Human Right to Health Activists and the Occupy Movement

Activists for the human right to health and for universal, publicly financed health care in the United States are becoming increasingly active in the Occupy Movement. Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has formed a health care working group, Healthcare for the 99%, whose purpose is to “organize events and actions to raise awareness of corporate greed in healthcare and the need for a healthcare system based on people instead of profit."

Today, November 3, Healthcare for the 99% is supporting a day of action – Make Wall Street Pay – organized by National Nurses United, which is calling for a financial transaction tax of 0.25% tax to generate $350 billion a year for good jobs, healthcare for all, and quality public education.

On Saturday, the Vermont Workers’ Center will hold a teach-in at OWS about the Workers’ Center’s successful Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign. The teach-in, jointly organized with Healthcare for the 99% and Occupy Wall Street Education, will take place at 60 Wall Street (public atrium). From the flyer:

“The Vermont Workers’ Center invites you to explore ideas for using grassroots community organizing strategies and a human rights framework for winning universal healthcare and building a people’s movement in working-class and low-income communities for solidarity economy. Launched in 2008, the VWC’s Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign successfully converted a “politically impossible” issue into passage of two ground-breaking bills to put Vermont on the road to universal, single-payer healthcare. This Spring we broadened our fight with our new “Put People First! The People’s Budget Campaign.” The VWC is expanding our struggle for real democracy as we seek to re-prioritize state and federal budget policy in meeting the needs of our communities.”

Public health workers are also engaging in the Occupy Movement. A new info sheet lists concrete ways for public health workers to support Occupy. A pledge of support for Occupy states that "the vision of the 99% movement is a U.S. and a world with a more equitable distribution of health, with access to healthy food, quality education, dignified work that pays fairly, and well-being for all.  These are the goals of public health as well and we stand in support of the Occupy Movement.”

People’s Health Movement USA also recently issued a statement of solidarity with the Occupy Movement, encouraging participation in Occupy activities and calling for “an end to corporate infiltration of global health, corporate influence over the health system (in the US and elsewhere), and the continuing trend to privatize and commodify all of our human rights and needs in search of ever higher profits. In doing so, we reject the way the 1 per cent undermines the health of the 99 per cent.”