Introduction to the workshop on Commons and Public Services at the AlterSummit on Social Rights (26-27 November 2016, Brussels)
Our world to-day is faced with two major challenges: ecological destruction and the social question. Both problems are closely linked to democracy, that is the way citizens can govern and shape their world and can give direction to the policies that are needed to preserve our planet and sustain the livelihoods of people.
But as we know, democracy is threatened and we run the risk that both our natural environment and the necessary social protection people need are irremediably destroyed. Urgent action is needed.
Let me say some words on the social question. We know that the post-war social pacts are on the brink of being abandoned, faced as they are with fundamental changes in our economies and our societies, but also with ideological offensive policies that slowly but surely destroy our collective solidarity mechanisms. Public services are being privatised, marketised or commodified, whatever word we may use: in almost all cases it means that people lose their universal right to these services and have to buy on the market what they badly need. Continue…