[Marxism] AIDS and Capital: Think About It

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Wed Feb 18 03:52:00 MST 2004

> Message: 5
> Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 18:54:32 -0500
> From: Frank Lusardi <flusardi at panix.com>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Mythery and Misery: "the clinical" as a
> 	category of	economic calculation
> To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Message-ID: <8938839888.20040217185432 at panix.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>>>>> Message: 4
>>>>> Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 00:34:32 -0500
>>>>> From: Frank Lusardi <flusardi at panix.com>
>>>>> Subject: Re: [Marxism] RE: The Manmade Origin of AIDS
>>>>> To: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
>>>>> 	<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
>>>>> Message-ID: <18055131174.20040216003432 at panix.com>
>>>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>>> Ah, there's the rub. On the comfortably white continents
>>> there is no pandemic, never was, never will be. After twenty
>>> years of an incurable plague, the infection rate in the the
>>> U.S. is well below 1/2 of one percent, and over 60 percent
>>> of U.S. AIDS "sufferers" are perfectly healthy. You'll have to
>>> actually read the loopy CDC definition of AIDS to understand how
>>> one can have AIDS and be perfectly healthy. Another of the
>>> many, many inexplicable anomalies in AIDS "science".
>> This is a little wishful (although I have a rule about that).  Firstly,
>> it seems to me to be fundamentally unsound to use chauvinistic
>> or crypto-chauvinistic concepts like "comfortably white" to
>> indicate that large-scale social dynamics do not integrate
>> the world system such that judgments of this nature can be
>> well-advised rather than happening to be true.
> Yes, that was needlessly snippy. Sorry. You know, if you
> follow the AIDS stories, you have to wade through endless
> racist caricatures of African culture and sexuality, and,
> well, it's enough to make one downright ornery.

Honestly, this seems like doubleplusliberal.  I don't follow AIDS stories,
but really you are setting up a straw man here you are knocking down
and there is movement enough in both parts for this to be an
"additively" questionable rhetorical move: I want to agree that I don't
understand anything about African culture and sexuality based on
these media lies, whereas I really tend to believe that although Africans
are somewhat culturally particular (esp. with respect to American
blacks), I don't believe that actual narratives of self with respect to
sexual behavior in its cultural milieu are all that different (recently
I've been
thinking that Fela Kuti's many wives were more about "interanimation" than
animism, for example).

>> Secondly, the loopy CDC definition is more or less "stipulative": that
>> is to say, constitutive *globally* of what we are talking about here if
>> not a physical illness (compare to African "slim", which could involve
>> being unhealthy in other ways).  You're giving a factually
>> unsound account of what it is to meet that
>> definition (i.e., be very much
>> less healthy than you were during an asymptomatic phase of
>> infection); in other words, you're allowed to have all these
>> thoughts but in general they partake of the psychological mechanism
>> of "denial", that is to say anticipation of countervailing results.
>> So unhealthy? No.  Not really an indictment of "junk science",
>> though.
> It is factual that you can be HIV+ (i.e., you have
> antibodies) and have a low T-cell count (many "causes", not
> all health related) *and* be perfectly healthy. But the CDC
> would deem you an official AIDS statistic. No other country
> would. No other country has accepted that part of the CDC
> definition. And of course the "Bangui" definition, used in
> Africa, doesn't even require an HIV test. I guess that's why
> I used the word "comfort" above. When medical "definitions" are made
> to slip and slide to fit different societies, I get
> uncomfortable. I guess I just wish more people would.

That's a little funny, and it certainly isn't an "of course" that this
Bangui definition does not require a test (of course that has to do
both with hospital "short-staffing" and the aforementioned
foreshortening of differential diagnoses).  Really, obviously someone
with a low T-cell count is far less healthy in terms of predispositions to
illness than they were during an asymptomatic phase: you're compressing
the illness process here in a rather lamentable way.  AIDS isn't a sad
story about media lies or lack of coverage, for once: it's a sad story about
lack of opportunities other than sexual, and fretting about fine distinctions
is best left to individuals rather than society-at-large.

> Sound advice. Anyway, I didn't mean to burden the list with
> the minutiae of my favorite bete noire. It's a fascinating
> debate and one that we "AIDS dissidents" believe is massively
> suppressed and I just wish a few more folks on the left
> would have a look at it.

Well, it's one of those eternals, you know, and there's obviously
a lot which can be done for "all the people" (including the working
class) which will lengthen and enhance HIV sufferers' lives, and
that this verbiage seems so stilted testifies to the extent to which
the medical industry (rather than researchers plain and simple, ha
ha) skews our view of the issue such that the rather vital role
played by said individuals as economic agents (the critical issue
in Africa, which tells you something) is elided in favor of an
always well-meaning concern about well-being.  At the present
time, nothing would please me more than an HIV+ worker
with an extremely matter-of-fact attitude about about the
relationship between labor and capital and again, honestly it
seems to me that you're kind of limiting the full articulation of
such people's discourse.

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