What is going on in Wisconsin? The media are compressing the reasons for this conflict into an anti-union tinged fight to bring the much-reviled public employees to heel, and that is the view that the conservative right would like us to have.
But the conflict is actually a much wider one and fits the Republican ever present agenda of privatizing and, yes, union-busting. I have still to see any evidence that private enterprise is any more efficient or mindful of the public good than public bureaucracies. Corruption and inefficiency are evenly spread over human enterprise.
Under the noisy conflict of the Wisconsin governor and his employees, the disputed budget bill, 144 pages long, contains language that allows privatization of any public utility, and declares any such decision to be automatically labelled as “in the public good.” To reassure us, the Koch Brothers, lately so much in the limelight, have announced that they are not interested in acquiring any of those utilities. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Privatization of public property benefits private interests. We have seen how Russia’s oligarchs rooted their huge fortunes in the deals that denationalized all of the State’s properties. At the very least such privatization can lead to cronyism and corruption on a grand scale.
And the one obstacle on this road are the few public employees that are exercising their legal rights to collective action to oppose this law. Which contains also language to delegitimize…...collective action. Under the cloak of freedom corporations are promoting the idea that each worker negotiate on her or his own, standing alone, confronting the corporate lawyers and human resource professionals. Each employee, ignorant of what his or her colleagues’ position is, will stand naked in the howling winds of corporatism.
Mind you that I am not against the corporate entities looking for their own profit and best interests. But I believe that, for the sake of a level playing field, the individual worker or employee, that is all and any of us, should be able to have access to shared resources to establish his or her best interests. That is what unionization is all about. And it must have worked, or how can we otherwise explain the unrelenting and ferocious attacks of the corporate right on them.
There is a space for groups of people banding together to profitably produce goods or services under the banner of corporations, and there is a similar space for the common man, the citizen, to band together and defend her or his rights as an individual.
The corporate world rightfully exists to promote the creation of wealth that did not exist before, within the laws democratically adopted in a representative democracy that delimit and define the proper territory of their activity. The government has a duty to preserve the balanced and equitable distribution of the common wealth among all citizens. But, as David Brooks points out in today’s New York Times, in this country this debate has yet to take place.
The Beginning of the End.
5 years ago