Recently the internet has been a buzz with an interview with Peter Brabeck-Letmathe the CEO of Nestlee in which he says that water should be privatized not a human right. This video is the perfect example of what anarchists have been warning people about for centuries. At least since Proudhon.
The discussion of human rights is not the discussion we need to be having. It is one that frames the discussion within a paradigm that favors the ruling class. It is easy to discredit and argue against rights. They are an abstract concept that often rely on a certain authority to declare. The basis for human rights can be many and varied they are relative. The basis of this conversation should be kept within the realm of a discussion of the liberation of all from capitalism. Without challenging the concept of private property we are essentially accepting the capitalist system and simply begging for our table scrap rights from our rulers.
The plea for human rights comes from the oppression of peoples by capitalism, property and hierarchy. It is a plea for a few essentials people need to survive. The issue should be a push to abolish capitalism as opposed to submitting to capitalist rule and beg for a few ‘human rights’ under their authority.
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe is the shining example of a capitalist. There are some who would claim to be capitalists by philosophy who are not in reality capitalists. A capitalist owns the means of production. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe frames his power as humanitarianism. He claims that the jobs he supplies are a humanitarian effort. The reality is that through his legal right of property he only serves as the ultimate parasite to the workers and the people. His sole purpose is to claim right or authority over resources and the product of the workers labor.
Privatization of Water
People are outraged over Peter Brabeck-Letmathe calling the view of water being a human right an extremist position. The fact is that he is right. The reality is that we have privatized water. Basic resources are owned either by the capitalists or in few cases still controlled by the state. The idea of water being anything but privatized is extremist because it is the opposite of the reality we currently live under. Many in the U.S. or other wealthy nations feel little of the impact of this. But there are those who are suffering a great deal under this capitalist generated scarcity.
Every natural resource even air will one day be owned and controlled by the capitalist if we continue on the path we are on. This is precisely what Proudhon addressed when he stated ‘Property Is Theft’. Proudhon saw water and air as being in unlimited supply, which we know now is not the reality. Under this assumption he mostly focused on property as in land. Now that the ability to harness and control air and water is here we see the same claim being made on these resources as we once saw with only land as property. The claim to property has been made. The ground water beneath you has been sucked dry by the capitalist and sold off for profit. I guess a home owners claim to property was a little less valid or maybe didn’t go that deep.
The fact is that the water that is consumed here in the U.S. is owned by a capitalist. There is either a monopoly on your tap water or it is distributed by a select few as bottled water. The resource is not public, has not been for quite a while. All of this is tightly controlled and managed with the power of the state by mostly a select few private companies. They are literally taking the ground water beneath you, claiming it as their property and selling it back to you.
So, yes the idea of water as a human right is extremist. It defies the reality of what is and has been. It is one that challenges capitalism absolutely, and without challenging capitalism absolutely it will remain the property of the capitalist.