Health Communism: A Surplus Manifesto

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Health Communism: A Surplus Manifesto

Health Communism: A Surplus Manifesto

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It establishes that the supposed divide between workers and those deemed unable to work, and thereby contribute to the economy, is a false one due to capitalism’s need to extract some form of worth from every body. I’m disappointed accessibility wasn’t more of a priority for the authors—both because I wanted to understand the authors’ views better and because this undermines what I assume is its goal of raising public consciousness. This reads a bit like a primer on a ton of other things I now want to read about - I just think that the ideas and theory here were just too much to for such a short book. In lieu of direct prescriptions of how a communism centered around health could look like in practice, the authors urge us to reframe current conceptions of universal liberation and class struggle, using the SPK as a potential model and framework for centering the surplus in already existing movements. Adler-Bolton and Vierkant teach that our shared condition of vulnerability is ever ready to transform into our collective strength.

If it is birthed from complaint and fury, these emotions are funneled through a hope that things could be otherwise-most of all, an optimism for a new collective. Everyone who wants to stop the destruction of their bodies by capitalism should join the Death Panel community. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.Demarcating the healthy from the surplus, the worker from the “unfit” to work, the authors argue, serves not only to undermine solidarity but to mark whole populations for extraction by the industries that have emerged to manage and contain this “surplus” population.

I'll show some naivete and admit that I thought this book was going to be about socialized healthcare and health crises. I think my main criticism though is that there were a lot of parts that could use more explanation and parts where they present a cool idea or part of an argument but don’t explain further. Health Communism is itself a blueprint, in the (roughly translated) words of SPK, for turning illness into a weapon. This may be in part due to the somewhat niche nature of the academic community to which it is aimed. The biggest industry of nowadays is that which fakes to produce health, that is to say a thing which never has existed and which never will really exist, except as a product of illusion nourishing Nazism in all its past and coming variations [HEILwesen] ".Beatrice Adler-Bolton and Artie Vierkant have been a lifeline for many during the COVID-19 pandemic through their Death Panel podcast, deconstructing the failed American response with a knife that cuts like truth.

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