Guest Editorial: America Incorporated

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by Rev. Jack Zylman

In the last Five Points South Neighborhood meeting, a company named Grape proposed moving into the location vacated by Joe Muggs (by the fountain). Fine, so far. We want business in Five Points. We would like more variety though, instead of more alcohol and food. But that is beside the point.

In the proposal, Grape is asking for the city to give Grape the use of a large part of the sidewalk to use for an outdoor cafe, with a fence to keep non-paying citizens from sitting down there. They are not proposing to pay rent to the city, nor is there a time limit on the use, as there would be if they had a lease. This is, in effect, a gift of our property to the corporation.

The neighborhood President, the Director of Operation New Birmingham, and Elias Hendricks all spoke favorably of this. The people lose common property – the corporation pays nothing for it. It is effectively privatized.

This is only one example of the privatization of America. The continual building of condos on our fragile barrier islands by developers is another. Developers are destroying wetlands, grasslands and forests at unprecedented rates, and the environment is being destroyed for nothing but private greed.

Developers are attempting to build McMansions in the Cahaba River valley, undoubtedly destroying our chief source of drinking water in the Birmingham area.

America is being privatized. We are losing what little we own together of this country to wealthy, greedy people and corporations. There will soon be nothing left but one giant corporation, America, Inc.

Saddest of all, government, from the federal level down to the local, is giving it away. We elect them, money controls them.

© 2005, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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