At the beginning, back in 2008, some people thought that the Great Crisis was going to question the principles of neoliberal capitalism which had caused it. The truth is that these principles have been strengthened and, in Europe, the same “recipes” imposed on Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 80s and the 90s are now being applied, with catastrophic results. The nationalisation of the private-sector debt, the absolute priority of debt repayment over citizens’ welfare, the slimming of the state, including drastic cuts in health, education and social security spending, the privatisation of those same public services, the pay cuts and the erosion of labour rights… are measures which lead to a spectacular increase of poverty and inequality. The Oxfam report A Cautionary Tale accounts for the impact of these measures and the black future awaiting us unless we change course, while proposing measures in order to do so.
Universal healthcare, organised in a quality public system, is threatened in some European countries. Hiding behind the “austerity” and “sustainability” excuses, the privatisation zeal, the intention to give up to private interests what has so far belonged to all of us, what has cost lots of money and efforts to build, are often found. Health is a right, not a business, and we must fight for it. The good news is that “yes, we can”, as proven by the precautionary suspension of the privatisation (link in Spanish) of six hospitals in the Community of Madrid, after ten months of healthcare personnel backed by citizens mobilisation known as the Marea Blanca [the White Tide; link in Spanish).
In order to better uphold our rights, we need training. That’s why the University of the People’s Health Movement, a global network of health activists dedicated to promote “Health for All” as a matter of human rights and from the perspective of the revitalisation of the Alma Ata Declaration, organises a course together with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Indeed, “The struggle for Health in Europe” is a short training course for health activists on the political economy of health from the point of view of organized activism. Registration and accomodation fees are affordable, but the number of places available is limited. So, hurry up and book soon. Moreover, Greece seems to be nowadays the best place to deal with such issues.
Photo: Joan Luzzatti
Translated from Spanish by Sílvia Aymrich