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PHA: Health in Protest and Resistance Movements

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Michael Terry

on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of PHA: Health in Protest and Resistance Movements

Motion Approved The Occupy Wall Street Movement is now active in more than 1,000 cities in the U.S. and with related protests around the world.

APHA supports its call for greater social equality, and social justice, reducing income inequality, and its demand that corporate crime be investigated and prosecuted; and identifies opportunities to build on the energy and enthusiasm of the worldwide Occupy Movement and its synergies with public health. November 1, 2011 One Year Ago... The occupation of Zucotti Park in NYC had been growing for 2 months The Declaration of the Occupation of NYC laid out the mess we're in and the interconnectedness of all our problems. Rachel Schragis made this poster. After years of community organizing and struggles against police violence in the SF Bay Area, the Oakland Commune defined the militant left wing of the Occupy movement General Assemblies were being held all over the US and around the world. Occupy was inspired by the Arab Spring, and comrades in Tahrir Square sent messages of solidarity. Public officials around the world used phoney concern about public health and safety to justify... ...violent police actions to evict the camps, contain demonstrations, and repress the wave of dissent... Subplenary session called "Challenging the Empire" included Michael Terry (USA), Hani Serag (Egypt), Alexis Benos (Greece), Maria Zuniga (Nicaragua), Armando de Negri (Brazil) Workshop organized by PHM US for PHA attendees who have participated in such movements to share experiences and discuss how to better support each other. PHM USA participated in 2 events at the PHA on recent protest and resistance movements such as the Arab Spring, European anti-austerity protests, Occupy, Chilean and Quebecois students movements, etc. Workshop participants represented important resistance movements from around the world. What questions or concerns were raised by participants?
* What is the effect on movements (and the PHA itself) of participation of NGO workers vs. people affected by the problems?
* Ultimate effectiveness of protest movements in the past few years varies. What can we learn from what has worked and what hasn't? Main Themes and Ideas from Panel and Workshop Protest movements develop street medics and free
health care services for protestors and movement
participants who can't access health care or will face
stigma or mistreatment (eg be handed over to police)
if they present to regular medical services. Street medics enable protests to continue in the face of tear gas and police assaults. Participating health professionals can lend credibility and use their privilege to support movements, but concern is they tend to inappropriately assume leadership. Health and health care raised by all movements as economic issues:
a. privatization or dismantling of public health services
b. lack of access to health care
c. health impacts of recession and austerity (increased mental health problems and suicide in Greece)
d. illness and cost of medical care leading bankruptcy due to inability to work and health care costs Movements share a sense that the new society we are trying to build is one that will enable people to be as healthy as possible and that health status can be used and an indicator of a just society. All movements are essentially about well-being. Historical roots influence the character of movements nationally, and locally: Police violence and state repression are the typical response of those in power. Oakland 1946 General Strike 2012 Move-in Day 1966 2011 We were reminded that the origins of community health workers are in the 20th century liberation movements of China, Bangladesh, El Salvador. What excited people at the panel and workshop?
* hearing about and seeing pictures of people taking action, standing up to authorities and taking risks
* seeing anti-capitalist politics openly at the center of the movement in the United States
* solidarity between movements around the world
What made people angry?
* Stories of police violence and state repression
* Discussion of racism and police violence towards people of color in the US and Europe was shocking for people from other regions, and for those who hadn't heard of specific cases, such as Oscar Grant. 120 Black people were executed without trial in the US by police, security guards and self-appointed law enforcers in the first 6 months of 2012. Source: Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Report on the Execution of 120 Black People, http://mxgm.org/report-on-the-extrajudicial-killings-of-120-black-people/ What did participants find especially interesting?
* Discussion of controversial issues within movements, such as non-violence vs. diversity of tactics RUSSIA GREECE ECUADOR CHILE CANADA INDIA Also, we shouldn't forget that the Panthers ran free breakfast and community empowerment programs. We must develop effective means of solidarity that actually enable us to support each other across issues and across borders. The movements are an opportunity to spread our great idea that health connects all the grievances/issues that bring people into the streets, helping to solidify a sense of unity and point to the new way we are trying to create Through involvement with these movements PHM can mobilize, build, and use its large, global network. PHM as an organization needs to have a clearer understanding of the importance of direct action tactics and strategies (eg protest, non-cooperation, blockade, sabotage) in making change, and how to support this element of how change actually happens. Conclusions for PHM and health activists http://prezi.com/8rom5xcac5jc/pha-health-in-protest-and-resistance-movements/
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