Global boiling activists Dee Mould and Bec Horridge met on the ground at the inspirational fireside conversations of the Maule’s Creek coal mine blockade. A decade later they reflect how painful old injuries and life on the unemployment scrap heap can free up time to respond to the Earths urgent screaming; the luscious living system all around us and really try to help. Flood survivor Dee explains the resonating benefits of peer to peer trauma counselling by people who have similar difficult experiences.
Earth Matters #1429 was produced by Bec Horridge
WHAT IS HEALTH SOVEREIGNTY?
2023 marked the 75th anniversary of the World Health Organization (WHO). In a year where this organisation promoted the theme ‘Health For All’, COVID hegemony - the normalisation of widespread infection achieved by those with power through coercive persuasion, to gain our consent and approval - continued across the western world. Despite this, Covid globalist conspiracy theorists aligned with ableist, eugenicist, transphobic and far right extremists, continued to rail against the threat to the “health sovereignty” of settler colonies and other western nation states supposedly posed by the WHO. Some of them, on the streets of Melbourne's CBD.
Meanwhile, in the state of Victoria, the urgency of the need for genuine health and body sovereignty for some of the most vulnerable members of this society was perhaps nowhere more clearly laid out than in the State acknowledgement of harm project recommendations given to the Victorian Government, following The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. The project identified 10 types of harm inflicted by the state (and its police) on victims and survivors of the mental health system, including the recognition that Victoria’s system has been, and is both a product and producer of, an ongoing process of colonisation.
Even so, Royal Commissions like this or the national Disability Royal Commission, that point to the tip of the iceberg of horrific impacts on health embedded in colonial administration of healthcare and disability services within a capitalist system, do not capture the complexity and full extent of the poverty, violence, and injustice that poor multiply marginalised disabled people, particularly Black disabled migrant women and LGBTQI+ people on precarious visas, experience by the state and at the hands of fellow residents here.
Community-controlled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health services, set up by and for their communities, shine as the oldest example on this continent of successful and strong resistance to the health destroying impacts of genocide, colonisation and anti-Black, anti-Indigenous racism in the mainstream health system. Other cultural communities, and LGBTQI communities, work hard to initiate and coordinate health promotion for their own communities too. Still, the corrosive ableism and saneism that harms disabled people within and outside these communities, from birth to death, (and sometimes across continents) is arguably poorly understood by health administrators, policy makers and advocates at this time.
For our 2023 Disability Day broadcast, we’re making space to explore what health and HEALTH SOVEREIGNTY means, holistically and materially, to First Nations disabled people and other disabled individuals, their kin networks and communities, residing on unceded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands. And imagining what genuinely healing healthcare systems that affirm the lives, self knowledge and expertise of disabled people of all ages and backgrounds can look like in the future.
Phil Evans, Bec Horridge, Eiddwen Jeffery, Judith Peppard & Jacob Gamble