By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit.
The tactic of dividing movements to weaken them has been used throughout history. It was used skillfully to divide proponents of single payer health care during the health reform process in 2009-10 that resulted in the Affordable Care Act. And it is being used very obviously again.
In 2009, progressives were led to believe that a proposal called a public option was more ‘politically feasible’ than single payer and that it would be a back door, which would ultimately lead to a single payer system. Tens of millions of dollars were given to progressive organizations to form a front group, Health Care for America Now, to build support for the public option and suppress discussion of single payer. White House staff, particularly Jim Messina, met with progressive organizations weekly to instruct them in what they could and could not say. Members of Congress were given talking points and not allowed to deviate.Commercial media was also complicit, refusing to cover single payer advocates and repeating misinformation about the health reform proposals.
Now that momentum is building for a National Improved Medicare for All system, the pushback by the establishment will be even stronger. We will need to prepare ourselves to remain firm in our conviction that we must fight for Improved Medicare for All now. We must understand the arguments that are being against us and be prepared to respond to them. We must be the media to counter misinformation that is promoted. We must not allow ourselves to be divided or forced into a compromised position. If we remain strong, we can win. We are so close.
As Gandhi said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.” We are in the final phase before victory. It is still a few years out, but after decades of struggle, we can bring the United States to achieve a universal health care system.
We are creating a live document where we can refine messaging and share memes and social media posts. Please refer to it as necessary and use the information to take regular action to expose attempts to weaken our struggle. Comment on articles in the media, share the information on your own social media and use these points in your daily conversations.
It is up to us. Nobody else is going to wage this struggle for us. Have courage. You do and will make a difference.