A Grand Alliance: New Book Explores Privatization Threats Across America

November 12, 2021

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(This article first appeared in the November/December issue of the American Postal Worker magazine)

Keen readers of this column will know that Grand Alliance member In the Public Interest has been a vital resource in our struggle to defend the public Postal Service since the creation of the Alliance in 2013. In the Public Interest is a national nonprofit research and policy organization that helps unions, community organizations, advocacy groups and public officials understand how privatization of public goods negatively affects all of us.

We often run excerpts of In the Public Interest research briefs for readers interested in privatization battles elsewhere in the economy. ITPI has written extensively on the threats to the public Postal Service, sharing our campaign information with their readers and participating in the People’s Postal Summit earlier this year.

Now, ITPI Executive Director Donald Cohen has a new resource available for readers who are keen to learn more about who is driving privatization and what their aims are. The book, The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back, also explores how privatization undermines our democracy and how we can collectively sharpen the tools in our defense of crucial public services. The book is co-authored with historian Allen Mikaelin, and is available directly from the publisher and at bookstores nationwide.

Below is a blurb from publisher the New Press:

“From water systems to private prisons, charter schools to exclusive patents on life-saving drugs, Cohen and Mikaelian describe an astonishing array of privatization scams and schemes and, helpfully, where some communities are successfully resisting.” - Annie Leonard, executive director, Greenpeace USA, and author of The Story of Stuff

“An essential read for those who want to fight the assault on public goods and the commons.” - Naomi Klein

As people reach for social justice and better lives, they create public goods—free education, public health, open parks, clean water, postal services and many others—that must be kept out of the market.

When private interests take over, they strip public goods of their power to lift people up, creating instead a tool to diminish democracy, further inequality and separate us from each other.

The Privatization of Everything, by the founder of In the Public Interest, an organization dedicated to shared prosperity and the common good, chronicles the efforts to turn our public goods into private profit centers. Ever since Ronald Reagan labeled government a dangerous threat, privatization has touched every aspect of our lives, from water and trash collection to the justice system and the military.

However, citizens can, and are, wresting back what is ours. A Montana city took back its water infrastructure after finding that they could do it better and cheaper. Colorado towns fought back well-funded campaigns to preserve telecom monopolies and hamstring public broadband. A motivated lawyer fought all the way to the Supreme Court after the State of Georgia erected privatized paywalls around its legal code.

The Privatization of Everything connects the dots across a broad spectrum of issues and raises larger questions about who controls the public things we all rely on, exposing the hidden crisis of privatization that has been slowly unfolding over the last fifty years and giving us a road map for taking our country back.

We encourage all supporters of A Grand Alliance to consider reading Cohen’s important new book as we continue our campaign to defend the public Postal Service and other public goods in this country. You can pre-order the book at https://bit.ly/itpiAGA.

A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service is a broad coalition of national, state and local organizations including the NAACP, Vote Vets, Jobs with Justice, National Council of Churches and Rainbow PUSH. These groups have come together to take a stand against the unprecedented assaults on the Postal Service including efforts to dismantle and privatize it. To join A Grand Alliance, visit www.AGrandAlliance.org.




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