TUES MAR 12, 730pm: Health Autonomy and the Medicalization of Life


On Tuesday March 12, we’re pleased to invite you to the final installation of our winter discussion series. Our reading is a selection from Ivan Illich’s classic 1974 attack on the medical-industrial complex, Medical NemesisThe Expropriation of Health.

Our reading explores three senses of “iatrogenesis”, or the injury done to life by medical practitioners and medicine more broadly: (1) clinical iatrogenesis, or the injury done to patients by ineffective, unsafe, and erroneous treatments; (2) social iatrogenesis, or the ‘medicalization’ of life, which refers to the vested interest in sponsoring sickness on the part of medical professionals, pharmaceutical companies, and medical tech companies; and finally, (3) cultural iatrogenesis refers to the destruction of traditional ways of dealing with, and making sense of, death, suffering, and sickness. Throughout, Illich shows how . the medicalization of life produces cultural incapacitation and unfreedom, as people lose their autonomous coping skills, and provoking the question—today—of what it would mean to begin to build up a collective capacity for health autonomy today?

We will be joined by a comrade from Woodbine’s health autonomy working group in New York, as well as a friend from Chicago with many years of experience working in emergency rooms and low-income clinics.

The reading: READ | PRINT

Tues, Feb 19, 730pm: Jackie Wang, Carceral Capitalism

On Tues Feb 19, we will meet to discuss Jackie Wang’s recent work, Carceral Capitalism. Our reading will consist of a zine we have prepared specially for this occasion, which contains 3 things: An interview with Jackie Wang from the Los Angeles Review of Books, an edited excerpt of the Introduction to the book published in The New Inquiry, and finally, Chapter 1, “Racialized Accumulation by Dispossession in the Age of Finance Capital.” 

The zine is here: READ | PRINT

From the text:

“In the carceral municipality you are followed in your car by a police officer as you drive to your shit job simply because you are not white. While you are being given a ticket for $300 the cop realizes there is a warrant out for your arrest for an unpaid fine for the length of your grass being three inches too long (though you cannot recall having ever received such a fine). In jail, you call your aunt to bail you out, but she doesn’t have the money and it takes her a day to secure your release through a commercial bondsman. Since your aunt lacked financial assets, she had to list her car as collateral. When she misses a payment due to low-waged and precarious employment, she will be charged additional fees by the bondsman. After you are released from jail, you are reprimanded by your boss for missing work without calling in, and you are written up. Because your license has been revoked for traffic violations and an unpaid ticket, you now have to use the unreliable and underfunded public transportation system to get to work. You arrive late on the day you have been summoned to appear in court because the bus did not arrive on time, and thus you are forced to reschedule your court appearance and pay an additional fee. This scenario could go on and on and on …”



On Feb 5, Chloe from Commune Magazine will be facilitating a discussion of  “The Uses of Disaster”, a feature article by the Out of the Woods collective published in the first issue of Commune. 

For those excited by the article who want to delve deeper, we recommend an earlier three part article on this subject by Out of the Woods, called “Disaster Communism”. READ | PRINT

As usual, we will meet at Breakaway Social Center, 2412 W. 24th Place.