The article written in Turkish and published by radical labour portal Sendika.org first. Later it was translated (poorly) and published by Attac Germany.
by Örsan Şenalp
In the process of marketization of public services and restructuring of the state in conformity with the interest of capital, the Western middle class, who is used to living under the protective wing of the welfare state, has encountered with a shock of rapid commodification of all objects and relations. In this process, while it could not be prevented Latin American people, who have experienced the exploitation for 500 years, from taking the lead, it was not easy to make Western masses familiar to these shocks coming in waves.
The ideological apparatus of capital and state played an active and vital role in pacification of millions or in their withdrawal in the face of these shocks. Indeed considerable amount of resources were used for this purpose. The consternation effect of these 30 years-lasting shocks over the masses was governed very well through a collective and expensive effort put forward by the behaviorist ideologists. The return of this superstructure investment has become deepening and widening of the commodification processes.
The UNCTAD 2007 Report and the other pro-capital publications bemoan that water, waste water and electricity services are the areas which were penetrated least by this deepening and widening. The reason of this is closely related with the protest and resistance in the periphery countries. But, simultaneously emerging organized reactions in France, Germany and even in USA made multinational companies and state elites aware of the necessity to enter into these areas as the very last resort. Another factor in relation to this is the fact that giant water/energy monopolies, such as German RWE, French Veolia, and Suez….etc. could not make profit that they expected, especially from their investments in poor areas of the world. Eventually, in the face of 30 years lasting capital attack, despite the huge achievement in seizure and usurpation of telecommunication and transportation sectors, more than %90 of world water and wastewater services have still remained as one of the areas provided by public bodies
However, this “public” has been weakened considerably by the World Bank, IMF, OECD and by the other global institutions of capitalism generally again in the last 30 years and it has become a “public”, which lost its capacity substantially in realizing and terminating certain functions together with the institutional, financial and staff tools and relations in its possession developing organized reactions. Moreover, the local governments have been deprived of central budgets and integrated into the global financial system. All these make clear that considerable amount of risk has been already taken. Finally, the latest financial crisis commencing in the USA and hitting the whole world economy including the economy of Europe, will inevitably prompt the depression in real economy, regression in production, and decline in employment in addition to the risk of inability of performing public services. In the wake of crisis, the transfer of million dollars of surplus value to the arm industry, financial sector and nowadays to the automotive giants together with the transfer of resources, which could be utilized for environmental disasters, social investments/supports, and for the performing all public services (especially the privatized ones), to the private persons, namely to the capitalist class, is converting this risk into reality.
It is not possible to explain taking such a risk of loosing resources and of emergence of a gap in the public realm just with desire for profit or false political choice. The results of G-20 Summit and persistent plea from the business circle demonstrate that big capitalists and state elites had to take a deadly and suicidical gamble in the name of saving the system. In the light of these developments, it is expectable that the general capital/state strategy towards the giant public investments, though revised, will not deviate from the main road. Even, we can go further and assert that the harsher and more comprehensive attacks towards those areas which constitute still the uncaptured ones, are in the process of planning.
In this context, World Water Forum, which will take place in the coming March of 2009 in Istanbul and which is the world’s most extensive marketization and privatization propaganda, will definitely give a more clear perspective about the strategies of big monopolies and government representatives. At the present time we know that World Bank, which is an organization of capitalism and World Water Council, host of the forum, the representatives of transnational companies and those circles that have an interest in the privatization of water, endeavor to establish models on the basis of PPP (Public Private Partnership) and legal/constitutional and ideological cover for this purpose. The victory of Barack Obama in the USA’s presidential election and the assignment of the pro-governance Clinton family to the 3rd. most authoritative seat by the elected president are signaling that the general frame of attack towards us can be withdraw again into the “governance” paradigm from USA unilateralism.
Accordingly, in this context, it is not unfounded to worry about the possible conversion of “Water Law”, which has been in the process of preparation under the rose and away from public scrutiny since 2000, into a collective text corresponding to the above mentioned general framework. On the one hand, the PPP symposiums that have started to take place frequently in Istanbul (such as the ones held by Euromoneyin April and by TUSIAD in September), statements of ministers and bureaucrats concerning the issue, on the other hand, the display of intensive cooperation by the representatives of capital with the national and international bureaucrats and government representatives in the preparation phase of 5. World Water Forum, the content of the bills introduced to the parliament in the same process (PPP Bill, Development Agencies Act, Bill on the World Water Forum, Bill on the Purchase of Enterprises working in the sectors of Energy, Water, Transportation and Postal Services) and finally the acceptance of Turkey’s application by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in November, which envisages to provide Turkey with investments worth $600 million by the end of 2010, all show that the capital and state joined their forces. They are preparing to come up with a new intensive “collaborationist” Water Law in the wake of March.
This means that the month of March will be a turning point concerning the water politics implemented both in Turkey and around the world. Namely, renewed offensive model against water will have come into the open and it will have been put into practice following the World Water Forum in Istanbul and local elections. It is clearly seen that this would have negative implications for milliards of people, who have problems in accessing water and carry the risk of inability to perform this. This reality clarifies the question in front of us much more: who will do realistic things and in what way, for health, broad and qualified public services and for the access to water by taking responsibility for the lives of milliards of humans, who are generally elderly and child, if the state and local governments neither have the intention to offer a perspective in conformity with the majorities’ interest nor posses a capacity to do this, especially following the collapse of the system in the previous month, and if the private sector has to follow contrarily a more offensive and fatal way.
It is clear that neither is it possible for the capitalist state and the capitalists/capital to give an answer to this question nor have they legitimacy to do this. We – those who adhere ourselves to the struggle, real democracy, real participation, collective production and responsibility, have to generate an answer and the only option at this point is to begin doing this immediately.
In March, just before the Nevruz, let’s outcry loudly and all together to the whole world in Istanbul and everywhere that we will not give ourselves up to the capitalist plans and attacks, and we have an answer for them.
 Public Private Partnerships are the structures aiming at guaranteeing the transfer of profit to the private and of the risk to the public sector by the way of incorporating all kinds of privatization through systematizing and repacking this with an ideological cover.
 This is an international finance and PPP symposium organized by Eurmoney, which is a financial consulting organization, and sponsored by many banks and firms. For the flyer of this symposium, seewww.tursab.org.tr/content/turkish/haberler/bsk/08hab/08mtEuromoney.pdf
 For the TUSIAD Reports on Water and PPP, see http://www.tusiad.org/tusiad_cms.nsf/mainpage?OpenForm
 For Constitutional Court’s decisions on Development Agencies, see http://www.yayed.org.tr/genel/bizden_detay.php?kod=689&tipi=2&sube=0
 For EBRD’s Evaluation Report on Turkey’s application, seewww.ebrd.com/country/country/turkey/index.htm