Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On Net Neutrality, austerity, and "public goods" under capitalism

For many decades we have generally agreed that some things are a "public good" - to use market terminology. We said education, basic infrastructure like roads and bridges, and more are all too important and should be accessible to all.

However, thanks to neoliberal austerity politics we have seen these things underfunded and neglected. Our schools are like our bridges, old and falling apart and at worst broken and will get you nowhere.

This is of course done on purpose to get people to support privatization. Drinking water full of toxic chemicals? No worries, Coca-Cola and Nestle will sell you bottles of water that cost many hundreds (or thousands) or a percent more than getting clean water from the tap.

With today's push to support Net Neutrality, let us keep this in mind and think longer term and bigger picture. Even if we win in the short term and keep Net Neutrality, we need to think about how capitalism itself is a danger to the internet.

We already have an internet overseen by Big Bother, I mean the NSA, and huge corporations like Google and Facebook. We will continue to see the erosion of access and quality, and consolidation of power in the internet unless we can successfully organize IN REAL LIFE to challenge these institutions and the system that props them up.

Our schools, our bridges, our streets, our water, our air, our environment, our internet, etc. All of them will be remade in the interests of the powerful unless we see the attacks on each not as separate, but as many fronts in the same battle - a battle in which we have mostly been playing defense for 40+ years