Comrades from Trentino (Italian territory) published wall paper no. 10 about the current state of emergency which is now being pasted in several cities.
Originally published by il Rovescio. Translated by Enough 14.
Original Wall paper Chronicles from the state of emergency No. 10 (Italian) as PDF file:
Thoughts on health and medicine
Chronicles from the state of emergency no.10, 29 May 2020
While the government grants us the freedom to work, consume and walk – but not the freedom to demonstrate – for what is known as Phase 2, the fact that doctors who are in training declare themselves to be permanently mobilized seems to us to be a good sign. As well as the fact that the situation created in the hospitals facing Covid-19 is explicitly linked to the cuts (37 billion euros in the last ten years alone) and the process of the privatization of health care. If there is a lesson to be learned from the mass experience that we have lived and are living, it is that the defence of individual and collective health cannot be delegated and that it is urgent to open up spaces of confrontation and initiative in the different territories that unite health personnel and the rest of society. Not only because “starting again” as if nothing had happened is the most senseless thing that can be done; but also because the enormous public debt that the government is creating with loans to save banks and major corporations will lead, in the absence of resistance, to further cuts and a more ferocious corporatization. “Health is not for sale” can only be an invitation to fight, therefore, and certainly not a statement like: in a world where everything is profit, health is for sale, and you bet!
So let us start with a passage from your appeal:
“We demand the recognition of the centrality of medicine on the territory, a reality that takes care of people in their totality and comprehensiveness. We demand that future General Practitioners be guaranteed a quality training path, in which the importance of a complete and proactive management of patients is valued”.
This means not only having the tools to deal with diseases, but also the will to prevent them. Can a “doctor on the territory” who “takes care of a person in its totality and comprehensiveness” avoid denouncing the environmental causes of illnesses? The air we breathe, the food we eat, the conditions in which we work, the means by which we move are the very foundations of a territory. Do pollution, the artificialization of food, accidents at the workplace and while working have or do they not have anything to do with medicine? That medical science requires competence and training is safe; that its extreme specialization tends to make perfect incompetents in what is human and social, is equally safe.
It is precisely this human and social competence that is lacking, and that is what it is all about, that we must build together. Once we have denounced cuts and privatizations, shall we say something about the structural causes why millions of human beings become ill? Do we want to say that the same zoonotic diseases such as Covid-19, which now account for 70% of new infections, are caused by deforestation, intensive animal farming, industrial agriculture and disproportionate urbanisation? If we can suggest some examples to follow, which go well beyond a specific professional field, these are certainly not the great barons of medicine (who have always been silent on the various health counter-reforms), but those “barefoot doctors” who, together with the workers, denounced the danger of asbestos or together with city and country dwellers the impact of the various petrochemical toxins. These figures were born not by chance in the years when they discussed and fought over everything that concerns society, that is, they took care of the “person in his or her totality and comprehensiveness”. In this sense, we not only hope that the mobilizations will resume and continue, but that they will intertwine. We have seen all too well that “disease” produces isolation.
Text distributed on 29 May, in Trento, during the initiative organized there as well as in twenty-one other cities by “doctors in training in permanent mobilization”.
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