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Love and resistance: Re-inventing radical nurses in everyday struggles



In an editorial concerned with radicalism, it is perhaps appropriate to start with Karl Marx. To paraphrase this greatest of political philosophers, we must learn the lessons of history. So, I wish to consider the idea of nursing radicalism, with recourse to a selective consideration of the past, contemplation of the present, and, most crucially, to inspire a critical imagination of what could be the future. Latterly, the very vocabulary of ‘radical’ has been demeaned, denigrated and demonised. I wish to reclaim an appreciation of nursing radicals as a wholesome and positive force for good, with huge potential for making a difference at various degrees of scale; from the global to the everyday. Indeed, I contend no change of any worth can neglect attention to the everyday human relationships bound up in making the change happen.
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Love and resistance: re-inventing radical nurses in everyday struggles
Mick McKeown
Professor of Democratic Mental Health
University of Central Lancashire
Preston PR1 2HE
United Kingdom
0044 1772 893884
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DR. MICK MCKEOWN (Orcid ID : 0000-0003-0235-1923)
Article type : Editorial
Love and resistance: re-inventing radical nurses in everyday struggles
In an editorial concerned with radicalism, it is perhaps appropriate to start with Karl Marx. To
paraphrase this greatest of political philosophers, we must learn the lessons of history. So, I
wish to consider the idea of nursing radicalism, with recourse to a selective consideration of
the past, contemplation of the present, and, most crucially, to inspire a critical imagination of
what could be the future. Latterly, the very vocabulary of ‘radical’ has been demeaned,
denigrated and demonised. I wish to reclaim an appreciation of nursing radicals as a
wholesome and positive force for good, with huge potential for making a difference at
various degrees of scale; from the global to the everyday. Indeed, I contend no change of
any worth can neglect attention to the everyday human relationships bound up in making the
change happen.
Nurses are often referred to as politically passive and docile, apathetic or disengaged from
political debates or activism. Whilst there can be a lot of truth in such claims, I believe this to
be something of a misrepresentation that is neglectful of key elements of our history. While
there is an imperative for nurses to be more politically engaged, we must understand
impediments to this and acknowledge a fine tradition of nursing radicalism. Nursing radicals
live amongst us, and nursing radicalism has, I believe, a bright future. Indeed, one desirable
possibility is for nurses to conceive of and embrace a radical professional identity that is
simultaneously politically engaged and gives meaningful expression to the progressive,
compassionate and humanistic values that most nurses claim to adhere to. Returning to
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Marx, we might also recall his prompt that, again in so many words, philosophising to make
sense of the world is of no use at all unless it then makes a difference in the world.
At the start of my nursing career, in the 1980s, there were a number of self-proclaimed
radical practitioner groupings. Although perhaps constituting a minority, amongst this
panoply of radicals, revolutionaries and fellow travellers there were radical nurses, radical
midwives, radical social workers and radical psychologists to name but a few. Earlier
generations of radicals, with individual nurses often in the vanguard of this activism, had
literally fought against fascist regimes and engaged in the important struggles that, in the
UK, brought into being universal free access to healthcare.
For example, many brave nurses from different countries rallied to defend the Spanish
Republic against Franco’s fascist forces in the Spanish Civil war, combining political and
vocational ideals (Moruno & Rodríguez 2009). One of these, Thora Silverthorne, left for
Spain after being sacked from her job as a hospital nurse in the south of England. With
almost biblical symbolism, her misdemeanour was to offend the sensibilities of the Matron by
caring for the wounded feet of Jarrow hunger marchers, whose route passed by her
workplace. Serving the International Brigades with honour, Thora survived the war, and
campaigned for the establishment of the NHS before working therein as nurse and union
activist, helping to lead the Socialist Medical Association; contributing to all with equal
distinction (Baxell et al. 2010, Jackson 2003).
Another heroic compatriot, Patience Darton, became politicised witnessing the poverty of the
1930s. Her own family had fallen on hard times and she initially struggled to save up the £8
necessary to commence her nurse training. At the front, Patience met and married her
husband, a fellow International Brigader, only for him to be killed in the Ebro offensive; the
last rallying of the Republicans before their inevitable defeat in the face of superior force and
weaponry. Nursing under primitive and dangerous conditions at Ebro, Patience hid her
personal grief whilst tending to the escalating numbers of wounded. Taking part in the final
parade of the International Brigades, she was present to hear La Pasionaria salute her and
her surviving comrades, proclaiming "you are history, you will one day return to Spain!" In
1996, aged 85, Patience did indeed return for the 60th anniversary of the war and, with her
fellow veterans, received honorary Spanish citizenship amidst an emotional welcome from
the people of Madrid. She died that very night in a passing emblematic of her compassionate
courage; a life lived well and nobly completed (Baxell et al. 2010, Jackson 2003, 2012).
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In the UK, at the end of the second world war, with the disastrous inter-war depression still
alive in collective memory, nurses were visible standing in solidarity with a re-energised
labour movement. Together with trade union activists from all sectors of the economy, they
demanded a radically different society in exchange for their war and peacetime sacrifices.
Above all, there was a citizenry determined never again to experience the disadvantages
and indignities of mass unemployment, grinding poverty, inadequate housing and education,
disease epidemics, disability and shortened life expectancy. It was no accident that the
architect of the British National Health Service was the great radical Labour Member of
Parliament, Nye Bevan, whose roots in impoverished, working class mining communities led
him to witness the awful personal and collective consequences of exclusions from health
care provision because of inability to pay. These formative experiences laid the foundations
for his profoundly influential treatise in favour of a redistributive politics, In Place of Fear.
For Bevan, society was, and always would be, in a perpetual state of emancipatory struggle
towards the goal of a more just and equitable distribution of wealth, and the positive
consequences that would flow from this. Such struggles require radical voices raised in
denunciation of injustice, radical insights, and imaginings of the better worlds we might
achieve. Ultimately, radical action was required to realise the hopes and dreams that people
would no longer have to live in fear of destitution, joblessness or illness. Nurse activists
played their part, acknowledging health as a political and politicised territory, indivisible from
other public welfare concerns and political demands.
More recently, in the decade before I started my nursing career, a particularly nasty social
experiment commenced; starting in Chile, in 1973, with the violent overthrow of the
democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. With the support of many
western governments, the despotic General Pinochet assumed power and proceeded to
incarcerate, torture, rape and murder his political opponents, including many nurses and
healthcare workers, in a dictatorship that would last 17 years (Ensalaco 2000). Pinochet’s
military junta was notable for being the first in the world to incubate the form of political-
economy that has latterly assumed global orthodoxy and we now know as neoliberalism
(Gledhill 2004). This focuses on shrinking access to state provided health and welfare,
privatisation, and deregulation; surrendering the economy to blind, valueless market forces.
Many years later, in 1998, when an elderly Pinochet sought medical care in the NHS,
Spanish leftists, with the backing of British health trade unions, applied for his extradition to
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face charges of crimes against humanity; a warrant he eventually successfully resisted,
partly by receiving public relations support from right wing Thatcherites (Roht-Arriaza 2005).
Right now, various nursing scholars concerned with critique of neoliberalism, including
myself, have been accused of bandying around the terminology without paying sufficient
attention to definition (Lipscomb 2019). Whilst acknowledging a scholarly need for precision
in language and conceptualisation within papers written for an academic audience, I don’t
think such exactitude ought to apply to activist discourse, which clearly has a different
purpose of motivating and sustaining resistance to perceived oppressions. This is not a
denial of the importance of truth and accuracy, rather it recognises that the negative impact
of neoliberalism has been so profoundly felt that the term itself is actually quite well
understood by most people and is, indeed, a touchstone for marshalling opposition, including
amongst nurses.
The roots of neoliberal policies within the despicable Pinochet regime is, for me, and I hope
others, a sufficient marker of their abject unpleasantness, and a searing prompt to organise
against them. Moreover, theorising neoliberalism ought not take precedence over
contemplating its effects in the world, which for the majority of humanity and other species,
have been hugely detrimental. This is obvious here and now in the health context, with
wealth inequalities strongly predictive of health disadvantage, increased morbidity and
reduced life expectancy. To miss this point while extolling the virtues of a more precise
academic practice is so much fiddling while what is left of our public services and the planet
are condemned to burn. The word ‘academic’, after all, has two meanings: being associated
on the one hand with scholarly rigour and cleverness, but also lexically describing something
of no consequence at all. Let us put our intellectual nursing resources in the service of a
politics for a fairer world rather than waste energy debating arcane points of academic
Elsewhere I have urged nurses to be more critically minded, in relation to both the
epistemological basis of their practice and the wider society they work in (McKeown 2016,
2018). This is a pedagogical, a professional and, ultimately, an activist task (McKeown et al.
2015). Within such a frame, the role for nursing scholars and practitioners is to be critically
engaged in the public sphere (Cresswell & Spandler 2013). I see nursing trade unions as
playing an important role but also recognise an organising deficit that needs urgent attention.
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Happily the solutions to nursing and trade unions’ crises of legitimacy can be symbiotic.
Nurses can become more active in their unions, extend solidarity to communities and service
user groups, and stronger unions can assist nurses to be more empowered in the workplace
and respected in society. To achieve such desirable goals I believe we need to reconstruct
our professional identity to embrace the positivity of recalcitrant, rebellious and radical
objectives. We speak a lot about empowerment, of ourselves, of people in receipt of our
care, and of communities, but we have much less to say about power itself, how this is
unfairly distributed, and what to do about this.
The history of nursing is replete with collective acts of resistance (Hart 1994) involving a
politicisation of caring (Briskin 2012). These nurses practice a form of clinical militancy,
motivated primarily by social justice concerns regarding patient welfare prosecuted
alongside claims for improved terms and conditions of employment. Crucially, these histories
are often ignored or downplayed in the mainstream, perhaps because, more often than not,
nurses’ campaigns, protests, strikes and threats of strikes have been successful. In various
international contexts, nursing militancy has secured improvements in the employment
relations of nurses and the resources allocated to care, often at one and the same time. For
nursing activists, consciousness raising through action is paramount: Engaging in the
struggle is vital, even if victory is incomplete or postponed. The form of our struggles is also
A politics of prefiguration opens up possibilities to organise within the cracks of the system,
where the neoliberal gaze is weaker, and, in the course of trying to change our material
circumstances we can attempt to model the world as we would like to see it (Springer 2016,
Moth & McKeown 2016). This is, in effect, a call to fully democratise our communities and
workplaces (McKeown & Carey 2015). At present, democracies globally exist in their own
crisis of legitimacy, with many citizens losing faith in representative forms of democracy in
particular. A prefigurative approach enables us, rather than turning away from our institutions
of democracy, to work to deepen democracy; developing more participatory, inclusive and
deliberative democratic processes.
The radicals in this context are the good folk, and do not deserve the semantic gymnastics
that have constructed notions of radicalism and militancy as essentially bad things. Which
nurse worth their salt would not wish to be on the side of Thora, Patience or our political
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allies such as Bevan and Allende? Do not our hearts swell with pride when we read their
stories and reflect on their staggering compassion and courage? Do we not also know many,
many of our contemporaries who are nameless in histories but nevertheless astound us with
their acts of kindness, care and resistance in the everyday? A prefigurative transformation of
nursing, healthcare and wider society must of necessity start with attention to the
relationships we enact amongst ourselves. A new, radical nursing professionalism would not
shy away from activism, but would lean heavily towards a relational politics. The social
justice values we already espouse in the present are ready-made for a more meaningful
radical identity for the future (Jackson, & Usher 2019). The primacy of our love for
workmates, service users, and fellow human beings can be both heroically radical on a
grand stage and gloriously radical in the everyday. Lest we forget:
People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to
everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is
positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth.
(Vaneigem 2012 [1967]: 11)
Nurses the world over are well placed to recognise the truth of these wise words. And act on
Baxell, R., Jackson, A. & Jump, J. (2010) Antifascistas: British and Irish volunteers in the
Spanish civil war. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
Briskin, L. (2012) Resistance, mobilization and militancy: nurses on strike. Nursing Inquiry,
19(4), 285-296.
Cresswell, M. and Spandler, H. (2013) The engaged academic: academic intellectuals and
the psychiatric survivor movement. Social Movement Studies, 12(2), 138-154.
Ensalaco, M. (2000) Chile under Pinochet: Recovering the truth. Philadelphia: University of
Pennsylvania Press.
Gledhill, J. (2004) Neoliberalism. In D. Nugent & J. Vincent (eds) A Companion to the
Anthropology of Politics. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. pp. 332-348.
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Hart, C. (1994) Behind the mask: nurses, their unions and nursing policy. London: Ballière
Jackson, A. (2003) British Women and the Spanish Civil War. London: Routledge.
Jackson, A. (2012) 'For us it was heaven': The passion, grief and fortitude of Patience
Darton from the Spanish Civil War to Mao's China. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press.
Jackson, D. and Usher, K. (2019) Social justice for all: Are we there yet? International
Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 28, 1017-1019.
Lipscomb, M. (2019) Neoliberalism and neoliberals: What are we talking about? Nursing
McKeown, M., 2018. No concession without demand. Journal of clinical nursing, 27(13-14),
McKeown, M. (2016) Stand up for recalcitrance! International Journal of Mental Health
Nursing, 25, 481483.
McKeown, M. & Carey, L. (2015) Editorial. Democratic leadership: a charming solution for
nursing’s legitimacy crisis. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(3-4), 315-317.
McKeown, M., Carey, L. Rhodes, C. & Jones, F. (2015) Democratic learning for democratic
practice: co-operation and deliberation. In Brewer, G. & Hogarth, R. (eds) Creative
Education, Teaching and Learning: Creativity, Engagement and the Student Experience.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Moruno, D. & Rodríguez, J (2009) The nursing vocation as political participation for women
during the Spanish Civil War. Journal of War & Culture Studies, 2(3), 305-319.
Moth, R. & McKeown, M. (2016) Realising Sedgwick’s vision: theorising strategies of
resistance to neoliberal mental health and welfare policy. Critical & Radical Social Work, 4,
3, 375-390.
Roht-Arriaza, N. (2005) The Pinochet effect: transnational justice in the age of human rights.
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Springer, S. (2016) Fuck neoliberalism. ACME: An International Journal for Critical
Geographies, 15(2), 285-292.
Vaneigem, R. (2012 [1967]) The revolution of everyday life. [Trns. D. Nicholson-Smith]
Oakland, CA: PM Press.
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... Therefore, for the consolidation of a structured political competence, an experiential part is required (Morris et al., 2019), which increases the capacity and motivation of nursing students towards political action. The results of our study seem to follow this same line as having an active role within an organization or association was shown to make a difference and create a stronger perception of the political competence of nurses (McKeown, 2020). This capacity of nurses is necessary to influence decisions and issues related to health, through knowledge of policies, effective communication, and collaboration with other members of the health team. ...
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Background Nursing should have a fundamental role in the development of health policies. The current state of the educational system regarding leadership-related skills and political competence in nursing students is a field to explore. Objectives To explore Spanish nursing students' perceptions about their political competence. Design Cross-sectional study that was carried out between December 2019 and June 2020. Settings and participants Students of the Degree in Nursing at the Universitat Jaume I (Spain). Methods An ad hoc scale composed of 33 items was designed. Sociodemographic variables of interest for the study were collected, such as participation in organizations. A descriptive analysis of the sample and the scale and a bivariate analysis were carried out. Results 91.8% (n = 90) of items were answered by women. The 2nd (40.8%, n = 40) and 4th (29.6%, n = 29) courses were the most represented. 29.6% (n = 29) belonged to some association or organization, with sports (31.1%, n = 9), NGOs (17.2%, n = 5), cultural (17.2%, n = 5) and student organizations (13.8%, n = 4) being the most represented. Within these associations, 48.3% (n = 14) of participants claimed to have an active role. Statistically significant differences were observed by course in the Political Knowledge category (p = 0.030). The variables “belonging to an organization” and “having an active role” in it seemed to have more influence on the scale than the rest of the sociodemographic variables. Conclusions Learning strategies must benefit from skills and prior experiences of students to strengthen new learning. It also seems to be important to emphasize that the theoretical basis is important, but that promoting civic participation among students can be very relevant for the acquisition of political competence.
... Inspired by such critique, radical nurses urge recasting nursing professionalism towards critical consciousness of shared history, the wider political context and politicised nursing action (Dillard-Wright et al., 2020;Dillard-Wright & Shields-Haas, 2021;McKeown 2019;Smith, 2020;Smith & Foth, 2021). A starting point might be radical influences upon nurse education, where a commitment to critical pedagogy engenders more critically thinking nurses. ...
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This paper attempts a critical discussion of the possibilities for mental health nurses to claim a particular right of conscientious objection to their involvement in enforced pharmaceutical interventions. We nest this within a more general critique of perceived shortcomings of psychiatric services, and injustices therein. Our intention is to consider philosophical and practical complexities of making demands for this conscientious objection before arriving at a speculative appraisal of the potential this may hold for broader aspirations for a transformed or alternative mental health care system, more grounded in consent than coercion. We consider a range of ethical and practical dimensions of how to realise this right to conscientious objection. We also rely upon an abolition democracy lens to move beyond individual ethical frameworks to consider a broader politics for framing these arguments.
... Neste eixo de discussão, é importante destacar que a história da enfermagem está repleta de força coletiva envolvendo uma politização do cuidar, onde enfermeiros praticam uma forma de militância clínica, motivada principalmente por questões de justiça social em relação ao bem-estar do paciente, processadas juntamente com reivindicações por melhores condições de trabalho. Crucialmente, essas histórias em vários contextos internacionais, garantiram melhorias nas relações de trabalho da enfermagem e nos recursos alocados para o cuidado, muitas vezes ao mesmo tempo (15) . ...
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Objective To trigger a reflection on the current working conditions of Nursing professionals in coping with the Covid-19 pandemic. Method A theoretical-reflective study supported by studies from the Marxist perspective, national and international scientific articles, and official documents from the World Health Organization and the Federal Nursing Council. Results The daily work of Nursing professionals in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic presents unfavorable working conditions in Brazil and worldwide, with emphasis on the deficit of professionals, overload of activities, low pay, and personal protective equipment, often insufficient and inadequate, conditions that can lead to exhaustion, illness and death. Conclusion This study can contribute to raising discussions about the need for improvements in the working conditions of Nursing professionals, especially in pandemic times and the impact on the health of these professionals.
... 73 This kind of critique diverts our attention from the violent and uneven inequities perpetuated by neoliberalism. 74 Neoliberalism is predicated on extraction wrought through central principles of decentralization, individ-ualization, and privatization, ultimately benefiting an elite few at the expense of the majority. 75,76 In terms of ethos, neoliberalism is a political and economic ideology that advances the agenda that freedom and liberation are best upheld through free markets and entrepreneurialism. ...
As nurses on this pale blue dot, the impending climate crisis requires us to engage with our world and communities differently if we hope to ensure our planetary survival, human and non. Imagining the next 50 years of nursing theory, we advance a posthuman critique of the discipline. In this article, we lay out a posthumanist critique of nursing. We urge nurses to critically engage with the realities that shape our present and future on a deteriorating planet, decentering the primacy of humans as we engage with the world all around and assemble posthuman tools for our analyses.
This chapter presents a critical appraisal of mental health nursing’s interest in and relationship to advocacy with a view to highlighting the role of advanced practice mental health nurses (APMHNs), amongst other team members, in both performing advocacy and respecting and acting upon the voice of advocates. In this regard, a distinction will be made between nurses taking up an advocacy role and the important role and function of independent advocates, the latter requiring understanding and support from nurses and health-care teams to be maximally effective. Nurses, thus, are charged with a responsibility to be advocates and support other advocates, especially in the case of recognition of the limitations of nurse advocacy. Within the nursing advocacy role, a further distinction will be made between advocating at the level of patient care for meeting the rights and needs of individuals and advocating on a broader stage for social justice ends salient to nursing and health care.KeywordsAdvocacyRightsPoliticsSocial movementsProfessional identity
On 4 February 2021 a group of nurse scholar‐educators, nurses and other interested folks came together for the second of two virtual events to think together about the role of philosophy in the nursing world. The live streamed open access event provided an opportunity in the COVID‐19 pandemic for over 400 people to listen to five nursing scholars' presentations and to interact virtually through comments in chat and on the @IPONSociety Twitter social media platform. By reading the comments and questions that were generated, and by looking at the social media comments related to the event, it is apparent that philosophy is an important thinking practice for nurses but many audience members critically expressed they felt excluded. Critical issues were raised by participants in chat and on Twitter—pointedly around the need for more representative voices—including the imperative to open nursing philosophy to diverse and disparate worldviews. This dialogue provides a summary of critical points raised during the live question and answer session for the panel entitled Addressing Current Debates in Nursing Theory, Education, Practice as well as examing comments selected from the @IPONSociety Twitter space in response to the panel. One commenter said it was great to see the discussion being lifted up from the influential roots of white supremacy, while other nurses expressed that they wished the panellists themselves were more diverse. In discussion of key takeaway, links are made to historical and ongoing structural oppressions in nursing where thinking practices like nursing philosophy and theory are still dominated by world views emanating from positionalities of able‐bodied cis‐gendered heterosexual western eurocentric whiteness.
We wish to advance a theory of nursing that intentionally engages in questions of politics and economics, centering equity and justice as a foundation for the provision of nursing care. As health care costs rise and health disparities widen, nurses have a clear imperative to develop alternative health care delivery models unmoored from the conventional employment and profit-driven structures that now disappoint us. This mandate arises from our disciplinary focus that emphasizes social justice as a social and moral good linked to the human services nurses provide. This kind of sociopolitical engagement is not auxiliary to nursing but rather central to our ethos. A health care environment that prioritizes profit over the well-being of people is an anathema to our disciplinary focus which, we believe, should center communities and people. The health care system that has forged nursing in the United States, transforms nursing into a commodity. This reinscribes inequality for those who are unable to access care, contributes to environmental harm through profligate hospital pollution and waste, and exploits nursing staff as workers. Nurses have a history of both upholding oppressive systems that disenfranchise segments of the public, usually poor, often People of Color, and engaging in innovative alternatives to the status quo. We wish to foster revolutionary alternative care delivery models that free us from the neoliberal confines of for-profit health care. Ultimately, we argue, nursing as a discipline and a science cannot neglect our role as whistleblowers and change agents. Nor can we presuppose that our dysfunctional and harmful health care structure in the United States is a foregone conclusion. Health care is constructed, which means it can be reconstructed. If we wish to realize our emancipatory potential as nurses, critically examining our role in upholding oppressive structures is a critical step toward a more robust future of nursing.
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In this chapter we suggest that education for a critical understanding of democracy is central to the delivery of high-quality patient-centred care. Development of skills and knowledge which support change in practice can and must be brought into the classroom, offering opportunities for positive role modelling and real-time learning. Techniques by which such understandings can be cultivated will be explicitly referred to in the course of the chapter. For the purpose of highlighting these ideas and practices, we refer to selected initiatives focusing upon undergraduate nurse education concerned with professional support for service-user involvement in nursing practice; teaching leadership to registered nurses; and wider general initiatives which bring service-user involvement into practitioner learning in higher education. The exemplars are illustrative and do not claim to be the only examples of our focus on involvement and democracy across the three universities. They are, however, initiatives in which we have been substantially involved.
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There has recently been a re-emergence of interest in non-reductive historical materialist modes for analysing social movements. A precursor of this is found in the work of mental health activist and Marxist theorist Peter Sedgwick. We contend that Sedgwick’s work retains utility for theorising radical mental health movements in the twenty-first century, though we argue his framework needs extension in light of intervening debates regarding the interaction of material (distributive) and post-material (recognition) concerns. Having established this we will turn to an overview of recent neoliberal work, welfare and mental health policy reforms as a basis for consideration of strategic implications and challenges for resistance and coalition building amongst survivor and worker activists. We will propose a contemporary Sedgwickian strategy that identifies transitional organizing goals combining concrete material demands with imaginative, prefigurative means oriented towards ruptural change. In conclusion we argue that tools for promoting this strategy such as the Social Work Action Network’s (SWAN) Mental Health Charter may assist in binding together diverse constituencies to strengthen alliances of resistance and deepen a politics of solidarity.
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Yep, fuck it. Neoliberalism sucks. We don't need it.
The terms neoliberalism and neoliberal play a variety of roles ranging from major to trivial in the papers they appear in. Both phrases carry pejorative connotations in nurse writing. Yet irrespective of the role assumed in argument, readers are rarely provided with enough information to determine what the descriptors mean in a substantive or concrete sense. It is proposed that scholars who use these terms in their work should consider expressing themselves more carefully than often occurs at present. Virtue signalling in academic writing should, absent critical argument, be discouraged.
The 1998 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London and subsequent extradition proceedings sent an electrifying wave through the international community. This legal precedent for bringing a former head of state to trial outside his home country signaled that neither the immunity of a former head of state nor legal amnesties at home could shield participants in the crimes of military governments. It also allowed victims of torture and crimes against humanity to hope that their tormentors might be brought to justice. In this meticulously researched volume, Naomi Roht-Arriaza examines the implications of the litigation against members of the Chilean and Argentine military governments and traces their effects through similar cases in Latin American and Europe. Roht-Arriaza discusses the difficulties in bringing violators of human rights to justice at home, and considers the role of transitional justice in transnational prosecutions and investigations in the national courts of countries other than those where the crimes took place. She traces the roots of the landmark Pinochet case and follows its development and those of related cases, through Spain, the United Kingdom, elsewhere in Europe, and then through Chile, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. She situates these transnational cases within the context of an emergent International Criminal Court, as well as the effectiveness of international law and of the lawyers, judges, and activists working together across continents to make a new legal paradigm a reality. Interviews and observations help to contextualize and dramatize these compelling cases. These cases have tremendous ramifications for the prospect of universal jurisdiction and will continue to resonate for years to come. Roht-Arriaza's deft navigation of these complicated legal proceedings elucidates the paradigm shift underlying this prosecution as well as the traction gained by advocacy networks promoting universal jurisdiction in recent decades. Copyright