the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist
“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx
Mar 20, 2023
This article is translated from the February 17 issue, #2846 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.
On Sunday, February 12, some 250,000 people demonstrated in the streets of Madrid against the deterioration of the public health system. Both caregivers and patients showed up.
Last November, Madrid-area doctors began a strike to oppose the reorganization of general practices and the dismantling of public health care. With the new regional plan, 37 urgent care centers were closed. Many of those left have no doctor on staff.
The protesters demanded at least 10 minutes of medical attention for each patient, and more generally, more resources for health care. They opposed the continued deterioration of public health in Madrid. It’s not uncommon to have to wait three weeks for an appointment with a general practitioner or months for a specialist. Many people do not have a doctor.
The recent caregivers’ protest was part of a broader movement. The demonstration shows the discontent that exists in the population on the subject of health care. People of all ages took to the streets, indignant about the cumulative privatization pushed by the regional government.
The problem is exploding now in Madrid because of particularly brutal management by right-wing politicians, but it actually exists all over the country. On the same day, similar demonstrations in other cities brought together tens of thousands of people.
Inaction by governments is proof of their inability to manage health care satisfactorily. The only way for clinics and hospitals to function properly would be to let those who work there decide matters according to patients’ needs, which they know. No one better than doctors and nurses can determine the number of workers needed, the times when additional workers are needed, the equipment needed, or the appropriate waiting time for each patient.
For all these reasons, and because the politicians will not come to the aid of public health, every day it is more necessary to join the demonstrations and support the strikes of health care workers.