Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Destroying The English Commons- Isn’t This Exactly The Wrong Response To An Economic Squeezing?

New York Times front page: To `Tighten' your `belt' in England you sell 17 Liverpool parks to developers and your sold off library is refashioned into a “glass-fronted luxury home.”
Today the New York Times leads off with story on its front page about “belt-tightening” in England telling us about a sorry state of affairs where the English Commons has to be plundered and sold off to . . . . We are told that 17 parks are being sold to developers by the Liverpool local government, that a walk though Prescott in Northwest England shows that the local swimming pool has been eliminated with the razing of the community center, that the local museum is history, and that old library building “has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home.”  (See: Britain’s Big Squeeze– In Britain, Austerity Is Changing Everything– After eight years of budget cutting, Britain is looking less like the rest of Europe and more like the United States, with a shrinking welfare state and spreading poverty.  By Peter S. Goodman, May 28, 2018.)

Yes, we often think of England when we think of the concept of a shared public commons, and this is what reportedly is happening to libraries there.

Destroying the commons with a privatized sell-off to the wealthy is exactly the wrong response to economic squeezing and austerity.  Aren’t such times exactly when people ought to pool and share their resources to stretch them farther?  In fact, in England and the United States, a collective approach to mobilizing for the common good was precisely what helped our countries recover and get moving after the great depression of the 1930s.

A go-it-alone division of resources can accentuate the waste.  The Times article briefly notes that the wealthy in England are still quite wealthy and exceedingly well-off.  The Times does not note that, in these times of the country’s supposed austerity, about $45 million dollars or more was just spent on a royal wedding, almost all of that amount footed by the English tax-paying public, not the wealthy royal family.

While you can read the Times article, we’ll not recommend it as necessarily fair and accurate reporting about whether all this sell off of English public assets is really, as some suggest in the article, the way to pave the road for future “prosperity for all,” instead of just further increasing wealth inequality and further impoverishing the public now and going forward. . . .  

. . . The reason that we can’t recommend the Times article is that the Times has been biased and inaccurate in the past reporting about English politics, exhibiting a strange eagerness to discredit England’s political left: See FAIR’s– NYT: Corbyn Has Marginalized Labour With His Popular Positions, by Jim Naureckas, September 6, 2016.

BTW: Do you find the Times article about the woes in England and the response thereby `necessitated' the sort of narrative prologue whereby we might be more readily conditioned to accept when the similar sacrifices are demanded here in the U.S.?

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