During the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918, Alfred W. Crosby, a Professor Emeritus of History, Geography, and American Studies wrote that nurses were more important than doctors during this period: “[N]either antibiotics nor medical techniques existed to cure influenza or pneumonia. Warm food, warm blankets, fresh air, and what nurses ironically call TLC — tender loving care — [kept] the patient alive until the disease passed away.” When Voltaire said that nature cures the disease, I like to think of him referring to care workers’ TLC.
By Stan Smith for MLToday. The grassroots struggle to build a new society, focusing on the cooperatives, the community councils, the communes, established to strengthen popular participatory democracy, is keeping the Chavista revolution alive. This communal movement began with the fight against neoliberalism’s anti-working class measures even before the Caracazo, the 1989 outburst against IMF imposed cuts resulting in the then government killing up to 2000 protesters. In Venezuela these struggles gave rise to popular local assemblies and neighborhood councils to meet community needs neglected by the government. In the Chavez era these became institutionalized as communal councils, participatory organizations for self-governance.
By Dilar Dirik for Roar Magazine. Rojava - "When people first came to our house a few years ago to ask if our family would like to participate in the communes, I threw stones at them to keep them away,” laughs Bushra, a young woman from Tirbespiye, Rojava. The mother of two belongs to an ultra-conservative religious sect. Before, she had never been allowed to leave her home and used to cover her entire body except her eyes. “Now I actively shape my own community,” she says with a proud and radiant smile. “People come to me to seek help in solving social issues. But at the time, if you had asked me, I wouldn’t even have known what ‘council’ meant or what people do in assemblies.” Today, around the world, people resort to alternative forms of autonomous organization to give their existence meaning again, to reflect human creativity’s desire to express itself as freedom.