Originally published on July 8, 2018 at Ricochet Media.
"I recently had the privilege of travelling to Montreal to speak at and participate in a conference called The Future is Public, hosted by Friends of Public Services and the Municipal Services Project and sponsored by several national labour unions. It was promoted with the tagline “Building a pro-public movement for everyone.” I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences from the conference because I think there is a lot to be learned from it.
The most important thing in my mind that the conference did was flip a conventional progressive strategy on its head. Instead of a focus on opposing privatization of public services, the framing was propositional — in favour of the public provision of public services. That framing went far beyond the conference title and permeated every session of the conference. The instructions I received for the workshop I led on public education included these words: “The conference is NOT about the problems of privatization. It is about how we want to remake and reclaim public services in ways that make them more inclusive, more sustainable and more democratic in the future.”"
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