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Jul 17, 2023

When we think of health under capitalism, it's easy to go straight to the fight for universal healthcare, and understandably — that battle is one of the most contentious and important in the ongoing class war between the mass of people and those who rule us, the capitalist class.

But it would be a mistake to think that that’s where our battle ends, that there isn't an expanded struggle over the ways that health and sickness are even conceptualized under the capitalist ideological framework which shapes how we value ourselves and how we are either utilized or abandoned by this system. 

In this episode, we’ll take a deep dive into all of the different places where health overlaps with capitalism, with Beatrice Adler-Bolton, co-host of the podcast Death Panel and co-author, along with Artie Vierkant, of Health Communism: A Surplus Manifesto.

This conversation glides from Marxist economic analysis to healthcare policy to history and to some of the most foundational philosophical underpinnings of the political economy of health. Beatrice directs a striking blow against any perceived possibility of true health ever existing under capitalism, arguing that we must fight for our lives, literally, to bring forth the fall of capitalism and to build a new system that works for everyone — what she calls health communism.

Thank you to Carolyn Raider for this episode’s cover art and to Fugazi for the intermission music. Upstream theme music was composed by Robert Raymond/Lanterns.

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