015 on the follow-up to the European Citizens’ Initiative Right2Water (2014/2239(INI), no. 22), where the Parliament “calls on the Commission to permanently exclude water and sanitation and wastewater disposal from internal market rules and from any trade agreement[1].

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