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“We don’t have to think about how we’re gonna make a profit here. All we have to think about is how we’re gonna provide
a good service to the citizens.” So says Michael McDonald, a veteran water-plant supervisor in Stockton, California, as he decries the city’s $600 million plan to sell its water system. Stockton’s mayor insists the privatization plan will launch a new era
of “customer” service. But McDonald can’t abide the thought of someone profiting by supplying this basic human need.

Stockton’s is just one of three battles pro-filed in this perceptive documentary. Thirst begins in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where Bechtel took over the city’s water supply in 1999, only to have its contract revoked
following violent uprisings over prices. The film also travels to Rajasthan, India’s most arid state, where a populist named Rajendra Singh is leading a boycott of corporate bottled water.

Interspersed are scenes from the World Water Forum in Japan, where development officials scold activists that free water is a fantasy. But Thirst captures the extraordinary lengths citizens will go to to resist water’s conversion into a mere commodity. When it seems that he and his public-water allies have lost their fight in Stockton, Michael McDonald resigns in protest after 26 years on the job.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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