Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Anarchist Answers?: Les May on John Desmond

Les May
A few weeks ago someone I had known in the early sixties died. I had read a recent article by him and smiled that he was still the unrepentant Marxist I had known fifty odd years ago.  It was simply an article of faith to him that Marxism was the best political system yet devised.  I don't think that any amount of empirical evidence to the contrary would ever have made him doubt it.

If we search for evidence that libertarian solutions are better than authoritarian solutions, can we find it?  Or is it just an article of faith that they are simply 'better'?

My experience is mixed. They seem to work best when they are spontaneous, have a definite aim and a limited life span. They attract the 'do-ers' not the 'be-ers'.  I have been involved with two of these, one in 1988 and the other in 1995.  One succeeded in its aims, the other didn't.

The Tredegar Medical Aid Society was clearly not a small undertaking if it really did cater for the (then) medical needs of some 20,000 people.  The present population is 15,000 so that figure might be an exaggeration.  That is about the size of town I lived in during the 1960s.  It had a cottage hospital at that time.

Other than the fact that it was not state run and the NHS is, what advantages did TMAS have for the users?  In addition it was not inclusive in that the individual had to join.  My mother was illiterate and poor.  I ask myself would she have joined?

Will this solution 'scale'? I don't mean 'economies of scale' but does this solution still work when the problem gets larger?  I live in a town of about 95,000.  If I add in the two adjacent towns which are administratively included the total is about 200,000. What might it look like here?  What would a network look like? Would it provide better health care than the NHS model?

Would an organisation like TMAS be able to adapt to our era of 'Big Medicine'?
In the 1930s doctors had a very limited range of drugs at their disposal.  Until the advent of sulphonamides, and later antibiotics, there were very few if any antibacterials available. The surgical procedures which were possible were limited.

My brother has had a number of PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography).  My sister and two of my friends have had replacement hips, my brother in law has had a replacement knee...  I'll stop there!  Would a network of TMAS be able to provide this?

So far as I am concerned the 'anarchist' answer to health lies in the hands of each of us; don't smoke, don't drink too much, don't do drugs, don't eat too much and don't sit on your backside all day.

Tell people this and they will complain 'nanny state', but still expect 'nanny' to make them better when they get sick.

Can anyone suggest what a 'libertarian' waste disposal solution would look like for a town like Rochdale?  If it got the unrecyclable waste bin emptied every two weeks not every three weeks it would make 'libertarian' solutions very popular in the town.   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Throughout the international anarchist milieu a question keeps being asked -
who the fuck is Les May?