Our health series is out and has taken on questions from health care reform to workers struggles for better conditions and a liberatory system of health. We interviewed a nurse active in the movement for safe staffing in the US, and a network of health workers in New Zealand about their organizing and recent strikes. During a month of struggles around gender, we published a translation of an article on health and gender by anarchist leader and medical student Melissa Sepúlveda Alvarado in Chile. In a field that has traditionally been defined by largely defensive struggle, we put forward strategy and an alternative vision that goes beyond universal public health systems within capitalism. The first came from the perspective of the United States by one our editors S Nicholas Nappalos, and the second by Pedro Heraklio is from Spain within the context of a threatened public system. This series unfortunately will be our last for the foreseeable future. The priorities and situations for our…Read More
What is the path from healthcare as we’ve known it to a society where everyone has the resources necessary for their full development? The mire of healthcare reform in the United States and the constant vigilance necessary to develop public health systems in other countries can obscure the need for a longer term strategy. Today we are sharing the translation of an article from Spain that describes how capitalism corrupts health care, and a strategy to move from our defensive stance today towards a decentralized collective system of healthcare owned and organized by workers and the community.
Labor movements have always tried to find ways to wrestle control over working conditions away from the boss. Workplace injuries and deaths are still at epidemic levels which in some industries in particular can mean life and death. Health care still suffers from disproportionately high levels of injury in in-patient settings such as hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes. Led by nurses, the movement for safe staffing has sought to create hard limits on the amount of patients that can be assigned to health providers for both the safety of the patients and their care givers. Following decades of militant action California nurses and nurses in provinces in Australia achieved safe staffing legislation which research has vindicated in improving care, reducing mortality, and avoiding provider burnout. We interviewed Jenny, a Maryland nurse involved in the movement to spread these measures about her experiences as a nurse and the movement.
Was there a moment or event at work convinced …Read More
Our #healthseries was conceived and collected throughout 2016 at time when the Obama administration was winding down, and before the ascent of Trump or the more recent rumblings of the right in Europe. For workers in the health industries the changing political winds are part and parcel of the day to day conditions as funding and regulation changes continually intrude on the work, caring for other human beings who often have no other options. The debate in the United States over how to provide health care to a nation increasingly burdened by the costs and dissatisfied with the status quo has returned with a vengeance. One of our editors and contributors, S Nicholas Nappalos, comes at these issues as a nurse and organizer, and tries to unpack the implications of the growing health crisis, what alternatives we really have, and what health for-and-by workers and the community could look like.
What’s at Stake in the Health Care Debate?
S Nicholas Nappalos
The 2016 election cycle has show…Read More
Medicine is draped in the language of commerce and science that hide the social forces that sustain and shape health in society. Gender is particularly central both to the experience of health industries and in the sustenance and production of health. Our contribution today comes from Melissa Sepúlveda Alvarado, a Chilean medical student and anarchist organizer. Her argument shows not only how patriarchy shapes health, but also how medicine reproduces patriarchy itself.
Health is about life, and health work makes business of our basic human functions. It should be no surprise then that health care is under attack globally where the decay of the neoliberal order has incited conflicts over who will control health resources. Over the next few months Recomposition will explore the health care perspectives and proposals for alternatives. We are proud to present the first installment in our Health Series with an interview that comes to us from members of the Health Sector Workers Network located in Aotearoa/New Zealand. They discuss attempting to build cross-workplace and cross-trade solidarity, the recent series of Junior Doctor’s strikes (the equivalent of residents in the US), and building workers resistance to health austerity.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What kind of work do you do, and how did you get involved in the health workers movement?
My name is Al. I’ve worked in the public health sector, off and on, for most of my adult life,…Read More