It may seem hard to remember now, but our first newsletter of 2020 spoke of a new direction for ITPI. Then, in the middle of March 2020, the world changed–perhaps forever.
We spent the first year of the pandemic responding to its turmoil, a response that included outlining how a half-century assault on government, accelerated by an administration bent on dismantling nearly ever aspect of government, exposed a system left ill-suited to meet the challenge of the multi-faceted public health crisis.
For the rest of that year and during the following year, 2021, we grappled with the impact of the pandemic on public goods and privatization. By 2022, it felt like we were back to work in more “normal” ways. In addition to dozens of virtual talks and interviews about my book The Privatization of Everything, I returned to a robust traveling schedule with in-person talks in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. We worked with groups around the country fighting off privatization attempts, helping with proactive, pro-public policy initiatives, and lifting up exciting new ideas in public education around the country.
That new direction–the emphasis not only on what government does well and what can be done better and more inclusively, but also on what can only be accomplished through government, by the collective expression of public will–was threaded throughout all of our work over these past three years.
Now in 2023 we’ll still be doing all these things, but we have new ideas and projects to lean into the pro-public part of our work. You’ll be hearing about those things in the coming months.
But what we have done and what we will do are all driven by a basic belief that, in the face of that assault on both the idea and the institution of government, we–all of us–need to rebuild support for public things and public action.
Here’s what we’re going to do:
- Expose how privatization weakens democracy and increases inequality.
- Make government work–for everyone. That means reforming public institutions and policies that fail to live up to public ideals and purpose. But it also means lifting up successes and progress of public things around us today.
- Take on ideas (such as the myth of the inherent superiority of the market) that undergird the ideological and political assault on the important role of public control over public goods and services .
- Support organizations, leaders and movements driving change.
We enter the new year with hope informed by experience–we know there are challenges ahead, but with the staff of ITPI and our many partners, we feel a renewed strength in addressing these challenges.
A personal note–-Continuity and Change
You probably read the note in December that our amazingly talented Communications Director, Jeremy Mohler, is moving on to a new career. Since he started at ITPI more than seven years ago he’s become one of the smartest and most effective communicators I know. We’re very sad to see him go but the good news is that he’s going to continue to do some part-time writing for ITPI. But we’re also excited to welcome our new Communications Director, Jeff Hagan. His background, values and talents are a perfect fit for us. You’ll be hearing from him (after he figures out what he’s gotten himself into!).
As always, keep in touch and don’t hesitate to send ideas and insights.
In the Public Interest
Photo by Chris Stamboulis