Skip to main content
Water faucet

Baltimore joins the global movement against privatization

Thomas Hanna

Thomas Hanna

Director of Research at The Democracy Collaborative more

Democracy & Governance

In These Times features a key vote in Baltimore that is the latest chapter in a global movement toward keeping public services in public hands.

On November 6, Baltimore became the first major city in the United States whose residents voted to ban water privatization. Nearly 77 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of Question E, which declared the “inalienability” of the water and sewer systems and exempted them from any city charter provisions related to franchising or operational rights.

This vote resulted from an ongoing struggle waged by Baltimore community activists, unions and civic leaders demanding affordable access to water for low-income residents. That struggle emerged in response to concern the city could sell off the community’s water infrastructure to for-profit investors.   

The vote is also part of an emerging worldwide movement to fight back against privatization and to municipalize or re-municipalize (put under public control) local enterprises and services. Between 2007 and 2014, the number of privately owned water systems in the United States fell by 7 percent.

Read the full story in In These Times.

 

Thomas Hanna

Thomas Hanna

Director of Research at The Democracy Collaborative more

More related work

The commons

The Commons

The commons are collective resources—encompassing things as varied as land, seed banks, and open-source software—managed by self-organized social systems under mutually acceptable terms. read more
The Constitutional Turn

The Constitutional Turn: Liberty and the Cooperative State

The English-speaking left has long tended to neglect questions of constitutional design. That should change. read more
Green Bank

Green Bank

A green bank can help communities transition away from fossil fuels and build resilience against climate change. read more