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Infrastructure Is the Current Revolution

We need to create the commonwealth for a global population scheduled to reach 11 billion by 2100 and do everything possible to see that every human being has the possibility of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness within it.

Regardless of the outcome of the US election, any elections in Europe, Australia, New Zealand–or even India, Pakistan, and China, the Washington consensus and neoliberal capitalism prevail as the current imagination of the global economy.  Global climate change is occurring with zero response from the people who have the power and resources that could mitigate or even reverse this fossil-fuel-caused climate trend.  Indeed spending the natural savings accout of environmental services, natural materials (non-renewable and renewable), and fossil fuels seems to be accelerated in one vast binge of “Drill, baby, drill.  Mine, baby, mine.  Burn, baby, burn.” consumption constrained only by the lower consumer demand that results from the mass impoverishment of ordinary people around the world. 

Privatization of infrastructure continues to be the policy direction of US Democrats and Republicans, European conservatives, social democrats, and socialists and global institutions are being rigged to force the privatization of health care systems, transportation systems, water systems, sanitation systems, education systems, and even income security systems in every country of the world.  Whether pending international agreements to lock this system down are signed, ratified and implemented, these agreements — Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA), and redundant systems of interlocking bilateral free trade agreements — a lot of their provisions will be the operating assumptions of the world’s finance ministers and governments.  Clearly the emphasis is to continue to shortchange public infrastructure maintenance and privatize the infrastructure assets.

At the same time, citizens of the world’s countries are subsidizing $1.8 trillion (with a “T”) in military spending.  At best, military spending is a waste of natural and human resources justified by potential failures of political processes.  At worst, military spending is the active destructions of massive amounts of infrastructure and the polluting of environments with unexploded ordnance, industrial chemicals, land mines, anti-personnel mines, nuclear waste, and potential biological hazards.

And the means of social control and suppression of investigation and dissent are growing in every country, but most alarming in the English-speaking countries that long expressed pride in the English Magna Carta, various bills of rights, and until recently, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Australia has recently passed an draconian surveillance and journalist prosecution law.  In the US, the quaint Espionage Act of 1917 has been used to prosecute those who leak classified information that the the Obama administration does not want leaked (through instant declassification) and now also journalists who report that leaked information in a responsible manner to the public. 

The US National Security Agency of the US Department of Defense intends to collect all information on everyone, including US citizens, the US Bill of Rights notwithstanding.  The US Constitution has been replaced with 225 years of court precedents that in some sense stand the intent of that document on its head, privileging corporate institutions over individuals and enshrining money as a form of speech.  And in country after country, police forces that previously have not been militarized now are.  And in the United States there are now more firearms in circulation than there are people in the population even as the local police forces in the US increase the deadliness of their SWAT tactics and militarize their equipment.  And in the United States the Department of Homeland Security has created coordination among law enforcement agencies in a way that mimics the national police forces of many totalitarian nations.  And has built a police culture of impunity and prejudice that provides a uniform means of suppression of dissent and of minority populations almost without regard to where in the United States you go.  Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has followed this trend.

Protest now that isn’t ignored is violently suppressed while the commercial media and also the public media threatened with privatization ignore or malign the protesters who are treated violently by the authorities.  The poster child for this phenomenon is the trial of Cecily McMillan.  And of course, there is no longer redress in most courts. The police forces, the media, the court system are all part of the infrastructure.

Here is the etymology of “infrastructure” just for reference:

Infrastructure
1. An underlying base or foundation especially for an organization or system
2.The basic facilities, services and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society

It reportedly dates from military uses in the 1890s, appropriated by economists and bureaucrats during the 20th century for stuff like communications and transportation systems.

And here is the ancient root of the word “wealth” that is combined in the word “commonwealth” to designate the society-wide sphere of activity.

weal
“well-being,” from Old English wela “wealth,” in late Old English also “welfare, well-being,” from West Germanic *welon-, from PIE root *wel- (2) “to wish, will” (see will (v.)). Related to well (adv.).

The word conflates contemporary ideas of well-being (economic, social, cultural) and will (political, cultural).

My argument hereafter is that infrastructure is exactly and precisely what people in the 17th and 18th century understood by commonwealth and embraced what people in the early 19th century meant by internal improvements.  And until Karl Marx (or was that Friedrich Hayek) came along they were seen as normal functions of government.  But no longer in the 21st century.  Even the Democratic President of the United States prefers the private before the commonwealth as do most Democrats in Congress.  Even the Canadian Parliament, the UK Parliament, and the French President from the Socialist Party no less are on the same page as the disciples of Hayek — because all of their central banks are.

Ordinary people are increasingly shut out of the institutions that might secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So what to do?

CommunityMyFDL Front Page

Infrastructure Is the Current Revolution

We need to create the commonwealth for a global population scheduled to reach 11 billion by 2100 and do everything possible to see that every human being has the possibility of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness within it.

Regardless of the outcome of the US election, any elections in Europe, Australia, New Zealand–or even India, Pakistan, and China, the Washington consensus and neoliberal capitalism prevail as the current imagination of the global economy.  Global climate change is occurring with zero response from the people who have the power and resources that could mitigate or even reverse this fossil-fuel-caused climate trend.  Indeed spending the natural savings accout of environmental services, natural materials (non-renewable and renewable), and fossil fuels seems to be accelerated in one vast binge of “Drill, baby, drill.  Mine, baby, mine.  Burn, baby, burn.” consumption constrained only by the lower consumer demand that results from the mass impoverishment of ordinary people around the world. 

Privatization of infrastructure continues to be the policy direction of US Democrats and Republicans, European conservatives, social democrats, and socialists and global institutions are being rigged to force the privatization of health care systems, transportation systems, water systems, sanitation systems, education systems, and even income security systems in every country of the world.  Whether pending international agreements to lock this system down are signed, ratified and implemented, these agreements — Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA), and redundant systems of interlocking bilateral free trade agreements — a lot of their provisions will be the operating assumptions of the world’s finance ministers and governments.  Clearly the emphasis is to continue to shortchange public infrastructure maintenance and privatize the infrastructure assets.

At the same time, citizens of the world’s countries are subsidizing $1.8 trillion (with a “T”) in military spending.  At best, military spending is a waste of natural and human resources justified by potential failures of political processes.  At worst, military spending is the active destructions of massive amounts of infrastructure and the polluting of environments with unexploded ordnance, industrial chemicals, land mines, anti-personnel mines, nuclear waste, and potential biological hazards.

And the means of social control and suppression of investigation and dissent are growing in every country, but most alarming in the English-speaking countries that long expressed pride in the English Magna Carta, various bills of rights, and until recently, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Australia has recently passed an draconian surveillance and journalist prosecution law.  In the US, the quaint Espionage Act of 1917 has been used to prosecute those who leak classified information that the the Obama administration does not want leaked (through instant declassification) and now also journalists who report that leaked information in a responsible manner to the public. 

The US National Security Agency of the US Department of Defense intends to collect all information on everyone, including US citizens, the US Bill of Rights notwithstanding.  The US Constitution has been replaced with 225 years of court precedents that in some sense stand the intent of that document on its head, privileging corporate institutions over individuals and enshrining money as a form of speech.  And in country after country, police forces that previously have not been militarized now are.  And in the United States there are now more firearms in circulation than there are people in the population even as the local police forces in the US increase the deadliness of their SWAT tactics and militarize their equipment.  And in the United States the Department of Homeland Security has created coordination among law enforcement agencies in a way that mimics the national police forces of many totalitarian nations.  And has built a police culture of impunity and prejudice that provides a uniform means of suppression of dissent and of minority populations almost without regard to where in the United States you go.  Even the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has followed this trend.

Protest now that isn’t ignored is violently suppressed while the commercial media and also the public media threatened with privatization ignore or malign the protesters who are treated violently by the authorities.  The poster child for this phenomenon is the trial of Cecily McMillan.  And of course, there is no longer redress in most courts. The police forces, the media, the court system are all part of the infrastructure.

Here is the etymology of <em>infrastructure</em> just for reference:

Infrastructure
1. An underlying base or foundation especially for an organization or system
2.The basic facilities, services and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society

It reportedly dates from military uses in the 1890s, appropriated by economists and bureaucrats during the 20th century for stuff like communications and transportation systems.

And here is the ancient root of the word “wealth” that is combined in the word “commonwealth” to designate the society-wide sphere of activity.

weal
“well-being,” from Old English wela “wealth,” in late Old English also “welfare, well-being,” from West Germanic *welon-, from PIE root *wel- (2) “to wish, will” (see will (v.)). Related to well (adv.).

The word conflates contemporary ideas of well-being (economic, social, cultural) and will (political, cultural).

My argument hereafter is that infrastructure is exactly and precisely what people in the 17th and 18th century understood by commonwealth and embraced what people in the early 19th century meant by internal improvements. And until Karl Marx (or was that Friedrich Hayek) came along they were seen as normal functions of government.  But no longer in the 21st century.  Even the Democratic President of the United States prefers the private before the commonwealth as do most Democrats in Congress.  Even the Canadian Parliament, the UK Parliament, and the French President from the Socialist Party no less are on the same page as the disciples of Hayek — because all of their central banks are.

Ordinary people are increasingly shut out of the institutions that might secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

So what to do? (more…)

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