As I can’t write every single week about our dystopian world, I’ll put my ‘glass half full’ hat on this week. And dream that a different world is possible, even if Emerging Voices, of all people, were enthusiastically queuing this week for the new Primark outlet in Antwerp, showcasing that the ‘late-capitalist’ era will probably still be with us for a while : )
Nevertheless, the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birthday should inspire all of us (or at least the 99 %) to at last start a proper global health revolution, a ‘People’s Revolution’ so to speak. And we better hurry up, as Dubai is already waiting around the corner, which doesn’t quite feel like the right venue for a revolution. After all, you just don’t take on the Burj Khalifa the way the French stormed the Bastille : )
If you’re looking for a good pretext: well, the Global Fund Board just ignored the Heineken commotion altogether, in spite of all the commotion on Twitter & many well-crafted pieces in the Lancet, so that seems like a nice incentive to take to the streets, as well as use more “innovative” revolutionary approaches.
I’m looking first of all in the direction of the NCD Alliance for leadership in this regard, together with the People’s Health Movement, of course. As well as Women in Global Health. Now, what would be the ‘Theory of Change’? Well, as Lenin already knew in his time, timing is everything if you want to plan a revolution. In my country, for instance, we’re all expected to drink “Belgium” beer now (relabeled by AB InBev), apparently to support the Belgium football team at the upcoming World Cup in Russia. It seems likely that many of the ‘lads’ watching the tournament around the world will need plenty of beer to properly enjoy the matches, with probably a ‘starring’ role for the lads in the UK (as their team is usually rubbish).
Now, if the NCD Alliance (together with some help from the PHM, some of whom probably have great connections in Russia and China), could hire a bunch of Russian & Chinese hackers, to make sure the global supply chains of AB InBev, Heineken et al don’t function at all anymore, in the run up to the Russia World Cup? Maybe we could even also convince the Donald to get into the fun, arguing that all these ‘globalized beers’ should be boycotted anyway, and only ‘American’ beers like Budweiser (not quite sure whether that hasn’t been taken over yet, but hey, let’s not fall over details here in the grand scheme of things …) should be allowed at global sports events. Such an ‘America First’ beer policy would predictably lead to retaliation from other countries brewing beer, so in the end, in most countries ‘the lads’ would have to watch their games without any beer. Massive riots around the world could then be expected, for example if the English team loses from Kevin Debruyne et al without any beer to comfort English men in their deep despair. Sensing a revolutionary tipping point, that would be the sign for Women in Global Health, led by Roopa Dhatt, to also get involved. Roopa would call upon her sisters (half the world), to join their angry male brothers in the streets, on the tones of Netta’s “Toy”, and ask for real (global) change on #MeToo, women participation in global health governance, and a ton of other female requests. No, Primark outlets all around the world wouldn’t be one of them.
(Finally) witnessing such a ‘People’s Revolution’ on such a massive scale at the end of their revolutionary lives, David Sanders & David Legge would feel young all over again. Unlike their allies, however – the NCD Alliance, the Karenski’s of this revolution, who would focus on ridding the world of alcohol under the banner ‘ENOUGH’, and Women in Global Health, who would, among their many requests and actions, also finally “deal” with the global health version of Rasputin (a hybrid of Larry Summers, Tim Evans & Bill Gates, that might perhaps not look as hairy as Rasputin a century ago, and not have such a ‘rich’ personality either in other respects, but who together have ruled for far too long over global health governance), the PHM vanguard would not stop there. No, they would just continue until the entire Corporate Consumption Complex is annihilated. In the end, all revolutionaries would receive well deserved ‘Kudos’ from Kent Buse on Twitter.
If you agree with this ToC, how about kickstarting the People’s Revolution this Sunday already, at the “Walk the Talk” event in Geneva? Dr. Tedros, what do you say? Will you lead us towards ‘Health for All’?
Enjoy your reading.
(PS: you find the pdf of the full newsletter here: IHPn470 )