Health

Location: 
NYC
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

How is the privatization of mental-health services and the growing defunding of public mental health services taking its toll on our ability to govern our own inner lives as well as our ability to interact with others in a healthy manner? Those who have experienced such services firsthand will share their histories and offer their insights.

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Wondering why we're experiencing abortion bans and attacks on birth control? The birth rate is plunging in the U.S.: It's a spontaneous birth strike! In other countries, panic over low birth rates has led governments to underwrite childbearing and childrearing with generous universal programs, but in the U.S., women have not yet realized the potential of our bargaining position. When we do, it will lead to new strategies for improving the difficult working conditions U.S. parents now face when raising children. Join Jenny Brown, in discussion with Laura Tanenbaum, on her new book, Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight over Women’s Work (PM Press, 2019).

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Censorship of writers is one of the hallmarks of a totalitarian regime. In the United States, we're seeing unprecedented attacks against journalists by this presidency. Writing in all its forms (nonfiction, fiction and poetry) are more important than ever. How can we continue to write during this time of crisis? Five writers, ranging from novelists to professionals in health and education, offer a variety of tools to resist and persevere, using words to clarify, heal, and amplify our voices and bring people together in solidarity for progressive change. This workshop will be dynamic with group exercises and resources that will give the audience a way forward in writing what matters to them and to our global community that is at risk.

Location: 
NYC
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

There has been a strong leftist thread in psychiatry driven by the conviction that psychiatry can be an emancipating endeavor. This perspective rests on the foundational point that psychiatry’s principal object, the mind (psychological sphere), is inherently biological and social. Viewed from this perspective, psychiatry has a necessary role in understanding how to further liberation at the individual and social levels. This session will begin by providing a survey of various trends in Left Psychiatry including its intermingling with psychoanalysis, behaviorism, humanism, structuralism, post–structuralism, anti-psychiatry, and radical psychiatry. Some of the limitations of these approaches with respect to psychology of individuals in general as well as mental illness will be discussed, e.g., idealism, positivism, the disembodiment of the individual, and social reductionism. Next, we will discuss emerging models including “critical psychiatry,” “structural competency,” and consumer groups such as Mind Freedom or the Hearing Voices Network. We will discuss the tensions between these approaches and the enormous gaps in psychiatric services and the validity of demands for “evidence-based” practices.

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"Socialist feminists have long pointed to the fact that capitalists rely on the reproductive labor, usually of women, to create and sustain productive workers. This includes giving birth, but also the conditions and institutions under which workers are raised and reproduced. Socialist feminists consider how women’s collective reproductive health is dictated by capitalism’s need to reproduce labor power. Such an analysis allows us to broaden our solutions from individual rights to collective justice. But how does reproductive justice also inform and enrich our socialist feminist analysis? Incorporating a reproductive justice framework prioritizes the fact that personal bodily autonomy is foundational to struggles for freedom. By interweaving a socialist feminist and reproductive justice analysis, socialist feminists move beyond the question: can you pay for your abortion? We also ask, why does one’s ability to pay for child care influence one’s decision to have a child? Why does the labor to sustain that child fall disproportionately on the backs of women, particularly working class women of color and women from the global south? In this panel, we will explore the many ways in which a reproductive justice framework can sharpen our socialist feminist understanding of collective justice."

Location: 
LA
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Health-care justice activists have worked for many years toward a national health insurance (single payer) solution to the U.S.'s corporate, for-profit health care mess. We continue in this struggle, which we will report on in the first of two sessions. We will discuss state and local organizing, and in the second half, describe the work of "Health Care for the 99%," a track of the Occupy Wall Street movement. In both sessions there will be a focus on discussion and strategizing.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Only a national health system, based on an extension of the Medicare plan to cover all citizens, can rescue the country from a private insurance system that demands ever larger premiums, pays less to doctors, and provides ever dwindling services to subscribers. The insurance industry gets to keep the rest free and clear, a substantial sum for shuffling papers. Also, in New York City, the closing of hospitals--starting with St. Vincent's in Greenwich Village, but with threatened extensions to communities in other neighborhoods and boroughs--signals a significant and dangerous step in the reduction of healthcare services. Will hospitals become a relic of the past (because they are so expensive to maintain), to be replaced by clinics, "docs in a box," and whatever else the market will bear? Who will be underserved? And who will profit? Is there a way to stop these trends?

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The US healthcare system is the most expensive (as a percent of GDP) of all the advanced industrial countries, and despite that produces healthcare outcomes that rank among the lowest. This difference is both a result and cause of the extraordinarily high profits in the industry, and more broadly of being a healthcare for profit system. This panel looks carefully at the political economy of the US Medical Industrial Complex, the current Affordable Healthcare Act, and what would be necessary to create an acceptable alternative.

Location: 
LA
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Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Pharmaceutical sector is marked by two main attributes: its inmmense concentration, and the important role played by intellectual property rights (IPRs). These atributes remain mostly concentrated in developed countries. Regarding their concentration, the World Health Organization, in the late 1990s, showed that 92.9 of world pharmaceutical production was located in high- income countries. Concerning IPRs, pharmaceutical originator firms have relied on patents, in order to contend the high cost of research and development for new medicines. According to the statistics of the World Intellectual Property Organization, more than 80 percent of pharmaceutical, pharmo- chemical, and biotechnological patent applications recorded in the period 1995- 2006 originated from just six countries (United States of America, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland). The inclusion of IPRs clauses into the free trade agreements has impeded the entrance of generic medicines into developing countries to treat diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, or tuberculosis. These clauses have obliged developing countries to buy originator firms their branded medicines, restricting health public budgets.
In this panel, we will explore different issues regarding access to medicines related with TRIPS clauses, such as the role of developing countries, such as India, who has used compulsory licenses to guarantee the production of generic medicines; or the role of NGOs (e.g, Doctors without Borders).