Guest post by Steven Miller
(This is the 3rd of 6 guest posts in which Miller describes how Obama is re-engineering society on behalf of the ruling elite.)
Part III – Obama’s Privatization Agenda
From Obama’s State of the Union Address:
“So, tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children.” (9)
This statement is a call for privatization that follows the speculative agenda described previously. Supposedly “to save taxpayer’s money”, the President offers corporations ownership of the public infrastructure that was formerly built by and for the public. Infrastructure includes roads and bridges, also schools and universities, the electrical grid, water and sewers, parks and ports, airports and dams. Obama even proposes to sell the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA – see Republicans Veer Towards Socialism), Roosevelt’s signature project that electrified the South. His plans open the door to the full seizure and privatization of public resources as corporate private property. What was originally built for free public access will increasingly be available only to those who can afford the fees.
Since the financial Meltdown of 2008, the federal government has been “nationalizing” the levers of control of society in the interests of the capitalist class. The Bailout began with the proclamation that “banks are now agents of the government”. It is moot to discuss whether the banks took over the government or the government took over the banks. They are merging together. Mussolini, the theoretician of fascism, held that fascism was the merger of the corporations and the state.
Obama quickly intervened in Detroit to reorganize the auto industry, though he refuses to intervene today to protect the city government or pensions. The federal government is reorganizing both public education and health care. The NSA revelations show that the federal government has also nationalized everyone’s information.
Since 2001, the Department of Homeland Security, financed at an average of some $30 billion a year, has privatized many government functions and outsourced a huge number of police activities to corporations. As Occupy demonstrated to all, DHS has virtually federalized the police.
It is important to understand the state and its powers. The state – including the army, the courts and the police – is distinct from the government. The government collects taxes and decides how to spend public money. This is essentially the administration of things. The state’s role is guaranteed by the rule of law to use coercion and force to protect the property of the ruling class and to guarantee its rule. Hence the state is principally about the control of people. This distinction is fundamental to understanding the maneuvers and powers of capitalism today.
No longer under public accountability or control, the state apparatus today plays a major role in engineering how society will be transformed for the ruling class. Just as in other periods of US history, the state operates to implement the policies of the dominant block of capitalists. Currently this means the state will use its powers of force to facilitate the privatization of everything tangible.
References and Resources
To be continued.
photo credit: SS&SS via photopin cc
Steven Miller has taught science for 25 years in Oakland’s Flatland high schools. He has been actively engaged in public school reform since the early 1990s. When the state seized control of Oakland public schools in 2003, they immediately implemented policies of corporatization and privatization that are advocated by the Broad Institute. Since that time Steve has written extensively against the privatization of public education, water and other public resources. You can email him at email@example.com
Originally posted at Daily Censored
Besides making the important point that privatization increases inequality by transferring public wealth to private individuals, Miller also stresses that privatizating government functions makes them unaccountable – what happens in the boardroom is protected as a “proprietary” secret.
Wholesale privatization allows the ruling elite to transfer more and more taxpayer money to their own pockets without public scrutiny. Mussolini called it fascism, but it’s really a reversion to feudalism, with the working class permanently locked into semi-slavery.
In New Zealand, our National government is accomplishing the same thing by selling off our state owned power companies.
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Well, it is certainly clear that slavery is going to be thriving in the future. It’s just going to be Temp-Slavery. You won’t even be able to get a full time slavery gig! Our modern times ……..
You have to give it to the 1% though. It’s still wage slavery. With chattel slavery, you gotta look after the slave when they get sick or old. Wage slavery is clearly more enlightened and economically efficient.
Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
Who wants privatization? What can people do to prevent it?
People need to organize. That’s the only solution I know of.
Right. But first of all they have to be aware about what is going on and start thinking about it what sort of an effect it is going to have on their lives. If people could not care less about truthful information then we just have to let it go, right?
In my experience all consciousness raising has to start with where people are at. So the first step is to just get to know people and let them tell you what their major concerns are. I have always found the best place to start is in neighborhoods. All people are affected by the global economic downturn. I find this is a really good place to start, even if people come from a different ideological perspective. If you talk to people long enough, eventually you discover some common understandings.
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Sounds great, Stuart. Thanks for letting me know about your experiences. I think in Australia the majority of people were still quite well off a year ago. They voted a conservative government in. A lot of people get the feeling now that our present government wants to make sure that people take so called ‘entitlements’ not for granted any more. Gradually people who do not belong to the very well off class start getting concerns about the future. During my nearly 80 years of life I have never been very much of an activist. Joining a few thousand people in a protest against the Iraq war only resulted in being called ‘the mob’ by the then prime minister.
Good on ya for marching against the Iraq war, auntie. Although we were unable to prevent the invasion, the 2 million plus people who marched globally were noted by the Bush administration and clearly affected the conduct of the war.
I reblogged this on auntyuta.