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(en) US, Anarchist Atlanta issue #5 by Capital Terminus Collective - ATLANTA PUBLIC SECTOR UNDER ATTACK by Joe

Date Sat, 17 Nov 2007 09:44:19 +0200

With much of the media's attention placed on the "War on Terror," a clever name for neo-colonialism, the war at home rages on against the working class and poor with barely a mention. Much like the quest for control of global resources, the continued decline and shifting of public resources and institutions in the US into private sector hands plays right into the agenda of funneling more power and control into the usual suspects. While this sounds grand to the play-makers, their negligence of its own consumers and the environment in which they operate will only regress us farther into horrible working and living conditions, thus rendering all of this positioning useless in the end. ---- Atlanta, the growing and bustling metropolis it has become, is a prime example of neo-liberal policies at work. The public sector, specifically health care, education, transportation, and housing, are under siege by private interests and their profit-driven mindset. As libertarians, we can't stand idly by and have chosen to lend our analysis and energy to this struggle.
Gentrification. Urban renewal. Revitalization. These
terms all mean the same thing: further displacement and
marginalization of working class and poor people for
almighty profit. Since the 1996 Olympics the Atlanta
Housing Authority, partnered with the Atlanta City Coun-
cil, have ravaged public housing in order to make way for
more wealthy residents moving to the city. This does three
things simultaneously: increases the tax base by raising
property taxes, markets the downtown Atlanta area to
Fortune 500 companies and crushes any opposition to the
economic restructuring. Public housing residents tend to
be more directly affected by all of this but the effects
spread to anyone within the city who can't afford to live in
these new communities. What happens to the current
residents? They have to move due to higher rents (due to
higher property taxes) to communities either unreceptive
to their plight and/or unable to provide the public services
that many who are more privileged or economically stable
right to organize? Hardly. Jobs deemed necessary for security
are only a single example of occupations in which workers
are forbidden to from unions.) Republicans in Congress
would deny baggage screeners this right, while certain
Democrats would grant it to them . But should workers even
need be granted such a "right" by the government? Or should
workers organize in defense of their interests as a matter of
course, anywhere and everywhere?
Before moving on with the specific case of the airport
baggage screeners, then, let us pause to consider: are authori-
ties so infallible, and workers so uniformly incompetent, that
unionization invariably cripples efficient functioning? What
has been your personal experience in this regard? Does the
boss always know best, while the ideas of subordinates are
petty and foolish?
In the case of the baggage screeners, Bush and his allies
claim that being accountable to a workers organization would
so hamper the executive's efforts at arranging for our safety,
that they are prepared to scrap the anti-terror bill entirely,
rather than grant workers permission to organize.
So, who is the bogeyman that causes rich politicians like
George Bush to wake in the night, bathed in sweat, eyes wide
with fright? Is it the specter of swarthy immigrants with
bombs strapped to their sides (the very specter they encour-
age us to fear)? Or is it the notion that you and I, and all of
our neighbors and fellow workers, might form organizational
ties and began to demand our rightful share of the goods we
produce and transport? The latter scenario, to President
continued from PUBLIC SECTOR take for granted,
namely transportation and healthcare. This slash-and-burn
tactic has to stop. If the city really wants to "revitalize" the
communities, which make up the metro area, why must it
result in tearing them down?
The next major issue is the management of the public
resources and institutions that are still available to every-
one. There is a continued trend of privatization of our utili-
ties, education and health care systems, which isn't
benefiting anyone but the private sector entities that are in
control. This trend creates guaranteed money for a corpo-
ration whose focus is on providing water, gas, and electric-
ity. These are resources, which most people need in order
to live decently. The local government claims the reason
for this practice is that these companies can provide better
service and subsequently more savings to the consumer.
But the real result is just the opposite. Ask any long-term
resident of Atlanta and they'll tell you their bills have only
gone up and the quality of service has remained stagnant,
if not declined. Stories of embezzlement and mismanage-
ment are constantly in the media. Grady Hospital, a major
southeastern health care institution that not only provides
essential and unique care, is also a major hub of education
for doctors all over Georgia and the rest of the region. Of
course, it suffers from a lack of funding by the region it
services and mismanagement by its previous handlers.
Now a private group wants to rescue the hospital from its
financial woes and claims it's to be a non-profit entity yet
no one on the proposed board is actually involved with the
hospital's operations. Wouldn't it make sense that those
directly involved with it would have better insight into
keeping the hospital running? What services will be cut
and who will be denied treatment in order to keep the costs
in-line and still maintain non-profit status? These are
serious questions for those most affected by it: the employ-
ees and working class/poor residents of Atlanta.
Politically speaking, Atlanta has remained dormant for
far too long. It's time we step up the efforts to defend our
city from corporate takeover and destruction of our basic
human rights. Those most affected by these changes have
to be informed of the consequences and allowed to have a
say in that which affects their daily lives. This isn't the first
Battle of Atlanta and it certainly won't be the last
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