The worlds public health stake in defeating Bush

The unleashing of U.S. corporate power across the world must be halted. The criminal Iraq war launched by the Bush administration, and serving oil company insatiability, is just the tip of the iceberg. Such actions, felt in every country of the world, flow directly from the underlying ideology of the free market, as interpreted in this new millennium (“free” trade at any cost).

The anti-people policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) did not start with the Bush administration. The corporate goals pursued through these organizations have been around for decades. However, their aggressive pursuit was spurred on with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequently altered economic landscape.

The Bush administration has made it clear that the economic goals of United States will not wait for the WTO and IMF. Moreover, these goals will be backed up with military power. This raised the stakes to a much higher level.





Privatizing health globally

What has this to do with health? The medical-industrial complex (medical, drug, finance capital, etc.), through the WTO, IMF and WB, is pushing to privatize every national health system in the world. If they win, these corporations will be able to do everywhere as they do in the U.S. – redirect public, taxpayers’ money away from public health care, into their own greedy pockets. Here are examples of the effect of the ideology of privatization around the world:

Before the elections in India, the British health magazine, The Lancet, published “Political Neglect in India’s Health,” which almost predicted the center-left election victory. It cited the neglect of health care financing throughout the country.

The Lancet also published a major article on the crisis developing in the Czech Republic. Abandoning socialized medicine for a system with less government control, the Czech Republic is placing itself in a very precarious position as it attempts to become more palatable to the European Union.

The Lancet discussed the admission of 10 countries into the EU, focusing on key elements of a quality health care system. For the fourth ministerial conference, taking place this month in Budapest, “pediatricians and public-health physicians do not seem to feature prominently.” The irony is that this conference is gathering 52 nations under the title, “Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe.”

Lancet editors are rightly concerned about the privatization demands of EU corporate power brokers.





France is a major target

France’s renowned health system has been ranked the top in the world by the World Health Organization, but it faces a major crisis if the Chirac government goes ahead with its WTO/IMF/WB program to privatize it. Beyond privatization, the corporate powers don’t like the pivotal role that labor plays in the French system. There will be massive struggles in the streets throughout France, especially after the center-left victories in the recent state-level elections. This showdown is in July.





The hand of Bush

You can be sure the November 2004 elections can make the difference. Removing the radical right from office will not eliminate the drive for profit. But soundly rejecting the international economic and militarist policies of the Bush administration would temper that drive with some level of reason. The next period of time requires a level of international solidarity not seen since the allied victory over fascism and Nazism in World War II. Dumping Bush and the Republicans from the Congress is the first step.

The authors can be reached at pww@pww.org.