When the threat of privatization - the transfer of control over public infrastructure or services to corporations - rears its pathetic failed head in these days of capitalist collapse, we always like to chat with our friend and occasional contributor, Suren Moodliar of Mass. Global Action. MGA is an organization that has done much work in the fight against the privatization of public water supplies in the last few years, and Moodliar has academic training in urban planning in addition to many other talents.
Well ... I'm signing our weekly editorial for the second time this month. Because it seems appropriate to run a piece I wrote 3 years ago for my Mass. Global Action blog as this Thanksgiving week's editorial for Open Media Boston.
If there's one politician that Boston community and labor activists can count on to "afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted" it's Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner (G/R - District 7). One of the vanishingly few African-American politicians in this "majority minority" city, he has energetically represented the interests of his largely low-income constituency of color.
We'd like to take a break from editorializing about the politics of the moment this week to encourage all Open Media Boston viewers to support the encuentro 5 (yes, it's a small "e") movement space that is home to our nascent office. As it happens there's a great way to do that by heading over to the Arlington Street Church next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to catch a speech by Noam Chomsky - who has donated his valuable time to benefit Massachusetts Global Action, the parent organization of e5.
As it happens, my 42nd birthday has fallen on a Friday - the same day we normally put Open Media Boston "to bed" at the end of our weekly news cycle. Thus it seems appropriate to sign this editorial, and hold forth a bit about the momentous events of the last week from my own personal perspective rather than the perspective of this publication overall.
Halloween is probably the best possible day to talk about the coming elections. For anyone that pays attention to politics, and is used to ghouls and goblins running about the halls of power on a daily basis, it's comforting that there's at least one time of the year when everyone recognizes that bad things can happen to good people. Or be made to happen. And that we need to be ever on our guard against this eventuality. So in that spirit we turn to the obligatory editorial that all publications that pay attention to politics in an election season feel constrained to write.
While earlier this week we heard assurances that Massachusetts was one of a handful of states that had not yet entered a recession, today we heard that Massachusetts is now in (or on the verge of being in) a recession after all. If we are lucky, the economy will hold there for what will probably be a long time and we will escape a worse fate. If we are not, we will experience a situation that will give lie to the old saw "a recession is when your neighbor gets laid off, a depression is when you do."
As widely predicted, Gov. Deval Patrick dropped the hammer of austerity this week and announced over $1 billion in budget cuts - including the layoff over over 1000 state employees - using the "9C" powers afforded him under Chapter 29, Section 9C of the Massachusetts General Laws. With most of the state budget devoted to delivering a wide array of social services, the cuts were bad news for working families in the Commonwealth.
Some ideas become such no-brainers that there really isn't a point in further discussion. This kind of folk wisdom certainly explains why the majority of Americans support ending the U.S. war on Iraq. And that's why Open Media Boston encourages all our viewers to turn out on the Boston Common on Saturday, October 11 for a Rally and March to "Stand Up for Peace in the Middle East." Being anti-war has become a matter of simple common sense.
Gov. Patrick Must Tax Corporations and the Rich to Stave Off Financial Crisis - Not Impose Austerity
With international events lurching forward day by day in the face of the global financial crisis, the economic and political situation in Massachusetts is swiftly going from bad to worse. One could describe our state as fortunate for having elected an enlightened technocrat in the person of Gov. Deval Patrick. But the disadvantages of having elected a neoliberal in the same person are becoming glaringly apparent.