Friday, February 19, 2010

Health Impact Assessments

Health Impact Assessments are a way to measure policy as to whether it will make people healthier or sicker. The post linked here about HIA refers to a report in England discussing a fairer and healthier society.

What is missing in that report is the reality that we don't have governments, or parties in power, that are promoting participatory decision-making. Connecting what has been done in Porto Alegre, as an example, to the realities of decision-making in most communities will be a challenge.

The reality is that a fairer society, a just society, is healthier than what we have now. Ensuring that health equity is a part of all HIA processes will be important. In Albuquerque, and in New Mexico there are attempts to promote health impact assessments in a variety of areas. We need to ensure equity focused HIA if we are going to create good lives for all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How class works

Easy to read presentation talks about class. It is a straightforward look at class in the US. It is not political and still has some value.

Check it out and post your thoughts. How Class Works

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Social Determinants of Health

How does politics impact health? By creating the situation of our social lives.

These are called "Social Determinants of Health." The World Health Organization released a Report on Social Determinants of Health. It's a 7MB document, but a good read for those really interested in how health and politics intersect.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Show Our Love for Universal Broadband and Network Neutrality

La Raza Unida showed up to show love for Universal Broadband and Network Neutrality!

Given how hard it is to connect in NM this is a very important issue.

Thanks to the NMMLP for leading in this great media justice event.

Ping Pong

It seems like all that is needed for US voters to flip flop is a crisis. Many are expecting that to be true in the November elections as the economy continues to drag along.

Had the minimum wage been increased at the beginning of this crisis, the people working at those jobs would be spending more and in turn creating new jobs. Instead we have banksters continuing to rob society blind with tax payer money.

We'll see if this year brings another ping pong election. Most people only see two options, the openly corporatist party and the party of the middle-class. The illusion that "everyone" thinks they are middle-class in the US is not true. While those identifying as middle-class has grown, one study shows 47 percent of voters identify as working-class. And given that voter turnout is higher among college educated and higher income groups this number may be low.

So it is time for the working class to figure out what is in the interest of working families and organize, network, and vote for family friendly, working friendly, and justice friendly parties and candidates!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another World Is Possible!

This is the cry of many radicals, revolutionaries, and even progressives. But what is meant by that? In the US we have what is essentially a "Republic" where a very few make the laws for the many. This is supposedly what some people want to challenge, but most of us have not lived in a participatory democracy. The best we get are some forms of representative democracy.

Others wish for a democracy that better represents people, that is open to multiple-parties, that isn't influenced by corporate greed and avarice. That would be better, but would it be best?

There is an argument that the size of our society is too large for a participatory democracy. We don't know because it hasn't been tried. But it has been tried in large cities. One of the cities that is leading this as a possibility is Porto Alegre.

Within the structure of a republic style government, municipal government has become more representative in its system of budgeting. While far from perfect, this is a solid move toward community power. There was a movement in the US when there was a Socialist Party. This municipal socialism had an impact in some major cities in the US. The ideological and other forces limited this, but it shows that even in the US alternatives are possible.

How much democracy can we create in the US? In Albuquerque? Within our neighborhood associations, parent organizations, and other public spaces? The challenge is upon us more than ever with the Supreme Court giving corporations immense power over the political system. Only an engaged society will be able to deal with this.

Let's Dare to Practice Democracy!