Protecting AND DEVELOPING THE Common Good FOR COMMON INTEREST
CITY STROLLS TOP
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
|More at City Strolls AUDIO|
|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
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 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
| BIG FRY
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.
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 being
Why 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|