In order to counteract the neoliberal stampede we are at the moment facing,
We need connections, synergies, flexible, but strong networks
The Troika’s rhetoric of austerity (Central European Bank + European Commission + International Monetary Fund) followed by the autonomous and central governments, translates into budgetary cuts, and, as a consequence, social rights previously adquired cease to be guaranteed. In the health sector this means: de-universalisation of the healthcare coverage, lesser people with healthcare assistance guaranteed by the State, a reduction in the list of services available, a precarisation of the assistance offered (lesser personnel, lesser time for each patient, hospitalisations in which bottled water and covers are not provided…) prolongation of the waiting lists and so on. Last November I had the opportunity to participate in the course The Struggle for Health in Europe organised by the People’s Health Movement and the IPHU- International People’s Health University and was held in Thessalonica, Greece –where better than there? It gathered more than 50 participants coming from 20 different countries, most of them European, but also Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Egypt, Uganda and Brazil. The organizing committee was formed by some 10 people –members and contributors of the PHMs from Greece, India, Egypt, Australia, United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands, among others.
PHM is a social movement of activists for the defence of People’s Health
at the international level
The movement is a platform for research, analysis, campaigning, mobilisations, political incidence and resistance. Within the framework of the campaign Health for all you can find resistance projects as diverse as local actions and projects like solidarity clinics in Greece, which we had the opportunity to visit, or the current political incidence campaign against TIPPS- Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the IPHU university which offers free courses worldwide, or the writing of the alternative health report Global Health Watch (GHW) with local evidences and experiences from all over the world as well as the initiative of global health governance, which includes ‘watching’ and providing critical support to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The training experience was fully enriching, a good combination of knowledge transfer from all of us to all of us, getting to know local actions, meeting health activists from all over the world and having the opportunity to share experiences with them, as well as reflecting together on the problematic dismantling of health public systems: causes, processes, global similarities, local particularities and possible actions to be undertaken. The atmosphere during the eight days was one of total horizontality, openness, respect and participation. We caught up with one another regarding healthcare systems from different countries and the effects of the so-called crisis is having on them, Greece being at the forefront of this dismantling, followed by Italy and the Spanish State. I think that the main lesson learned at the meeting was the fact that we are capable of working on the global and generalized dimension of the process.
We are now living the 3rd crisis of capitalism. There is overproduction and in spite of the expansion of culture and the consumerist system, there is a lack of markets where to place products. The education and health sectors, public standards of the so-called welfare state, are undergoing reconversion. Their public budget is dismantled, services are being precarized, and afterwards they are said to be inefficient and structurally in deficit (Which is false!). The progressive privatization is argued along those lines and thus translates into new markets where to place products, services, technology, insurance companies, etc.
What happens in Catalonia and in the Spanish State is not an isolated phenomenon,
it is a globalized advance of neoliberal policies and therefore it is necessary to tie global alliances in the remaining resisting sectors in order to denounce, act and address the situation.
Global abuses and injustices demand global responses and reactions, local-global connections which strengthen social movements in order to reinforce local struggles at source. Connecting social arenas at the forefront of the same worldwide struggles and creating synergies (communicative, informative); co-creating and undertaking actions at the international level. I personally encourage every single person and collective organisations interested, to learn more on PHM by accessing its website www.phmovement.org, where the People’s Charter of Health can be read, to join PHM-Europe’s facebook in order to share local struggles and to receive updates of what is happening all over the world.
Neither here nor anywhere, do we want Troika’s friends!
Health and Education: No Child’s Play!
Translated from Spanish by Sílvia Aymerich