[Marxism] some conversations here in Chile

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Sun Nov 17 07:10:04 MST 2019

The issue is not whether Clinton, Obama, or even Bernie Sanders “sold out”
so-called universal health care” as the name shifted from single payer to
that to medicare for all. The issue is whether socialists should allow
themselves to be limited to fighting simply for a government run insurance
plan of any sort whatsoever, as the conversation I had with those two young
women here in Chile implies.

I remember gettinginvolved (to a very limited extent) in the campaign for
health care reform back in the 1980s in Oakland, California. At that time,
the slogan was for “socialized medicine”. I went ton one or two meetings,
which were all held in the offices of a union. (I think it was SEIU, but
I’m not sure.) The fact that the meetings were in a union office indicates
the involvement/support of the leadership from the start. Then, at one
meeting, it was explained that we were going to change the slogan from
socialized medicine to “single payer”. It was explained that this was
really the same thing but the name would be easier for people to
understand. It was also explained that this was what the union leadership
wanted. Being somewhat uninformed, Ididn’t understand the difference, but
in fact it is huge.

Under whatever name you like - single payer, universal health coverage, or
medicare for all - a national health insurance plan would be a step
forward, but also a step riddled with problems. First and foremost, it
would accelerate the pace at which the hospital chains are merging,
shutting down hospitals and speeding up the staff. So, while we should
support the latest iteration of national health insurance, we should also
be pointing out its weakness and calling for socialized medicine.

Why, after all, should socialists allow the liberal wing of the Democratic
Party and their repesentatives - the union bureaucracy and the
nonprofiteers - to set the agenda for us? Why shouldn’t we go as far as
those two young women here in the streets of Santiago?

John Reimann
*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook

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