Power of the Healthcare Wedge



Medicare for All and Working Class Consciousness

With Jenny Brown, Mark Dudzic and Christie Offenbacher

at The People’s Forum, 320 West 37th Street Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues), NYC

The working class of the United States — all those still working and all those of the class discarded, disenfranchised and deemed redundant by the capitalists — is suffering a multitude of nightmares and insecurity because the basic human right to complete healthcare is denied. Our bodies and minds have long been deemed territory to mine for profit seeking by capitalists including the health and hospital corporations, pharmaceuticals, insurance companies, financiers, and numerous other sectors.

As necessary services required by women continue to be taken away, and deaths by opioids and suicide, including children, grow larger every year, the bourgeoisie’s life expectancy extends while that of millions of working Americans declines. And now we are at a point in the US where some capitalists have laid claim to owning the DNA sequences of individuals.

Bringing together lab workers, doctors, physicians assistants, maintenance staff at hospitals, those who construct our places of treatment and recovery, mental, dental and visual health workers with the class at large, and left movement organizations — all of whom have real interests in taking on this fight — could break the lock-hold American capital has ideologically, legislatively, and juridically, and begin to open the way for further empowerment against the barbarous interests of these ruling neo-liberal capitalists. To accomplish this requires a national movement that can step up and unify us into a grand struggle. We of the MEP are just a small organization; it is the issue that is grand. We are committed to do our part through our programs to encourage dialogue, discussion and debate, and learning from each other and history, towards advancing the struggle for universal health care and movement building in the US.

Following presentations by Christie, Jenny and Mark, we can address some of the many questions facing our movement including:

  1. What are the principal opportunities and threats facing the Medicare for All movement at this time?
  2. How does our understanding of these opportunities and threats inform our work in our unions, communities and in society at large to help us realize our organizing priorities towards broadening this movement?

About the Speakers:

JENNY BROWN is a women’s liberation organizer and former editor of Labor Notes. She is co-author of the Redstockings book Women’s Liberation and National Health Care: Confronting the Myth of America. She is author of Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work, forthcoming from PM Press in March. She writes, teaches, and organizes with the dues-funded feminist group National Women’s Liberation (womensliberation.org).

MARK DUDZIC has a long history in the labor movement. He has had jobs such as sanitation worker near Buffalo, NY, cannery worker in Alaska and warehouse worker and taxi driver in NYC, eventually graduation from CUNY in 1982. He became the National Organizer of the Labor Party after the death of Tony Mazzocchi in 2002. He is currently the National Coordinator for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Healthcare.

CHRISTIE OFFENBACHER is a clinical social worker and therapist in Brooklyn. She serves on the political education committee in her branch of the NYC Democratic Socialists of America, and as a Regional Coordinator with DSA’s national Medicare for All campaign.

 

Suggested donation: $6 / $10 / $15 / sliding scale  *  No one turned away for inability to pay

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Fighting for Space

How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction
With author Travis Lupick
Published by Arsenal Pulp Press / Distributed by AK Press
Books will be available at the event

All are encouraged to attend. No one turned away for inability to pay.
Donations of $6, $10 or $15 accepted

North America is in the grips of a drug epidemic; with the introduction of fentanyl, the chances of a fatal overdose are greater than ever, prompting many to rethink the war on drugs. There were more than 60,000 opiod overdose deaths in the United States in 2016—this annual death toll increases yearly. This is mass murder. While deaths across the continent continue to climb, Fighting for Space (published by Arsenal Pulp Press / Distributed by AK Press) explains the concept of harm reduction as a crucial component of a city’s response to the drug crisis.

It tells the story of a grassroots group of drug users in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside who waged a political street fight for two decades to transform how the city treats its most marginalized citizens. Over the past twenty-five years, this group of residents from Canada’s poorest neighborhood organized themselves in response to the growing number of overdose deaths and demanded that drug users be given the same rights as any other citizen; against all odds, they eventually won.

But just as their battle came to an end, fentanyl arrived and opioid deaths across North America reached an all-time high. The “genocide” in Vancouver finally sparked government action. Twenty years later, as the same pattern plays out in other cities, there is much that advocates for reform can learn from Vancouver’s experience. Fighting for Space tells that story—including case studies in Ohio, Florida, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Washington state—with the same passionate fervor as the activists whose tireless work gave dignity to drug users and saved countless lives.

“The story of the Downtown Eastside is one of the most inspiring, moving, and enraging stories of our time. This beautiful and haunting book finally does it justice. This is essential history―and it isn’t over.” ―Johann Hari, author, Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War On Drugs

Fighting for Space is a colourful, fast-paced, well-researched account of the unique circumstances, tragic and inspiring events, and the courageously maverick characters that established Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as North America’s harm-reduction capital. Also ranging across the continent, from Ohio to California to Florida, Travis Lupick’s fascinating book should help inform a more rational understanding of addictions treatment and drug policies everywhere.” ―Gabor Maté M.D., author, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

Travis Lupick is an award-winning journalist based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the author of Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction. He works as a staff reporter for the Georgia Straight newspaper and has also written about drug addiction, harm reduction, and mental health for the Toronto Star and Al Jazeera English, among other outlets. For Fighting for Space, he received the 2018 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature. Travis has also worked as a journalist in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, Bhutan, Peru, and Honduras. Follow him on Twitter: @tlupick.

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Revolutionary Columbia University Struggle of 1968

THE BATTLE FOR HISTORICAL INTERPRETATION WITH LESSONS FOR TODAY’S MOVEMENT

A word from Eric and Channing of the Labor/Community Strategy Center:

Dear New York Friends of the Strategy Center.

We are excited to be coming to New York on April 23 for Eric Mann’s talk on the Columbia Strike of 1968 in which he played an active role as a national organizer for SDS. Channing Martinez and Komozi Woodard will be part of the conversation. Today, 50 years later, we are in South L.A. still fighting the U.S. government. In 1968 Columbia University was a slumlord and gentrifier in Harlem—building a racist gym, that the movement called Gym Crow. Columbia faculty were making weapons to be used against the people of Vietnam in a Defense Department Institute for Defense Analyses. The movement of the Black community, the Student Afro-American Society and Students for a Democratic Society forced Columbia to stop construction of the gym and withdraw from the IDA.

Today the Strategy Center is charging the Democratic Party ruling elite with a genocidal gentrification in South LA. We are fighting for Free Public Transportation, No Police on the trains and buses, and end to MTA attacks on Black Passengers. We call on the U.S. government to stop drone attacks and close down its 800 military bases all over the world. Columbia was a great workshop where The Movement challenged U.S. ruling circles and won a major struggle. We believe today’s movement needs to teach, learn, and make history. Please join us and purchase tickets below and please forward this to friends in New York. And please email us to let us know you can help! Our great appreciation to Michael Lardner of the Marxist Education Project for organizing this event.

Eric and Channing

How the Black Movement in Harlem, Student Afro-American Society and Students for a Democratic Society took on the Columbia ruling class representatives, Mayor Lindsay, The New York Times and the New York Police Department and Won.
Eric Mann, Director of the Labor/Community Strategy Center, Veteran of the Congress of Racial Equality, Newark Community Union Project, Students for a Democratic Society, the Columbia University Struggle and the United Auto Workers, author of Playbook for Progressives: The 16 Qualities of the Successful Organizer
In Conversation with
Komozi Woodard, author of Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka and Black Power Politics
and
Channing Martinez, lead organizer, Labor/Community Strategy Center, and Manager, Strategy and Soul Movement Center

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See Something, Say Something (To Benefit Ramsey Orta)

THIS EVENT WILL BE AT VERSO’S LOFT AT 20 JAY STREET, BROOKLYN
Bearing Witness in the Age of Ongoing Police Brutality

With: Kathleen Foster, Nabil Hassein, Ramsey Orta, Josmar Trujillo and Kazembe Balagun

To “bear witness” is to speak truth in the face of power. For many, the Black Lives Matter movement and moment have been defined by everyday folks who have used the tools of social media to document police brutality. These actions have sparked protests and demands of police accountability, while developing a visual record of violence faced by communities of color.

In See Something, Say Something we take the advice of the MTA in asking how ordinary New Yorkers are using community patrols, documentaries and community mapping to make our hoods safer.

This event is a Benefit for Ramsey Orta, who videoed the police murder of Eric Garner, and is scheduled to go to jail October 3. Tonight╒s proceeds will go to Mr. Orta and his family.

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