Donald Cohen, executive director of “In the Public Interest,” explains a new direction that the organization will take. Not just to say that privatization is bad public policy, but to explain why the public sector can be more efficient and effective at the things it does best. In education, we have seen how privatization exacerbates segregation by race, religion, and social class; we have also seen how it opens the public purse to exploitation by profiteers and grifters who take advantage of public money without public accountability.

He writes:




Over the last ten years, In the Public Interest has educated organizations, leaders, and journalists nationwide about the perils of privatization—how private interests are increasingly gaining control over vital public goods.

We’re going to continue to do that. But we’re also going to start showing what public control over public goods means and looks like—both a governing vision and practical examples from across the country.

Like Kansas City, Missouri, making public transit free for all. Or the Puerto Rican public school that assigned a social worker to every student. Or the small Florida town that opened its own grocery store.

Becoming “pro-public” means a few things:

  • Reclaiming the ideal of the public in a free, democratic society.
  • Arguing that there are market things and public things. They’re different things, like apples and oranges.
  • Ensuring public goods have adequate resources—a more progressive tax system is a must.

So, what are we actually going to do? 

We’ll continue to help build a pro-public movement that can effectively compete to govern in a way that puts public over private and creates public institutions that deliver on that promise.

Everything we do—our research, writings, trainings, policy work—will be oriented towards creating a larger, more inclusive, educated, connected, and active movement competing to govern across the country.

We’ll create tools and conduct training for leaders, organizers, and activists to fully use the tools and powers of governance.

We’ll develop and support new rules and revenue generators to expand access to public goods, rebalance economic power, and eliminate the corrupting influences of money in democracy.

We’ll lift up good things government does and has done—there’s plenty of that too.

And, of course, we’ll do everything we can to stop the spread of reckless privatization schemes.

Stay tuned. And send us ideas:

Read more about our shift to becoming a “pro-public” organization here.

Thanks for being in the fight with us,

Donald Cohen
Executive Director
In the Public Interest