- Right wing clipped in last week’s elections
- Corporate BS unsafe at any speed: Cohen meets Nader
- Podcast: Trillbilly Idols
First, the Good News
1) National: Last Tuesday voters across the country delivered a resounding rejection of right wing policies on democratic rights and the privatization of public education and services. In Virginia, where Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s assault on public education had a disastrous night, Democrats regained control of both chambers of the state legislature, thereby cementing in a block against school privatization initiatives. The wins in Virginia were fueled by the hard work of public service employees. Both AFSCME President Lee Saunders and National Education Association President Becky Pringle “said their unions’ members knocked on thousands of doors, called voters, and, in NEA’s case, enlisted concerned parents, too. ‘Virginians made a strong, clear statement this election: We won’t give up our voice on the job,’ said Saunders. ‘AFSCME members mobilized their communities to elect candidates who will protect their hard-earned right to collectively bargain.’”
Opponents of public education were trounced around the nation. “The American Federation of Teachers said candidates publicly endorsed by conservative groups such as Moms for Liberty and the 1776 Project lost about 70% of their races nationally in elections this week — a tally those groups dispute. ‘They don’t want to engage in this banning of books or censoring of honest history or undermining who kids are,’ Randi Weingarten, the teachers union president told The Associated Press on Wednesday, characterizing the candidates who won as ‘pro-public school.’”
In Kentucky, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear, a strong supporter of public education, won decisively. NEA’s Pringle said “tonight, the people of Kentucky delivered a resounding victory for Governor Andy Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman—herself a public school educator—rewarding their efforts to strengthen the Bluegrass State’s public schools. For the last four years, Governor Beshear has put Kentucky’s students—no matter their race, place, or background—at the top of his priority list. He has partnered with parents, families, and educators across the Commonwealth to expand learning opportunities for students, invested in mental health supports for students, started addressing educator shortages by paying educators the professional compensation they deserve, and worked to ensure students are learning the skills they need to be successful in life.”
Advocates of transgender rights were also pleased with the election results. “Transgender rights played a big role in many races across the country, from school board races in Pennsylvania to legislative elections in Virginia. In fact, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin won election two years ago promising to promote “parents’ rights” and imposing new rules on transgender students in schools. But those efforts failed to gain traction or even backfired.”
Democratic durability in state elections was also reaffirmed, reports the Associated Press. “Tuesday’s elections also underscored the salience of abortion rights among voters. Ohio voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that would protect access to abortion and other reproductive rights on a 57-43 margin. That comes as a rebuke to the Republican-controlled legislature, which passed a law in 2019 to effectively ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.”
2) National/Think Tanks: In the Public Interest’s Donald Cohen sees links between austerity and privatization, both in the U.S. and the U.K. Eroding public services and public education through cutbacks and privatization slowly erodes the public’s sense of ownership and control of what are supposed to be public services and public education, but end up as alien entities controlled by the rich and their public/private servants.
3) National/International: There is a running battle between advocates of renewable energy and advocates of fossil fuels (e.g., see this on Texas). But for renewable energy advocates the story doesn’t stop there. Should a renewable energy transition be privatized or public? There a must-read book published this year authored by one of the foremost critics of privatization and the private financing of public works and services that goes into the issue: Challenging the Rise of Corporate Power In Renewable Energy: Strategic Opportunities for Public Ownership and Industrial and Economic Growth, by Dexter Whitfield.
4) National: In the Public Interest’s Donald Cohen joined Ralph Nader to discuss his new book co-authored by Joan Walsh and Nick Hanauer, Corporate Bullsh*t: Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America. “this is more than just lies, falsehoods, off-the-wall predictive phoniness. It’s more than that. It’s deadly. In other words, it’s not just rhetoric. It’s not just craziness. It leads to the suppression of the society’s response to foresee and forestall hazards, rip-offs, and the like, and to engage in preventive activity— regulations, opening it up for lawsuits under tort law—and deterrence. So we’re dealing here with not only malicious patterns of rhetoric, we’re dealing here with deadly delays.” [Audio, about 24 minutes]
5) National: The community school model has taken hold, The Hechinger Report says. “A federal survey indicates that a majority of public schools have adopted aspects of the community model,” they report. “Such attention in the post-pandemic era has been on what students have lost—days of school, psychological health, knowledge and skills. But now we have evidence that they may also have gained something: schools that address more of their needs. A majority of public schools have begun providing services that are far afield from traditional academics, including healthcare, housing assistance, childcare and food aid.” Here’s a link to the survey.
6) Iowa: All the Moms for Liberty candidates for the school board in in Linn-Mar school district lost their races. “This was a major site for anti-trans politics over the last two years, with hotly contentious school board meetings. Anti-trans politics seemingly don’t win elections,” says Erin Reed.
7) Kentucky: Great journalism on the links between Wall Street, Louisville, and the Kentucky hollers is alive and well. Have a listen to a visit to the Trillbilly Worker’s Party podcast by members of the world champion organizers of the Louisville Tenants Union. [Audio, about an hour]
8) National: Writing in the Eldorado News-Times, Jim Hightower gives us the lowdown on the billionaires behind school privatization. “Who are the privatizers? National billionaires like the Koch brothers — and in Texas, we have Tim Dunn and Farris Wilks, two messianic oil billionaires from West Texas who double as proselytizers of a toxic theology of Christian nationalism. They are the Money Gods of school privatization — indeed, the governor, more than half of Texas House members, and every Republican state senator is financially hooked on their oil money. No matter what slogan the privatizers masquerade behind, their goal is simply to defund public schools and divert our education dollars from the common good to their corporate and theological academies.” [Audio, about 2 minutes]
9) National: Jennifer Berkshire says “there’s also a growing awareness among voters that flames of school culture war are being stoked in order to enact unpopular school privatization policies.”
10) California: A Napa County agency helped craft a charter school petition they were to evaluate, emails show. “Emails reviewed by The Press Democrat show Napa County Superintendent Barbara Nemko and charter oversight consultant Lynne Vaughan helped pull together the final petition a few days before its official submission. Vaughan presented the county schools staff recommendation to approve the petition at an Aug. 30 board meeting. The emails—specifically about Vaughan’s participation—demonstrate a conflict of interest, according to two experts on charter school policy. County staff, they said, are supposed to perform an unbiased analysis of a petition, then present that analysis to board members so they may make an informed decision.”
11) Florida: Janitors fighting for a pay increase in Duval County have turned to the public for support. “‘This is a thankless job at times,’ said Elton Brown, president of Local 2941 for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union representing employees of janitorial contractor HES Facilities Management. ‘People are unhappy. If they are continuously unhappy, they either leave or they do a shoddy job,’ said Brown, whose union has a contract with HES through the summer but has reopened talks on wages, so far with no success. (…) An AFSCME spokesman, Mark McCullough, said $15 is a normal hourly wage in surrounding counties’ schools. He said low pay in Duval County schools contributes to turnover that costs the company hundreds of employees and leaves the rest regularly short-staffed.” [Sub required]
12) Florida: The state senate has voted to temporarily lift the cap on a voucher program for students with disabilities. “After this school year, the program would go back to using a formula to determine maximum capacity. A House staff analysis said that, beginning next school year, the cap ‘shall annually increase by three percent of the state’s total ESE (exceptional student education) student membership, not including gifted students.’”
13) Illinois: Lawmakers have ended the state’s only school voucher program. “Teachers unions were the main opponent of the Invest in Kids program. The president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers celebrated in a statement on Thursday, saying there is a ‘nationwide push to divert public dollars from our public schools.’ ‘Illinois lawmakers chose to put our public schools first and end the state program that subsidized private, mostly religious schools, many of which have discriminatory policies,’ union President Dan Montgomery said. Over the last few years, the school choice issue has taken center stage in several states.”
WBEZ reports that “critics argue the $75 million program takes money from already underfunded public schools and funnels public dollars to private schools, many of which are religious. Earlier this week U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, along with other Democratic lawmakers, issued a joint statement calling for an end to the program, saying the majority of participating schools have policies that “openly discriminate against students on the basis of disability status, gender identity, [and] sexual orientation.””
14) Missouri: The St. Louis Public Schools Board of Education has filed a petition to try to block a new charter high school from opening in the city. “The lawsuit claims the charter school’s organizers did not give proper notice to SLPS’s board in its application process, which is required by state law. The Board of Education says that without notice, it was denied its right to ‘provide timely objections to the charter application.’ The charter, Believe STL Academy, would be a St. Louis replication of an Indianapolis charter school of the same name. In application materials, the founders say it would start with 9th grade students in the 2024-25 school year and eventually expand to all high school grades.”
15) Texas: The Texas School for the Deaf in Austin is laying off employees as it moves to outsource work previously handled in-house. “According to the TSD website, the campus was founded in 1856 and is the oldest continuously operating public school in Texas. In fact, the campus is older than the Texas State Capitol building.”
16) National/Louisiana: The privatization industry is wringing its hands again over a cancelled ‘public-private partnership,’ this time a bridge in Louisiana. In their frustration they’ve moved beyond the platitudes about “stakeholders” and are now taking the gloves off against the public’s ability to assess and control their own infrastructure (maybe because they don’t consider public infrastructure public but rather a portfolio item). Their solutions and objections to the public hostility? [Public Works Financing, October 2023, p. 1-7]
First, “it’s just too easy” to cancel a project, i.e., the public can like it or lump it.
Secondly, a state representative said 90% of his constituents were opposed to the P3 and didn’t want to pay what the Lords of Public Finance, sounding like a late night TV commercial, call “the low price of $0.25.” (Wealthy Limited Partners who don’t have to make, say, 28 trips a week across the bridge, consider this resistance unreasonable). And citizens hoping for federal backing to make the bridge feasible are likely fantasizing, says the private finance industry
Third, the state representative of the local area expressed doubt about the final estimated cost of the project, which Public Works Financing took as absurd (it isn’t, as the Big Dig showed us).
And lastly, frustrated by the resistance of the lower orders to a lucrative project finance deal, we get the kicker: they don’t quite come out and say the dumb locals don’t know how to read, but say they shouldn’t worry their little heads about such details. Even though the contract was not publicly available to lawmakers, this is—get this—“an unreasonable chicken and egg standard for cancelling a major infrastructure project. The contract for the Calcasieu River Bridge replacement is not public because it is not finalized.” There you have it: buying a pig in a poke ‘public-private partnership’ is the only reasonable thing folks can do.
With logic like this, one could be excused for thinking that the privatization industry has learned nothing and forgotten nothing for the past four decades. Their problem, as critics’ have been saying for as long, is not with the soundness of the projects—it’s with democracy.
17) National: Sewer rates are soaring as private companies are buying up local water systems. “The deals provide a short-term cash boost for local governments, which can struggle to cover the cost of aging infrastructure. But critics say the public services and tax savings that governments might provide residents with the quick money don’t make up for the rate hikes, a phenomenon known as ‘taxing through the tap.’ Big Water tells municipal officials, ‘You’re going to get free money.’ “That’s a lie. That money is going to be paid for by ratepayers,” said Bill Ferguson, a co-founder of Keep Water Affordable. The community group protested the 2020 sale of the wastewater system in New Garden Township, a community of about 11,000 residents near the Delaware border, to Aqua Pennsylvania.”
18) Idaho/National: Public lands mismanagement leads toward privatization, says Shelley Dumas, an independent outdoorswoman. “The ‘bait’ was ‘better centralized management and cost savings’ for taxpayers by renovating old buildings on the government-owned Kamiah compound and eliminating the expensive leases in Grangeville and Orofino. Although the Forest Service had a bureaucratic head start, citizens in the squelched towns rallied with protestations using valid data, countermeasures, logic and reasonable alternatives. But by 2013, the supervisory ringleader, Rick Brazell, declared the consolidation and relocation ‘a done deal.’ (…) Since 1970, I’ve had a close association with the Forest Service—as employee, spouse of a district ranger, advocate, volunteer and recreationist across a span of 20 national forests. I have tallied 1,500 volunteer hours and covered many miles hiking, backpacking, skiing, endurance riding, swimming, berry-picking and woodcutting. I love my public lands. This is a rant with a purpose because the Forest Service is not responsibly caring for our land or serving the people—and each misstep adds fuel to the drive toward privatization. I would rather be a champion than a critic. Help me out.”
19) Massachusetts: A critical discussion on water privatization is scheduled by the Ware Selectboard tomorrow night. “Aquarion’s bid caused another problem for the town: Skilled workers managing the water system left after officials announced the potential sale. Comeau, who helps manage the plant on Robbins Road, learned of the bid to sell the water system as he was riding a bus at Disney World with his family. He said it felt like “a bomb was dropped.” Comeau spent the early part of his career working at private wastewater companies, including a stint managing the plant at Westover. He settled in Ware hoping for a stable place to raise his three kids, who are 13, 10 and 7. ‘I really, really tried to do a great job here at the plant,’ he said, ‘so when I’m at the local diner, or the grocery store, and I run into my fellow residents, I can hold my head up high.’ After the town said it might sell the system, one member of the three-person crew at the treatment plant left. Three at the water department moved on. Comeau said privatization typically happens when a municipal plant doesn’t have enough people to run the facility. ‘When you’re fully staffed, and you have the structure and the funding, you don’t sell it,’ he said.”
20) New Jersey: WHYY reports that “voters in Salem, New Jersey backed a measure on Tuesday to sell their municipal water and sewer system to New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of the largest investor-owned water utility in the U.S. The referendum came after 250 residents petitioned city officials to place the decision in the hands of constituents.Opponents of the sale say they worry New Jersey American Water will raise rates in the town, which has a median household yearly income of $26,000. Studies have found utilities typically charge more than municipalities, and often pass the costs of acquisitions down to their customers.”
21) Texas: The Austin City Council has approved a plan to achieve zero waste. “The nascent document identifies among a spate of challenges three central obstacles to achieving its now-teenaged zero waste goal. The first two are familiar: Austin has experienced a 20% population increase over the past decade (a surprisingly low metric, frankly) and now regularly encounters ‘abnormal’ weather events that can disrupt services. In response, the Comprehensive Planacknowledges that since they (both people and meteorological tumult) have already come, it’s probably time to build it: more infrastructure, more recycling and circular economy education programs, and more access to digital tools and collection services. Far more confounding, however, is a characteristically Texan third obstacle: waste stream privatization.”
22) Utah: Will a public ski resort in Lake Tahoe go private? “Homewood Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe recently tried to go private but the local community pushed back,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. “To keep it profitable, owner JMA Ventures and developer Discovery Land Company last year moved toward privatizing the resort. In November, they submitted a letter to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency stating that they planned to sell memberships and season passes while discontinuing daily ticket sales. The memberships and passes would be tied to ownership of homes at Homewood and within scant other homeowner associations. (…) Local residents and business owners revolted. In addition, the regional planning agency rejected the notion that privatizing the resort fell within the bounds of the 2011 master plan. The central tenet of that plan is to “restore Homewood as a key gathering center for Lake Tahoe’s West Shore and to maintain the heritage of a ski resort that can be enjoyed equally by local residents and visitors.””
23) International/Australia: An Emirati-owned port privatization company, DP World (which once tried to buy operating rights to six U.S. ports) has caused a revolt in Australia by raising fees 52%, the Australian Financial Reviewreports. “The Freight & Trade Alliance, which represents importers and exporters and describes DP World’s new fee increases as ‘exorbitant,’ wrote to Treasury earlier this year, warning that continued price rises were ‘contributing to inflationary pressures across our economy.’ Ports are currently regulated by state governments, while the ACCC monitors prices. While national guidelines for access fees were released last year by the National Transport Commission, they are voluntary. Each state and territory decides how the guidelines will be implemented and there are no restrictions on the size of fee increases.”
24) International/Australia: Privatization of building inspections has lowered standards, experts say. “‘After the privatisation of the [building] certifying role during the 1990s,’ said [Rob Finnigan, a partner at Wotton + Kearney], ‘many commentators think that’s caused building standards to drop and the quality of buildings to drop.’ He cited a range of buildings with major defects issues, including Opal Towers and Mascot Towers in Sydney. Both buildings were evacuated in 2019 due to structural issues. He also mentioned the infamous Grenfell Tower in London where 72 people died when the building caught fire. ‘They’re all systematic of the same sort of problem,’ he said. Finnigan said this ‘problem,’ of a building defects crisis in NSW, across Australia and in other parts of the world, is a direct result of deregulation of the construction industry.”
25) International/Canada/Think Tanks: Local officials in Simcoe County, Ontario, are urging the province to scrap hospital privatization. “Local health-care professionals gathered this week to hear the findings of a new report calling on the Ontario government to scrap its plans for the expansion of for-profit health care. Andrew Longhurst—a political economist, PhD candidate, and Simon Fraser University research associate—presented the findings of the report, titled At What Cost? Ontario Hospital Privatization and the Threat to Public Health Care, during a news conference earlier this week. The report, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, looks at policy and legislative reforms used to expand for-profit delivery of surgical and diagnostic imaging in Ontario. It also looks at Ontario’s wait-time performance in relation to other provinces, as well as a financial accounting of how for-profit dollars have been spent in the for-profit facilities, explained Longhurst. Information and data contained in the report were gathered using public information and freedom of information requests.”
In the public health system, “hospitals are billed around $500 per cataract. It’s a seven minute surgery, per cataract surgery, so $500 compared to $2700 for the surgeries is a ludicrous price,” Natalie Mehra from the Ontario Health Coalition said.”
26) International/Canada: Infrastructure banks to promote so-called public-private partnerships funnel public tax dollars into the hands of a wealthy few and are a bad idea, Paul Kahnert reports. “Now Premier Doug Ford is implementing a Public Private Partnership bank known as a P3 to stem the flow of red ink in Ontario. There is no free money! It should be no surprise that Ford Is bringing in more privatization measures. It is his go to principle when in trouble. Have the Ford Conservatives even looked at the dismal record of public asset privatization around the world? It was astonishing that given this P3 record that Trudeau introduced just such a privatization bank in 2017. With the world on fire most people would agree that the climate crisis is a major threat. The biggest contributing factor to the climate crisis is human greed. Introducing more opportunities to maximize profits is not going to fix this emergency.”
27) International/United Kingdom: Thames Water, which is in the middle of a performance and fiscal scandal over the folly of privatizing England’s water systems, is going to axe 300 jobs, the BBC reports. GMB Union national officer Gary Carter “said Thames Water had ‘danced with the devil and now workers are paying the price.’ ‘In the 40 years since privatisation, we’ve seen virtually no investment, systematic asset stripping and billions of public money drained from the system to fill already bulging shareholder and fat cat coffers,’ he said. ‘It’s abhorrent and systematic of the failed experiment that is water privatisation.’ He added the union would try to minimize any compulsory redundancies.”
The other shoe to drop may be the impact of the corporate debt crisis’ on the water companies. This summer the Financial Times reported that the Thames Water “debt gusher” lacks “a shutoff valve.” [Sub required]
28) International/United Kingdom: Cat Hobbs, founder and director of We Own It, Britain’s leading anti-privatization group, says “Labour can restore our NHS to glory—by reinstating it as a fully public service.” “Labour can give the British people the NHS that Clement Attlee and Nye Bevan created back in 1948, ready for the 21st century, rebuilt after all the suffering, clapping and unprecedented corruption. It can promise to take back our NHS as the service it was intended to be—there when you need it, working for patients not profit—instead of drifting towards American-style privatisation. That’s a straightforward story that will resonate with people.”
29) National: As we celebrate Veterans Day, Alma L. Lee, president of the American Federation of Government Employees National Veterans Affairs Council, says America’s veterans didn’t sign up for privatized health care. “Soaring costs and a significant decline in accessibility, especially for veterans in rural areas, are part of private care’s vast dangers. The existing private, for-profit community care program has already led to fragmentation of care, causing challenges in securing medical records from private providers and leading to redundant tests, which results in a waste of money and resources. Privatization erodes the VA’s ability to maintain control over the quality of care veterans receive, as community care providers lack the specialized expertise that VA providers possess in meeting our veterans’ unique needs. Numerous studies have consistently underscored the superiority of VA care for veterans compared to private facilities.”
30) California: Raising the possibility of a strike, Los Angeles healthcare professionals, represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD), “have been engaged in prolonged negotiations, spanning two years, aimed at securing a new contract for their members within various L.A. County departments, including Health Services, Mental Health, Medical Examiner, Fire, Animal Care and Control. (…) The central issue at the heart of this dispute is the demand for improved healthcare benefits for the doctors, with the hope that this will alleviate the challenges of recruiting and retaining qualified healthcare professionals within the county. The rallying cry from the UAPD to the Board of Supervisors is for a better healthcare package, one that could ultimately stem the loss of vital healthcare positions and encourage professionals to establish roots in Los Angeles County.”
31) New Hampshire: Trash privatization has led to conflict in Claremont. “A divided City Council voted, 5-4, last year to privatize the operation in hopes of eliminating the estimated annual tax subsidy of $100,000. ‘I, too, am disappointed that people decided to respond to this board’s decision and take it out on your employees,’ Assistant Mayor Deb Matteau said. ‘It angers me you are put in that position.’ Other councilors agreed, calling the actions ‘disgusting’ and offering their support to DeCamp. Councilor James Contois characterized those who have been verbally abusive as a ‘fringe’ group that does not represent most residents. (…) The decision to privatize the operation was controversial, with a number of residents telling the City Council during public meetings last year they opposed the idea. A majority of councilors, however, said the city could no longer ignore the annual operating deficit and saw privatization as the only solution. DeCamp was the only company that submitted a proposal that met the requirements of the city.”
32) International/Canada: Some Albertans “are worried that the province’s plans to restructure Alberta Health Services may lead to further privatization of the health-care system,” says Globalnews. “Dwight says he is paying around $2,500 a month for Marjorie’s spot in Saint Theresa General Hospital. Most private care homes can start at around $4,000 a month, he said. ‘If they privatize, most people will not be able to afford care. We’re paying $2,500 a month right now and Alberta Health Services was very good at finding us a place,’ he said. ‘When you go to private care, you’re going to have to do a lot of research. Once Alberta Health Services does an assessment, they find a place based on your needs. For private care, you have to do a lot of that on your own.’”
33) International/Canada: How much money do you have to waste to push austerity? The federal government paid the consulting behemoth KPMG nearly $670,000 to teach it how to save money. “The Globe and Mail has reported that federal spending on outsourcing has grown sharply from when the Liberals promised in 2015 to cut back on the use of external consultants. The government has since singled out spending on outsourcing and consultants as an area of focus to find cuts. All federal departments were given a target of Oct. 2 to submit their proposed cuts to Ms. Anand’s department for review. (…) Mr. Johns said the spending on KPMG illustrates ‘how ridiculous and out of control and absurd it’s getting” when it comes to federal outsourcing. It needs to stop,’ he said, adding that the money spent on consultants should be redirected to more pressing concerns. ‘The government is pushing austerity and they continue to waste money.’”
34) International/Canada/Australia: Global focus, global problems? NUPGE, the National Union of Public and General Employees in Canada, reports that “3 of the firms involved in privatizing the inspection of long-term care facilities in Australia also operate in Canada. 2 have them have done work involving long-term care in Canada. In other words, if a provincial government attempted to privatize the inspection of long-term care facilities, it is entirely possible that the same companies that did a poor job in Australia would be bidding for and potentially receiving contracts.”
35) International/United Kingdom: The Wales Green Party has declared privatization a disaster for environmental standards and wellbeing. “Greens across the UK have led calls for bringing public services back into public ownership.
Green Party of England and Wales co-leader Adrian Ramsay has repeatedly made the case for public ownership of water to be brought into public ownership to end the scandal of sewage pollution and massive shareholder dividends.
The Scottish Greens have advocated for both track and train to be integrated into a single publicly owned company.”
36) National: Voters around the country sent mix signals on the issue of homelessness and housing, a subject that impacts heavily on the public service sector and private real estate interests. “‘There’s just more attention to the issue, more discussion about new policy solutions, more interest in exploring things differently, and recognition that the current policies are not working well,’ said Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. But Tuesday’s results reveal that there is frustration with the issue and little agreement across communities on which policies are most effective in creating safe, stable and affordable housing for all. In some cases, dissatisfaction is leading voters to oust their representatives. Take, for example, the mayoral races in Maine and Washington.”
37) International/France: À propos the privatization of everything, residents and campaigners in Chartreuse (outside Lyon) are protesting against an attempt by a private landowner to privatize the mountains. “‘We respect property rights, but they do not authorize trampling on access to nature!’ replies Vincent, on behalf of the collective, who considers this decision all the more absurd since private and paid hunting parties are organized there.” Similarly to the risks posed by comparable piecemeal privatization efforts in U.S. parks, the area is located in a national reserve where 31% of the land is in private hands.