Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Models of from-below healthcare: Lincoln Hospital Takeover

A slow work-in-progress of surveying/understanding various models of healthcare. Not enough time to go in depth now. Hope is that in a few months I can see this as part of a broader picture.

Thanks cg for forwarding some of these links. Anyone else, send me what you got!:)

For now, are some links on the Lincoln Hospital Takeover by the Young Lords in NYC back in the day. 

- excerpt from The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices from the Diaspora (see chapter by Iris Morales) here

This is the same organization that my favorite queer revolutionary, Sylvia Rivera, was a part of. She was a transwoman activist with strong class and race politics, forefronting transliberation struggles at a time when it was invisibilized by the anti-trans gay and lesbian, as well as 2nd wave feminist politics.

Some things that stand out from the 10-point program (posted below)
* Community control over health services
* Community control over hiring and firing at hospital
* Collaboration with medical students (see excerpt description)
* Employment in hospitals
* Free healthcare
* door-to-door health services: bringing healthcare to the people
* Education
* alliance b/w unions/employed people and unemployed through agreement to provision of services and community control

The Lincoln offensive was triggered by the death of a young Puerto Rican woman who had a botched abortion procedure in the hospital. This had great impact on the way the Young Lords took up reproductive rights with the leadership (through struggle!) of women leaders.

3 major ways to reclaim healthcare for community; seeing healthcare as working class issue:

Lead Offensive
TB Offensive
Lincoln Offensive

Organization that was set up: Health Revolutionary Union Movement (HRUM) was influenced by DRUMS in Detroit -- League of Revolutionary Black Workers; HRUM set up by hospital workers of color who saw their labor struggles and struggles in healthcare as part of broader working class struggles (amazing!!)

Conducted direct action to make city more responsive to healthcare needs of poor; community control of such services
Young Lords 
Ten-Point Health Program
1. We want total self-determination of all health services through an incorporated Community-Staff Governing Board for the Hospital. (Staff is anyone and everyone working at the hospital.) 
2. We want immediate replacement of all government administrators by community and staff appointed people whose practice has demonstrated their commitment to serve our poor community. 
3. We demand an immediate end to construction of the new emergency room until the Hospital Community-Staff Governing Board inspects and approves them or authorizes new plans. 
4. We want employment for our people. All jobs must be filled by community residents first, using on-the-job training and other educational opportunities as basis for service and promotion. 
5. We want free publicly supported health care for treatment and prevention. We want an end to all fees. 
6. We want total decentralization--block health officers responsible to the community-staff board should be instituted. 
7. We want "door-to-door" preventive health services emphasizing environment and sanitation control, nutrition, drug addiction, maternal and child care, and senior citizen services. 
8. We want education programs for all the people to expose health problems --sanitation, rats, poor housing, malnutrition, police brutality, pollution, and other forms of oppression. 
9. We want total control by the community-staff governing board of the budget allocations, medical policy along the above points, hiring, firing, and salaries of employees, construction and health code enforcement. 
10. Any community, union, or workers organization must support all the points of this program and work and fight for that or be shown as what they are--enemies of poor people.

1 comment:

  1. this struggle was interesting. I want to know what came of it. I think it petered out. One MD who was in the workers part of the struggle wrote a memoir about it i'm reading class White Coat, Clenched Fist. He came out of the civil rights movement