19 July 2010

The Power of Community

Transition Towns are showing a film at 7.30pm on Monday 26th July at Coventry Council House (Diamond Room 1).

The film is called "The Power of Community", Jo Rathbone from Transition Towns says it's a great film about how folks in Cuba managed when cheap Soviet oil stopped flowing and the impact this had on their communities. The Government decided not to go for the heavily oil dependent industral farms but allowed individuals to use small amounts of land for growing food - much more productively. The result? Havana produces 60% of it's fruit and veg within the bounds of the city and farmers and horticulturalists are as valued as doctors! A really inspiring fim.

Public Sector Cuts

We keep hearing it. It's coming. Lots of public sector workers will soon be out of jobs.

Is it their own fault for being part of the Governments overspend? Is it the only way forward to get this country out of recession?

I read a great book about 18 months ago called "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power" by Joel Bakan. I may have mentioned it before but it just seems so apt with all of the current public sector cuts being seen as a necessity. It also had a great interview with Noam Chomsky at the end from 24th October 2000.

In the book they point out that whilst originally being useful organisations, Corporations grew in the late 19th centuary and wanted to administer themselves rather than face public control. Corporations were legally afforded the rights of a person but of course they have no moral conscience, are concerned only for the short term and their only purpose also stated in law is to make money for share holders above all else.

"Any tyrannical system is going to want to maximise it's control over the society. So anything that is under some public accountability it will want". They make people believe the systems are in crisis (my mind currently springs to schools which in the main are great), so people accept when they are privatised. The best way to improve schools is to do things like improve teachers salaries, increase the number of teachers to make class sizes smaller or improve school buildings. The last thing they need is cuts, followed by privatisation.

In any recession where people are loosing their jobs and more people relying on benefits, what you need is a proportion of the working age population in employment, doing useful jobs, paid for by the state to help others. This keeps unemployment lower and means that people still get the services they need and rely on. Cutting the public sector workforce is asking for high unemployment and a lower average standard of living.

Corporations must create profits for shareholders assuming limitless resources, no matter the costs and detrimental effects on society. Why don't we try and change it. We need more regulation and to keep our public sector, surely?