Daily Archives: March 5, 2010

What we Learned from March 4: Privatize the Streets!

If we learned one lesson from the sickening display of students, teachers, and employees taking to the streets during the March 4 nationwide day of action to defend public education, it was this: we must extend the privatization struggle to the roads and highways.

For a long time now, the UC Movement for Efficient Privatization (UCMeP) has hesitated to endorse such a controversial privatization project. After all, compared to the relative ease with which education officials and politicians throughout the State of California have heroically sold off our universities to the highest bidder (all the while gloriously driving K-12 schools into the ground), privatizing our roads and highways could be a fairly difficult endeavor.

The reasons for this are multiple and we would hate to feed the populist fire that vociferously defends the publicness of roads and highways by going into specifics.

But this much is clear: there is nothing to lose by privatizing our streets and everything to gain – including hella cash (for certain people).

What we witnessed on March 4:

On the afternoon of March 4, members of UCMeP’s Strategic Counter-Activism Brigade (SCAB) bravely marched undercover with anarcho-terrorist teachers, students, and other misguided citizens who broke off from the official rally in Downtown Oakland.

After marching past the UC Office of the President to say “Hi!” to the recently resigned UC President Mark Yudof (who we hear was busy inside the building watching the latest episode of Lost on Hulu.com), this rowdy crowd of rabble-rousers made their winding way through the streets of Downtown Oakland to the onramp of the 980 freeway.

Throughout the whole ordeal, SCAB anxiously fed information on the protestors via Twitter to the disappointingly disorganized (albeit impressively armed) riot police.

Before we knew it 130 (or so) protestors clad in black rushed onto the freeway onramp with flares and began an ill-fated, not-so-long march through the East Bay’s highway system.

As we watched – morally outraged of course – these hooligans take one of the Bay Area’s busiest freeways during rush hour, all we could think was the following: “Wow, all this could have been avoided had there been toll booths on the onramp!”

What we determined:

Friends, if we want to prevent protestors from ever again taking to the streets (and also literally taking the streets) we must privatize our roads and freeways!

If we farm out the streets to private contractors, they will be able to charge exorbitant tolls that no students or low-paid teachers could ever afford to pay. As a result, there will be no more street protests, let alone highway occupations.

The logic is simple.

If students and teachers can’t afford to get on the streets, then there will be no way for them to protest the dismantlement of public education in the streets!

Additionally, these private contractors could hire private mercenary firms returning from Afghanistan and Iraq to do the job that the Oakland Police Department (which almost outnumbered the freeway protestors) failed to do Thursday: stop a slow-moving group of unarmed students and teachers from occupying one of California’s busiest freeways during rush hour.

And the fact that such mercenary firms are (often) even more ruthless than the Oakland Police (hard to believe, we know), might just get all those selfish students to think twice about protesting for accessible and affordable public education.



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