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

Please follow and like us:

Highlights of Marx’s Capital, Volume 1

In Manhattan, For Women Only

A 10 Session Class and Discussion with Juliet Ucelli
Wednesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
February 21 through April 25
2067 Broadway, Manhattan

Capital is the indispensable sourcebook on Marx’s method for analyzing the economy, politics and struggles. Many of us have less time to study it because, as Marx predicted, we have to work longer hours— and often more than one job—in order to survive. Fortunately, even a basic familiarity with the key concepts of Volume I offers many tools for understanding capitalism’s dynamics. With current conditions, we’ve been offering this highlights approach, breaking down key concepts and sections:

• use value, value and surplus value;
• why capitalism has needed conquest, enslavement and white supremacy;
• why capitalism drives technological innovation, overwork and unemployment and leads to ecological destruction;
• how working-class people (employed and unemployed) have historically won improvements in living and working conditions.

In a continuing quest to increase access for those who have been historically excluded, turned off or silenced by the way this theory is often taught and discussed, we are offering the highlights class this February through April for women only. Everyone who identifies as a woman is welcome.

Participant reports and life experiences are welcome!

The course provides a basic grounding for participants to pursue further study on their own or collectively. We’ll refer to new resources such as on-line and visual aids and current articles that illustrate capitalism’s developmental tendencies, which Marx calls its laws of motion.

Juliet Ucelli has taught labor economics and class/race/gender for labor unions, and was a public high school social worker. She writes on Eurocentrism in Marxist theory, the politics of inner city public schooling and Marxist understandings of human development.

Please follow and like us:

The Condition of the Working Class in England

by Frederick Engels
A reading and discussion group convened with Lisa Maya Knauer
Four more Mondays, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
June 12, 19, 26 and July 3

Everywhere barbarous indifference, hard egotism on one hand, and nameless misery on the other, everywhere social warfare, every… house in a state of siege, everywhere reciprocal plundering under the protection of the law, and all so shameless, so openly avowed that one shrinks before the consequences of our social state as they manifest themselves here undisguised, and can only wonder that the whole crazy fabric still hangs together.

This sounds like a description of our contemporary moment, when so many communities around the globe are reeling from the havoc wrought by unfettered neoliberal capitalism, from structural adjustment to cuts in social spending to “free trade” agreements to the gig economy and the loss of affordable housing on a global scale.

But this paragraph was written by Frederick Engels, in his 1845 book, The Condition of the Working Class in England. This reading group will take a close look at Engels’ master work, to help understand how the formation of industrial capital and the industrial working class in the nineteenth century has led us to the current conjuncture in contemporary capitalism — characterized by growing inequality, increasing precariousness for nearly everyone except the capitalist elite, and incessant attacks on the most vulnerable — and explore its lessons for our revolutionary politics in the twenty-first century. This class is open to those reading Marx and Engels for the first time, and would provide an excellent background for in-depth study of historical materialism. While this is a self-contained five-week session, it will also serve as a prelude to an exploration of Marx and Engels’ political writings in the fall.

Lisa Maya Knauer is a lifelong radical who came of age politically in the 1960s and 1970s. She was active in the anti-war, civil rights, women’s, farmworkers support, anti-apartheid and other movements. She moved to New York in 1977 and quickly immersed herself in the New York left. She found the School for Marxist Education in the phone book and joined the Marxist Education Collective, and has been involved with this educational undertaking through its various incarnations, including the Marxist Education Project. In her day job, she is a tenured radical at a public university and does research on indigenous resistance in Guatemala and immigrant worker organizing in the U.S.

Please follow and like us: