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'Our Future Is Public': Santiago Declaration Envisions End of Neoliberalism Death Spiral

By Kenny Stancil - Common Dreams, January 27, 2023

A new manifesto calls for building "a sustainable social pact for the 21st century" in which "our rights are guaranteed, not based on our ability to pay, or on whether a system produces profit, but on whether it enables all of us to live well together in peace and equality."

An international coalition made up of more than 200 trade unions and progressive advocacy groups on Thursday published the Santiago Declaration, a manifesto for "a complete overhaul of our global economic system."

The undeniably anti-neoliberal document proclaiming that "our future is public" is the product of a meeting held in Chile—the "laboratory of neoliberalism" where Milton Friedman and his University of Chicago acolytes' upwardly redistributive economic model was first imposed at gunpoint by Gen. Augusto Pinochet's military junta.

From November 29 to December 2, more than 1,000 organizers from over 100 countries gathered in Santiago and virtually to germinate a left-wing movement against "the dominant paradigm of growth, privatization, and commodification."

"We are at a critical juncture," the manifesto begins. "At a time when the world faces a series of crises, from the environmental emergency to hunger and deepening inequalities, increasing armed conflicts, pandemics, rising extremism, and escalating inflation, a collective response is growing."

"Hundreds of organizations across socioeconomic justice and public services sectors—from education and health services, to care, energy, food, housing, water, transportation, and social protection—are coming together to address the harmful effects of commercializing public services, to reclaim democratic public control, and to reimagine a truly equal and human rights-oriented economy that works for people and the planet," reads the document. "We demand universal access to quality, gender-transformative, and equitable public services as the foundation of a fair and just society."

TUED South Platform: a “Public Pathway” Approach to a Just Energy Transition in the Global South

Sam Seder is RIGHT: Rail Workers DESERVE Support, Even If Some Are Conservative

Were Sick Days Not a Big Deal to Rail Workers?

For Energy Sovereignty and Open Prices

By Workers' and Peasants' Platform for Water and Energy - Workers' and Peasants' Platform for Water and Energy, December 16, 2022

We highlight that the energy area in Brazil was historically built to be a sector of excellence, even though it has countless contradictions. We have natural bases (water, rivers, oil, sun, wind, among others) that through the work of the workers provide comparative advantages at world level. We have an oil and electricity industry with the potential to become one of the largest sovereign industries in the world and in conditions to meet the priority needs of the Brazilian people. We have a goods and services industry capable of meeting the national content of the energy production chains. We have highly capable workers who produce and supply electricity, water, cooking gas, gasoline, diesel oil, agricultural fertilizers and other derivatives of this immense country. We have production and mastery of built and known technologies, and we have experience in how to treat with dignity those affected by the works and workers in the sector.

However, the evidence on the energy issue reveals a dramatic situation left to the country by the Temer and Bolsonaro governments. The savagery of the prices of cooking gas, fuel and electricity have been transformed into an instrument of rapine on the Brazilian people. Strategic companies have been sliced up, strangled and privatised. The main State structures have been destroyed or are being captured by speculators and rent-seekers.

It is a situation of destruction of energy sovereignty, science and technology and all initiatives for the industrialisation of energy. Even the country's independence and energy security are not guaranteed.

Read the entire statement (PDF).

The Case for Public Ownership of the Rails in the US

Working Paper 16: Towards a Public Pathway Approach to a Just Energy Transition for the Global South

By staff - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, December 2022

This TUED Working Paper was written to inform discussion at the launch of “TUED South” meeting that took place in Nairobi, Kenya, during October 11th-13th, 2022.

In the weeks following the meeting, it was revised to reflect the discussions that took place. The Nairobi meeting occurred at a time of geopolitical turbulence due to the war in the Ukraine. In many countries, energy has become front page news as prices rise and the major economies rush to secure new sources of gas, coal, and oil. Energy-related anxieties have been accompanied by growing concerns about climate change. The year 2022 produced several headline-making extreme weather events, with devastating floods in Pakistan and in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province together claiming the lives of more than 2,000 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of poor people homeless. Europe’s record-breaking heatwave and wildfires killed 16,000 people, and China’s summer produced a heatwave more severe than any in recorded history.

Today it is widely recognized that the impact of climate change on the poorest countries is already more severe than it is for the richer countries, and that inadequate public services are contributing to its many damaging effects.

In 2019 the UN’s Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights noted “hundreds of millions will face food insecurity, forced migration, disease, and death.”

Climate change is a huge threat to jobs, livelihoods, and security to workers everywhere. But it is the working class and poor people of the South who will be hit the first and the hardest.

Download this document (PDF).

Towards a Public Goods Approach for Climate Finance: the Case Study of the Green Climate Fund

By Sun-Chul Kim, Seungmin Ryu, Sandra Van Niekerk, and Tom Reddington, et. al. - KPTU, KCTU, and Public Services International, November 17, 2022

Strengthening quality public services in the Global South should be a key priority ofinternational climate finance. Important lessons can be taken from the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect people from the deadly virus governments of all persuasions have had to take back control of privatised public services and rein in international supply chains designed to maximise profit.

This study aims to assess the degree to which international climate finance strengthens universal quality public services in developing countries. It focuses on the case study of the Green Climate Fund to assess whether the concerns of workers and communities have been heeded.

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Railroad Workers Threaten to Strike and Call for Public Takeover of the Rails

By Mike Ludwig - Truthout, October 22, 2022

A potential showdown between organized labor and Wall Street looms over the world of freight trains: An influential railroad workers group is urging fellow union members to reject a tentative labor agreement that has prevented an industry-wide strike, and to fight for public ownership of railroads. Negotiations are tense, and the unions are telling members that every vote counts.

Fearing further stress on supply chains and the economy ahead of the midterm elections, President Joe Biden convened an emergency board to negotiate a tentative agreement between rail carriers and unions threatening a nationwide strike. Railroad Workers United (RWU), an advocacy group of rank-and-file workers, recently called on fellow union members to reject the tentative agreement in a vote scheduled for early December, and to strike if necessary.

The tentative agreement announced in September by two major unions calls for an immediate 14 percent wage increase, but concerns over working conditions, health insurance and medical leave remain. SMART, a union representing sheet metal, air and rail workers, recently told its members that the tentative agreement is still being finalized, and it will be up to the rank and file to vote yes or no on the deal.

A nationwide rail strike would incapacitate shipping and force rail companies and the public to contend with the demands of railroad workers, who say their employers have maximized profits while safety and working conditions deteriorate. BNSF Railway, one of the top freight rail operators, made $23 billion in revenue in 2021 alone.

While RWU is urging the rank-and-file to fight for a better contract with their employers, the group says the ultimate solution to the problems raised at the negotiating table is a public takeover of the railroads for freight trains.

Safe and Sustainable Rail


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