Instead of Privatization, Reimagine US Postal Service

As you may know, there’s a quiet, on-going push in the US to privatize the US Post Office (and schools, and even air traffic control), but lawmakers like Bernie Sanders are against these moves.

Imagine a public postal service that “delivers the sustainable infrastructure of the next economy,” by delivering food from farmers to homes; finances green energy; checks in on seniors, and provides coast-to-coast charging stations for electric cars. “Our post office can deliver” the “equitable, climate-friendly economy.” The Post Office and its vehicles would be powered by renewable energy.

It could sign people up for community-owned wind and solar projects across the country, and make banking much more affordable for people in rural areas.

While this could certainly apply to the US Post Office, it’s a proposal by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which face similar pressures.

In the US, the postal service was an early adopter of electric vehicles, renewable energy and energy management systems, and offers e-waste recycling in some areas. In 1999, it opened the world’s first green post office in Texas built from recycled materials.

“In many places, especially rural, the post office already serves as a community hub; but now it could also help power a new economy. This is exactly the kind of transformative public service we need in an age of overlapping crises – fostering more caring communities and sustainable economic development, while helping bring down carbon emissions,” says Martin Lukacs in The Guardian.

“That this sounds faintly utopian is not a reflection of its lack of practicality. It is a reflection of how far to the right the political spectrum has shifted. In the last several decades we have been fed a steady diet of market fundamentalism: that public services are inefficient; the private sector knows best; and cuts, deregulation, and privatization will improve our lives,” he continues.

In France and Australia, the post office delivers food directly from farmers; in Norway, postal service vehicles are electric; in Japan, it provides help for elders; and in the UK, France, New Zealand, Brazil and Italy, it offers basic banking services.

“We must demand Canadian Liberals don’t simply throw money at projects that are shovel-ready – they need to be shovel-worthy. That means no expanded highways or pipelines that lock in a fossil fuel economy for several more decades – and it means saying no when Premiers like Christy Clark pitch ten-lane bridges as “green infrastructure”. It also means getting behind projects – like the postal worker’s ambitious plan – that accomplish everything the Liberals claim they’re for: respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, bringing emissions radically down, and making the economy more equal and humane. It’s time for a revolutionary green make-over,” says Lukacs.

For sure, we can say the same for the USA.

Read the Canadian Postal Workers proposal.

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