Protecting AND DEVELOPING THE Common Good FOR COMMON INTEREST
What is the “Common Good” for beginners: (The simplest explanation) The Common Good can be found all around you. It is what makes up our communities. It is all of our cities institutions, Art galleries, museums, schools, parks. It is also the history of how these things came about. The Common Good belongs to everyone both rich and poor alike. It is common to us all. The Common Good is what we do for each other, and what we give to each other. It is also what we pass on to our children, so it should be cherished and kept free.
The following will hopefully stimulate some interest and explanation of the many ways of approaching, first. What the Common Good means, and why in today’s market culture of “winner takes all” it needs protecting. The Common Good is the last bastion that can protect the ideas and democratic principals, with which our communities were created. Lose it at our peril. It is the best tool we have to reaffirm democratic choice for ordinary people. I have added some “What’s happening in America” reference – as our administration seem to be traveling along the same road as their corporate cousins. Also a section on how we could start using our Common Good to serve our communities.
|Scenarios||Things to think about||Make it work for us||Links|
If you don’t know what the “Common Good” is, especially if your young, and haven’t heard the term. Hopefully the following will help in understanding it better – through ideas and sequence of events of what privatisation, in general and of the Common Good, can mean.
If you have any ideas or information you would like to contribute.How to educate the young and those who don’t know what Common Good means.How the Common Good could be further used to benefit the people of Glasgow
|NO MATER WHERE YOU ARE
Contributions from any geographical area would be very helpful. All the Links I have collected are here. If you have some to add, any questions, send them to
|THE COMMON GOOD IN SCOTLAND
Film Scottish land reform researcher Andy Wightman explaining the basics of Common Good assets in Scotland. Common Good are land, buildings and artefacts that have been given to the people of a burgh or town as common property and for benefit of their common wellbeing. For more information see: http://www.scottishcommons.org
|OUR CULTURE TRANSFER TO £££
Firstly the only reasons being given by the Glasgow City Council for the transfer of our Common Good assets to a “pseudo charity”- are financial.
|WHEN DOES IT STOP?
What then, is to stop every other decision for doing anything concerning the Common Good, merely financial?
Think what will suffer and be first to disappeared under such a regime – All the things that can not be given a financial value. The small personal detail that doesn’t fit snuggly on the side of a souvenir mug
|FAILURE TO PROTECT
The lack of interest in protecting the Common Good by politicians and political parties illustrates the failure of the parliamentary system to protect interests of democratic importance.
Promoting political parties who only deal with short term interests, usually to serve the power struggles of individuals, who – “will do something when we get to power” is not an answer to protecting common interests.
The Common Good is a long term interest and as such can only be protected by public interest. In the hands of city administrators it will be used to pay off their bad planning financial mistakes – short term solutions and bias business deals. Till they get kicked out of office. We need a better idea than this.
|IT STARTED HERE
When Glasgow’s parks were privatised, (April 2004) at least there was an attempt at consultation. A very weak attempt
|NO ATTEMPT TO CONSULT
In the privatising of the Common Good, there has been absolutely no regard what so ever to inform the public of what is, the selling-off of – public assets.
|WERE DOES IT END
If the council think the public can be so easily duped – What’s up next, for privatisation? – schools, health…
Should we wait until the kids have to take £5 to school to pay for an art gallery visit
|Fat Cat art galleries Tate Britain
Corporate takeovers of culture
|What’s at stake in the land-grab|
|KILLING THE VILLAGE SQUARE
With so much of our land being sold off for the use of shopping malls. [Tesco Village, Partick, Glasgow] Shopping complexes are starting to call themselves “Villages”
|FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Remember there is no freedom of speech in the “privatised village”, nor freedom of choice. Once the “local village” and shops disappear you are at the mercy of the retail giants
|START CHEAP END DEAR
Sure you will have a supermarket in your local area for a while. Till all the wee shops are gone. Then the supermarkets become bigger and less local and of course even more expensive.
|Privatisation means subsidisation|
|SUBSIDISING THE WEALTHY
Why should we think the same thing repeated over and over again will be any different. Did the privatisation of British Rail make the trains run any better, cheaper? No. Why are we still subsidising private rail businesses to keep the trains running? Is the subsidy used to make your ticket cheaper. That’s a laugh.
|REAL COMPETITION ?
Privatised railways like supermarkets are only cheap when they have to put up with “real” competition. When the [local] competition disappears, the prices will rocket like rail fares. – and the state will have subsidised this happening one way or the other
|MORE RICH – LESS TAX
Think about it. The bigger the corporation the less tax they pay. (if any) Why do you think they need all those lawyers – to think of loopholes to avoid paying tax. Who pays all the tax then? Me and you. Who does our tax subsidise then? I bet you thought it was pensioners and folk on the dole. Some of it is but -Fraud is costing the country 20 billion a year and it’s not poor people whose stealing all our money. Add this to the business incentives, business tax relief and the figures become surreal.
|Business wants the popular aspects of government, the ones that actually serve the population, beaten down, but it also wants a very powerful state, one that works for it and is removed from public control. Noam Chomsky Common Good|
|BUSINESS KILLS DEMOCRACY
We need to hold on to our democracy while we have it. We can’t rely on business to solve our social problems.
It is ironic the most deprived areas need to rely on such things as Tesco Villages as a life line for there communities.
Linwood a case in point
|REPLACING COMMUNITY WITH THE MALL
It is pertinent in corporate takeover that communities are rendered hopeless, blighted and undemocratised in order that folk in these communities see the corporate shopping mall as a saviour. The message, is – don’t try anything yourself leave it to us. Then blight of consumption takes over, the community is rendered as individual shoppers.
|THERE’S MORE THAN ONE VALUE SYSTEM
Do you ever wonder why listening to politicians, everything relating to the Common Good, hospitals, schools, and so on is valued as negative cost. While the language of consumption is described as “personal wealth” and “choice” and democracy becomes to mean the “freedom to buy”.
Why are we not encouraged to value our public services as an achievement of our collective generosity the same way as our private possessions are used to denote our personal achievements?We seem not to mind (or don’t know) how generous we are with our money when our government is dolling it out to business interests in cheap land, tax incentives, ignoring corporate tax evasion, and using our assets for the tourists comfort, rather than the taxpayers. Every cost saving and cut to our public expenditure will eventually find its way into the pockets of private business.
In a capitalist market economy (where were at) it is an imperative (the same as blighted land) that ordinary citizens are properly prepared to give up what they already own. Therefore the language needs to be changed from. Common, democratic, good. To. Private, profit, good – for the few of course.
This is how council houses were sold back to the people that already owned them. And is the same theory that will be used to sell us back our culture, if we let them privatise it.
|Draining the public purse|
It’s a bit like the privatised water companies who lose billions of gallons of water every day because of lack of repairs (the share holders get all the money that should be used on repairs) our Common Good is like the leaking pipes all over the country, our assets being drained off . And to add to that we are expected to pay through the nose – as if it’s our fault.
That’s what happens with most public assets that are privatised. Check out the railways. We actually fund private businesses that belonged to the public which were sold because the government decided the private sector could run them more efficiently. Yes of course they can with the help of our taxes in bail outs when they fail. No one was mad about British Rail but it was a dam sight better than the railways now.£1.6 billion for Virgin Rail.
What happens in our universities? Stuff that is researched and developed (prompted by business) in our educational institutes, if these things are successful they are are privatised. If the research is a miserable failure guess who picks up the bill?
|Thames WaterThames Water misses leak target|
Even if dole fraud goes into the hundreds of millions, and there’s a budget of millions on TV adverts to inform the public of this fraud. So where’s all the adverts about business fraud. It doesn’t exist? We manage to turn a city (country) into the biggest land grab in its history and no fraud is detected?
|BUSINESS SOCIAL SECURITY
How come when the business community who owe not millions, but billions, of pounds in tax, and the same businesses are claiming massive back payments of taxes and incentives from the public purse –Criminalise the poor. White collar crime? Notes US ref
The same businesses that are claiming these”benefits” are the same businesses who are showing profit levels that are going into space. Not a peep, hardly a whisper will you hear about business fraud in the newspapers. Guess who owns and advertises in the newspapers?
|The housing swindle|
|HOSTAGE TO HOME BUYING
Then the council turn round and say “There’s no demand for council housing” Why have cheap housing when the wage slave mentality will keep folk from thinking about things like the Common Good, as they hive away all day in order to meet the mortgage.
Folk are not being allowed to chose between rent or buying. Most are being forced to buy through the lack of affordable and properly maintained homes.
There’s no money we are persistently told when we ask for facilities to keep our kids occupied. We are told it’s because of bad people in our communities are destroying things, because folk are defrauding the dole, working and claiming at the same time.Working class people are well used to being blamed for their own problems. Yes there is vandals breaking things up and there are junkies and dope dealers.They are also aware, how come these things don’t happen much in middle class areas. They are also becoming aware that the lack of public facilities (not private) the lack of response to repairs, vandalism, ant social behaviour, rubbish collection, from their city administrators is becoming systematic and goes arm in arm in chasing folk out of their council houses and into the arms of the mortgage lender, or homelessness – while the process of land-grabbing for developers goes on unabated.
It is when our social order is breaking down for what ever reason that we need a facility that can draw the collective moral of our communities. People need to feel that they are not alone to be outspoken, assertive and creative in there own affairs. The Common Good presents a democratic platform on which these urges, ideas and concerns should be heard.Any administration who does not recognise these ideas is unworthy of democratic leadership, and any leader who spouts privatisation of the Common Good, will be of benefit to the collective who own it, is not fit to represent our interests. Because these “leaders” will be to busy representing the gentrifiers.
|Dole fraud?UK fraud
costs ‘top £20bn a year’
|Reducing council housing is like pouring water down the drain when you can see a drought coming.||The growth in the housing market is making it harder, not easier,for low-income families ands first-time buyers to buy property.||Personal insolvency is at an all time high with more people declaring themselves bankrupt than ever before.||Debt
|Myth of growth|
House prices on the up? At the same time we are told by Glasgow Housing Association, “there is no demand for council housing” This is straight from the Thatcher text book. Get the albatross of mortgage around peoples necks and there will be no time to worry about anything else.
What good does it do house prices going up: OK your a first time buyer your house is going up in price
which means the next house you buy if you have kids will probably be out of reach? What then, back to over crowding, over work, stress, paying for repairs.
GHA bill forced us to quit our home
We’ll call in cops to stop repair work
More homeowners in debt trouble
So, to pay the mortgage we go out and work more, less time with kids, create more goods, waste, products, pollution. The only time the house price will stop rising under the market economy (for most folk) is when their dead. Even then their kids will take on their debt, and the bank will probably still own the property.
|Myth of work||Welfare Capitalism||We’ll do it for you|
|Each headline we see in the newspapers, just before another land grab takes place is the boast of how many jobs the project, mall or whatever is going to bring. What is rarely mention is the type of employment, the the rate of wages and the duration of the employment. We are bringing much wanted jobs to the area, is also a ruse for demolishing historical land marks and usable older building types.||Forcing people off the dole for jobs that, either don’t exist, or are so low paid. The same as pushing them into “further education” to be trained for other jobs that don’t exist. The capitalist system can not run without an excess labour force. Pushing people off the dole for jobs that don’t exist, creates low wages and desperate people who will work for and at, anything they can get. Notes US ref||If folk organise in their area for a nursery they will get a new community centre. If they want a new community centre they will probably get a sports centre, or vis versa. So long as the city administrators do it for you.
“Their resources undermined and eliminated the incipient democratic and popular structures.” Notes US ref
|Keep watching the box, get pished, and everything will be fine.|
|WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU.
We are continuously being told what to do: What we need. How we should act. What is good for us. What’s bad for you. What the future holds. Who our enemies are. Who our friends are. What you own. What you don’t own. Where you can go. Where you can’t go. Who you can see. Who you can’t see. What’s your business. What’s their business. And here is an ID card, so we can tell what you earn. Where you live. What kind of car you have. What medication your on. What shops you visit. What you buy. What you drink. (and how much). We promise we will not sell this information to businesses to help target their sales toward you. But then we have lied to you about lots of other things.If the authorities are so benevolent towards our well beingWhy are we never told to get rid of our televisions?
While our grass roots culture is being reduced to getting pished of a weekend in a city centre that resembles a war zone. On one side the mass of outlets, and advertising, selling trinkets of every description and drink of every concoction. Our young folk stagger about oblivious from one franchise chain pub to the next. This is the city the city council allowed business to build. It is not a city designed for people. Meanwhile more of our money is used for business propaganda to further distract the fact we have so much poverty and debt to deal with while the first minister busies himself on wallpapering over the cracks. Six Cities Design which will help our designers create more abstract creations to further distract our citizens from the fact. No matter who wins the “games bid”.[commonwealth] The people in poverty of both countries will suffer even more. Anger as Games rival criticises city’s crime and poverty Remember these are the people who describe a “super casino” as a win win situation
We live in a society (which is the aim of market capitalism) that each family unit has its own television, its own car, its own drive to supermarket. As Chomsky puts it:”Social Security says, Let’s ensure that all of us have a minimal standard of living. That puts a bad idea into people’s heads—that we can all work together, get involved in the democratic process and make our own decisions. Much better to create a world in which people behave individually and the powerful win.
The goal is a society in which the basic social unit is you and your television set. If the kid next door is hungry, it’s not your problem. If the retired couple next door invested their assets badly and are now starving, that’s not your problem either. “
|CRIME. Some useful thoughts from US, on violence, crime, prisons and gun culture.|
|In case anyone hasnt noticed we have been sold to the markets, by our government. So we need to look at what’s happening in the biggest market economy to see what’s going to happen here next. There are resemblances.|
|Although crime in the US is high by the standards of comparable societies, there’s only one major domain in which it’s really off the map— murders with guns. But that’s because of the gun culture. The overall crime rate hasn’t changed much for a long time. In fact, it’s been decreasing recently.
The US is one of very few societies—maybe the only one—where crime is considered a political issue; in most parts of the world, it’s looked at as a social problem. Politicians don’t have to fight during elections about who’s tougher on crime—they simply try to figure out how to deal with it.
Why does crime get all this attention here? I think it has more to do with social control than with crime itself. There’s a very committed effort to convert the US into something resembling a Third World society, where a few people have enormous wealth and a lot of others have no security (for one reason, because their jobs might be sent to Mexico or some other place where employers don’t have to worry about benefits, unions or the like).
Now that these workers are superfluous, what do you do with them? First of all, you have to make sure they don’t notice that society is unfair and try to change that, and the best way to distract them is to get them to hate and fear one another. Every coercive society immediately hits on that idea, which has two other benefits: it reduces the number of superfluous people (by violence) and provides places to put the ones who survive (prisons). Noam Chomsky The Common Good
Meanwhile Corporate Crime goes on unabated
|MORE ABOUT THE US GENTRIFICATION MODEL WE ARE FOLLOWING –||This is the script – See anything familiar||Find more here – SAGEnet||SAGEnet Home|
|(Our cousins across the Atlantic have been dealing with the gentrification, conference city, colonisation of space and criminalising the poor, a lot longer than us. Why aren’t we learning from their experience?)
the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx if middle class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces earlier, usually poorer, residents. –Merriam Webster
|THE TERM ‘GENTRIFICATION’ has been around for about 40 years. However, today’s gentrification is occurring in a very different political and economic context than in past years. Thirty years ago the United States had a strong public sector –||LESS FEDERAL MONEY-
Today, that has been stripped down to almost nothing. There has been an 85% reduction in federal urban programs in the past thirty years.
|WAR ON POVERTY
Thirty years ago the federal administration declared a ‘war on poverty’.
|CRIMINALISATION OF POVERTY:
Today, our cities have declared a war on the poor and are constantly seeking ways to criminalize poverty.
This has caused our prison population to swell threefold over the past 20 years.
|(Look at the following web site it has useful ideas on how we learn to accept bad things happening.) My parentheses||The
|UNION AND INDUSTRIAN JOBS:
Thirty years ago a person could graduate from high school, get a good union job in a factory and be able to buy a house and send their kids to college.
Today, in Los Angeles, and many other U.S. cities, most of those jobs have gone overseas and have been replaced with non-union, low-wage manufacturing and service jobs that do not offer benefits.
Thirty years ago the United States had a social infrastructure that could help people out in hard times.
Today, much of that social infrastructure has been moved to the private sector or stripped away completely.
Yesterday’s urban economies had local and regional roots.
Today the economies of most major cities respond to global demands.
|LARGE MIDDLE CLASS:
Thirty years ago the United States had a large middle class.
|GROWTH BETWEEN RICH AND POOR
Today, the gap between the rich and poor has widened enormously and middle class incomes have diminished.
|INVESTMENT IN STOCKS
Thirty years ago much of the nation’s investment capital went into stocks.
|CAPITAL MOVES FROM STOCKS TO LAND:
A few years ago, when the high tech bubble burst and the stock market became unstable, billions of investment dollars moved into real estate.
This escalated prices and created new “hot” markets.
|URBAN TAX BASE
We used to have a strong urban tax base.
|FISCALISATION OF LAND USE
With less public money, cities are trying to cash in on the real estate boom by using real estate development to raise taxes.Convention centers, stadiums, tourist hotels, and huge auto malls produce sales, tickets and bed taxes that keep city hall doors open.Analysts call this trend the ‘fiscalization of land use’.What that means is city administrators look at land in terms of how much revenue it can produce rather than what communities really need–like housing, community-serving-retail, parks, and good jobs.
|The Commonwealth Games||Games monitor (Olympic)||The Common Good Games|
The onus on preserving the Common Good, is in the hands of Glasgow’s citizens, not on Glasgow City Council, or any future party elect. The fact that this move [privatisation] is a surprise to most Glaswegian’s, is evidence enough, of a complete lack, or not enough attention to our common interests by any of the parties.The Common Good is not the preserve of government administrators, but the citizens themselves – if we don’t use it, we lose it.
The biggest loss to the Common Good, if it is taken from the public, is not the physical assets, but the social interaction that these assets make available, to everyone. This is what has deteriorated and allows this kind of thieving to take place. If we lose the Common Good, it will not be because of what the Council do, but what we [public] haven’t or don’t do.
We shouldn’t spend to much time in wondering why the council do such things. We should be thinking of why we let them and how to stop them doing these things. Election Time is Upon Us
“So we’re moving from the idea that an injury to one is an injury to all, to the idea that an injury to one is just an injury to one?”
“That’s the ideal of a capitalist society—except for the rich. Boards of directors are allowed to work together, and so are banks and investors and corporations in alliances with one another and with powerful states. That’s fine. It’s just the poor who aren’t supposed to cooperate.” Noam Chomsky Common Good
|IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. BUT. WE NEED TO TAKE PART AND CONTROL BY TELLING COUNCILS AND GOVERNMENTS WHAT WE WANT, AS WELL AS WHAT WE DONT WANT|
|Common Good use||Decisions and work to be done||Positive alternative|
|PRIVATISING DEMOCRACY||Simple rules|
|BY ANY ANOTHER NAME
It doesn’t matter what they call it charities, privatising services, outsourcing, what is happening is a corporate entity is being made out of what was formally part of democracy
A simple rule on privatisation: Is that something about which citizens should have a say? If the answer is yes, it shouldn’t be privatised.
Like politicians in power – nothing should be put in our parks or open spaces that can not be removed easily. Anyone who claims to represent us shouldn’t find it difficult to agree with this.
Act like your a free person – know your rights. Live and act by your principals, don’t just think you have them.
If you are in doubt about how you should act think about what your kids will have to put up with if you don’t.
Know where you will draw the line and take a stand
|WHY NOT REAL JOB CREATION
Why isn’t our public good assets being used to create jobs in our communities, and the profits from these efforts fed directly back into the Common Good fund
|WHAT DO WE NEED
Why can’t each area of the city decide what facilities they need in their area. Then decide what part or people needs it most. Then order the work to be done. (After all thats what the council are supposed to do) Folk could do this themselves without to much interference from professionals?
|WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO:EMPLOY OUR OWN EXPERTS.
DO OUR OWN PUBLIC WORKS.
TRAIN OUR OWN WORKERS.
MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS.
DECIDE WHAT’S IMPORTANT.
AND WHO WILL BENEFIT.
|EXAMPLES OF PROPER TRUSTS GalGael Trust||Coachhouse Trust||Ruskin Mill Education Trust
Click audio for talk on RM
Why can’t associations of local workers be formed to facilitate this work to be carried out. Imagine working in your own area making and fixing things. After all it’s what used to happen.
|WORK TO BE DONE
There is plenty of work to be done in the city infrastructure. There is no need for the ridiculous unemployment figures. Why can’t local people do this work themselves. For their local community. Local works would create local pride of place, less travel pollution and better job satisfaction. And much more.
|PROFIT NOT PROGRESS
We do not need corporations and banks in order to do things in our city. That’s just another myth. Corporations initially were created to handle big projects by governments. Now they now run wild over every vestige of our lives. The difference between corporations created for the publics benefit then and what we have now, are the massive profits taken out of the public purse go into private hands. Not to benefit the Common Good as corporations originally did
“Public” consultation. In a democratic city should the following not be a fundamental requirement? when development work is undertaken which will have a drastic effect on local residents-
Representatives from the local area meet with city officials and prospective developers to state their ideas, needs and requirements for their community. An agreement is made on how the Consultation is going to be pitched. Both parties having a full opportunity to explain their case. If there is any bias it should be on the residents part, as it is their neighbourhood and their lives that will be effected by any regeneration.
|PUBLIC RIGHT OF REPLY
At the consultation event
As well as charts on social housing and jobs promised projections, a chart showing projected profits and full interests of the private parties involved should also be on display.A budget should set out, as part of the project, to allow the local population to employ their own independent expert, to explain how the changes or redevelopment of their area, will impact on their community.A stronger “public right of reply” should be allowed in council publications, which at present strongly favour’s the developer, rather than the public, who the Glasgow City Council were voted in to serve.
|The Common Sense of the Common Good|
|PREPAIRING THE YOUNG
Why are our kids not taught how to protect themselves from predatory corporations at school?
|NO SUCESS LIKE FAILURE
We will teach them how business works. How “you” can succeed. How “you” can win. How “you” need to reform to fit business interests and employment. How you will need to beat every one else if you want to succeed.Someone once asked 500 or so teachers at a conference to write down half a dozen things they as teachers think should be important in educating children. The answers that come back were Love, care, thought for each other and such like. Non of these things are ever on the curriculum.
|UNIONS & COOPERATION
Why do we not teach school kids equally how to create workers unions. How to cooperate in projects for the Common Good. What is more useful to most pupils leaving school. Knowing how to run a business or knowing how to protect themselves from business? A comparison of wages and profits should give most workers and school leavers the answer to where they will stand in the pecking order of things.
|We need to start concentrating on what we want – Not on what we don’t want.||We are being told it’s a different world now and we have to change, pull our belts in, work harder, make more sacrifices. While those who profit by our labour and debts never change, never sacrifice anything and live as they always have, comfortably and off other people’s backs –||Now corporations have become so vile and greedy. Now every social taboo has been lifted they will stop at nothing until the economic system completely collapses It is not a choice if ordinary people want to stem the tide of greed and make gains for their own communities, it is an imperative. It is useless looking after number one. That’s why we have arrived where we are. It is time to look after “all” of our children.|
|The Max-Neef Model of Human-Scale Development|
The drive for short term profits means everything else’s is forgotten about. There has been little done and little invested in infrastructure of our city.All the work our public works “should” be doing has been privatise, outsourced, thus destroying the local workforce and creating cheap insecure labour for corporations
|PLENTY OF WORK
The city is saturated in work needing done and unemployed folk who would be happy to do it. The economic system is so dire it can’t put people to work. It can only see marginalisation as another root to private profits and cheap labour.We need a public labour system to deal with public works and retain the benefits of these works to the publics good. Is that not why we vote for city councils?
|BOASTING OF WHAT THEY DON’T DO
We now have the City Council boasting about cleaning up the city? The reason the city is so untidy in the first place is persistent council policy of cutting back on workers who do these jobs. The councils dire record on recycling is abysmal compared to the rest of Europe, and will cost us dearly in penalties. (more of our taxes).The Glasgow public should decide what public works should be prioritised and who should be employed to carry them out?If we employed more local people and train them well should it not impact on our communities health and well being, pride of place and so on.What’s the alternative cheap privatised labour. Criminalising folk for dole fraud, who are trying to make ends meet?
|THE INDOCRINATED MINDSET
The Common Good is closely linked with Common Sense. If folk ar left to their own devices concerning common interests their is no reason why they should not be democratic about deciding what’s in there best interests, in the use of these assets.
People are not stupid. If their public assets are to be removed from under there noses they will need lots of persuasion to make this seem like a good idea – or to impress on them, there’s nothing they can do about it.Look at the news, They will tell you about job creation, opportunity, redevelopment, a god send, a fantastic opportunity, a win win situation, et al. The only thing they seldom mention is the vast profits from all of these things that will go into off shore bank accounts. They will seldom mention the types of jobs and the low wages and low self esteem of the workers doing them. And they will fail to mention the firms who cut and run, breaking employment contracts sponsored by government tax incentives, while unfulfilling promises of the deals made to benefit working people.You will have to look at the business section in the newspaper for these kind of details. It’s about the only place where the news doesn’t lie
|THE BIGGEST LOUDSPEAKER
Part of our Common Good is social education. Every corporation that hits town uses “our” money, through the support of our city councils, in promoting their projects and developments. While council/corporate ideas are presented through millions of pounds of glossy brochures, TV ads and sound bites and so on.Why is some of these millions of “our” money not spent on a glossy publication giving an independent public opinion in projects that profoundly effect citizens lives?Why don’t we demand a Common Good section in daily newspapers and on TV. Or more public local stationsSunny Govan Community Radio
|A TOOL FOR EDUCATION.
The Common Good is the nearest both tangible and conscious idea we have that links and can demonstrate the principals of democracy –
Which is probably why it has been removed from public consciousness from the start of the Thatcher years untill now. It is testimony to the indifference of public servants that the public are so ignorant of the term “Common Good” and emphasises a long over due public information exercise, of what the term actually means.
The Common Good can be best understood by exploring and exercising it’s potential to work in the public interest. Raising awareness of the Common Good could give both young and old and the disenfranchised a connection to a civic culture that in their eyes has nothing to offer and often seems to pass them by. Putting the Common Good back into the public psyche could go a long way in energising a sense of place and belonging, for those who need it.
|A TOOL FOR ORGANISATION
While the above is a possibility it is understandable that no party used the privatisation of the Common Good as a an election campaign point, in the recent local elections in Glasgow.
|– You need to wonder why? Perhaps they thought it would be to much bother for them to un-privatise our assets. Perhaps it would serve there purpose if it remained privatised. Most of the parties (apart from the one in power) seem to be saying they would reverse the decision if they came to power. The point still remains why was there practically zilch about this issue in the local elections, or in the newspapers at election time?||What an incredible issue and opportunity to miss. Imagine if the citizens of this city used the facilities of Common Good to organise better representation on what they need, where the need is needed most and the profits of the operation were contained in the public purse. Could the public, by democratic decision making do the job better than a council who works in secret against them? I think the answer to this in most peoples minds would be yes.||Citizens
|It does not have to be this way. But people have to understand things before they can do anything about them. We need to talk about these issues and help each other to figure out what’s going on. But we also need to do things and act on our own accord. We can’t sit around waiting for a savour|
|Private Parks||Shades of Park Privatisation||Positive alternative|
|Type of sell-off||Description & Marketing|
|1. Complete sell-off||Parkland sold to private company for pub, venue & car-parking.||Preserve environment and heritage of public parkland.|
|2. Lease for 99years||Parkland leased to private company – company can at any time apply for a “change of use” to become a pub/venue with extensive car-parking. Once the parkland is concreted over it is effectively gone, be it “lease” or “buy”. Unfortunately many people are swayed by the word “lease”.||Preserve environment and heritage of public parkland|
|3. Lease for 30years||Same as above, but sounds like a shorter time, so is easier to sell to the public.||Preserve environment and heritage of public parkland.|
|4. Lease to Touchy-feely ‘Organic’ ‘Fair-Trade’, ‘Wholesome’, ‘Mom & Apple Pie’ scheme, for 99years||Same as above, but sounds nicer so is easier to sell to the public.||Preserve environment and heritage of park. Provide list of derelict and neglected sites near the park where such Touchy-feely ‘Organic’ ‘Fair-Trade’ ‘Mom & Apple Pie’ schemes can benefit community without removing parkland.|
|5. Existing Park Building restored as Private venue or ‘refreshment kiosk’||Parkland is then owned by private company and usually needs car-parking and access roads. Very easy to sell to the public as people don’t immediately realise re: car-parking and subsequent applications for change of alcohol license / change of use.||Preserve environment and heritage of park.
Restore public building with co-operation from heritage and local amenity groups. Also: provide opportunities for private companies to run temporary kiosks and carts which don’t take any parkland.
|6. Public Toilets become Private Toilets||Parkland is then owned by private company. Very easy to sell to the public as people have been wanting toilets back in the parks.||Re-open and improve public toilets (open at weekends).
Other cities manage this, why not Glasgow?
|“I’m not a great tactician, and maybe this is a good way to stir people up, but I think it would be better for them to think through the issues and figure out the truth. Then they’ll stir themselves up.” Noam Chomsky Common Good|
Against welfare p26
There’s another aspect of this that’s much less discussed. One of the purposes of driving people away from welfare and into work is to lower wages by increasing the supply of workers.
The New York City government is now partially subsidizing workers driven out of the welfare system. The main effect has been to decrease unionized labor. Put a lot of unskilled labor into the workplace, make conditions so awful that people will take virtually any job, maybe throw in some public subsidy to keep them working, and you can drive down wages. It’s a good way to make everybody suffer.
Welfare capitalism was introduced in order to undercut democracy. If people are trying to take over some aspect of their lives and there doesn’t seem any way to stop them, one standard historical response has been to say, We rich folk will do it for you. A classic example took place in Flint, Michigan, a town dominated by General Motors, around 1910. There was a good deal of socialist labor organizing there, and plans had been developed to really take things over and provide more democratic public services. After some hesitation, the wealthy businessmen decided to go along with the progressive line. They said, Everything you’re saying is right, but we can do it a lot better, because we have all this money. You want a park? Fine. Vote for our candidate and he’ll put in a park.
Their resources undermined and eliminated the incipient democratic and popular structures. Their candidate won, and there was indeed welfare capitalism…until it wasn’t needed any more, at which point it was dropped.
People in charge of their own assets – Breaking solidarity 28
There’s a campaign to undermine public confidence in Social Security, by saying it’s going broke and that when the baby boomers reach retirement age, there’ll be no money for them.
Most of the talk about Social Security is pretty fraudulent. Take the question of privatizing it. Social Security funds can be invested in the stock market whether the system is public or private. But putting people in charge of their own assets breaks down the solidarity that comes from doing something together, and diminishes the sense that people have any responsibility for each other.
Why should rich and powerful people allow themselves to be prosecuted? Russell Mokhiber of the Corporate Crime Reporter contrasts two statistics: 24,000 Americans are murdered each year, while 56,000 Americans die from job-related accidents and diseases.
That’s another example of unpunished corporate crime. In the ’80s, the Reagan administration essentially informed the business world that it was not going to prosecute violations of OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] regulations. As a result, the number of industrial accidents went up rather dramatically. Business Week reported that working days lost to injury almost doubled from 1983 to 1986, in part because “under Reagan and Bush” OSHA “was a hands-off agency.”
The same is true of the environmental issues— toxic waste disposal, say. Sure, they’re killing people, but is it criminal? Well, it should be.
Howard Zinn and I visited a brand-new maximum-security federal prison in Florence, Colorado. The lobby has high ceilings, tile floors, glass everywhere. Around the same time, I read that New York City schools are so overcrowded that students are meeting in cafeterias, gyms and locker rooms. I found that quite a juxtaposition.
They’re certainly related. Both prisons and inner-city schools target a kind of superfluous \ population that there’s no point educating because there’s nothing for them to do. Because we’re a civilized people, we put them in prison, rather than sending death squads out to murder them.
Drug-related crimes, usually pretty trivial ones, are mostly what’s filling up the prisons. I haven’t seen many bankers or executives of chemical corporations in prison. People in the rich suburbs commit plenty of crimes, but they’re not going to prison at anything like the rate of the poor.
There’s another factor too. Prison construction is by now a fairly substantial part of the economy. It’s not yet on the scale of the Pentagon, but for some years now it’s been growing fast enough to get the attention of big financial institutions like Merrill Lynch, who have been floating bonds for prison construction.
High-tech industry, which has been feeding off the Pentagon for research and development, is turning to the idea of administering prisons with supercomputers, surveillance technology, etc. In fact, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see fewer people in prisons and more people imprisoned in their homes. It’s probably within reach of the new technology to have surveillance devices that control people wherever they are. So if you pick up the telephone to make a call they don’t like, alarms go off or you get a shock.
It saves the cost of building prisons. That hurts the construction industry, true, but it contributes to the high-tech sector, which is the more advanced, growing, dynamic part of the economy.
It sounds like an Orwellian 7984 scenario you’redescribing.
Call it Orwellian or whatever you like—I’d say it’s just ordinary state capitalism. It’s a natural evolution of a system that subsidizes industrial
development and seeks to maximize short-term profit for the few at the cost of the many.
Noam Chomsky interviewed by David Barsamian
The Common Good