An Anarchist Response to Hep C & HIV

As a woman living with HIV, I am often asked whether there will ever be a cure for AIDS. My answer is that there is already a cure. It lies in the strength of women, families and communities, who support and empower each other to break the silence around HIV/AIDS and take control…
— Beatrice Were, Ugandan AIDS activist

Publication from project:

Alexander McClelland & Zoë Dodd. (2016). Thoughts on an Anarchist Response to Hepatitis C and HIV. Perspectives Journal on Anarchist Theory, Anarcha-Feminisms, 29. Institute for Anarchist Theory.

This ongoing project was developed collaboratively between Zoë Dodd and Alexander McClelland, as well as through a series of discussions with a wide range of activists, workers, anarchists, and people living with Hep C and/or HIV in Canada. We have developed this out of our decades of experience in addressing Hep C and HIV, our frustrations, our optimism and our desire to see “the complete destruction of the domination and exploitation of person by person… a conscious and desired solidarity… We want bread, freedom, love, and science—for everybody” - Emma Goldman.

Activism on AIDS and Hep C often centres on documenting the violent impacts of the state. This results in activists and community groups working to address aspects of administrative state violence that exacerbate the two diseases. But at the same time, a vast majority of community organizing around AIDS and Hep C revolves around making defensive claims on the state, including claims for human rights, funding, and entitlements of citizenship. Despite organizing initiatives for mutual aid, people living with HIV and Hep C rely on medications for survival—medications produced by massive multinational capitalist corporations.

Through an historical analysis of the response to AIDS and Hep C, and an engagement with social anarchist theories including concepts of mutual aid and self-care, we have been working a document proposing an anarchist response to address HIV and Hep C.

This theoretical project strives to reconceptualize and reconsider the paradoxical relationships that health responses have with the state, and that people living with HIV and Hep C have with corporations. Through applying social anarchist principles to the HIV and Hep C responses we hope to address ways to put the actualization of health back into the hands of the people most impacted by the diseases.

Supported by The Institute for Anarchist Studies

Thanks to Artscape Gibralter Point