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January 28, 2014

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Richard

Another dimension to this, Michael, is a relative absence of the sense that public services actually belong to the public, that is, they exist in order to ensure that the democratic entitlements of the citizens at large -in terms of material equality, dignity and decency- are met. So public sector workers seek to forge alliances with the wider public, both as custodians *and* as users of those services.

One striking example of this is the Marea Blanca in Spain, which involves a public mobilisation against the privatisation of health services, drawing in both health service professionals and people who depend on the service.

To take an excerpt from a piece I translated a while back:

'Glass floors shattering open and entire sectors, healthcare workers, civil servants, teachers and even police draining onto the common terrain of having to do, to demand, to talk and to decide. To demand participation in what is public, to oppose what is supposed to be beyond the scope of decision, that is, the crisis, with its overarching justification as a natural disaster, which is to say, non-negotiable and apolitical par excellence, or, alternatively, the responsibility of ordinary people, who have lived-beyond-our-means.'

http://hiredknaves.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/of-rising-tides-and-shattering-floors/

And here's the thing - it is winning. The regional government in Madrid has had to abandon most of its plans to privatise and outsource health services.

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