Rebecca Solnit Guardian The Hindu Saturday, Jul 08, 2006
The exercise of democracy begins as exercise, as walking around, becoming familiar with the streets, comfortable with strangers, able to imagine your own body as powerful and expressive rather than a pawn. People who are at home in their civic space preserve the power to protest and revolt, whereas those who have been sequestered into private space do not.
More and more I think of privatisation as being not just about the takeover of resources and power by corporate interests, but as the retreat of citizens to private life and private space, screened from solidarity with strangers and increasingly afraid or even unable to imagine acting in public. This is how human beings get downgraded from citizens to consumers. We talk about politicians being in public life, but they seldom appear in the public space where everyone is free to appear as a citizen.