Opinion: American Parking Policy is the Real Socialism

The one socialist utopia America has achieved: the parking lot. Image: UCTC.net
The one socialist utopia America has achieved: the parking lot. Image: UCTC.net

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared on City Observatory and is republished with permission. 

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has denounced President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending program as un-American socialism. Rubio claims:

In the end, Americans will reject socialism because it fundamentally runs counter to our way of life.

That’s not accurate, of course.  Socialism is well-established in the US, at least for car storage; something that is near and dear, certainly to Republicans.  You think otherwise?  Before you denounce socialism, Senator Rubio, consider this perspective.

Comrades, rejoice: In the face of the counter-revolutionary neo-liberal onslaught, there’s at least one arena where the people’s inalienable rights reign supreme: parking.

Fear not, comrade sister: you will not have to search for a parking space in our socialist utopia!

We may not be able to make health care a right or make housing a right, but the one place the revolution has plainly succeeded in usurping the market is in the case of parking.  Every worker’s council (though they may still brand themselves in the pre-revolutionary nomenclature of “city councils” or “townships” or “planning commissions”) has established the right of every citizen to abundant, free parking.

To everyone, we can point to parking as one place where private property and the intrinsically inequitable forces of capitalist distribution don’t disadvantage the working classes and the poorest among us. There may be massive inequities in other aspects of life, but each citizen is guaranteed equal access to adequate parking spaces. To paraphrase Anatole France, the law in its majesty protects equally the right of the rich and the poor to park their massive sport utility vehicles pretty much wherever they would like without having to pay a penny for doing so.

True, we may face public opposition from reactionaries in the media, like New York Times columnist Tim Egan, who has decried the people’s efforts in Seattle to secure greater access to housing as a conspiracy between socialists and developers. Tosh! As we have shown with our parking requirements, we will bend developers to the will of the people.

Throughout the nation,  city councils have decreed that the people’s right to parking is supreme. No bourgeois developer may build so much as a small shop or an apartment without adequately providing for the needs of the automobiles that may travel to or from these destinations. We may still struggle to require inclusionary zoning for people, but we have long since achieved inclusionary zoning for cars.

Together, comrades, we embrace the timeless historical wisdom encapsulated in the ITE parking handbook, which assures that each citizen is allocated sufficient parking spaces at each of the places he or she may wish to store a vehicle.

To those neo-liberal apologists and enablers who call themselves “economists” and claim that socialism is flawed and unworkable, we can proudly point to the successes of the parking supply diktats established in every community, large and small.

The production of parking spaces has exceeded the quotas established in the  community plans. Comrade Scharnhorst has produced a report that showing that in Seattle, there are 1,596,289 parking stalls, more than 5 parking spaces for every household: indeed, a triumph of the planned economy!  (Now if we could just figure out how to get one house per household?)

Indeed, the production of parking spaces continues to set glorious new highs.

Scharnhorst cleverly infiltrated the Mortgage Banker’s Association to assemble the data for his report; just as V. I. Lenin foretold, we will hang the capitalists with the rope they sell us; surely had the great teacher been writing in this century, he would have said we will disrupt capitalism with the big data downloaded from their servers.

Take heart comrades: whatever our challenges in other domains, we can proudly tell the masses that we’ve succeeded in establishing a socialist utopia for car storage. Forward!

 

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Alan Durning is the executive director and founder of Sightline Institute, a think tank on sustainability issues in the Pacific Northwest. This article, originally posted on Sightline’s blog, is #9 in their series, “Parking? Lots!” Have you ever watched the excavation that precedes a tall building? It seems to take forever. Then, when the digging […]