Privatisation running rampant in “liberal” American cities

When there is largely bi-partisan support for the false God of privatisation (to increase “efficiency”) we shouldn’t be surprised, as Salon reports, that America is being transformed with little public discussion:

If you’ve listened to a political pundit predict any election in the last 50 years, you’ve been told that there are Republican small towns whose politics are organized around the three G’s (guns, God and gays) and there are Democratic cities whose politics are organized around the two L’s (labor and economic liberalism). While this binary mythology is insulting for its hackneyed stereotyping and lack of nuance, it has at least half the story right — in terms of sheer partisanship, many rural areas do tend to go red, and many urban areas do tend to go blue.

Where this story goes wrong is in its ideological suppositions about the cities — and specifically, about Democratic cities. Sure, two or three decades ago, there may have been some truth to the notion that the American city is a union-driven bastion of populist progressive economics. But today, while cities may still largely vote Democratic, they are increasingly embracing the economics of corporatism. The result is that urban areas are a driving force behind the widening intra-party rift between the corporatist, pro-privatization Wall Street Democrats and the traditional labor-progressive “Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.”

Start with a look at Chicago, the metropolis most identifiably (and inaccurately) branded as a hotbed of labor power and liberal economics.

In recent years, the Windy City has become “the most aggressive city in the United States in the privatization of public infrastructure,” according to the Public Interest Research Group. Citing the city’s budget crisis, officials have sold off highways and parking meters at cut-rate prices — all to pad the profits of corporate investors (the schemes are now being explored by other Democratic cities including Pittsburgh and Los Angeles). Despite this, during its once-in-a-generation contested mayoral election in 2010, the city’s voters chose investment banker Rahm Emanuel over other far more economically progressive candidates, and Emanuel quickly filled his administration with corporate consultants eager to accelerate the privatization already under way. Now, Emanuel has declared war on organized labor, with the Associated Press’s headline blaring “Even in Chicago, Mayor Goes After Labor Unions.”