Idea: #Occupy Post Office

privatization The Occupy movement is drifting, trying to figure where to camp next. Meanwhile, the United States Postal Service, despite being all but mandated in the purportedly perfect and holy U.S. Constitution, is being further starved and strangled, at the cost of another 28,000 decent jobs next year alone.

Why not put 2 and 2 together, and demand that the United States not only stop the euthanasia, but reverse course and develop a robust, modernized postal system?

We know the USPS used to be permitted to open and maintain savings accounts, and that national postal services still do so in other nation-states.

We might also observe that the reason everybody states for tolerating the further erosion of the USPS — the rise of email, fax, SMS/text, and internet messaging, and the attending decline in paper-based letters and volumes — is merely a new form of the human process the Post Office was intended to encourage. Why permit the overclass to enjoy making the first half of the point without pressing them on the second? Why not fuse reason and radicalism, on a topic that few could dispute is of deepest importance?

So, Occupiers, why not occupy Post Offices and insist that the USPS be reinvigorated and launched into the business of building and maintaining a modern communications infrastructure, as well as maintaining some appropriate amount of snail-mail delivery? Why not use the USPS to compete with the corporate squatters who are now allowed to suppress public enterprise while sucking money-for-nothing from the patchy, over-priced, for-profit, advertising-intensive, second-rate telecom system in this country? Why not insist that the Postal Service build a modern, universally-available national internet, with lower prices, minimal marketing overlay, and no place for payouts to private investors? Why not out-compete the cell phone oligopolies and their pathetic but hugely expensive war over meaningless market shares? Why not insist that junk mail and corporate marketers pay first-class or even first-class-plus rates to use the public’s physical mail system?

While we’re at it, in our moment of deserved but dangerous bankster bashing, why not also press to restore the banking function to the Post Office? A 2% savings account sounds pretty good right about now, doesn’t it? And the deposits could be used to finance the USPS’s modernization and universalization of the means of citizen-to-citizen communication.

Why not insist on preserving and expanding a major public enterprise that provides decent jobs to people who do honorable, vital tasks? Why not stick it to the Man — and in some vital organs, for a change?

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Luis Cayetano
9 years ago

‘While we?re at it, in our moment of deserved but dangerous bankster bashing, why not also press to restore the banking function to the Post Office?’

No, DON’T. I live in Switzerland and the postal service runs a banking service. It’s the most slip-shod piece of shit imaginable. You wouldn’t believe the base incompetence and inefficiency of it. I suspect that’s due to some inherent factor about merging two institutions together, because the Swiss are among the most efficient people on Earth. If they can’t do it right, I don’t hold much hope for anyone else.

Michael Dawson
9 years ago

Do you think it has anything to do with hostility from the private banks and other capitalists? What are the interest rates? Are the Swiss serious about making it work, or do they neglect it? Conversely, might its mere existence press the private banks to better behavior?

Here in the U.S., where the private banks have almost no competition, there is now no such thing as a regular savings account with a meaningful positive interest rate.

Heavy Armor
9 years ago

Luis also has no clue that the USPS used to have banking functions AND that the banking aspect of the USPS was removed not because it was “inefficient,” but by legal decree (something about “stifling competition” or some other claptrap) because having a safe place to put your money without it being nickle-and-dimed is an anathema to the banking industry.

Luis Cayetano
9 years ago

I shall have to look into the interest rates (I don’t pay much attention to these things, which is often to my detriment). As for why it’s slipshod, I just get the impression that it’s something to do with it’s not being a dedicated bank, so staff must learn to do two things (postal stuff) alongside financial things. I suspect, though, that maybe you’re onto something; one gets the impression that something is rather amiss, like it’s deliberately half-assed or some such. The problem still seems to me organisational: assigning tasks to people who have to be postal workers as… Read more »

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