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Campaign proposal: water.


Submitted by: WILPF's Berkeley/East Bay Branch

Save the Water not only interconnects all three of the WILPF's major themes but, because water is a critical issue with every community in the country, it has the potential of being an exciting outreach opportunity for WILPF. The idea for this campaign grew out of the forum on water at the recent International Congress and is in keeping with WILPF's international goals and initiatives.

Peace: U.S. foreign policy wages wars for oil. But U.S. residents are actually more dependent upon (and use more) water than oil. As the scarcity continues and privatization of water increases, U.S. foreign policy will include waging wars for water. Therefore, taking community control of our water is in the interest of peace. By addressing the water issues, we also challenge the weapons industry--a major polluter of water.

Racial, social and economic justice: The availability and distribution of water is becoming divided according to class and race in the U.S. Buying up the water from a community and selling it back to them at higher prices is often an example of environmental racism. The bottled water industry exploits the water resources of many communities in the U.S. and abroad, and markets it at great profit.

Radical democracy: This campaign is the embodiment of radical grassroots democracy. Given that every person, family and community needs and has a right to water and that the sources and availability of water differ from community to community, the protection and use of water is a community issue. We will campaign branch by branch and community by community.

Our long-term goal is to become catalysts and stewards of a national "take back the water" movement through the education and mobilization of our communities to take responsibility for the quality, availability and cost of their own water.

Year One: Set up branch Water Research and Planning Committees to research the condition of water in each community regarding ownership, cost, pollution, condition of infrastructure, conservation and availability now and in the future; including the impact of trade agreements on the ability of local communities to maintain democratic control of their own water. The committee will record and collate all information gathered about water resources and conditions, and develop media release formats and educational pamphlets and fliers for distribution later. Local experts from public agencies and environmental watchdog groups will give short presentations at branch meetings. The branch, with help from regional leaders, will develop a fundraising campaign to pay for projected costs.

Year Two: The committee and each community will define their own most urgent problems and strategies for addressing them. Community education campaigns (in collaboration with other public and nonprofit organizations) might include: forums, debates, events, speaking engagements for branch members in public school classrooms, retirement, community and civic centers. We will also foster communications and meetings with local, state and nationally elected representatives.

Year Three: Mobilize community response. Coordinate with other community service organizations and environmental groups to develop direct actions that challenge corporate ownership and polluters, and pursue progressive water management and legislative action.

Action Plan: Membership: Send out an announcement (including a questionnaire) about the campaign to all active and inactive members, inviting them to participate in the Water Research and Planning Committee. The purpose of the questionnaire is to gather community input, find experts in the field and do outreach.

The announcement should be also sent to biology, environmental studies and women's studies departments (emphasizing that water is a women's issue), PTAs, day care centers, etc. Most communities are inhabited by people of various economic classes and various ethnicities. All people are affected by the condition and availability of water. Therefore, it should be possible to pull in new, multicultural women from the local communities by merit of the issue itself.

All the start-up and subsequent printed materials and notices to all branches will be channeled through the national office.

Founding Leadership: Jacqueline P. Fields (Cape Cod, MA); Yoshiko Ikuta and Linda Park (Cleveland, Ohio); Nancy Price (Sacramento, CA) and Laura Santina (Berkeley/East Bay, CA). The team is a combination of newer and long-time members of WILPF and has the expertise, dedication and passion necessary for the campaign.
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Publication:Peace and Freedom
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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