Activism and the Corporate State

The discussion in the Ecks article underlined, for me, the idea that activism and advocacy appear to be suffering from a type of identity crisis that comes out of the fact that this type of work is attempting to tackle issues that exist and are framed in a capitalist and neoliberalist system. As is observed primarily in the opening and closing of the piece, this system is self-perpetuating and attempts at advocacy simply form another cog in the process, whereby there is a  “fostering [of] collective structures that enhance profitability, such as pro-corporate patient activism” (178).

This is interesting to me because much discussion that I have encountered in feminist and/or socialist activist communities props itself up on the notion of the collective as being the “solution”, if there can be such a thing, to any number of the corporate ills that plague us all, create systems of inequity &c. The case of Novartis and Gilvec and the multitude of players as described by Ecks seems to imply, and quite convincingly so, that the notion of a collective, such as patient advocacy groups, rather than forming a radical presence and serving as a vehicle for debate, can itself form a part of capitalist structures that it attempts to dismantle.

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