Feb 10, 2022
In this episode Josh interviews Charlie Frank, an independent marxist researcher currently studying the history of AIDS in the United States. He is on the general staff of Cosmonaut magazine, a member of St Louis DSA and a candidate member of the Marxist Unity Group.
Josh interviews Charlie about his article in Cosmonaut Magazine, entitled “ACT UP, Fight Back: A History of AIDS in America.” In conversation Charlie talks about the history of AIDS and how imperialist capitalism or international monopoly capitalism fueled the spread of the AIDS epidemic in the US.
The bulk of the conversation is about the development of political resistance to the AIDS crisis, most prominently in the organization ACT UP. Charlie also discusses the weak governmental response to the crisis, and areas where ACT UP was successful, as well as areas in which the response to the AIDS crisis continues to fall short - in eliminating the epidemic among Black and racialized populations in the US, and internationally - due to the problems created by a capitalist health system and an insufficient organizing response.
Along the way Josh asks Charlie about some resonances between the responses to the COVID pandemic and the AIDS epidemic in the political economy of the US. And they discuss their perspectives on some of the issues that come up when socialist organizations try to engage or alternatively don’t engage in mass struggles like the AIDS crisis, or the most recent rebellions after the police lynching of George Floyd.
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