The Fight for Abortion is a Fight Against Racism, Sexism and Capitalism

by Karyn Pomerantz, 5-20-2022

Overturning a woman’s right to abortion is the latest effort to keep women powerless, providing free domestic labor in the home and under the control of the male-dominated state.

Demonstration to keep abortion legal

It is not the first attack. Seventeenth century witch hunts stigmatized and murdered outspoken women. Slavery turned black women into child and wealth generators for plantation owners. Throughout capitalist history, women have been demeaned and impoverished, especially black, indigenous, and Latinx women, in order to make extra profits. This article documents how capitalism oppresses women and argues that abortion supporters must broaden their demands to address the broader role of sexism under capitalism.

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Fight Racism! Demand Universal Vaccine and Immigration Justice at the 2022 American Public Health Association Meeting

Karyn Pomerantz, 2-19-2022

Introduction

Public health activists in the American Public Health Association (APHA) have submitted a policy proposing universal vaccination, changes in global trade policy that protects manufacturers, and protection for asylee seekers and migrants. APHA must take a strong position for measures to prevent and treat Covid 19 and demand global working-class solidarity.

Adopting this policy will not guarantee action, but it gives credibility and science-based information to help advocates in the community, universities, and medical, health, trade, and labor sectors to organize more effectively. Writing it has given opportunities for more young public health students to learn about capitalism and to build relationships. What we learned:

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Racist Newark, NJ Police Attack Four Brothers

By Jen Wager

February 14, 2022

On June 1, 2021, Newark undercover plainclothes police attacked four young black men–the four brothers Branden, Justin and Jaykil Rodwell and Jasper Spivey– in front of their home in the South Ward of Newark, NJ.  According to the police complaint, the cops stopped the Rodwell/Spivey brothers because they were “wearing white T-shirts and dreads” — clearly racially profiling and targeting them because they were black. Without announcing themselves as police, the cops immediately began harassing and then roughing up one of the brothers. The other brothers, seeing their family being attacked by armed white armed men, rushed to their defense. The cops then violently attacked all the brothers, put them all in chokeholds, and arrested two and then filed serious aggravated assault charges against all four.

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CDC Prioritizes a Healthy Public or a Healthy Economy?

by Ellen Isaacs

February 10, 2022

It is not possible to serve two masters with opposing goals. In the case of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has not always been obvious that such a dichotomy exists, but it has become ever more apparent since Trump and Covid-19. Before that, many of us relied on the CDC for accuracy, integrity, public health science, and sound policy. Indeed, most of those who labor there do their utmost to live up to that ideal, and the CDC has had many notable achievements, such as the eradication of polio and control of Ebola. But, like the FDA, the CDC is not an independent agency free from corporate or political pressures, which has now been brought into excruciating focus. Indeed, the CDC is now openly complicit in the capitalist dictate to prioritize the health of the economy over that of workers. Thus it is essential, although difficult, that we continuously evaluate which CDC recommendations actually protect our health versus those designed or mitigated to protect the dollar.

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The US Gets F for Covid

by Ellen Isaacs

January 10, 2022

F for failure, failure of the US capitalist system to exert any control over Covid-19. In fact, US capitalism now has the worst death rate of any “advanced” nation in the world (https://ourworldindata.org/explorers/coronavirus-data-explorer), despite being the richest and most powerful (at least for now). By January 10, 2022, the US had the most infections since the start of the pandemic of any country – 61,263,030- and the most deaths – 851,356.

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CAPITALISM BLOWS WORKERS TO BITS

by Ellen Isaacs

December 20, 2021

Workers crushed under structures collapsed by storms of greed – sounds like the theme of an overblown drama, but it’s literal, not literary, in the USA today. Not only are those who perished more likely to be poor and black or brown, but, based on prior experience, assistance to the survivors will be highly disparate. Just another example of racism, profiteering and the sacrifice of workers’ lives at the altar of the dollar.

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Don’t Judge an Issue Just by Its Cover – 12 Important Points from Jacobin’s Latest Issue: “Reduce the Crime Rate”

by Joseph G. Ramsey

November 27, 2021

It’s not enough to judge a left journal by its cover. A recent case in point: people in left social media circles of late have been taking shots at the democratic socialist magazine Jacobin’s latest issue (https://jacobinmag.com/issue/lower-the-crime-rate), with its provocative (and maybe confusing) cover bearing the slogan “Lower the Crime Rate.” A range of radical voices online have reacted to this cover as if it amounts to a kind of endorsement of police repression in liberal guise. But actually the lead articles inside the issue are, in this comrade’s view, quite good. From the Opening Statement by Benjamin Fogel to the interview with Marie Gottschalk, the contents here are valuable for the way they highlight major blindspots structuring liberal and much “left” common sense and activism around policing, prisons, and the carceral state these days. The issue deserves wide engagement, as it can help us to see more clearly some of the real challenges that lie before us in terms of radically changing the system of “criminal justice” in the USA. One need not share Jacobin‘s emphasis on electoral politics (or the specific organizational vehicle of the Democratic Socialists of America) to find value in the magazine’s pages.

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Rittenhouse

by Ellen Isaacs

November 19, 2021

U.S. “JUSTICE” MEANS WE NEED TO KILL THIS SYSTEM

White men with guns can kill at will.

White cops can shoot black men at will.

Black men go to prison without killing anybody.

It’s no surprise that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges for killing two protesters against the police shooting Jacob Blake 7 times in the back and paralyzing him. It’s no surprise that no charges were brought against that cop.

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REfund the Police – The American Way to Deal with Poverty, Racism and Disruption

by Ellen Isaacs

November 16, 2021

What happened during 2020-21 in the USA? Lots of cataclysmic stuff:

  • Over 750,000 people died from Covid, blacks at twice the rate as whites
    • Schools were shut for a year
    • Unemployment, poverty, evictions increased
    • Access to social services, mental health care decreased
    • Community programs for recreation, tutoring, and social support closed

At the same time,

  • A police officer was finally convicted of murder in the death of a black  man
    • Protests against racist policing and calls for defunding or abolishing the police grew nationally
    • Detainees in immigration and criminal jails protested dangerous conditions
    • Calls for bail reform and decarceration grew

There is no question that gun violence also increased during this period. Shooting deaths in 2020 were up from previous years, and in the first five months of 2021 alone 8100 people were killed in the US, an average of 54 deaths a day. There was also a big increase in gun sales, 23 million in 2020, which is a 64% increase from 2019.1 Many articles and newscasts attribute the increase in shootings to this increase in gun sales, which is an easy explanation, but research shows this is not actually the case.

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On Medical Violence in Our Jails

by Ian Jenkins, MD

October, 2021

This article appeared in Psychology Today and is expanded from an earlier piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine

“I can’t breathe,” my 22-year-old patient said. He was the last patient I would see on a long shift at a jail where I worked occasional shifts as a medical doctor. He was breathing, fast and hard, frighteningly so. He said he was a type-one diabetic, previously well controlled on four tailored shots a day, but had been denied his usual insulin since he was arrested. A fingerstick showed his sugar was higher than the device could detect.

I asked the nurse if he was right. Had he been underdosed? She confirmed his story. They’d given him regular (the wrong kind of) insulin, on a low-dose sliding scale instead of based on food, and at half the frequency of the injections he needed. He was breathing hard because he had a potentially lethal diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), acid blood from insulin deficiency.

“Call an ambulance,” I said. “He has DKA.”

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