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We need a powerful movement that forces the government to
take over the water and other utilities and run them in the public's
interests. We must join with all organizations that are fighting to
nationalize the utilities. Make the government responsible to provide
the natural resources that people need. And, join with others on the
globe in the same life or death struggle.

Summit mother and child
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization Holds
Utility Crisis Summit
PHOTOS/ANN RALL
Nationalize The Energy Industry (June, 2010)

The Struggle For Water In Detroit: An Interview With Marian Kramer (March, 2009)

Water Struggle Mounts Petition Campaign (March, 2009)

Michigan Welfare Rights Organization Holds Utility Crisis Summit (November, 2008)

The film The Water Front And The Great Lakes Tour (November, 2008)

We're NOT For Sale! (February, 2008)

Victory in Detroit water struggle -- The fight continues (October, 2007)

'The Water Front,' a new documentary film produced
by Liz Miller, wins an award!
(August, 2007)

Water Warrior: Marian Kramer gets national recognition
for fighting water cutoffs for poor!
(August, 2007)

Profiteering in Illinois (July, 2007) By now probably every person in the state of Illinois knows Ameren/ComEd raised utility rates last January. Everyone knows the utilities' initial estimate of a 30% to 50% increase was low, way low. The rate hikes actually range from 100% to 200%, some higher. People are having to struggle to pay their utility bill if they can -- and many can't.

Global water struggle is pivotal to shaping our future (June, 2007)
The American people have been taught to think that the lack of access to clean and safe, affordable water was only a problem for the poorest people of other nations. Today we are getting a wake up call. All across the United States, municipal water systems are being privatized, bought up by global corporations, turning one of our last remaining and most vital public resources into a profit-making commodity. This is globalization coming home.

Angry customers unite against energy company (June, 2007)

They're coming to get your water! (June, 2007)

The human right to water and tribal land (June, 2007)

Reclaim the earth (June, 2007)

Michigan Welfare Rights issues call to action around access to water and ending homelessness (May, 2007)
Michigan Welfare Rights is issuing a "Call to Action." Most critical to the survival of thousands is access to free and clean drinking water, a requirement for life. The Water Affordability Plan has been mired in bureaucratic madness since it was submitted for review and passage by the Detroit City Council. The Water Dept. administration has hijacked the Plan by treacherous methods. Endless memos and empty correspondences have been issued and responded to week after week while the Dept. continues its diabolical pattern of cutting water off at thousands of homes, month after month.

Gasoline tops $3 a gallon -- Nationalize the oil companies (April, 2007)
Gas prices skyrocketed above $3 a gallon this month in parts of the country. The U.S. average is $2.62 a gallon, up 25 cents over last month. "Experts" say prices will soar even higher, and stay high. They say prices are rising because of "shortages" caused by "tightening markets" or "summer driving." Let's look at their arguments. We need to understand the true source of the problem -- and what to do about it.

Detroit's water victory is 'only talk' (April, 2007)
Detroit's water victory is "only talk" by the Detroit city administration. Detroit committed to a Water Affordability Plan last year with a budget of $5 Million. The plan was supposed to be in place July 1, a year ago. It's still not in operation. Now, the Mayor has taken away $2.5 Million of the $5 Million allocated for the plan.

A victory in the struggle for affordable water (March, 2007)
Detroit, MI -- A people’s victory was won on Feb 21, 2007 when eight of the nine Detroit City Council persons voted to forestall a water rate increase in a city where 45,000 or more homes don’t have running water.

Battle Creek residents face highest gas rates in Michigan (March, 2007)
Citizens of Battle Creek, Mich., were outraged when the local newspaper informed them that their already appalling heating bills were a whopping 27 percent higher than anywhere else in the state. The citizens believed that the City had properly given control of negotiating gas rates to the Michigan Public Service Commission. The advantage for this is having a larger, more powerful, body acting on your behalf. When the energy company posted notice in the newspaper of a hearing, several of us determined that we should attend.

Water, water everywhere -- For private corporations, and not a drop for residents (January, 2007)
The struggle over water shut-offs and lower sewage rates in Detroit, which has been going on for over four years, is now at an intense level. Over 45,000 homes had their water shut-off and these figures are increasing. We receive daily calls from residents complaining about water shut-offs. The battle lines have been drawn between the residents of the City of Detroit -- who are the rightful owners of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD)--and the Directors of the Water Department: Victor Mercado, CEO (who is privatizing certain departments of the water department), the Detroit City Council, the Mayor of Detroit and the 88-year-old Federal District Court Judge, John Feinkens, (referred to as the Water Czar).

Fight continues to stop inhuman water shutoffs! (November, 2006)
DETROIT -- Every call we get at the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization is from people on the verge of getting their water shut off or from those who have already had their water shut off. Many callers have a payment arrangement, but can't keep up because the price of water is constantly on the increase. In early November, one woman who lives alone said she works 16 hours a day. Her water bill is almost $120 a month! That's a lot of money for one person. She said she has no leakage. Another person complained that she consistently pays $100 a month, but the amount of her arrears bill never goes down, it keeps going up.

'Water Warriors': A Film About the Fight for Water (August, 2006)
I think of myself as an educator who makes films. In all of my films, I represent strong women facing challenges and making a difference. In "Water Warriors" there are many strong women represented: Marian Kramer and Maureen Taylor of Welfare Rights, who have been defending the rights of poor women for years. Gloria Pogue, an employee of the water plant who has been working under adverse conditions to deliver clean water to residents every day of the year. Vallory Johnson, facing difficulties paying her bills, turns her personal pain and loss into a powerful grassroots campaign. Each of these women are tirelessly working to make sure everyone in Highland Park (Mich.) has access to water.

Water Activists Speak Out at 'Water Symposium' (August, 2006)
At night people come outside with their porch lights off with buckets and hoses attached to houses. What kind of nightmare is it when 45,000 people are without water? I don't care what anyone says -- you know you can't turn off water. We need to say Stop! We're not going to do this anymore. We're going to start fresh!"
-- Maureen Taylor, Director, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization

Soaring Energy Profits: The Earth Belongs to the People. Take It Back! (August, 2006)
Scowling as the dollar price whirls past 40 and cursing the pump as you hang up the nozzle isn't going to solve the problem. We have to understand a problem before we can solve it. The problem is that socially necessary production, such as energy, is privately owned and distributed only for profit.

Victory in Detroit Water Struggle (July, 2006)
In June, the attorneys for the Water Department signed off on the implementation of the Water Affordability Plan. The plan's backers are now bringing in a consultant paid by the city to implement the plan. It is now part of a budget of $5 million which has been set aside each year. Organizations like Michigan Welfare Rights, Sweetwater Alliance, Call 'em Out and others will have to constantly monitor the situation. It is a victory for people. It shows what organization, education and struggle will net us.

Detroit water battle surges ahead (June, 2006)
Critical street battles are taking place. On March 10, 2006, Detroiters suffered a set-back in our fight to make water accessible to the poor. The progressive members of the local Detroit City Council were out-maneuvered in a successfully rigged vote that increased the water rates.

Editorial: Nationalize water! (May, 2006)
What we are witnessing in America is the driving down of the standard of living toward the level of the poorest countries. The economic devastation that capitalism has forced on the poor of the world is coming home. Consider that today, over two million human beings in the world die from a lack of water. Over one billion people have no access to clean water. Several global corporations own most of the earth's water. And, here at home? Recently, a huge global corporation bought up the water rights for small towns in 17 U.S. cities. Privatization in some cities has meant debris-filled water, broken fire hydrants, and indefensibly high prices.

Price of gas skyrockets; Nationalize the oil companies (May, 2006)
Gas over $3 a gallon! Exxon's profits surge to a record $36 billion last year -- the highest in US corporate history. And, $8 billion more in the first three months of this year! Some say there's nothing collusive about it. Well, that depends on which side of the fence you're sitting on. If you're a worker, you're cutting back on gas, food and medicine. If you're a speculator, or an oil company, you're raking in the cash.

Detroit City Council votes for rate increase for water while 45,000 homes go without water (April, 2006)
The Detroit City Council voted in a rate increase of 6 percent for water rates. They did not pass the Michigan Welfare Rights Water Affordability Program. This plan would keep this basic necessity -- water -- on for Detroit households. Children are going to school without drinking water or baths because up to 45,000 homes are without water, unable to pay their water bills. Recently the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MWRO) called for Detroiters to begin placing their water bill payments in escrow pending enactment of the affordability plan.

Water for the rich and nothing for the poor (March, 2006)
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization will continue to fight for the "Water Affordability Program" for the cities of Detroit and Highland Park. We must keep organizing and fighting for our water as a basic human right. The capitalists are trying to take our water.

Editorial: Heat costs hit the roof! Nationalize the energy industry (January, 2006)
Is this the America we want? Where the big corporations and energy speculators can make billions more in profit by raising prices simply because they want more wealth? They try to justify their actions by saying there are "energy shortages." But everyone knows there are no shortages. And, things can only worsen, given the massive consolidation of the energy industry that will further drive prices up. The situation is inhuman and morally wrong. What can we do? Nationalize the energy.

Editorial: Making the government responsible -- Nationalize energy (October, 2005)
If the corporations can't and won't distribute energy to the people in an orderly way, the government should take the companies over and run them in the public's interest. This is nationalization. The struggle for nationalization points the thinking and activity of the people toward the fight for a new society that benefits all. This is all the more important today because the government not only "serves" the corporations. Today, government is merging with the corporations. Today, a government that provides services to the people is becoming a relic of the past in the face of privatization. The individual must fend for themselves.

The Energy Crisis: the Southern connection (June, 2001)
By John Slaughter
The reason the Southern Company is so persistent in continuing to produce dirty energy is simple: greed and the insatiable thirst for more and bigger profits. The Southern Company had profits of over $100 million last year, and expects to double that in the next five years.

Energy: The real crisis is with capitalism (April, 2001)
A capitalist can't and won't distribute these necessities unless he/she can profit from that distribution. For the capitalist, this means withholding energy from the consumer if that will drive the price up and increase the profit from the sale of it. For us, it means we can't get that energy, no matter how plentiful, unless we are willing to pay the price the capitalist is asking.

Government must stop energy companies' price gouging (April, 2001)
Thinking inside the box has led us to support, with our silence, the present Bush administration that is set to privatize all that a government should be responsible for -- from its responsibility to the poor of America to the education of our children. Thinking outside of the box means fighting for a society where all -- from the eldest American to the youngest -- can be guaranteed a warm home, a beautiful life without hunger, diseases, and poverty.

Private control of public wealth: Behind the Energy "Crisis"
PT Radio interview with Steven Miller
(March, 2001)
"Now that the electronic technology exists to begin to coordinate all the infrastructure systems around the world, most of which were built with public money, these are being taken over and used for speculative purposes. The primary goal is not to produce electricity. The primary goal is to produce capital so they can reward their stock owners."Actually, what we are watching is one of the largest transfers of wealth in the history of the world from public hands into private hands."

Chicagoans speak out against the energy crisis
By Rich Capalbo
(Marchl, 2001)
"People are outraged because they have to freeze -- they either have to pay the gas bill or buy prescriptions or some other necessities. It's immoral. These companies are getting richer and richer. The gas should belong to people and it shouldn't be for profit. It's disgusting." -- Bruce Bostic from the Steel Workers' Union

Globalization's relentless march -- Power grab in California
By Steven Miller
(Feb, 2001)
Electricity -- like food, housing and most things that humanity applies its creativity and scientific thinking toward -- is abundant, not scarce. If all the bailout money for the utilities had been put instead into solar panels for homes, people would have tiny electric bills. But for capitalism, economics means the management of scarcity -- schemes to create artificial shortages, since every child knows that then prices can be increased. Every electron that flows to your house is bought, sold and speculated on numerous times. This configuration of the electrical grid for profit is what leads to interruptions and "scarcities."

Truth Is

a poem by Jack Hirschman


Truth is
the lightbulb turning on
in everybody's head
isn't inside a balloon
inside a cartoon
but a real idea
whose time has come.
Call it what you may
but the only way
Edison, Tesla and Steinmetz
can sleep in peace
and we have peace of pocket
when we use an electric switch
or jam a plug into a socket
is public ownership.
They wanna buy and sell the water
like they buy and sell our daughters.
They wanna keep on spitting on
the body electric when they know
they shouldn't oughta.
But the idea's here and spreading:
not he who owns, or they who own,
but we who will own the flow of light,
we, all of us, whom government will serve,
and no more walkin' around grumbling,
"They got a fuckin' helluva nerve!"
It's taken hold,
will not be stopped.
The public ownership of the utilities
will put California on the human map.



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