Participatory alternatives to privatisation

Speech given to social movements in Greece, February 2013
05 March 2013

Experience worldwide shows that EC-imposed privatisation on crisis countries will not work. The alternative is not reinforcing the status quo, but using citizen power and labour to reinvigorate public services and democratically transform the state.


I’ve seen the privatised future that the ‘troika’ is trying to impose on Greece – and it doesn’t work. But it’s a pleasurably irony to be in a position where I can use the experience of the UK, a laboratory for privatisation, as a resource for resistance for the threats the Greek people face today.

First I will report back from this future, as someone who like millions of others has suffered the reality of privatisation. Second I bring the news that in response to these failures, the trend is now in the opposite direction – to bring some services back into state hands. And third I want to highlight the key lesson of campaigns worldwide that have achieved this successfully: that it is essential to campaign to transform the state, ending corruption and bureaucracy, at the same time as we resist privatisation.

We can learn from experiences across the world how the popular struggle against privatisation can go further and become a force to make public services and companies genuinely public: transparent to the public, valuing the knowledge of the public, sharing power with the public, and genuinely serving the public rather than private interests.

Download the full speech here


Photo by Ghirigori Baumann

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