The City Committee of the Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP, www.gpop.org) approves of the cancellation of the sale of the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to UIL Holdings. The Green Party is also looking forward to a new plan for Philadelphia to become a hub of sustainable energy.
While the headlines read “Nutter faults Council: Clarke blasts mayor,” none of that bickering mattered to the GPOP City Committee. The important thing for the Green Party was that a terrible disaster had been temporarily derailed. In June 2012, the GPOP City Committee took a firm stand against the sale of PGW saying that “Mayor Michael Nutter has failed to make his case in favor of selling PGW to the highest bidder.” [See: Greens Stand Against Sale of Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW),” June 2012, GPOP News Release, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-state.php?ID=523.]
The reasons for Green Party opposition to the sale of PGW were more principled that those of Philadelphia’s City Council. The Green Party has historically stood against privatization, the process of transferring ownership of a public service or property from the government to a for-profit business or to a non-profit organization.
“PGW is not unique,” said Kristin Combs of Port Richmond, GPOP recording secretary, “Many of Philadelphia’s services, including public schools, risk privatization. The Green Party will work to ensure that public services are structured to serve the community, not corporations.”
“The Green Party is opposed to privatization of the Philadelphia Prison System, Streets Department and Water Department,” said Glenn Davis of Haddington, GPOP chair. Generally, the Green Party platform says that Greens are “firmly opposed to privatization and contracting-out of public services. A government that works for us would provide critical goods and services that should not be run for profit.”
In 2012, Belinda Davis of Chestnut Hill, then-treasurer of GPOP, warned, “Privatization of basic utilities is the most egregious example of erring on the side of profit for the few at the expense of the needs of the many. After the most recent examples of corporate greed and its disastrous effects, why would the city even think of selling PGW, except as a short-term budgetary fix? This is short-sighted in the extreme, and the residents of Philadelphia will have to pay for it.”
During 2013, the Green Party joined a coalition of labor unions and consumer, neighborhood and environmental organizations opposed to the privatization of PGW. The Keep PGW Public Coalition maintained a lobbying presence in the offices of City Council and in the streets of Philadelphia.
It is clear that the Green Party is the only political party with a progressive plan for advancing the economy of the Delaware Valley and creating living-wage jobs for every worker. Chris Robinson of Germantown, a member of the GPOP City Committee, said, “Greens plan to make Philadelphia a hub for sustainable energy by expanding research and development of solar, wind and geothermal energy and expanding public transit. When Greens defeat the two corporate parties, we will reduce the demand for energy through worker-owned conservation co-ops, and Philadelphia will become a green city in fact — not just in name.”
The Green Party of Philadelphia is an independent political party which stands for ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and non-violence. For more information about the GPOP, please contact 215-243-7103 and [email protected].