Another Future for health !

Another Future for health #2

international information for health workers from anarchosyndicalist perspective

News and analysis from France, Spain, UK, Serbia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Iran, Bangladesh, Poland

30 pages, to be downloaded

Revolution through health,
health through Revolution

Digest of international information from health and care workers, from an anarchosyndicalist perspective #2 – second semester 2020

When we produced the first issue of this digest, in Summer 2020, we were only at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, after the end of the first lockdown. We were already presenting that we were living historic times, with dramatic consequences for millions of people on earth, but we did not imagine that the situation would continue and even worsen 6 months later.

Workers in the health and care sector are on the front lines in fighting the disease. The State has asked them to make superhuman efforts, and it continues. A new world is emerging on the horizon, which we fear will be more authoritarian than ever, and that in the name of health. More than ever, it seems important to us that health workers in different countries can inform each other about their respective situation, because in a globalized world we are all interdependent. Beyond analyzes of the situation, examples of resistance implemented in a self-organized way by the workers themselves can also inspire us and encourage us in our struggles

This digest is made by health workers from CNT-AIT France. We are the section in France of the AIT (International Workers’ Association, IWA). The CNT-AIT brings together workers who identify with the principles, tactics and goals of anarchosyndicalism. With this bulletin we want to contribute to a work of collective critical reflection, beyond borders. We have chosen and collected texts produced by different groups around the world, which are active in the health and care sector. Some of these groups are, for the most part, members or friends of AIT, others do not belong to our international, but with all of them we maintain fraternal and reciprocal contacts.

It emerges from these articles that overall the situation is the same everywhere: lack of resources, lack of training, personnel sacrificed by the lack of preparation of the health services which have been destroyed for several years in the name of managerial efficiency and financial profitability. . We can see today the effectiveness of these restructurings … This disorganization and this chaos itself are not the fruits of chance, they are not due to anarchists, they are the result of the combined action of the State and of Capitalism.

To save humanity, we have no choice but to organize ourselves collectively to end the state and capitalism.

If you wish to continue receiving this newsletter, contact us at contact@cnt-ait.info

« Anarchy is the highest expression of Order. »
(E RECLUS)
Let’s finish with the Chaos of State and Capitalism!


CONTENT

[France] “LET’S GO” TOWARD TOTAL PRIVATISATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

[France] PARIS, HEALTH WORKERS DEMONSTRATION, June 16, 2020.

Claude Bernard, Bachelard and Feyerabend: three scientists against scientism

[France] In health services as everywhere: work and die.

HISTORY: HOW DID SPANISH ANARCHOSYNDICALISTS MANAGED THE PUBLIC HEALTH DURING THE 36’s REVOLUTION? (An example of libertarian communism applied in accute health crisis time).

NURSING HOMES, HOSPITALS: TO EXHAUST AT WORK FOR A WAGE OF MISERY? [Sticker]

FREE MASKS FOR ALL ! [Sticker]

[Spain] Public health privatization, the Spanish health nightmare …

[Spain] Against wage insecurity in retirement homes and nursing HOMES!

[Spain] AT THE « L’ARBOC » NURSING HOME, THE MANAGEMENT REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE THE CNT-AIT SECTION

[Ukraine] Worthy salary for the nurses!

[Bulgaria] The pandemic as a class war against workers.

[Bulgaria] Crackdown on striking health workers.

[Bulgaria/Austria] Solidarity with the struggle of Bulgarian nurses.

[Bulgaria/Austria] SARS-CoV-2 Aid delivery has arrived in Bulgaria!

[Austria] POLITICAL DISCRIMINATION AT THE RED CROSS.

[Germany] Protest march against health care crisis in Cologne.

[Iran] Demonstration of the medical students of Tabriz.

[Bangladesh] Distribution of washable masks to tea workers.

[UK] Reduced Life = Reduced Work (The Work/Life Balance).

[UK] The Alarming Rise of Branson’s Virgin Care and the Threat to the NHS.

[UK] World Suicide Prevention Day- Breaking the taboo is everyone’s responsibility.

[Serbia] DRAMATIC SITUATION IN HOSPITALS.

[Poland] WOMEN’S HELL.

[Poland] A LOOK BACK AT A SUCCESSFUL STRIKE OF HOUSEKEEPERS AND KITCHEN STAFF AT THE BELCHATOW HOSPITAL

HISTORY: HOW DID SPANISH ANARCHOSYNDICALISTS MANAGED THE PUBLIC HEALT DURING THE 36 ‘s REVOLUTION? (An example of libertarian communism applied in accute health crisis time)

Health questions have played a very big role in the structuring of anarchist thought in Spain, since its appearance at the end of the 19th century. Health professionals, doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, pharmacists … have played a very active role in framing the anarchist movement,  from an ideological, theoretical, practical and organizational point of view.

This phenomenon is not exclusive to Spain. In all the countries where anarchist ideas have taken root, it is common to find health professionals (sanitarios) among its activists. It is even logical: doctors and other health workers were the direct witnesses of the effects of the industrial revolution on the living and working conditions of the proletariat. Often in their publications they propose measures to solve these health problems, which are real social epidemics. Some even consider that the only possible therapy to social diseases is the radical transformation of society.

But in Spain, the participation of « sanitarios » in the anarchist movement has known truly structuring proportions. The book « the finality of the CNT-AIT, Libertarian Communism« , a true reference compass of the Spanish anarcho-union movement, has been written by the doctor Isaac Puente, including Federica Montseny – future anarchist minister of health – could say: « indisputably, Doctor Isaac Puente was the main inspirer of the collective achievements of the Spanish Revolution« .

The specificity of the Spanish anarchist movement, particularly in the health sector, is that it tried to apply, on a large geographical scale, the anarchist principles and to confront them with reality, even if it was under the conditions appalling civil war, which made health problems even more acute (war wounded, refugees, shortages of personnel and equipment, risk of epidemics, etc.).

Witness to this intense participation of health professionals in the Spanish anarchist movement, the Spanish libertarian press, whose number of titles continues to surprise current historians and activists, has collected a large number of articles, information, readers’ letters and lectures given by health professionals in athenaeums (libertarian social centres). This does not mean that all of the authors of these articles, not even the majority surely, shared the entirety of the anti-authoritarian ideas of the papers in which they wrote, but they knew that this was the most direct way to bring their ideas closer to the most active part of the proletariat. There were reciprocal influences between the anarchosyndicalist movement and popular health movements of other obedience – socialist in particular – so much so that during the Revolution of 1936, the global vision of the organization of revolutionary health was generally shared. And orientated toward an anarchist sense, of a socialized (not necessarily state-owned), universal, secular and free health system, with an integrated health system, leaving more to health prevention.

This 2-part brochure series tries to shed light on what has driven these hundreds and thousands of activists over more than a century: mutual aid and solidarity, humanism above all. They were convinced that the best therapy in the face of a sick society is still the social and anarchist Revolution.

The objective of this work of compilation of texts, written by activists in the heat of the moment or by academics several decades after the revolutionary passion has died down, is not to indulge in the nostalgia for a lost Utopia that would never come back.

As Humanity is shaken by a health crisis, which turns into a major political and economic crisis which is said to herald a change in the organization of the world; it seems essential to us to return to this period of the Spanish Revolution, which we know was the harbinger of subsequent world upheavals.

It is fashionable among academic, academic, journalistic and political commentators to say that Anarchy is a situation of absolute disorder, and that Anarchists are at best soft dreamers, at worst dangerous thugs. The crisis we are currently experiencing with Covid 19 shows us on the contrary that the absolute disorder we are currently experiencing is not Anarchy but chaos, and that it is not the result of an anarchist policy, but the combined result of the action of Capitalism and the State.

The experience of the CNT-AIT in Spain shows us that – faced with a situation as sudden as that of Covid-19, the anarchosyndicalist movement nevertheless managed to revive the health system almost immediately, and this when most of the health executives had fled and while they were absolutely lacking all. The difference comes from the fact that if the crisis (the Revolution) had not been foreseen by the anarchists (the triggering factor came from a fascist coup d’état which had not been announced), at least had it they predicted – and even called out – and so they had patiently organized themselves, for more than 70 years, to be ready, when the day came, to face it. This is what Capitalism and the state lack in dealing with epidemics: the sense of History. However, we know that in the event of an epidemic, the key factors to prevent its spread are preparedness, early detection and rapid reaction. And that it is not in time of « war » that these skills are prepared. Spanish anarchosyndicalist activists have shown their ability to anticipate and prepare; and if the Spanish revolution led to a major political crisis and a Civil War, at least ones must recognize that it did not lead to a global sanitary crisis since – as long as the anarchists were responsible for the health of the population in the Republican zone, no epidemic was to be deplored, and this to the astonishment even of the best world specialists who had come to inspect the situation expecting to find an explosive health situation.

If we compare what the Spanish workers, peasants (often illiterates), and a few doctors and nurses who remained were able to accomplish in such a short time in 1936 wartime, with the facts that in 2019, to deal with COVID 19, the French army’s health division, which costs millions of euros and which has a profusion of equipment and personnel, has not been able to set up a Barnum tent with 30 resuscitation beds in less than 3 weeks at the beginning of the epidemic, then we cannot prevent thinking that yes, definitely, Anarchy is the highest expression of Order, and that it would be desirable for our health and the well-being of humanity and the planet, that we take example on the Spanish revolutionaries of 1936…

 The anarchist definition of health is “Total state of well-being, physical, mental and social” ”. To reestablish Harmony, between humans as with the Planet, a sine qua non condition for living in full health, we must put an end to Capitalism and the State. It’s urgent.

Some CNT-AIT France health workers

The 2-parts brochures (in French) can been download. Paper copy can be sent on request to contact@cnt-ait.info


Volume I. An example of anarchosyndicalist response to a sudden and unprecedented health and political crisis

– INTRODUCTION: Health through Revolution, Revolution through Health

– Some precursors: anarchist critiques of medicine

– Brief historical panorama of anarchist health in Spain

a) The beginnings of the First International in Spain (1870-1900): the rational and scientific bases of Spanish anarchism

b) The contributions of neo-Malthusianism and naturism (1900-1920)

c) During the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923 – 1931): maturation of previous ideological contributions

d) The Second Republic (1931-1936): affirmation of libertarian communism as the goal of anarchosyndicalism and a remedy for social diseases

e) The Social Revolution (1936-1937): putting into practice 70 years of conceptual and ideological preparation.

f) The Order against Sanitarian and Social Utopia: the Communists then the exile, internal resistance, underground (1938-1975)On the role of technicians in the revolutionary period (Gaston Leval)

Anarchosyndicalism and health behind and at the front: the case of Valencia and the Iron Column in the Spanish Civil War ((1936-1937)

« Health, performance and activity »! The Workers’ Health Organization, the CNT-AIT and the collectivization of medico-health services at the start of the revolution in Barcelona

The CNT-AIT field hospital in Villajoyosa (Alicante)

« In the hospital … » (text from Arbetaren, 1936)

– CNT-AIT posters in support of field hospitals, witnesses of the Revolution and the Spanish Civil War


Volume II: An attempt of implementation of an anarchist public health:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

– Spanish anarchism in the health debate in Spain: health, disease and medicine (1930-1939)

1. Introduction: the debate around health, sanitation and hygiene

2. The CNT and the concept of social medicine

3. The anarchist discourse on “social diseases”

4. The health problem during the civil war: the CNT and the Catalan health control

– Towards a Definition of Anarchist Health: The National Health Congress of March 1937

Purpose: health from an anarchist point of view

Principle: The health system from an anarchist perspective

Tactics: implementation of principles to achieve goal

– Health in the Social and Libertarian Revolution of 1936

– Health and Social Assistance during the Civil War by Federica MONTSENY (1986)

Organization of the Ministry of Health

The League of Nations Health Committee

Social Assistance

Invitation of the League of Nations Health Committee

Creation of the Central Office for Evacuation and Assistance to Refugees

The problem of abortion; The fight against prostitution

– Psychology and Anarchism in the Spanish Civil War: the work of Félix Martí Ibáñez

Martí-Ibáñez and psychology before the civil war

The reform of psychiatry during the civil war

Psychoanalysis of the Civil War

The psychological work of an exile

[Iran] Demonstration of the medical students of Tabriz

December 22, 2020, Information sent by Iranian Anarchists compañeros

Tabriz (Iran), 2020-12-22, medical students : free education, no wall, no border

A group of students from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences came to the building of the university and protested against the problems of education during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Anaj Press Agency, students studying on a paid basis also protested against the violation of their rights.

Dissatisfied students went to the conference hall at the insistence of the deputy head of the university for education, and they expressed their wishes to the deputy head of the university for education, adviser and security guards and made a number of suggestions to improve the situation with education at the university.

At the end of the talks, it was decided that a group of students on behalf of the participants of the meeting would discuss with the head of the university the implementation of the protesters’ proposals.


[Bangladesh] Distribution of washable masks to tea workers

September 18, 2020, BASF-AIT, https://www.bangladeshasf.org

Bangladesh Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation-BASF has started distribution of red and black washable face masks among poor tea plantation workers today, September 16, 2020 under the « Mutual Aid » program to prevent covid-19. Since the outbreak of Covid-19 from month of March in Bangladesh, the organization has been conducting health education to creating awareness among the people in all BASF branches, distributing ‘soap’ for washing hands and distributing face masks. Now it has started distributing ‘washable face masks’ that can be used several times instead of one time masks. At this stage it will be distributed among 3000 people. Later its number will be further increased and cover more people.

The BASF believes that health care initiative is a very useful and fundamental human right. It is not possible to solve it permanently in isolated approach. So it is necessary to build such a self-regulated, truly democratic, participatory society. All activities including health issues for the society will be managed and controlled by the society. Only a society free from the influence of capitalism and the stateism can solve all problems sustainably.]

[Ukraine] Worthy salary for the nurses!

December 17, 2020, Чорний Стяг (Black Flag), https://www.facebook.com/blackflagua/posts/1007699079717234

On December 16, 2020, activists from “Black Flag” and from “Popular Action” joined nurses against the social oppression perpetrated by the neoliberal government against public health. In 2020, a real front in the fight against the pandemic opened up to all Ukrainian doctors and health workers, and, unsurprisingly, the main enemy of the descendants of Hippocrates was not the virus, but their own government. Ukrainian. Government bureaucrats and medical oligarchs, continuing the work of their predecessors, are destroying public medicine in favour of private medicine. They are doing it so cynically that soon there will be no more qualified nurses or doctors who respect their work in Ukraine.

Doctors’ salaries remain disproportionate to the risks. It’s hard to imagine, but the average salary of doctors does not reach the average salary in Ukraine!

According to the Ministry of Health, the average salary of a doctor is around 9,000 Ukrainian Hryvnia (around 260 euros), 7,000 Hryvnia (around 203 euros) for nurses and 5,000 Hryvnia (144 euros) for young nurses.

This is why, today, we, anarchists, cannot stay away from the struggle and we support those who defend us all and who need our solidarity! During the action, the nurses expressed their demands:

1. Funding of medicine to the tune of at least 7% of GDP.

2. Increase in wages from 01.01.2021 for medical workers to the level of 23 000 Hryvnia for doctors; 17 000 for nurses and 12 000 for junior medical staff.

3. Guarantee to receive insurance benefits against occupational diseases for health workers suffering from COVID-19 (presumption of link between illness and professional activity).

4. Publication of expenses, income and budgets of medical establishments (open accounting), collective right to choose the management of medical establishments.

5. Launch of a state program to provide housing for medical personnel.

6. Stop the destruction of the Institutions and services for contagious diseases (tuberculosis), for psychiatry and for epidemiology.

7. Transfer of nurses working in schools and preschools to staff of health care establishments of the Ministry of Health.

After the rally, the demonstrators staged a demonstration in the streets of the city.

Solidarity above all!

[France] In health services as everywhere: work and die

December 2020, CNT-AIT France,

We are very unfair with this government! We all believe his catastrophic handling of the COVID crisis is due to his inability to anticipate and prepare. This is completely wrong and the government shows us every day that it is quite capable of planning and organizing itself, when it wants to do so.

Already in March 2020, we did not have a stock of masks because the government had not ordered them. On the other hand, he did not forget in November 2019 and then again in April 2020 to order several million euros of tear gas, rubber bullets and other police drones. This government has a sense of priorities and urgencies!

In health services it is the same. As the second wave is here, hospital beds are full but the iceberg of all the other « postponed » conditions reappears, what do you think the government is doing? Let’s not talk about this agreement of shame, the infamous Segur agreement… It is an agreement of treason, signed by the reformist unions and against which the so-called protest unions have not organized any serious resistance (did they call for workers’ General assemblies in your unit?) when public opinion was very favourable to us. The 183 euros will not even cover the inflation of the last ten years with a blocked salary index point!

While we are exhausted, that many colleagues are in “burn out”, that in certain departments colleagues have been contaminated by Covid for lack of means of protection, what is the government doing? Is he hiring more staff? Does he provide additional resources? But no, no, his eminence Macron told us on October 6, in response to an angry group of health workers: « It is not a question of means, but of organization« 

And in terms of organization, the government is preparing for the future: it is giving the green light to privatization. Oh, he does it quietly, not openly, but step by step. It started with Decree 2019-1593 of December 31, 2019 (adopted in the middle of the end of the year holiday season, to go unnoticed) which introduces the provision for conventional break in the public service. In other words, which allows civil servants to be dismissed without telling it … And then this September 3, a new decree, number 2020-1106, relating to support measures in the event of job cuts in the public hospital civil service. Of course, this decree does not talk about dismissal, it just explains what will happen when public hospitals are closed. Of course, this text says that a civil servant will stay in public service, even if his structure of assignment is closed. But the text provides that the State is not obliged to find a new assignment for him … However, if State closes structures, it is not to reopen others, nor to inflate the staff of those already existing, on the contrary it is time to « degrease the mammoth » … If the public worker is unassigned, he has no duty to perform and so he will no longer receive any bonus related to the performance of his duties! In other words his income will be greatly reduced, so that if the worker has a family, loan to reimburse, student children to financially support, he will no longer earn enough to meet his needs … The worker will then be pushed to negotiate his departure from the public service with the illusion that by setting up a liberal activity or joining private structures, he will be able to find a better alternative.

We understand, this text is nothing less than a text of formalized institutional harassment, to push health workers towards the exit… The State will play poker face, saying it does not privatize and that it is the civil servants who go to the private sector « at their request », but will the workers have a choice? And for the bosses of private structures it will be without any risk: article 16 allows a probationary period for the employee who can go for a full year in a private structure, on lay-off. So if « the graft » does not take, the boss can separate from his employee without risk and take another one that would fit better. Who said that the state does not think of everything and does not prepare anything?

Here again, we do not hear the unions on this real plan of privatization and institutional harassment … So we too must be prepared to retaliate, so as not to let it happen. The Covid crisis has shown that health is a public good, and that strictly accountable management produces health catastrophe and injustice. And the future « organization », privatized, will not help! It is up to us to mobilize, health workers and patients together, to demand more beds in our hospitals, massive hiring of dignified salaries.

More beds, more staff, a decent salary,

Withdrawal of the Ségur treason agreement,

For a universal, socialized, united health system!  Long live the social Revolution!

Workers in the health sector of the CNT-AIT (Anarchosyndicalist) Cochin-Broca –Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, December 2020 contact@cnt-ait.info http://cnt-ait.info

[Serbia] DRAMATIC SITUATION IN HOSPITALS

November 30, 2020, ASI-AIT, https://www.facebook.com/borbenisindikat/posts/3780264315327892

Due to the new peak of the corona virus that has hit Serbia as well, the situation is more than alarming. Hospitals are full and available beds for newly infected people, who arrive by thousands every day, are almost non-existent, as well as rested medical staff. Thanks to looting privatizations and years of systematic destruction of the public sector, our healthcare system is so devastated that it is unable to adequately cope with the crisis caused by the pandemic.

This, along with the general global uncertainty, leads to a justified growth of distrust of the population in the entire system, both in our country and in the world, but unfortunately also disbelief in the existence of the virus itself, which is very real and very dangerous for many of us.

Therefore, we consider it is sensible to repeat the demands that our organization, the Anarcho-Syndicalist Initiative, as well as the entire International Association of Workers, expressed at the beginning of the pandemic:

–        all non-essential companies should be closed immediately, since jobs have undoubtedly proven to be a key source of infection. It is necessary to provide all employees with compensation in the amount of one hundred percent of salary during the period of job closure. It is necessary to close all educational institutions to the crisis end and enable everyone to teach and learn at distance.

–        To all workers in essential jobs – doctors, nurses, drivers, salesmen, etc. it is necessary to immediately raise salaries by one hundred percent due to working in life-threatening conditions. Also, all executive measures against the weakest, as evictions and the like, must be stopped immediately. We demand from the authorities the immediate introduction of these measures! Enough playing with our lives for your profit!

[Bulgaria] The pandemic as a class war against workers

November 25, 2020, Autonomous Confederation of Workers (ARK) – http://avtonomna.com/

The government has announced a second lockdown in the country, which will start on Friday the 27th of November. This is happening against the background of a complete collapse of our health system, mainly due to the lack of nurses and paramedics, uncontrolled spread of the virus, which put Bulgaria in first place in mortality across Europe and complete insecurity among the majority of working people about their income in the short and medium term.

How did we get here?

Let’s start with the collapse of our health system. The truth is that it was on the brink of precipice long before the pandemic, as medical experts have been warning for years. The pandemic only helped us take a decisive step forward. Now is the time to remember that for the past two years the nurses has been organising mass protests for adequate wages and humane working conditions to keep nurses, and our health care system, and to put an end to the rampant commercialisation in health care. They protested for months, organized tent camps and even occupied the parliament, in a desperate attempt to force the government to take measures to save Bulgarian healthcare. The government flatly refused to comply with even one of the demands of the nurses. The results are catastrophic, and today we all – both healthcare workers and patients – experience them on our backs.

Although they missed the opportunity to save the health care system from collapse, the government could at least mitigate the decline to the bottom by taking adequate measures after the start of the pandemic. Instead, since the spring, we have witnessed a criminal recklessness and the most brazen scheming that has added to the inevitable collapse of health care and a sense of despair and hopelessness. While governments across Europe rushed to increase the salaries of nurses, paramedics and doctors by leaps and bounds, Bulgaria remained the only country where, instead of salary increases, nurses received only bonuses, and not everyone. The insane measure of 1,000 Bulgarian Lev (500 Euros) in one-time bonus for first-line employees has thrown the nurses class into chaos, created tension over ambiguities – who should be considered front-line workers and who should not – and helped undermine much-needed cohesion and solidarity in times of crisis. Most of the workers never received anything. The measures planned for next year continue to dig the bottom, and the meagre increase in salaries will be TEMPORARY, only for 2021.

But this is just a drop in the ocean. The thousands of doctors, nurses and paramedics who are exhausted, packed in spacesuits, giving unbearable duty to compensate for the lack of staff, were not and still are not provided with even the most basic protective equipment – gloves, masks, aprons. While billions of leva are poured into the health care system each year, workers are forced to buy their own safety equipment, dozens of hospitals survive on aid and charity campaigns, others send desperate calls for volunteers, and patients die outside hospitals due to lack of staff. The government had months from spring to today to try to prepare our health system for the coming second wave of the virus. But to save money, they didn’t want to attack the business as usual in healthcare, they didn’t try to change the neoliberal model of health care, and they did nothing. And now health care is collapsing on our heads.

The government’s anti-epidemic measures

After seeing that the government has refused to take measures in health care, let’s take a look at the other anti-epidemic measures that have been taken since the spring. From the very beginning, they had and still have a strong class character. With the entry of the coronavirus into Bulgaria in early spring, the government announced a complete lockdown, although the spread of the infection was many times lower than we saw in early autumn, when the government refused to introduce even a partial lockdown. Behind these seemingly chaotic actions of the rulers, the economic interests of their class are clearly visible. Lockdown in the spring was dictated mostly by the small business owners that wanted to be able to save the summer touristic season and limit their financial losses from the expected ebb if the spread of the disease was limited to the end of May. And so it happened – with the start of the summer season, the spread was controlled and all bars, hotels and restaurants opened their doors, and anti-epidemic measures gave way to the business.

This, in turn, quite “unexpectedly” led to a sharp increase in the spread of the disease, which began in July, got out of control in October and continues to grow to this day. It was in October that the class character of crisis management was revealed in all its glory. At the notoriously (and comically) famous briefings of the country’s Minister of Health, people like Richard Alibegov – head of the Bulgarian restaurant owners association – started appearing next to the Minister and began to give instructions to the population. This made it clear in whose interest the crisis was being managed. Accordingly, the pubs remained open, the cases continued to rise, and the price was paid and continues to be paid primarily by the families of the workers who, unlike Alibegov, actually work in his pubs.

While bosses are content with their privilege of isolating themselves and holding online board meetings, workers are the ones who have to work on site – in pubs, offices and shops every day, despite the risk of infection, in order to be able to feed themselves and their families.

But the class nature of crisis management does not end there. It is evident in each of the measures taken since the beginning of the crisis. As the state melted away with empathy for long-suffering businessmen and the reduction of their invaluable profits, it was a strict stepmother to workers and the people at large. Caressing with a feather and sacrificially discussing every whim of business, the government viciously attacked the people, accusing them of the failure of their insane measures. Because it refused to introduce real measures to deal with the health crisis so as not to harm the profits of the business, to compensate and simulate liability – the state introduced a bunch of half-hearted, meaningless or downright harmful measures against ordinary people. The people had to wear masks in the strangest places, to follow the ever-changing schedules of green corridors and paths, and all sorts of other whims of the rulers. The work of the Government’s pandemic headquarters can be summarized in pointing fingers at the people and accusations of lack of discipline, stupidity and misunderstanding. Against this background, it is not surprising that many people just stopped caring about the government and the pandemic headquarters and the measures.

Social measures

The pandemic will pass, as any other similar pandemic in the history of mankind has passed. But it will have severe economic and social consequences. They began to appear from the very beginning, during the first lockdown in the spring, when thousands of workers lost their jobs or were forced into unpaid leave. The social measures of the state in this situation were not surprising having in mind the class interest it serves, as we have already seen in detail above. For the businessmen, support funds were immediately organized to cover most of their expenses for the period of the crisis, interest-free loans and a bunch of other benefits. Workers crowding in front of Labor Offices received nothing. In the current lockdown, thousands of workers face the same situation, but further aggravated by the fact that many of them have already spent their unemployment benefits during the lockdown in the spring and now remain literally without income in the middle of winter and with no prospect of easing the situation in the coming months. The government promised crisis assistance of 24 Lev (12, 25 Euros) per day for those sent on forced unpaid leave – of course not out of special concern for the workers, but mostly to help the companies to keep their staff. There is no money for the workers made redundant due to the lockdown, who are considered unnecessary for the business – and therefore unnecessary for the state!

The consequences of the class principle of distribution of the generosity of the state do not end with the social catastrophe in which the redundant workers are thrown. They destroy the very foundations of society. Today we see how the government’s refusal to provide income for parents forced to leave work to care for their children while schools and kindergartens are closed leads to an ugly confrontation between parents worried about their income and teachers worried about their lives. We can see these examples in other sectors as well. Through its anti-social policy, the state is on track to do more harm to society than the pandemic.

What can we do?

Regarding the health crisis, the match is over. Whatever measures are taken from now on, it is too late to talk about dealing with the situation. What can be done is to put pressure on the government to provide at least basic protection to workers in the sector so that they can continue to save lives with dignity. The other and even more important thing is to put strong pressure, not only from the medics, but from the whole society – the workers in the sector to be fairly compensated for their work during the pandemic, not through one-time or temporary bonuses, but through permanent and significant salary increase. This wage increase must also be the first step towards a radical reform of the sector, which will put an end to the commercialisation of healthcare and which today, more than ever, is a matter of life and death.

In terms of social measures, protests by workers in the most affected sectors have already erupted as we write this article. What needs to be done is to avoid the division of workers, which the rulers so well master and exercise whenever they have the opportunity. It must be insisted on guaranteeing the incomes of all – those on unpaid leave and redundancies, those in tourism and those in manufacturing. For the right of teachers to work remotely and the right of parents to be at home with their children without risking losing their income. Now is not the time for division by sectors, cities and professions, but the time for solidarity and unity.

evgeni5150


[Bulgaria] Crackdown on striking health workers

June 02, 2020, ARK, https://www.facebook.com/avtonomnakonf/

At the end of May 2020, the grassroots union ARK reported fear and anger in the labour dispute at Pirogov Hospital, the country’s largest hospital. In the previous days, an unprecedented attack (even by Bulgarian standards…) of state repression against the “Union of Healthcare Professionals” (SBMS) had started.

Demonstrations and strikes in the health sector have been taking place there for over a year. The SBMS nurse’ Union is fighting for decent wages and working conditions, and an end to the commercialization of human health that everyone suffers from.

A few months ago, the local government tried to prevent the setting up of a SBMS union group in the city hospital and initiated disciplinary proceedings against the section president, Boyka Anastasova. These are bold but desperate attempts to destroy the rebel nurses. The police also took action against the main organizers, who were summoned to the central police station in Bucharest, the capital, for questioning.

The grassroot union “Autonomous Confederation of Workers” (ARK) declares its solidarity with the SBMS in its labour dispute, and calls for the immediate dismissal of the director responsible for the clinic, Professor Asen Baltov. All police officers who arbitrarily violated the constitution and the law during the operations should also be removed from their posts and an investigation should be opened. In addition, we urge unions in Europe and around the world to take a stand on this case of State attack on freedom of association and to protest against this suppression of healthcare professionals in Bulgaria

In the united struggle for the dignity of workers.

[Poland] WOMEN’S HELL

October 2020, from ZSP-AIT information and mainstream medias

In Poland, under pressure from religious and conservatives, women’s rights have just experienced a further decline. Indeed, at the initiative of ultra-Catholic organizations, the Constitutional Court has banned abortion in cases of foetal malformation. It was one of only three cases allowed (along with rape and incest) by Polish law, one of the most restrictive in Europe.

The ruling “Law and Justice Party” is taking advantage of the pandemic to push through this very unpopular measure, knowing that all gatherings of more than 5 people are prohibited.

But opponents have nevertheless decided to show their determination by defying the ban and increasing signs of resistance. Better than virtual networks, it is in the public space that defenders of abortion appear, showing inventiveness and originality: on their balconies. They hang posters against the anti-abortion bill, and also black umbrellas. Symbol of the Polish women’s struggle for the right to abortion since major demonstrations at the end of 2016.

The Polish government is dealing with a bill that it was forced to reject years ago because we protested,” said Ola Glowicka, who lives in Warsaw. “So we show them that even if we are stranded at home, they cannot beat us. I, for example, put posters on my windows. And I also sent 276 emails to MPs telling them my opposition to the bill.”

Since the court’s decision was announced, thousands of protesters have been blocking the centre of major cities in Poland by occupying several downtown intersections, crippling traffic. The demonstrators held up placards with slogans such as “Women’s Hell”, “You have blood on your hands”, “We want a choice”, or “its war!” Strajk Kobiet movement calls for women’s strike: “It’s really impressive. We share hundreds of photos, videos. This is the only way, we cannot negotiate with the ruling party.”

Friday, October 23, despite the rain and in defiance of the strict measures to ban gatherings in the name of the fight against the coronavirus, at least 10,000 people demonstrated in Warsaw in the evening, in order to express their anger after the quasi-delegation total abortion, decided the day before by the Constitutional Court. Gatherings were held in other provincial towns, such as Lodz, where our companions from the ZSP-AIT, the polish section took part.

October 26, 2020, ZSP-AIT, Łódź

On Thursday, October 22, the Constitutional Court issued a disgraceful sentence forcing women in this country to bear extremely deformed foetuses that could not survive on their own outside the mother’s body.

Mass protests against the sadism of the authorities, the church and the fanatical right are sweeping through Poland.

The protesters include Activists of the Union of Syndicalists of Poland (ZSP-AIT).

We are there because it is our duty to be in solidarity with women who are barbarously deprived of the right to decide about their own body and life.

We are there because, as syndicalists, we fight for the freedom and dignity of all female workers, emphasizing that the right to abortion is one of the elements of women’s emancipation.

Solidarity is our weapon!

Revolution is a woman!

Union of Syndicalists Polish Section Łódź, AIT-AIT

Claude Bernard, Bachelard and Feyerabend: three scientists against scientism

September – October 2020, CNT-AIT France, Editorial of the magazine Anarchosyndicalisme ! n ° 169,

A divided scientific community, government lies legitimized by a scientific council, contradictory health injunctions, systematically false forecasts, a prescription right of doctors flouted by the Surgeon Council of the Order … As in the worst hours of the Chernobyl disaster, the assessment is clear, it is clear that a certain science is slavishly placed at the service of the State.

This monstrous coupling signs the persistence of a political project as old as it is perverse, consisting in the implementation of a policy rooted in dogmas aimed at denying the freedom of individuals in favour of a frozen social and economic order and therefore with no prospect of change. This project is perfectly explained by an Anti-Enlightenment figure, Ernest Renan. In « The Future of Science » published in 1890, he called for « a scientific government, in which competent and special men would treat governmental questions as scientific questions and would rationally seek their solution. «

Recall that at that time the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, which was going to be swept away by the Mexican Revolution in 1911, had taken this model by relying on « los Científicos« , that is to say a conglomerate of extremely rich characters using technocracy and statistics to exploit a population reduced to misery.

Such a scientist ideology very quickly collided with modern scientific thought, from 1865, Claude Bernard wrote a first warning vis-à-vis the emergence of statistical studies in the medical field and especially their tendency to transform probabilities into certainties and these certainties in fantasies.

« As for statistics, it is given a big role in medicine, and therefore it constitutes a medical question which must be examined here. The first condition for using statistics is that the facts to which it is applied be observed exactly so that they can be brought down to units comparable to each other. However, this is not most often found in medicine. Anyone familiar with hospitals knows the causes of gross errors in the determinations that serve as the basis for statistics. Very often the names of the diseases have been given at random, either because the diagnosis was obscure, or because the cause of death was entered without attaching any scientific importance to it, by a student who had not seen the patient, or by a person from the administration foreign to medicine. In this respect, there could be no valid pathological statistic except that which is made with results collected by the statistician himself. But even in this case, no two patients are exactly alike; age, sex, temperament, and a host of other circumstances will always make differences, hence the average or ratio deduced from comparing facts will always be open to dispute. But, even by hypothesis, I could not admit that the facts can never be absolutely identical and comparable in the statistics, they must necessarily differ by some point, because without that the statistics would lead to an absolute scientific result, while it can only give a probability, but never a certainty ”(In “Introduction to experimental medicine”).

This passage, which is still relevant, is perhaps destined to be forgotten as it is obvious that it can only displease a system based on the accumulation of data for the benefit of digital manufacturers. At worst, it will be easy for them to debunk Claude Bernard, founder of experimental medicine, on the grounds that he widely practiced vivisection. But the fact remains that by affirming this fundamental truth that “no two patients are exactly alike”, he is already calling into question a medicine based on big data and defending for each patient as a unique being the right not to be treated like a number. This is why medicine thought of as knowledge of humans always begins with a unique and direct dialogue between practitioner and patient.

This critique of mathematical reductionism would broaden a century later. First under the blows of Bachelard, who in his book “the rationalist commitment” denounces the scientific superstition of formalists and logicians, spouting out a dialectic which “may perhaps lead to general morality and policy” But absolutely not “to a daily exercise of freedoms of mind,” against this narrow and bourgeois rationalism which “then as the bad taste of painful elementary school lesson, is cheerful as a prison door, and welcoming as a tradition.” Bachelard writes that “in order to think, we would first have to unlearn so much!” He offers what he calls a super-rationalist approach:

The risk of reason must be total. It is its specific character to be total. All or nothing. If the experience is successful, I know it will change my mind completely. It is because a physics experiment can change my mind that I am willing to make it. What is the interest, in fact, in making one more experiment that would confirm what I already know and therefore what I am? Any real discovery determines a new method, it must destroy a previous method. In other words, in the realm of thought, recklessness is a method. It is only recklessness that can be successful. We must go as quickly as possible to the regions of intellectual recklessness. Knowledge accumulated for a long time, patiently juxtaposed, avariciously preserved, is suspect. They bear the bad sign of prudence, of conformism.

In 1975, this discourse against a fixed method that politicians would like hegemonic was amplified by Feyerabend who wrote his essay “Against the method” with the subtitle “Outline of an anarchist theory of knowledge”.

For Feyerabend, it is above all about pointing out what he calls scientific chauvinism, that is to say a body of knowledge based on an ad-hoc method and the proliferation of which the state promotes. For him, it is necessary to separate science from the State, as one separated the State from religion, so that each individual is able to freely choose what to think. In any case, we more often see the renewal of knowledge than its overcoming in the etymological sense of the term. Thus Copernicus renews Aristarchus, and the physics of the twentieth century renews the intuition of the Greek atomists. The scientist claim to return past knowledge to the dustbin of history and to despise extra-Western knowledge is harmful to the imagination necessary for the renewal of scientific thought and therefore for its progress.

What has been called the health crisis highlighted this centuries-old battle between knowledge serving the dominant system and free and open science. Modern version of Auguste Comte’s positivist crusade for whom science should be at the service of bourgeois order against the spirit of the Encyclopaedists responsible in his eyes for the troubles of the French Revolution. Let us never forget, however, that contrary to what Shakespeare wrote, power is never afraid of a time when “madmen lead the blind”.

Doctor X., CNT-AIT Local union of Toulouse