Broaden Your Horizons to Fight Capitalism – Communist Party USA
Progressive activists in Maine and elsewhere may pay more attention to local political issues than to national or international issues. But certain aspects are common to each place and, being recognized as such, can determine forms of political struggle, even at the local level. Broadening our horizons and seeing how other countries are improving people’s lives can illuminate our struggles at home. The fight for universal health care is one example.
In this struggle, the elephant in the room is capitalism.
Healthcare in Maine is running under its spell, leading to dismal health outcomes. The most recent five-year average annual infant mortality rate (IMR) three counties with the least favorable rates was 7.9 infant deaths. (The IMR is the number of first year infant deaths per 1,000 births.) The average rate for the three best performing counties was 3.8 infant deaths. Clearly, 4.1 in 1,000 Maine babies die needlessly.
These health care gaps coexist with a plethora of resources. The health sector represents 25% of the economy of Maine. The money ends up in places other than care activities. The Maine Health hospital complex has eight employees including annual salaries each exceeds $ 1.2 million; five are executives, two are neurosurgeons and one is a general surgeon.
A combination of a lot of money and irregular care is hardly unique to Maine. From 2000 to 2018, 35 U.S. pharmaceutical companies together made $ 8.6 trillion in profits. The U.S. healthcare industry since 2015 has spent more than $ 500 million every year on lobbying officials in Washington. In 2019, healthcare marketing was consuming $ 30 billion annually; drug advertising cost $ 6 billion.
For fairness and for health, in Maine and beyond, the commercialized version of health care must go. This fight is both national and local. We need a national program for high quality, universally accessible health care.
The environmental crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the US war are gigantic issues, global in impact, and dangerously close to home. But the chances of solving these problems head-on are not great. This is because almost everywhere political defenders of capitalism are in charge of our future.
Analyst Lawrence Shoup recently showed that emissaries of the rich and powerful dominate the Biden administration, especially when it comes to military strategy and foreign affairs. Shoup points out of the 30 senior officials appointed, 13 have links with companies, 19 are associated with capitalist-oriented think tanks, and among them, 17 belong or are linked to the Council on Foreign Relations. The CFR, he says, is “the most powerful private organization in the world [and] the central think tank of US monopoly finance capital. “And so,” 25 members of [Biden’s] team of 30 people has a close connection with the billionaire plutocratic class.
This is grim news. The United States is threatening war with Russia and China. Russia’s conventional warfare capabilities fall short of that of the United States. Therefore, Russia’s nuclear arsenal becomes its last line of defense. China and the United States are roughly equal in economic, political and military resources and, again, nuclear capabilities could be decisive.
These policymakers see benefits in fueling a war machine: big industries get big contracts, the neoliberal world order is defended, and domestic political opposition is presented as a hindrance to national defense. The effect is to stifle voices calling for nuclear weapons control, saving lives, shifting war resources and weapons to programs serving the common good, such as health care.
Know the capitalist continuities – since the industrial revolution; from rural to urban to the world – strengthens our struggle. Increased awareness improves local resistance movements.
For example, the Chilean municipality of Recoleta, which has 162,000 inhabitants and is part of Santiago, has achieved a lot. Citizens led by Mayor Daniel Jadue expanded health care, offered free educational evenings and weekends for all ages, built new libraries, established low-cost rental housing, developed drugstores for purpose. non-profit and low cost and offered free optical and dental services.
Jadue, a longtime communist activist, is a presidential candidate in an upcoming election and votes well. Recoleta’s experience suggests that the development of the political life of communities is crucial for building a socialist alternative.
We pay attention to socialist Cuba for lessons on achieving better health care outcomes, building human solidarity, and resisting American aggression.
We are learning from socialist countries like China, Vietnam and Cuba on how to reduce infections and deaths from COVID-19 – and other teachers who are experts in social planning for the common good, especially Taiwan, Nova Scotia. Zealand and Australia.
We appreciate the model of the state of Kerala in India. There, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) formed political coalitions that instituted equitable health care and education, as well as land reforms. Kerala gives hope. People gain confidence from their successes. They multiply and become the vast majority that brings about revolutionary change.
The voters have just given the Left Democratic Front, led by the CPI (M), five more years of political power. Vijay Prashad reports that they overwhelmingly re-elected KK Shailaja to the post of Minister of Health. She is a member of the CPI Central Committee (M). People call him “Professor Shailaja”.
This teacher is a student: “Cuba’s family doctor system influenced me when we established the family health centers here in Kerala. . . . Cuba has achieved a lot through its centralized planning and decentralized implementation. Their health care system is person-centered and patient-centered. Their egalitarian concept and decentralization can be imitated here. “
She speaks for people, even in Maine, as she insists that “there can be no delay in increasing public investment in health care.
Capitalism and systems of greed have no place in his world or ours.
Image: Molly Adams (CC BY 2.0).