The population of the state of São Paulo overwhelmingly demonstrated against the proposals to privatize public services by Bolsonaro governor Tarcisio de Freitas (Republicans). The popular plebiscite organized by unions and popular movements on the issue ended with 97% of votes against the delivery of passenger trains, the subway and the Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo (Sabesp).
The results of the vote were presented this Thursday (16), the day on which the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo (Alesp) hosted a public hearing to discuss the possibility of privatizing Sabesp. According to organizers, the plebiscite received around 897 thousand votes.
The ballot boxes were distributed at points of large circulation of citizens, such as public transport stations and terminals. It took about two months of mobilization. In addition to the votes, participants in the plebiscite joined together in a petition against privatizations for delivery to public authorities.
The popular plebiscite is part of a campaign to mobilize representations of workers from Sabesp, Metrô and Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM), who on October 3rd went on a joint strike against projects to deliver public services to private initiative. A new strike, with other categories joining, is scheduled for the 28th.
Mobilization and audience
The mobilization of workers has support from different sectors of society, representatives of other professional categories and parliamentarians. Before the start of this Thursday’s public hearing at Alesp, an event brought together many of these people.
“We have a government that hates public service, that hates public servants, that wants to transform Sabesp into a new Enel”, said state deputy Guilherme Cortez (PSOL), in reference to the energy supply crisis in São Paulo in last weeks.
“The private sector is not capable of serving the public interest. If the private company has to choose between increasing the value of the bill or offering a better quality service, it will choose its profitability. And the bill will be charged to the population”, added the deputy.
“They want to privatize Sabesp because they don’t like the people, they don’t like the poor, they don’t like workers,” said Vívia Martins, member of the CUT-SP board. “Any and all demonstrations against this privatization, we will be together in this fight. It is unacceptable to privatize water, which is a good for everyone”, she added.
The state government was represented at the public hearing by Natália Resende, Secretary of Environment, Infrastructure and Logistics, who tried to argue that the eventual privatization of Sabesp will have different characteristics from the privatization of electricity services.
“The problems, in general, are the same. Rates increase, services worsen, investments are not made, public authorities lose social control. We have a history of loss of quality and losses in the world in the process of privatization”, countered the president of the Union of Water, Sewage and Environmental Workers of the State of São Paulo (Sintaema), José Faggian.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho