Health Autonomy Reader 6guts.pdf
towards health autonomy:
an interview with dr. frank
Name the materials necessary for the common good, or how
about just your top three. Health is an arguable front-runner, no?
It should be way up there, alongside things like freedom and the
Medical care’s active role in healing denotes its intrinsic value to
our common human experience, and for that our communities
have a real dependence on Healthcare. Please note its capital ‘h’.
The medical industrial complex touts both material and nonmaterial forces in its ranks. Knowledge, profit, and taste keep us under
the authority of Health. Yet there could be hope. According to my
friend and comrade Dr. Frank, we may be living through a time of
immense change in the way health services function.
the lungs, and so on. But these actions take more time and demand
more attention than the ordering of a scan — which is what the patient asks for, so powerful is the imagers’ marketing. It is necessary
to spread a whole new conception of medicine, among both doctors
and patients, since the apparatuses will remain in place for many
years once the industrial lobbies have been made powerless to do
These tendencies in public health will doubtless reappear elsewhere,
in food and agriculture as well as scientific research. To create the
irreversible, it is at local level that new ideas will see the light of day
and unexpected solutions will be invented. The main task at higher
levels will be to erase the after-effects of the old world.
Frank and I met at Woodbine, an experimental hub in Ridgewood,
Queens that hosts workshops, lectures, and discussions. It serves as
an organizing space for various autonomous projects. The Woodbine collective means to develop the skills, practices, and tools
for building autonomy. They also serve a mean communal dinner
For Frank, Woodbine represents both the material and the ideal. “It
is a local aggregating point, a space for ideas to take shape, while on
a larger level it exists for the goal of building a revolutionary life.”
He says the way to build that life is to build communally, to find the
means for collectivities to grow, and to shape them in a way that
overcomes the limitations of the context we find ourselves in today.
In search of the common good, I asked Dr. Frank how we might
address Health dependency, if he could imagine entirely different
models than what are offered, and what he suggests we do now to
develop generative communal health care.