Recent reading

PHA5 Mar del Plata Call to Action

Our Call to Action includes the demands and commitments of the People’s Health Movement following the debates and discussion leading up to and during the 5th People’s Health Assembly held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. It should be read in conjunction with the PHA5 Background Paper: The Struggle for Health: Confronting the role of Capitalism and Imperialism.

Our Call to Action envisages a world where people can enjoy their lives to the fullest, with dignified work, full participation in health issues and in which the political, economic, cultural and social obstacles and limitations that impede the existence of comprehensive and quality health and education systems are eliminated. Our vision is based on Living Well -Buen Vivir - and promotion of the health of Mother Earth.


Confronting capitalism and imperialism in the struggle for health: discussion paper for PHA5, April 2024

The purpose of this Paper is to present some key ideas regarding the role of capitalism and imperialism in reproducing the global health crisis. The Paper is conceived as a ‘discussion resource’ that is intended to inform the discussions at PHA5, including around the proposed Call to Action (CTA).

It is hoped that PHA5 participants will find this paper useful during discussions in plenaries, sub plenaries and workshops as well as during informal discussions.

In the following chapters the paper reviews:

  • the broken promises of Health for All,
  • the barriers arising, from capitalism and imperialism, to achieving Health for All,
  • the commitments PHM has made in previous People’s Health Assemblies to confronting capitalism and imperialism, as barriers to HFA,
  • key elements of the contemporary world order; what has to change,
  • possible futures, from the current disastrous trajectory to more hopeful scenarios and possibilities, and
  • forms of action; how PHM might best prepare for the next period of struggle.

Superexploitation and the Imperialist Drive of Capitalism: How Marini’s ‘Dialectics of Dependency’ Goes beyond Marx’s ‘Capital’  by Andy Higginbottom in Monthly Review, 
April 2023 

Higginbottom elaborates Marini's understanding of the role of superexploitation in imperialism and the 'development of underdevelopment'. He explains that Marini's work was based in an analysis of the "state of capitalism in Latin America, with its distinct characteristics of underdevelopment and a different relationship to the world system of capitalism than Western Europe and the United States. Marini positioned his argument for socialism in the dependency paradigm, by which he understood that the capitalist underdevelopment of Latin America contributes to the development of the imperialist economies. The dependency relationship is expressed as the transfer of value from the poor, subordinated countries to the rich, dominating countries."

Penny Wong's next big fight by Hugh White in The Monthly, April 2023

In Penny Wong's next big fight, Hugh White recognises Penny Wong's knowledge, experience and competence as Australia's foreign minister but argues that she is not providing the leadership that the country and the Albanese cabinet need.  White argues that Australia faces a foreign policy choice between mindlessly committing to the US side in any confrontation with China versus undertaking an independent analysis, identifying Australia's interests, and working to achieve the outcomes that we want and need - an independent foreign policy. 

The Wires That Bind: Electrification and Community Renewal by Saul Griffith in Quarterly Essay Issue 89

In The Wires That Bind, inventor, engineer and visionary Saul Griffith paints an inspiring yet practical picture of empowered local communities acting collectively when it comes to renewable energy, and benefiting financially. “We need a realistic and achievable vision for the future because the future is coming fast. We have only about one-quarter of one century, twenty-five years, one human generation, to get ourselves out of this climate quandary. If we get this right, if we design the incentives and the policies and the regulations correctly, communities will thrive. Every Australian will benefit economically, socially and even health-wise. So let’s hit the road.” Saul Griffith, The Wires That Bind

US hospitals collect and share the browsing history of website visitors

See Hospitals pledge to protect patient privacy. Almost all their websites leak visitor data like a sieve by Casey Ross in Statnews (April 3, 2023)

US continues to block appointments to the Appellate Body

See Members briefed on informal dispute settlement reform talks in WTO blog of 31 March 2023

Clive Palmer suing Australia under ISDS provisions

See How Clive Palmer is suing Australia for $300 billion with the help of an obscure legal clause (and Christian Porter) by Pat Ranald in the Conversation (4 April 2023). Useful review of the Palmer conflict with the WA Government and his claim of $300 billion from WA under ISDS provisions of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand FTA.  Thanks Pat.

Garnaut sees potential for Australia to export green steel and aluminium to Europe and North Asia

See Australia doesn’t need America’s destructive green protectionism by Ross Garnaut on East Asia Forum (3 April 2023). Garnaut, speaking about his The Superpower Transformation, urges Australia to accelerate renewables with a view to green exports (in particular green steel and aluminium) to Europe and North Asia.  He is critical of the Biden policies which continue to trash the 'rules based order' and urges Australia to not join them in this.

The rise and fall of Adani

See Analysing the Adani Debacle by Sunanda Sen in IDEAS posted 6 March. Useful background. 

Imperialism and Natural Resources

Imperialism and natural resources by Prabhat Patnaik in IDEAS Blogs (13 March 2023). The G7 countries account for 10% of the world's population, over half of global net wealth and two fifths of global GDP but depend on the rest of the world for oil, gas and agricultural inputs. Maintaining control of these inputs is the core logif of imperialism.

The Collapse of US Banks 

The Collapse of US Banks by Prabhat Patnaik on IDEAS Blogs (March 27, 2023). Excellent explanation of the mechanics of bank collapse located within the broader context of the hegemony of global finance. 

Regenesis by George Monbiot 

Feeding the world without devouring the planet. Gaia Vince in the Guardian says, "The environmental activist’s proposals for remaking the global food industry, from changes in farming practices to 3D-printed steaks, make for urgent, essential reading".

A bitter harvest of hunger and debt

The intersecting food and debt crises. From Third World Economics (#766, 1-15 March 2023) reporting on the iPES Food report "Breaking the cycle of unsustainable food systems, hunger, and debt". Today’s unsustainable food systems and unsustainable sovereign debt loads are mutually reinforcing, generating hunger throughout the developing world. Breaking this harmful cycle, a new expert report stresses, will require far-reaching debt relief and a shift away from the economically and environmentally ruinous industrial agriculture model.