Proletarianization and politics

Posted: 30 May 2011 in Uncategorized
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Historically, the proletarianization of different social groups—craft workers, peasants, small business people, and so on—has led to a move to the Left in their politics. The latest group to be forced to have the freedom to sell their labor power, and to undergo a change in their politics, are medical doctors.

According to the New York Times,

Doctors were once overwhelmingly male and usually owned their own practices. They generally favored lower taxes and regularly fought lawyers to restrict patient lawsuits. Ronald Reagan came to national political prominence in part by railing against “socialized medicine” on doctors’ behalf.

But doctors are changing. They are abandoning their own practices and taking salaried jobs in hospitals, particularly in the North, but increasingly in the South as well. Half of all younger doctors are women, and that share is likely to grow.

There are no national surveys that track doctors’ political leanings, but as more doctors move from business owner to shift worker, their historic alliance with the Republican Party is weakening from Maine as well as South Dakota, Arizona and Oregon, according to doctors’ advocates in those and other states.

Maybe now, as doctors find their new left-wing proletarian voice—and join other, already proletarianized healthcare workers—we’ll see growing support for a real solution to the healthcare crisis in the United States.

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