On the Rails: A Case for Renewed Leftist Infatuation with Transport

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1517 .... November 29, 2017
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On the Rails:
A Case for Renewed Leftist Infatuation with Transport

James Wilt

A few weeks ago, at 3:30 in the morning, the Manitoba government froze public transit funding to Winnipeg, equivalent to a $10-million cut. It was a quiet affair. The bill that it was contained in wasn’t ever brought to committee, meaning the public weren’t able to formally comment on it. But we’ve already started to see the brutal consequences: soon after, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman announced that the city will have to cut 59 routes, fire 120 bus drivers and increase fares by a considerable 25 cents.

Let’s be perfectly clear. This is class warfare.

The basic ability for people to get from one place to another -- whether for... work, family or leisure -- has been totally gutted in recent decades. We’re now almost entirely reliant on the neoliberalized ‘solutions’ of privatized cars and airplanes, marked by rabid union-busting in the workplaces, the emitting of massive amounts of greenhouse gases and considerable financial costs to people who have no other reasonable option available to get around.

And it’s a vicious reminder of why the Left must focus on transportation as a key part in its struggle against rising austerity, inequality and climate change.

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