We Own It activists from around the world gathered in downtown Toronto on April 4 to talk about the victories they’ve had so far, and to begin planning for even bigger victories working together into the future, including the possibility of a global summit against privatization.
“It’s clear privatization isn’t just something that’s happening in my country alone,” said Cat Hobbs, the U.K. activist who founded the original We Own It campaign. “Privatization is happening in Australia and here in Canada and in every country around the world.
“If privatization is global, we have to fight it globally.”
Hobbs was joined in Toronto yesterday by leaders of HSU, the Australian health care union helping to build We Own It down under, and also by the dozens of OPSEU member mobilizers and Executive Board Members who are actively supporting We Own It here in Ontario.
“Like here, we have firms like KPMG and Deloitte advising our governments to privatize our public services,” said HSU President Gerard Hayes. “When we saw the campaign OPSEU was helping to build against all this privatization, we knew it was something we needed to do as well.”
“We want this to be a people’s movement,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “We want to build a worldwide movement driven by any and all groups and people who want to join with us.
“My goal is to have a worldwide summit called We Own It where people like us from all over the world can join together and win this fight,” he said. “Our goal is for this movement to take on a life of its own.”
It was an idea that drew strong applause from everybody.
“This is so tremendously exciting,” said Hobbs. “Margaret Thatcher once said there is no such thing as society. But we are a society. We’re all connected and together we’ll build the society we all want.”
Hayes was just as supportive. “We will stand with you, we will fight with you, and we will win with you,” he said.