Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Neoliberal privatization Chicago style...

I just heard a great piece on Public Radio (WBEZ). Here is a link to the story...

http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=33678

The gist of the story was that Daley’s privatization of parking meters might have “an unexpected consequence”. The story focused on the reactions of Northside Alderman Scott Waguespack and Tom Tunney when they “realized” that they could no longer simply pass an ordinance regulating hours for parking meters without paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in extortion money to Morgan Stanely, the financial services giant (aka robber barron, aka another AIG, Bear Sterns etc, etc, etc), who now owns the meters and the revenue they generate. I laughed out loud when the WBEZ reporter quoted Tom Tunney as stating that Morgan Stanley can’t take away his legislative power. But that is precisely the point of neo-liberal economic measures like privatization plans and “free trade agreements”. They are all about taking power out of the hands of the public and turning it over to corporations. Sorry Tommy Boy, I can’t wait till he tries to convince his best buddy Richey Daley that the city should cough up a couple hundred thousand dollars for Morgan Stanely so he can maintain the appearance that he still has legislative authority on parking meters.

Here is the comment I posted on WBEZ’s website…

“unexpected consequence”! It should have been totally expected! Don’t you guys understand what privatization is all about? I would expect that allegedly educated “public servants” like Scott Waguespack and Tom Tunney, who voted in favor of the privatization plan, would understand what privatization really means. Privatization, like all other aspects of neo-liberal economics is as much about a transfer of power as it is about making money. The whole point is to remove formerly public sectors of society from public power and control and to transfer those sectors into the hands of private corporate power. This is the same tactics and logical that operate under NAFTA & CAFTA rules. In 1999 Methanex Corp. sued the U.S. government for $970 million because of a California law phasing out the sale of MTBE, a gasoline additive that is harmful to the environment. They did so through NAFTA’s secretive court system which is outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. our any governments legal system, setup under the Chapter 11 investor to state rights provisions of NAFTA. Metalclad, a U.S. company sued a small community in Mexico for 16.5 million dollars when Mexican citizens tried to pass and ordinance preventing the company from creating a toxic waste dump in their back yard, once again using Chapter 11 provisions of NAFTA. And there are dozens of other examples. I recommend Bill Moyers NOW Program episode entitled “Trading Democracy” if you are in the dark about this stuff. So it made me laugh when the WBEZ reporter quoted Tom Tunney as stating that Morgan Stanley can not take away Alderman’s legislative power. Sorry Tommy Boy, but that is exactly what privatization is all about. That is why it represents such a threat to democracy. Wise up people.

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