The thing I remember most about my father’s work is during the 70s, while I was in my formulative years, I would hear him talking, mostly to my mother, grandmother, and his friends, about his pride in working for the Post Office. One thing he stated often was that there were only two departments in the U.S. government that generated their own revenue. The Internal Revenue Service, and the Post Office. My dad spent that 26 years as a mail caser and for him, a child who had escaped the devastation of racial segregation in Louisiana, his work was his defining contribution to the success he envisioned when he talked about the Post Office.
My dad is one reason I seethe with contempt at the lies being told today about the dire economic condition the Post Office faces. Corrupt, bottom shoe scum politicians are claiming that the $2.3 billion losses the Post Office has suffered is proof that the Post Office is inefficient. Their argument, and actions are focused on dismantling the Post Office and turning over mail delivery to private delivery entities like United Parcel Service and Federal Express, etc. On the other hand, the Democratic Party, the so-called workers party, is advancing the weak lying position that the Post Office should be saved because it has such wonderful tradition i.e. being started with Benjamin Franklin as the first Post Master in 1775. These people are arguing something akin to the logic that the Post Office should be viewed as some sort of historical landmark that must be preserved, despite its economic challenges.
None of those absurd talking points are honest or conclusive in helping people understand why the Post Office is in economic peril today. And, the most offensive thing about that is there is a clear reason for the Post Office’s challenges and you can’t tell me the capitalist media is not aware of that reason. Yet, they continue to talk about the Post Office today and its challenges without even the slightest push back against the privatization segment of the capitalist class and their insane assertion that the Post Office is where it is because of government is inefficient.
Anyone who does even a simple internet search can determine that the cause of the Post Office’s economic woes is connected to the ill refutable fact that the last year the Post Office was in the black was 2006. Once you learn that, the next logical question would have to be what changed after 2006? And, the logical response is in 2006, the U.S. Congress voted to force the Post Office to fund its retirement (pension) account 75 years in advance. Now, retirement programs typically struggle with managing their unfunded liabilities. This is a very common problem with these programs which results in large part because a lack of attention by employers in ensuring the programs are properly funded on the frontend. Still, the decision to force the Post Office to do this in 2006, when no other employer anywhere is being forced to do something so dramatic, effectively eliminated the surplus environment the Post Office had enjoyed (that my dad always bragged about) for decades. Once millions of dollars had to be redirected to meet the Congressional mandate, the Post Office found itself in the red for the first time in its centuries old history. Still, despite this reality, it needs to be said that the Post Office today, even in its current condition, delivers more mail in a week’s time than UPS and Federal Express combined over a longer range of time. From an efficiency standpoint, using the numbers, there is no logical argument to suggest privatizing mail delivery will increase proficiency.
We would argue that the Congress knew in advance that this outcome would be forthcoming. Many of them who promoted this action were heavily financed by corporate interests who have advanced privatization for decades. In fact, there is an entire movement of capitalist interests who’s primary desire is to completely eliminate public services by privatizing everything. Part of their motivation for this is to increase profits since privatization is all about profitability while public service is about that; serving the public. Also, the last bulwark of strong union activity within the U.S. is in the public sector. These capitalist interests know that by wiping out the Post Office, they wipe out the Postal Union, thus striking another strong blow against the one entity in this society – Unions – that fights for better wages, affordable health care, pensions, safe working conditions, etc.
Clearly, the political efforts to sabotage the Post Office are motivated in full by capitalist interests who don’t like the fact that the Post Office, among other things, represents the people’s desires to have socialist principles driving their institutional operations. Yes, we know that whenever you say the word socialism, people are trained to have a visceral reaction. Still, this doesn’t change the reality that the Postal model, just like the public schools model, is based on socialist principles i.e. we pay taxes and we receive a service. This is the principle that drives all public sector work and that is the reason these capitalist interests are opposed to the public sector and wish to destroy it. They oppose because they know that the Post Office had worked wonderfully for centuries until they stepped in to destroy that model in 2006. They also know that most of the people you know will never spend enough time to try and find out the truth behind their efforts to sabotage the Post Office and public services in general. They live in fear that if people ever do take the time to figure out exactly what’s going on, they will recognize that the capitalist argument that socialist principles don’t work is a lie and once people figure that out, the capitalists know their days are numbered.
What’s happening with the Post Office is a part of this larger scheme/scam to privatize everything, eliminate public sector unions, gain greater control over the workers in these industries, and increase profitability for the corporate heads who direct these corporations (UPS, etc.). What happens to the Post Office isn’t just about the Post Office itself (although that’s how neo-liberal bourgeoisie narratives are attempting to frame it). Its about what happens with our ability to create institutions that we direct. Its about people in the streets fighting for a new and different society. Its about us finally waking up and realizing that these worldly thieves are making their run to steal the entire planet right from underneath us and if we don’t get our heads out of the sand, they will accomplish this right before our very eyes. My union proud, African proud daddy is turning over in his grave right now because so many people are so easily having the wool pulled right over their heads.