New York City Teach-In, 4/24/10 Summary

May 1, 2010

Summary of the New York City Teach-in, held April 24, 2010, written by Ajamu Sankofa of Private Health Insurance Must Go (PHIMG).

Hello Supporters of Improved Medicare for All:

I. Comment

The Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition (PHIMG) again thanks the 100 plus who attended and made an enormous success, its third annual Teach-In/Summit on Healthcare. We want to remind you of some outcomes and highlights of that Teach-In/Summit

1. A palpable consensus emerged that the growing movement for improved Medicare for All must declare its political independence from both capitalist parties such that it no longer loses its decisive political agency to compel into reality a national single-payer healthcare system in the United States of America. The lesson of the past year of organizing with and reliance on the Democratic Party was a severe wake-up call for all of us;

2. In addition, we must construct a succinct and plain-spoken yet comprehensive public education narrative that we take boldly to all communities and constituencies that not only explains the inability of the “corporate health insurance reform” legislation to end the U.S. healthcare crisis but also reveals the fact that this legislation both extends and expands the healthcare crisis. It is “more of the same,” as Dr. Rodberg of PNHP explained in his lecture. This narrative must be articulated within the context of the neo-liberal/privatization drive that controls the political agendas of the Democratic and Republican Parties;

3. Further, the public education narrative must contain two additional objectives: a. to explain that the single-payer solution is fiscally responsible and b. to make demonstrably clear that the single payer solution is a moral imperative of the highest order;

4. Strikingly and repeatedly, Teach-In/Summit speakers asserted the following: As organizers building and leading an historic social justice movement in the U.S. for single-payer, we have a critical strategic obligation to reach out affirmatively, without losing our primary focus on single-payer, to other social justice movements (housing, education, women’s right, immigrant rights, workers’ rights) and to intersect positively with each. By doing so, we build mutual capacity such that we can create combined political power that sustains the continuous expansion and defense of human rights, democratic rights, and civil liberties. By this means, we have an opportunity to transform, finally and fundamentally, the political relationship between working people and corporate power such that working people, the majority of people in this country, become the dominate political actors in the U.S., capable of defending themselves effectively against all measure of economic exploitation, racism, sexism, and social humiliation foisted upon it by any social or economic force.

5. The impressive teachable moment at the Teach-In/Summit: The disability activist community refused to be silenced and shut out. They brilliantly confronted NYS Democratic Party assemblyman Gottfried as he attempted to rationalize the denial of long-term healthcare in his NYS Healthcare Plus legislation. In addition and despite ample opportunities, he also failed to explain how his non-single-payer legislation that would cost the cash strapped, nearly bankrupt NYS treasury millions of dollars, would succeed politically in the NYS Assembly when the less ambitious, non-single payer federal public option failed in Congress. We got first-hand exposure to the incapacity, unreliability, and unwillingness of a Democratic Party elected official who claims to support single-payer, to stand with us when it counts.

II. Announcements

1. Capital Region/Hudson Valley Regional Conference
Expanded and Improved Medicare for All- Round 2
Saturday, May 15, 2010
9:30 am -3:30 am
First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany
405 Washington Ave. Albany, NY
This important conference is being organized by Single Payer New York & Physicians for a National Health Program-Capital District. Go to www.singlepayernewyork.org. PHIMG will be encouraging activists in NY downstate to attend this very important conference. Speakers include Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH. Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Co,founder, PNHP; Terry O’Neill. President, National Organization of Women; and Rose Roach, Field Director, California School employees association (CSEA), AFL-CIO.

2. Monthly Meeting of the Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition
Sunday May 23, 2010
3pm to 5pm
25 West 43rd St 18th floor
NY, NY (between 5th and 6th Ave)
PHIMG will be extending the work of the April 24, 2010 Teach-In/Summit and planning its 4 month campaign of high profile direct actions and mini Teach-Ins in all NYC Boroughs. Go to www.phimg.org

We are growing,

Ajamu Sankofa
Chair, PHIMG
718-703-4041
The Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition (PHIMG) again thanks the 100 plus who attended and made an enormous success, its third annual Teach-In/Summit on Healthcare. We want to remind you of some outcomes and highlights of that Teach-In/Summit: (More…)

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