Madame the Mayor of Ambazac delivers her vote against privatisation of the French Post Office
In Australia we are watching the erosion of public services by changes to their statute ('authorities', 'corporations') turn into an avalanche of privatisation. The unions, who, by organising a general strike, could stop this rot almost immediately, bluster ever so quietly and shuffle symbolically.
We have seen outrageously undemocratic proceedings in the NSW parliament and in the Queensland elections.
In the first, Morris Iemma was finally toppled when the Labor Party which had placed him in power sacked him due to his perseverative campaign to privatise State Electricity despite the obvious disagreement of his party and the public and his own earlier promises. The unions and the ALP were remarkably slow and weak to resist this. The NSW Greens showed more leadership. In the end, the ALP did resist, but the person they replaced Iemma with - Rees - has persisted with privatisation moves and has gone ahead with other policies (here, for example) and here and here, quite shocking in nature and alien to Australian values.
In the second, the recent Queensland election (2009) the government consistently masked its policy and denied its intention to privatise more public assets. See "Queensland Elections". This democratic aberration met with almost no reporting from the mainstream media or resistance from other political parties. Even the Queensland Greens have been very weak on the privatisation of public assets in Queensland.
French democracy healthier than English-speaking countries' democracy
In France, democracy is doing much better. We bring this news to you to show you that the whole of the industrialised so-called "developed world" is not as enthralled by savage capitalism as Australia, America and Canada. The French (and most Western Europeans, except of course the down-trodden English) also don't suffer from politically engineered overpopulation and high immigration.  Yes, the French Revolution actually accomplished something useful and long-lasting between 1789 and 1846.
French Citizens organise nationally against road to Privatisation of the French Post Office
In France the Government gave its assurance that, despite a mooted change of legal status, the French Postal Service (La Poste) will remain 100% public.
The Left doubted this and, at the beginning of October 2009, organised, with citizens, townhalls and unions, a national citizens vote via a National Committee against the Privatisation of the Post Office - ""Comité nationale contre la Privatisation de la Poste." See below for the signatories to the committee organising the citizens' vote. Many or all of these votes were conducted in the local post offices themselves.
In the tiny village of Ambazac (Haute-Vienne) near Limoges, the 88 villagers voted 85 to 3 against privatisation of the Poste. The mayor delivered her own vote against privatisation publicly. She also said, "It would be unreasonable for a President of the Republic and a government to ignore the People's voice. In the rural region there are so many people who rely utterly on the public postal services."
The local postie took heart at the concerned and conscientious public reaction, which he could see taking place, since the ballot box was on the counter of the local post office.
All over France citizens voted in villages, towns and cities in this way.
French New Anti-Capitalist Party calls for Referendum on Privatisation
Responding to the news that already more than 2 million people had voted on the night of 4 October, Olivier Besancecot, spokesperson for the Anti-Capitalism Party (Le Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste) in France called for a referendum based on the enormous participation in the activist-organised citizens' vote: "If there are many more than a million people who have shown the way on that issue then we have a right to a referendum as to whether people want to change the status of the post or not."
The dominant political party in a multi-party government, the UNP, said, via its spokesperson, Frederique LeFebvre, that it was all a beat-up and that the UNP was never going to privatise and that if there were a referendum, no-one in France would vote for privatisation.
The French socialist alliance mobilised against privatisation where Oz left weak and ambiguous
Unlike the left in Australia, the Socialist Party in France, along with the Unions and other political parties and presences of the Left has gone solidly to bat against privatisation of French assets.
If you can understand French, the
Video interview with Alexandre Canet, spokesperson for Rouen Socialist Party tells you that the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) has worked with other parties on the Left, with unions, and with local town halls to organise a citizens' vote on this matter.
The spokesman states (along with French subtitles) that "The change of statute represents a move towards privatisation, which would cause a deterioration in services."
Change of statute represents move towards privatisation: History of Privatisation process in Australia
The Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG*, went to the trouble in 2006 to warn Australians about the dangers of privatization removing important government functions to a position beyond the laws made to administer them fairly.
Kirby said “The ‘commercialisation’ of the public sector means that isolating the activities and decisions of government from those of the private sector is becoming a more complicated, and sometimes, seemingly, an impossible exercise.”(p.3)
“The exercise of public power is fundamentally different in character to the making of a decision in a purely private context. Decisions are then being made on behalf of the people, typically involving the use of money raised from, and power derived from, the people. Higher standards of accountability and responsibility are therefore attached to the decisionmaker. Public power imports public accountability, including before the courts.” (p.4)
“This reduction in accountability is a result of removing control over day-to-day actions and decisions from the relevant Minister and government departments to private sector bodies whose ultimate legal responsibility is to their shareholders, rather than to the public interest more generally.” (p.6)
He goes on to describe the outcome of a series of cases involving the High Court where the law encountered problems in getting public accountability. This problem arose in NEAT Domestic Trading Pty Ltd v AWB Ltd (2003) 216 CLR 277. It involved officials of the Wheat Board who had refused six applications from another trader(NEAT) to export bulk wheat. The AWB had acquired through its creation by government, the power to prevent by veto bulk wheat exports from Australia. It could do this by withholding approval. The power to approve or veto exports normally belongs to a government body because it is a legal power. As such it is normally reviewable and controllable through the courts. That is, the judicial representatives of “we the public” can ensure that Australian trade is conducted fairly.
The outcome of this case was that Australians had lost the power to control the nation’s wheat exports by giving that power to this private body.
Note that, in Australia where there is another extraordinarily far-reaching undemocratic policy to politically engineer population growth on behalf of the corporate commercial sector, one man has stood up to this fatal policy - Kelvin Thomson.
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