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No one can argue that more transparency for citizens isn't a good thing, especially in peacetime. But what if your model of politics assumes that states are currently in mortal combat with corporates, and that corporates are generally winning, with the result that fine ideals like democracy are increasingly becoming mere window dressing masking the increasing powerlessness of states.

In that scenario corporates can use a fine ideal like transparency to demand access to all the inner workings of the state - in effect to gain free intelligence on their enemy - in order to defeat it more thoroughly.

We have recently see wikileaks being used very effectively to defeat one candidate for the Presidency of the US -  a candidate who, for all her faults, was generally an advocate for increasing the powers of the state vis a vis corporates, especially when compared to her opponent.

Now we have, effectively, a free-for-all for the private sector in the US, with corporates readying themselves to gorge themselves on the public assets of the state. Public schools will be taken over by private Charter Schools - freed from the constraints of pubic policy on teaching religion, creationism, and outright racist ideology to the next generation.

Health care and social provision will be further privatised, the military replaced by private contractors. Public prisons turned into private slave labour camps.  All removed from public scrutiny and regulation.

So whatever the short-comings of transparency in the public sphere, it is as nothing compared to the legalised secrecy of private enterprise where the state or private citizens can be sued for damages for revealing anything that might show the workings of the private corporation in a bad light.

So we have a dilemma: Are calls for greater transparency sometimes merely disguised calls for the greater weakening of the state in its (already losing) battle with corporates?  

Far be it for me to advocate for less accountability and transparency for public servants, especially in their dealings with corporates. But we also have to remember whose side we are on...

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Dec 11th, 2016 at 11:59:14 PM EST

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