Leftist bollocks from the usual suspects

For a chronological reflection, starting from the present and working backwards,  of aspects of the Covid1984 permanent crisis see this

head in sand

Scroll down to “ADDED 30/12/20” for my response to various crap on libcom distorting most of what I’ve said .

A response to this.

A pathetic crap article, yet another Covidiocy, typical of leftism, even in its “libertarian” forms, which has totally failed to get to grips with the misery of state and capitalist impositions of social control with the pretext of the virus. It’s a reactive article almost as reactionary as the rubbish spewed out by the racist and nationalist millionaire rock stars it condemns.

For example, recent scientific research has shown that masks worn outside are utterly ineffective (see this: https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/societe/le-masque-en-exterieur-est-il-un-moyen-de-lutte-efficace-contre-l-epidemie-20201211), but because these 2 arseholes, Clapton and Van Morrison, oppose masks this text feels the need to support them, even though they’re not only unnecessary outdoors but intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets, and are even unhealthy because you breathe in your own bacteria.

It counterposes “expertise, experience and data from healthcare professionals, epidemiologists, etc.” to conspiracy theories and reactionary talking points, as if the “expertise, experience and data from healthcare professionals, epidemiologists, etc. “ wasn’t itself contradictory and in any case open to questioning regardless of their differences.  In Science We Trust. Nowhere is there a critique of dominant science, as if to suggest, let alone embark on, such a thing would put you in the same camp as Trump and religious anti-Darwinism. The perspective of the realisation and suppression of science is beyond this Leftist ideologue. The notion of using aspects of evidence-based science against a blanket submissive respect for “Science” with a capital S  is a no-go area for people lacking in all curiosity, research and adventure outside of habitually trodden paths. Denunciation of “conspiracy theories” has now become a knee-jerk reaction to anything that dares to question the connection between scientific “experts”, state and capital, the interaction of capitalist interests.

Comrade Motopu’s criticism (one could hardly call it critique) succumbs to the false choice of pro-lockdown against the anti-lockdown positions and of anti-mask v. pro-mask. It even ends up with an uncritical pro-vaccination position. As if the constant vaccinations that will be necessary at least every 6 months because the mutations and variations of the virus will necessitate constant changes in the vaccine (a vaccination available after just 6 or 7 months’ research, when 10 years is the more usual time necessary for a safe vaccine) is the cavalry come to save us all from this shit and not something that will greatly contribute to weakening the body politic, helping to reduce resistance, both internal and external. Nowhere does this leftism point out that it will only be an informed social movement which could begin to confront the ever-tightening interaction between the state, the pharmaceutical companies, the manipulative scientists and other “experts” and the totality of pro and anti ideologies that colonise people like Comrade Motopu and the totalitarianism of present and future developments. No – until the magic wand of a vaccine, it’s “paying people to stay home” (as if various states haven’t done this, admittedly at reduced wages, though some leftists have described these as “socialist” measures) . Why has the state done this? Because going out and socialising doesn’t only mean going out to pay absorbitant wads of cash to listen to rock star millionaires in a claustrophobic atmosphere repeating the same old tunes we long ago got bored with. It also means being able to do things the state does not want us to do – discuss, organise , demonstrate, strike and occupy together. But Comrade Motopu wants us to rely on “the federal institutions … best placed to protect people and mobilize effective measures to fight the spread of the plague”.

When you take the opposite point of view of the Right you end up utterly defined by them and can’t assert a single independent point of view that recognises that “in a world that is upside down the true is a moment of the false”  and the false is a moment of the true. In the current climate, the Right are the prime recuperators of anger, with the Left demanding things some states are imposing with a vengeance. At the beginning of this crisis one could maybe forgive that but 9 months later it’s just an expression of acute laziness, of a total absence of critical vigilance, of submission to classic either/or Manichean choices.

Amongst those who define themselves as class struggle libertarians it’s become  de rigeur to proclaim the need for a total one-size-fits-all lockdown regardless of specific situations.  Daring to question the contradictions and miseries that such a “solution” imposes runs head on into a circle-the-wagons-mentality of everyone self-righteously denouncing you simplistically as an inconsiderate individualist right-wing arsehole that most people in this milieu can’t even begin to unravel, let alone express, their doubts, fearful of becoming a target of strawman arguments that will be too wearing to confront. And yet remaining silent about such doubts just reinforces the whole sense of impotence in the face of this relentless tangled  onslaught of false choices.

– 22/12/20

***

The above was posted to libcom by Nymphalis Antiopa who often contributes to Dialectical Delinquents.  The following is my response to the responses on libcom.

Comrade Motopu gives a good example of what  I said above: “When you take the opposite point of view of the Right you end up utterly defined by them and can’t assert a single independent point of view…”. S/he writes that Le Figaro is “far right”. It’s not – it’s mainstream right, though admittedly yesterday’s far right is now mainstream. But it’s always been standard mainstream right, but hardly worse than mainstream liberal/left-wing media. For example, France’s “Liberation” and “Le Monde”  supported the 1991 Gulf war, the UK’s  Guardian and the US’s  New York Times mostly supported it also, along with supporting the Kosovo war of 1999. Does that automatically negate everything else they say? Does the fact that the link I put to the site about Pfizer is to a Corbynite site negate the value of what the ex-soldier says about Pfizer? Likewise, even if Le Figaro  were nazis  that wouldn’t in itself negate what it says. Hitler’s scientists did research showing the link between smoking cigarettes and cancer, some 10 years or more before the American Cancer Society and thousands of US doctors and scientists reversed their previous notion that smoking was fine. If CM’s stupid reactive logic were consistent, s/he’d be recommending smoking along with all those pre-1953 American scientists and doctors. Even our worst enemies sometimes get it right. For example, the other day Marine Le Pen said the sky was blue.

*

Re. R.Totale’s post, whilst some of it’s pertinent, the notion that masks protect you from CCTV cameras is not necessarily correct. Apparently even those wearing surgical masks can  be identified by the latest in Facial Recognition Cameras ( https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-facial-recognition/even-mask-wearers-can-be-idd-china-facial-recognition-firm-says-idUSKBN20W0WL )

A Chinese company says it has developed the country’s first facial recognition technology that can identify people when they are wearing a mask, as most are these days because of the coronavirus, and help in the fight against the disease.”  The head of the company that has developed this has said, “When wearing a mask, the recognition rate can reach about 95%, which can ensure that most people can be identified”. Sure, the state wants to present itself as all-seeing and all-powerful in order to reinforce our sense of impotence and the phrase “can reach about 95%” already implies that there’s likely to be an element of hype in all this, but that remains to be seen (or, hopefully, not seen). But there’s no reason to be complacent. Iris recognition is the new future. But maybe sunglasses are a protection.

Moreover when he refers to those for whom “mask-wearing frees them of social expectations from the nose down at least” that at least is a choice, but masks have been made compulsory – even in areas where before they were compulsory there were no severe cases of Covid.  Making them legally compulsory, with often a heavy fine for those who don’t conform to this irrationality, is as bad as forbidding foulards (Muslim scarves) for women

However, when I wrote that masks “intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets” I meant that you can’t even see people’s smiles or frowns, that you can’t  make funny faces at kids, that it reinforces people being trapped in their heads. This doesn’t matter to those who are already constantly stuck in their heads listening to something on their headphones or glued to the screen on their smartphone but for those who find some consolation in even the most superficial of  non-virtual human contact, it just adds to the weariness of daily life. In addition, you constantly have to raise your  voice to a strained level that doesn’t come naturally or repeat yourself because you haven’t been heard from behind the mask. This in addition to all those people who have no power finding that their masters have suddenly given them a crumb of hierarchical power because now even the lowest of the low can tick someone off for not having covered their nose in the supermarket or library or wherever. All of which gives daily alienation an extra dose of wear-and-tear, intensifying  irritability, adding to a sense of despair with humanity.

*

Re. Red Marriott’s quote – “A global team of public health experts at Learnaboutcovid19 also told Reuters there was “no evidence” to suggest face masks can increase the chance of developing pneumonia, “or any other bacterial, fungal or viral infection in the lungs”. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-factcheck-pneumonia/fact-check-people-… “ Well, maybe. But others have said the opposite: https://perma.cc/V2UH-DZT3?type=image

The masks on the market do nothing to protect people from the virus. They’re not sterile, unlike the ones you find in hospitals and you shouldn’t wear one for longer than 15 or 20 minutes, otherwise they are transformed into incubators for bacteria. And even worse are the masks made out of material, which are veritable collectors of bacteria because they’re porous.” – Antoine Khoury, microbiologist

There’s also this:

https://jdmichel.blog.tdg.ch/archive/2020/11/24/covid-faut-il-de-confiner-oui-et-en-super-urgence-310935.html

“To give just two examples, the famous long-suspended Danish study has finally been published with the conclusions one might expect: wearing a mask in the general population does not prevent contamination by Covid. The authors have accepted some political contortions in their conclusion, but the fact remains: this measure, which no pandemic plan had ever considered, so absurd that it is, has no justification in terms of the cost / benefit balance and would therefore never have had to be imposed. Another study has just been published in Nature which concludes (based on research carried out in Wuhan) that asymptomatic people are largely not otherwise infectious. “Compared to symptomatic patients, asymptomatic infected individuals generally have a low amount of viral loads and a short duration of viral shedding, which decreases the risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 5. In the present study, the culture virus was performed on specimens from asymptomatic positive cases, and found no viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. All close contacts of asymptomatic positive cases tested negative, indicating that asymptomatic positive cases detected in this study were unlikely to be infectious. There were no positive tests among 1,174 close contacts of asymptomatic cases.”

The only possible use of a mask is for symptomatic people only during the time they are symptomatic. It’s highly probable (since in science it’s always a question of  working with hypotheses, it’s advisable to remain cautious) that everything that has been imposed on us for months – with the force of propaganda – has had no real use, with monstrous costs for individuals and for community.

Besides, Covid can enter the eyes and  be conveyed by touch, so maybe everyone should be compelled to wear goggles and gloves, and then Leftists like Comrade Motopu would probably be thankful that “the federal institutions … best placed to protect people and mobilize effective measures to fight the spread of the plague” were at long last allowed to do their job.

**

I see 3 very general categories of responses to the various “experts” who we are somehow forced to partly rely on if only to get some vague idea about what’s what.

First category is probably the most prevalent, which is that of Greta Thunberg, who said “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science. This of course goes for all crises.” This is a kind of “Who am I to decide if this or that is true or not?” attitude, the self-effacing avoidance of all striving for autonomy on the part of those who  submit to dominant society even if they don’t necessarily seem to respect it or aspects of it. 

Yet, given the enormous contradictory “facts” spewed out by scientists and other experts, a second stance is almost as common –  each individual, regardless of the precise extent of their precise knowledge, is forced back onto their own opinion, in  much the same way as if what you accept and don’t accept amongst all the questions thrown up by this permanent crisis is just a matter of taste.  In other words, people are cherry-picking information that confirms their previously held opinions, leaving understanding down to a purely arbitrary question of subjective choice or to your own prejudices.  Almost invariably people will find some  “scientific fact” to provide ‘objective’ proof for these tastes and prejudices.

But there’s also a third attitude, a more honest one – acceptance of your own  confusion whilst submitting  to the politics behind this confusion, justified in terms of an inability to decide which  ideas are valid because you can’t  check all the other positions/angles/facts. But this is another expression of resignation.

Whether it be those who accept the apparent objectivity of science, those who  resort to a purely subjective  selection of 57 varieties of facts dependent on whom they happen to read on the internet,  or those who more honestly admit to resigning themselves to the chaos and confusion imposed by dominant society, the imposed madness which seems to be an essential part of of its principle political strategy – all of them seem to have, at best, only one  aim – to make themselves and others as healthy as they think they were before this crisis, health being defined narrowly as being protected against the virus.  This conservative  aim, which is anyway an impossible dream and a nostalgic falsification of the misery of  pre-Covid times, thus wants desperately to believe in the saviour of a vaccine (or, more rationally, but less common in Western societies, other more tried and trusted immune-boosting methods).

Those who want to contribute to the revolutionary destruction of a society hell-bent on destroying all sense and the vast majority of human beings potentially able to destroy this senseless society, will have to pit themselves against these false choices. As part of this they will need to unravel aspects of the medical science surrounding Covid with the aim of subverting dominant discourse, past, present and future. Accepting science without filtering it through critical vigilance means acquiescence to developments that’ll be even worse than, though very different from,  the Industrial Revolution was for the peasantry. Selection of facts is inevitable, but selection that achieves progress towards clarity has to look at contradictory ‘facts’ as well as strive to unravel the reasons for these contradictions rather than be based on notions of objectivity or prejudiced taste or fatalistic resignation to confusion.  Questioning everything is a major aspect of the struggle to free oneself of received ideas,  unconscious taste, and the fog of contradictory information. It’s a major aspect of  breaking with excessive reliance on experts and science as well as  the domination of the past over the present, a major aspect of developing a genuine health – the  health of an attack on the totality of unhealthy conditions.

 

ADDED 30/12/20 (slightly modified 31/12):

This is my response to the latest distortions from libcom:

Nymphalis Antiopa on Libcom, in response to a mixture of quotes from me and things he said himself, got this reply from Red Marriot (RM):

“having co-ordinated a global conspiracy to securely falsify the scientific evidence; with all their resources they’ve used that to – MAKE US WEAR MASKS WHEN WE GO SHOPPING AND FOR MANY TO NOT WORK. If that’s all they have in their repressive arsenal we have little to worry about.”

In fact what I wrote, which NA quoted, doesn’t say anything of the sort – it says “For example, recent scientific research has shown that masks worn outside are utterly ineffective (see this: https://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/societe/le-masque-en-exterieur-est-il-un-moyen-de-lutte-efficace-contre-l-epidemie-20201211), but because these 2 arseholes, Clapton and Van Morrison, oppose masks this text feels the need to support them, even though they’re not only unnecessary outdoors but intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets, and are even unhealthy because you breathe in your own bacteria.”

I emphasise OUTSIDE – therefore not a reference to wearing them in shops or for whatever he means by “AND FOR MANY TO NOT WORK“. So almost all the rest of the discussion about masks is irrelevant to what I (and NA) have said. Now I may have got it wrong and perhaps been over-reactive to dominant discourse and state-imposed restrictions, as research has been contradictory, but there’s nothing in what I’ve said that says there’s a conspiracy. Far easier to have a pseudo-riposte to a caricature, a strawman, a jokey parody of someone’s position to make readers smile and warm to you than with what someone in fact says. Crude demagogy – gets all those upped votes from the libcommers eager to be manipulated by some politico because that’s what so many of them are used to doing themselves that they’re blind to it from others except when it’s directed at them.

RM virtually never concedes anything – regarding such concessions as weakness. Accepting anything from someone he dislikes would burst his ego. So, regardless of the accuracy of his “critiques” he invariably digs his heels in, whilst indulging in head-banging arguments that falsify those with whom he argues with. A politician mentality without any desire for state power but clearly with a desire to maintain his “theoretician”-type credibility on libcom, where he gets up votes for his gross distortions of someone who’s publicly an enemy of libcom. The recognition that RM has misrepresented what I have said is ignored because almost no-one on libcom likes me, and in dominant social relations what you accept from someone is unfortunately directly related to whether you like them or not, ignoring the fact that affection or repulsion or their absence  are also subject to the contradictions of this world.

The bacteria thing was a side issue mentioned because there’s anecdotal evidence from where I live (South West France) that people have had increased coughs and sneezes without it being diagnosed as Covid. Not important really and RM may even be right. But…

In France,  Spain and Israel (and other countries) wearing masks outside is compulsory. In France since the end of July, though not everywhere. The amount of deaths in the 5 months since August, when it became compulsory almost everywhere, is considerably greater than the period before when it wasn’t compulsory. In my small town (pop. 6000) up until the imposition of compulsory mask-wearing, non-compliance with which can get you fined 130 euros, there was not one single severe case of Covid. Not exactly a study that conforms to “scientific protocol” but it should make people question things a bit more than RM’s convenient and opportunist reliance on “consensus” (see earlier posts by him), as if he conforms to the consensus on almost any other subject.

In fact, despite RM’s and others recourse to “the consensus”, there is no consensus on the efficacy of masks (moreover consensus itself is being manipulated by state repression – and not just in China.; in France, doctors are fearful of disagreeing with the consensus because of various sackings and the threat of a trial against the most well-known of the dissidents – Didier Raoult).  The Danish study – https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817 – is usually seen as inconclusive, though it says, amongst all the mathematical calculations, that wearing them outside is useless. It emphasises the uselessness of surgical masks outside, but other studies have said surgical masks are better than cloth masks. It does not demonstrate the uselessness of the mask when it comes to a sick person who is in prolonged contact with others in a confined environment, which is obvious. Other reports say that they’re not useful:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343399832_Face_masks_lies_damn_lies_and_public_health_officials_A_growing_body_of_evidence

– which is then apparently debunked by this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343263629_A_Complete_Debunking_of_Denis_Rancourt%27s_Mask_Don%27t_Work

But these are interesting:

https://www.kairospresse.be/article/port-du-masque-systematique/

Google translate:

While the measures taken in Belgium making it compulsory to wear a mask in many public places seem to go without saying for some, many doubts remain as to their real effectiveness. At Kairos, we are in contact with doctors who have opinions contrasting with the official voice. We relay their analyzes and concerns.

The mask saga has kept us busy all spring and continues to do so. Tragicomic or shameful depending on the reading that each citizen was kind enough to give it. Useless to compulsory in all places and all circumstances, the reversal of politicians’ jackets has been well known to us since Jacques Dutronc’s song. The inconstancy of those we call experts is, on the other hand, a new phenomenon which surprises and is obviously likely to encourage politicians to vary their messages over time and to destabilize citizens who, more often than not, come down to following their judgment. own or that of his next door neighbor. Can this versatility in the scientific world be explained? To issue a scientific opinion on the risk-benefit of a medical intervention, whether it is a drug, a medical device (prostheses, pace-maker, implant, etc.) or a preventive gesture, requires a structured approach: appointment of experts, evaluation procedure and consensus opinion. Are these 3 essential elements met in the case of wearing a mask as an element in the fight against Covid-19?
Procedures and conflicts of interest? Move along, there’s nothing to see !

The Prime Minister formed her group of experts on April 6, called the GEES [the group of experts preparing Belgium’s exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown] on the basis of a deep belief in collective intelligence. Contrary to what one might think, it is not only a question of scientists since we also find Johnny Thijs, director of companies such as Electrabel and Pierre Wunsch, governor of the National Bank of Belgium and a long-time Reyndersian. A mixed composition cleverly designed to qualify the opinions of scientific experts. The Prime Minister’s website also says nothing about the procedure for appointing this group or any conflicts of interest of its members, which does not bode well in terms of transparency. One of the missions of the GEES is to “provide analyzes and recommendations”. This therefore implies a description of the evaluation procedures used as each time this type of work is carried out within, for example, scientific societies or the drug reimbursement commission. Here again, the Première’s site is silent.

Let us come to the masks and the successive recommendations. On January 28, the Soir-titre: “wearing a mask is useless and ineffective according to the Belgian health authorities”. Marc Van Ranst, future member of the GEES and Steven Van Gucht, spokesperson for the government express that “it is useless and is even potentially dangerous”. On April 5, the day before the constitution of the GEES, the Minister of Health Maggie De Block communicated that “wearing a mask scientifically does not make sense”. Other scientists will gradually argue against his positions. On April 24, the GEES issues a strategic report for the deconfinement. Wearing a mask is strongly recommended in public spaces from the age of 12, but not yet compulsory. The scientific basis for this recommendation is not disclosed. At the end of April, Erika Vlieghe, who chairs the GEES, says in the Morgen that “the mask is a layer of varnish”. Finally, on July 17, a new report recommends wearing masks even indoors when spaces bring many people together for extended periods of time and social distancing cannot be respected. This new report tells us that could last until after winter, with the arrival of a vaccine.

It does not seem that opinions are necessarily unanimous or the subject of a consensus within the GEES, which is not surprising given its composition. Is there a scientific basis for these changes in opinion? Traditionally, for decades, we have relied on making scientific recommendations on what is called evidence-based medicine. The highest level of evidence which allows a strong level of recommendation is obtained by obtaining multiple studies of high methodological quality comparing an option A to an option B and which allows the recommendation that a treatment or a procedure is beneficial, useful and efficient, this which means that it presents a favorable cost-benefit. The lowest level of evidence is obtained on the basis of expert opinion or small, non-comparative studies.

What about wearing the generalized mask in a Covid-19 situation and what justifies the change in position of the GEES? On March 3, the Cochrane research group, the pope of evidence-based medicine, a non-profit association of 28,000 scientists in more than 100 countries, published that “if certain gestures such as washing your hands or wearing gloves or a mask can perhaps reducing the spread of respiratory viruses the evidence is very low ”. Another systematic study published this year by Marasinghe of the University of Waterloo in Canada also concludes that there is no evidence of the benefit of compulsory mask wearing. Since then, only a German publication using a model comparing several regions where the compulsory wearing of the mask has been introduced goes in a different direction, but here again the level of evidence is insufficient.
What should we conclude from this?

1. There is no sufficiently established scientific argument today to impose the wearing of a mask on the entire population.

2. Recommendations issued to the public by a group of experts must be justified by proven and strong scientific evidence. This is not the case with the GEES.

3. These recommendations must be transparent and the evidence on which they are based must be accessible to all. In their absence, the recommendations are likely to confuse the population, inducing rebellious behavior linked to a strong loss of confidence. The risk of accelerated spread of the virus is significant. There is also a great risk of seeing scientists who are not part of the GEES express divergent opinions in the media, further accentuating the public’s unease. This is what is happening today.

4. The current strategic option goes totally against the evolution of modern medicine: the concept of “one size fits all” is completely outdated. Different recommendations must be given to subgroups of society: health professionals, frail people, asymptomatic carriers and relatives of infected patients.

5. Experts need to provide a precise risk-benefit analysis of the systematic wearing of the mask for each of these groups.

6. The opinions issued must be in consultation with neighboring countries in view of the easy access to the media of these countries by citizens. A cacophony of recommendations also has an extremely detrimental effect on compliance with them. This is what we can observe with France in particular.

7. Finally, we may be surprised that no study has been initiated at European level on the usefulness of wearing a mask in view of the lack of scientific evidence and the particularly high cost of this strategy. The virulent criticism of Professor Raoult’s essays, imperfect though they were, contrasts sharply with a strategy based on the scientific vacuum with regard to the wearing of the mask. It is far from certain that such a study would come out positive, but at least we would be fixed. As if we already considered that only a vaccine can save us all and that it is necessary to maintain the anxiety of the wider population in order to guarantee mass vaccination of the carpet bombing type, in view of the colossal investments to which the European community has largely contributed.

– Cardiologist, anonymous

and this from the same site:

https://www.kairospresse.be/article/politique-du-masque/

“The mask: a great opportunity to argue, to divide us, and to leave the field even more open to the power of experts and States. Because while some talk about health, others think about politics. Basically, is it so incompatible?

It would be easy to begin this article with the beautiful “inversion of the genitive” which has so much more to Marx and Engels: from the philosophy of misery to the misery of philosophy, and so on, to the Situationists who have used it. to satiety. However, if the policy of the mask is indeed a way of masking politics, it is not just any policy that masks the mask, but a specific policy. Unveiling what, in our opinion, wears the mask and which is hidden behind can only have the first consequence of separating us from a few comrades who will wear, or not, the mask, and will have, on the mask again and again, a practical position. different from ours.

This is the first success of the mask policy: far from being primarily a health barrier, it is above all a subject of discussion, and even better (for the authorities): of disputes. And these disputes, in the climate of chaos and inconsistencies and fears that is that of this year 2020 – and which is likely to intensify even further in the future since it has been at least half a century since the Fear is the basis of politics – of these disputes, therefore, it is very likely that discordances will appear such that they will amplify to divisions or even schism.

Therein lies the master stroke: if some think that the health policy of social distancing is so crucial that it must transcend the divisions between us to somehow reconstitute a human species fighting all in concert for its own preservation, and this even if the price to pay is called precisely social distancing – and in reality the rupture of a number of social ties -, then we can without much risk prophesy that those who will think “on the margins” and will not believe in the virtues of the mask as a tool of reconstruction of humanity will find themselves even more on the margins: stigmatized as enemies. Not class enemies, because it has been a long time since the recomposition of the (proletarian) class was abandoned by its very singers. The stigmatized-marginalized will be referred to simply as enemies of mankind. Even life.

In the politics of the mask, we see above all the mask of a certain policy, that which brandishes health fear, which creates fear through inconsistency, and therefore a real politics of fear. It is of course the fear of health that justifies the measures, but it is easy to show that the health policy itself is inconsistent. We wear a mask, and we have to wear it in some closed places, but some closed places are more prone to virus exchange than others. Trains, for example, usually group together travelers who share a route or a portion of a route, but before arriving at the station of departure? and after exiting the arrival station? These travelers may be carriers of viruses from afar, or take viruses contracted on the train with them when they get off the train, far from their place of origin. However, and to limit the commercial abyss of the railways in 2020, travelers are not subjected, on the trains, to measures of social distancing as rigorous as in other places which are sometimes less closed. Everyone will be able to complete the list of inconsistencies at their leisure, and possibly be satisfied with a basic banality: even if the mask is not used very much, this is never a reason not to do everything possible where we can in the goal of avoiding spreading the epidemic. Certainly, but this is where the bottom line of the mask policy comes into play: it only aims to increase the level of fear even further, at a time when the epidemic itself seems to be stalling, at least in Europe. It is not the mask itself that increases the level of fear, since it would, conversely, calm some people; what is scary is to see, all around us, all these masked people, while our imagination, and even our simple condition of living beings, invites us from eternity not to mask ourselves. If carnival offers us this possibility, it is precisely because carnival is a reversal of the usual order of norms. Could it be that the standards of our society are being overthrown? Especially not: the power of experts remains very strong, and that of States does not waver …

But if the mask is first of all the mask of a policy, the question is necessarily: was the mask imposed for health reasons, or to increase the level of fear? The second option will necessarily be qualified as “conspiratorial”, a term whose success has not been denied since September 11, 2001. Once again, the division is shaping up between us, who are to varying degrees opponents of the politics of the fear – in the absence, precisely, of being all of them to the politics of the mask. To free ourselves from this sort of semantic and political trap, let’s offer another point of view.

Among the front-line supporters of the mask, some are driven by simple health considerations, others by the banal idea that it is better to take all precautions regardless of the cost in terms of freedoms; a few others, genuinely cynical, try to stay in power by increasing fear. Let us note first of all that, in this last square, there can be both politicians and scientists, without forgetting of course the pharmaceutical trusts which also have everything to gain from this pandemic anyway. But the most important thing is that, finally, the compulsory wearing of the mask brings together these three main categories of people, all favorable to the mask, and that it is thus, whatever we may think of its health utility, a good tool to expand the policy of profiling, population control. And it does not matter, it does not even matter at all whether those who make the final decisions do so out of health concerns, out of a desire to cover themselves up a priori or out of outright political cynicism. The result is there: the end justifies the means.

In this case, we believe that no end can justify abject means, but it is an indisputable fact that “in the face”, this kind of questioning does not exist. So we are not fighting on exactly the same ground, and not at all with the same weapons.

How, then, to counter the control policy that the mask embodies? We could “over mask” ourselves, and wear for example, over the regulatory mask, that of Anonymous, Guy Fawkes (“V for Vendetta”). The answer sounds pretty consistent, doesn’t it? But this is strictly forbidden, in France at least (it is forbidden to hide the whole face, says the law). Above all, we could decide that since wearing a mask is anti-human, we might as well develop our human activities, properly human, all those that do not imply compulsory compliance with the ban.

And finally overturn the ban like a glove: we refuse the obligation to wear a mask and we will do everything possible to do without “closed places” where it is compulsory to wear it. Thus, we will no longer go to the theater but will do theater in the street; we will no longer go to the cinema but will screen films outdoors. And since we have to go to the supermarket to feed ourselves, we might as well develop collective market gardening, collective orchards, and so on.

As for the much thornier problem of the school, why not create our own schools? Because the laws absolutely do not prohibit it, and in France for example, there are very few legal constraints to create a school.

Of course, these few avenues are still very broad, even vague or difficult to implement. But the object of this text, more practical than theoretical, was to show the coherence of the ecological project, based on the refusal to achieve, decreasing, slow in the sense that this word has acquired in recent years, marked by voluntary simplicity, the ” small is beautiful ”by Schumacher.

The state, by the inconsistency of its decisions, does not disqualify what we are fighting for. And that’s a great thing because in the final analysis it’s simple proof that we’re right. As someone who may not have bought into these words once said, “History will absolve us.” Magnificent perspective!

Philippe godard
Author”

Whereas this: https://www.livescience.com/face-mask-new-coronavirus.html says “yes “ and “no”.

But let’s look at the logic of all this.

If you’re asymptomatic as opposed to pre-symptomatic (ie temporarily not having symptoms but developing them later on) you do not infect others. People who test positive form a minority of the population and symptomatic people form a minority of that minority, and the pre-symptomatic phase of the latter is quite short. A small portion of these symptomatic people will develop severe forms, some of which will be fatal. On the basis of a minority of a minority of a minority, is it necessary to mask the whole population, starting with children over 10, who almost only develop asymptomatic forms of the disease? Steven, on libcom says “the general projection now in the US [is] that universal mask wearing help save around 50,000 lives in the next few months.” On the one hand he doesn’t bother to say whether it’s a question of masks worn outside or not, on the other hand, it’s a projection, an abstract hypothesis . Macron said they’d already saved 400,000 lives with their Covid policies. But this is just propaganda based on fuck-all. To paraphrase a friend, we now find ourselves in a scenario like “Minority Report”: just as the power described by P.K.Dick claims to punish criminals even before they have acted, so the various states impose measures on people before they even have a problem on the basis of the minority of those who die, who are a minority of those who have symptoms, who are a minority of those who get Covid, who are a minority of the general population. This is even worse than P.K.Dick’s Minority Report since here it is the entire population which is the target and not simply a minority of potential patients.

My friend continued: “If we absolutely want to treat people who to a very small extent are sick and to apply a principle of absolute precaution, if we absolutely want to treat the problem upstream and cut off at the source any possibility of disease among human beings, the best is still to avoid being born because to be born is to take the risk of being sick and it is, inevitably, to end up dying: you might as well not live at all! As the Silenus of Greek mythology said: “It is best for man not to be born and if this misfortune happens to him the best is to die as soon as possible.”

There seems to be a massive disconnect in people’s general attitude towards the various states during this crisis (of which RedM’s is an example): almost everyone agrees that the various governments’ responses have largely been clueless in different ways, but when it comes to things like masks or vaccines or anything deemed “scientific” cluelessness is often  the last thing people attribute to such policies. As if the ruling class haven’t hidden behind the pretense of objectivity of the constantly contradictory scientific “experts” ever since the start of all this madness.

The most repulsive aspect of the dominant libcom discourse is caricaturing anyone who criticises what they have deemed is the consensus as a “conspiracy theorist”.  RM says “some always make profits from any crisis but that doesn’t prove that this is a preferred or chosen strategy for the ruling class instituted to aid more repression” as if  I had said that they chose this situation rather than they’re using it, and using it very obviously as a pretext for various forms of repression – eg in France in some departments there’s going to be a 6pm curfew from January 2nd onwards, and almost everywhere there’s an 8pm curfew. You’d have to be a fool not to realise that there’s no health logic to this measure. Saying this is no more an assertion of  “conspiracy theory” than saying imprisoning poor people for petty theft, whilst letting the big thieves thrive, is talking like a conspiracy theorist. But nowadays this so-called “libertarian” left is so utterly complicit with the dominant ideology that it conveniently jumps on all criticism of, say, suspicion towards the various vaccines, the one-size-fits-all lockdowns regardless of local conditions, or the obligation to wear masks even in virtually empty streets, as “conspiracy theory”, a sickening way of parodying and dismissing the most basic recognition of the heavy illogical measures imposed by various states as the ramblings of a lunatic. It’s basic to even the most banal of critiques that  capital and the state use such events and use them in order to attack the most applicable aspect of P.K.Dick’s story – repressing in advance what for the rulers is the crime that contains all crimes – the explosion of a class opposition that surely would have happened with the economic crisis that was predicted well before the advent of Covid. And in not focusing on that,  the  pseudo-revolutionaries at libcom and elsewhere can do nothing to oppose it except shit on all those who try, despite making mistakes, to attack the very obvious repressive uses that capital and the state have made of this situation, to contemptuously humiliate  and parody them  as “conspiracy theorists”.

How to protect yourself and others


For something on the politics of libcom from 8 years ago, see this.

 

SamFanto was born, and then he lived a bit but never enough.

11 Responses to Leftist bollocks from the usual suspects
  1. It’s illogical to insist that people who don’t want to wear a mask should do so not just for themselves but for others also. If a mask is a defence against Covid and you wear one, it shouldn’t matter that other people are not wearing a mask. They may get infected but you can’t. If a mask is effective it’s effective for yourself. Others can decide for themselves whether they want to be protected or not. So telling someone off for not wearing one as if they’re helping to murder other people with Covid germs only makes “sense” as a pretense to being a Good Citizen. It’s just a moralistic image of social concern. It’s the illogical reason why so many people like to play the cop by telling others off for not wearing one or for wearing it only over the mouth. If it’s not a genuine defence then it doesn’t matter whether someone wears one or not. Either way, making it obligatory is repressive and authoritarian. The ideology of protecting others is just a way of presenting the law as an expression of social concern when we know that the law has nothing to do with social concern but everything to do with hierarchical social control, a hierarchical moralism that is now introjected like never before by millions of people who have no power. At last – a crumb of power, exercised through finger-wagging or worse – calling security or the management! – a crumb of power asserted against people in your own position who have no genuine power.

    • coward19 says:

      The head of the nail is not the mask, but the way the virus is spreading. If the contamination way is aerial, then the mask is almost useless, because the viral particles are far too small to be stopped, except by the adhoc designed FFP2 models. But the R0 seems too low to validate this hypothesis (max. 3-4 before the confinement, and around 1-1.5 now, while the aerial-contaminating measles’ is 16). Therefore, the contamination is very probably done through big saliva drops the mask can help to stop. Then wearing the mask reduces both the risk to inhale them and the risk to spit them on others. So, it seems rational to *encourage* people to wear it, but, if caring was the concern, the now well-known vulnerable people should have been first supplied with FFP2. For, anyway, this Covid is not the Black Plague, and you can see the excess mortality of the second wave, despite what is claimed everywhere, has little to do with the first one and, on the entire year, absolutely nothing to do with the muscle size each government shown off: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

      Touching the vaccine, SARS-Cov2 is not a moving target like the flu, because it has the ability to fix its DNA. This is unfortunately why the antivirals are mostly ineffective on it (some bits in French here: http://www.université-populaire-de-marseille.net/covid-19_2020/ ). The real problem, the opened Pandora’s box, whatever will happen, is that people are massively used as guinea pigs to fight a disease still, as far as we know, mostly benign. It is laughable to hear the french authorities congratulating themselves because nothing bad has happened since the beginning of the vaccination: should we feel safer they are glad they didn’t kill anyone in FIVE days, really? As a matter of comparison, the newly tested vaccine against the (old) Lyme disease is not expected to be available before… 2025. Science-wise, they CAN’T know what they are doing with this one-year old virus and it’s just bullshit to assert the contrary.

      • Re,Coward19’s comment:
        I guess, since your links are to French sites, that you’re French. Some of what you say is not very clear. I’d contact you by email about it but your email address is obviously a joke. I don’t at all mind you not giving your email but it’d be good if you could send a French version of your comment. Perhaps you could send it to the site and I’ll try to translate it.

        • coward19 says:

          Sorry, my English, or my think, may be not clear. Find below the translation and feel free to amend the above text. Summary: I globally agree with you while disagreeing touching some points: there are good reasons to think the masks help, there is no good reason to claim the vaccine, *per se*, will be a cat and mouse game like the one against the flu. Yet, there are no sound reason to claim that despising the RNA vaccine is irrational and that the authoritarian measures save lives (really, would have this libertarian people called people to stay home in ’68 because of the Hong Kong flu?)

          Le cœur du problème n’est pas tant le masque que la manière dont le virus se diffuse. S’il se diffuse en aérosol, alors le masque est pratiquement inutile, parce que les particules virales sont beaucoup trop petites pour qu’il puisse les arrêter, à moins que ce ne soit un masque FFP2 spécialement conçu à cet effet. Mais le R0 paraît trop faible pour que cette hypothèse soit validée (max. 3-4 avant le confinement, et autour de 1-1.5 à présent, alors qu’un virus contaminant en aérosol comme la rougeole est à 16). De ce fait, la contamination passe probablement par de grosses gouttes de salive que le masque peut aider à arrêter. Porter un masque réduit alors et le risque d’inhaler ces gouttes et le risque de les projeter. D’où il semble rationnel d’*encourager* les gens à le porter, mais, si le soucis avait été de les protéger, les gens vulnérables, qu’on connaît maintenant bien, aurait dû d’abord être fournis en masques FFP2. Car, quoi qu’il en soit, ce Covid n’est pas la Peste Noire, et vous pouvez voir que la surmortalité de cette seconde vague, contrairement à ce qui est soutenu partout, n’a que peu à voir avec celle de la première et que, si on prend l’année entière, la surmortalité n’a rien à voir avec le muscle que chaque gouvernement à mis dans les mesures prises.

          En ce qui concerne le vaccin, SARS-Cov2 n’est pas une cible mouvante comme la grippe, parce qu’il est capable de réparer son ADN. C’est pourquoi les antiviraux sont malheureusement presque sans effet sur lui (quelques éléments en Français supra). Le vrai problème, la boîte de Pandore qu’on a ouverte, quelque soit la suite des événements, est que les gens sont massivement utilisés comme cobayes pour combattre une maladie restant, pour autant qu’on sache, principalement bénigne. Il est risible d’entendre les autorités françaises se féliciter que rien de grave ne soit arrivé depuis le debut de la campagne de vaccination: doit-on se rassurer qu’ils s’estiment heureux de n’avoir tué personne en CINQ jours, vraiment? En comparaison, le vaccin contre la (vieille) maladie de Lyme nouvellement testé n’est pas espéré disponible avant… 2025. D’un point de vue scientifique, ils ne PEUVENT PAS savoir ce qu’il font avec ce virus apparu il y a un an, et c’est juste de la grosse merde de soutenir le contraire.

          • My translation (links in square brackets added by me):

            The heart of the matter is not so much the mask as the way the virus spreads. If it disperses as an aerosol [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerosol ], then the mask is virtually useless, because the virus particles are far too small for it to be able to stop them, unless it is a specially designed FFP2 mask [https://www.medicom-eu.com/en/respiratory/respiratory-protection-mask-ffp2 ]. But the R0 [https://www.healthline.com/health/r-nought-reproduction-number] seems too low for this hypothesis to be validated (max. 3-4 before lockdown, and around 1-1.5 now, while an airborne contaminating virus like measles is at 16). Because of this, the contamination is probably through large drops of saliva that the mask can help stop. Wearing a mask then reduces the risk of inhaling these drops and the risk of projecting them. Hence it seems rational to ” encourage ” people to wear one, but, if the concern had been to protect those people most vulnerable, who we now know a lot about, these people should have been provided with FFP2 masks first of all. Because, whatever may happen, Covid is not the Black Death, and you can see that the increase in deaths of this second wave, unlike what is maintained everywhere, has little to do with that of the first wave and that, if you take the whole year, the force that each government has asserted through the measures taken has had no influence on the increase in deaths.

            As for the vaccine, SARS-Cov2 is not a moving target like the flu, because it is able to repair its DNA. That’s why antivirals unfortunately have almost no effect on it (a few elements in French – http://www.université-populaire-de-marseille.net/covid-19_2020/ ). The real problem, the Pandora’s box that has been opened no matter what happens, is that people are being used extensively as guinea pigs to fight a disease that remains, as far as we know, mostly benign. It is laughable to hear the French authorities congratulate themselves that nothing serious has happened since the start of the vaccination campaign: should we be reassured that they feel happy not to have killed anyone in FIVE days, really? ? In comparison, the newly tested (old) Lyme disease vaccine is not expected to be available until… 2025. From a scientific point of view, they CANNOT know what they are doing with this virus that emerged one year ago, and it’s just bullshit to argue otherwise.

  2. Thanks for that – in particular the reference to Hong Kong flu and how so-called libertarians may have, if present logic had existed then, called on people to stay at home. The Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-69 killed between 1 and 4 million people globally. If the same miserable authoritarian  impositions had taken place then, I, amongst probably at the very least hundreds of thousands in the UK, would never have got involved in strike pickets, squatting, political street theater etc. and probably would have been thoroughly depressed if not suicidal (see this, about my  experiences in 1969: https://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles-chronologically-2/culture/1969-revolution-as-personal-and-as-theatre/). And that’s just the UK. But that was when the conditions of guaranteed survival seemed to be pretty much in tact and we wanted to find a way to have a sense of life above all. Nowadays survival is almost the only thing people think about. Life passes them by. Hence the massive rise in teenage suicides since the start of these horrendous authoritarian impositions.

    (Corrected/edited from previous error):
    The “Asian flu” of 1957-8 caused about the same amount of deaths globally as Covid so far: 1 – 4 million deaths over roughly a 10 month period globallly (though quite a lot less in most countries) as compared with 12 -13 months now, amongst a global population of 2.9 billion as compared with 7.8 billion now. Which would make it about 2.7 times more lethal than Covid so far proportionate to global population. Moreover, given that the Asian flu took place over a lesser period of time than current Covid deaths, it would, in tedious mathematical terms, technically make it something like 4 times more deadly than Covid, though this is hard to guage, particularly given the variations of the Asian flu’s duration in different countries. Which is not to minimise Covid but to put it into perspective. So far, Covid-related deaths seem to be (though the figures are open to doubt, considering the politics of the various countries and the way they attribute such deaths to Covid, some overstating deaths, others understating them) about twice those of the flu epidemic of 2016-17, and we’re now into another year of the flu season, so we’d probably need till the beginning of March to make a fair comparison, considering that flu is concentrated to about 3 months of the year in the countries where the majority of people are infected by Covid.

    However, it doesn’t help the argument to refer to Lyme disease – it’s fatal only in a very small amount of cases. So the comparison is not valid really. Moreover, to refer to Covid as “benign” seems strange. Even flu is not “benign”. But undoubtedly the manipulated almost mass psychosis about Covid is produced by a massive exaggeration, the imposition of an excessive fear, whilst deaths from cancer produced by the nuclear industry, or globally the annual 8 million deaths of kids though malnutrition, insanitary living conditions and lack of basic medical help are ignored. But saying this is considered as being a “Covid denier”, as idiotic as being a climate change denier.

    It’s undoubtedly obvious that the rush to vaccinate against Covid is very dangerous – see, for instance, this: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/01/health/coronavirus-vaccines-britain.html
    Or this:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/28/scientists-fought-coronavirus-now-they-face-the-battle-against-disinformation#comment-146303151

    And this, which I wrote about the Oxford vaccine:

    Back in mid-September I wrote about this story – https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-oxford-vaccine-trial-put-on-hold-as-volunteer-suffers-suspected-serious-adverse-reaction-12066991 – that hit the headlines for 5 minutes before being buried under endless pictures of people not maintaining social distancing. It reported “The Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial is facing a “challenge”, the health secretary has admitted, after it was put on hold due to a suspected serious adverse reaction in one of its volunteers…The nature of the adverse reaction and when it happened are not currently known.” However, after 4 days the trials were resumed without any official indication of what had gone wrong. But the New York Times reported – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/health/coronavirus-astrazeneca-vaccine-safety.html – that the just mentioned volunteer in the UK trial had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transverse_myelitis – : “Symptoms include weakness and numbness of the limbs, deficits in sensation and motor skills, dysfunctional urethral and anal sphincter activities, and dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system that can lead to episodes of high blood pressure….sensation to pain or light touch is impaired. Motor weakness…mainly affects the muscles that flex the legs and extend the arms…Back pain can occur at the level of any inflamed segment of the spinal cord…all four limbs may be affected and there is risk of respiratory failure …Lesions of the lower cervical region (C5–T1) will cause a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs in the upper limbs, and exclusively upper motor neuron signs in the lower limbs. Cervical lesions account for about 20% of cases…A lesion of the lumbar segment, the lower part of the spinal cord (L1–S5) often produces a combination of upper and lower motor neuron signs in the lower limbs. Lumbar lesions account for about 10% of cases.”

    And a bit later a second coronavirus vaccine volunteer suffered the very same rare neurological condition – https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2020/09/21/second-coronavirus-vaccine-volunteer-suffers-rare-neurological-condition/“A 37-year-old woman suffered a rare neurological condition that left her struggling to walk…”
    Marvelous the way they say “the two cases were unlikely to be associated with the vaccine…” A rare disease amongst 2 people volunteering for the trial of the vaccine. Pure coincidence! Like the melting of the icecaps being just something that happens naturally every few thousand years – nothing to do with commodity-induced rich-man-made climate change, nothing to do with the car economy and capitalist industry in general.

    This article also says that only one third make a full or near full recovery from this ‘transverse myelitis’ “with most of their symptoms gone” after 2 years. Nothing to worry about then.

    This – https://www.michele-rivasi.eu/a-la-une/vaccins-ogm-cest-non – , from a Green EU politician, states that the European Union, on 10th July 2020, gave the go-ahead for the production of Genetically Modified vaccines without verifying, through experiments, any environmental or health safeguard!!! This means the whole world – or at least EU countries – have been explicitly transformed into involuntary guinea pigs. Not hard to recognise what might happen if GM vaccines are permitted without even standard trials which are not even a guarantee of much safety anyway (eg the hundred thousand or so people each year who die in the US from totally “safe” – ho ho – drugs, drugs that have passed these standard tests). And these scum complain Dr.Raoult’s specific mix of hydroxychloraquine and the antibiotic azithromycine has not been subjected to any “scientific” health experiments . Certainly further proof that this crisis is an opportunity for the maniacs who rule us to do things that they think they could not do before. Whilst anti-vaxxers can often be simplistic and dogmatic and selectively ignore some of the positive effects of vaccines (just as pro-vaxxers ignore the negative effects), there’s a fundamental basis for such fears. The problem of this Covid1984 epoch is that people fall into the most horrendous Manichean splits between pro-XYZ and anti-XYZ that represses all struggle for recognising what is true and what is false in such dogmatic positions, a divid e and rule that appears to be purely upo to individual choie when it shows above all how such choices are thoroughly colonised by the various manipulations of external authorities.

    And now there’s this: Scientists are working on vaccines that spread like a disease. What could possibly go wrong? – https://thebulletin.org/2020/09/scientists-are-working-on-vaccines-that-spread-like-a-disease-what-could-possibly-go-wrong/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter_09212020&utm_content=DisruptiveTechnology_SelfSpreadingVaccines_09182020

    “Self-spreading vaccines could indeed entail serious risks, and the prospect of using them raises challenging questions. Who decides, for instance, where and when a vaccine should be released? Once released, scientists will no longer be in control of the virus. It could mutate, as viruses naturally do. It may jump species. It will cross borders. There will be unexpected outcomes and unintended consequences. There always are. While it may turn out to be technically feasible to fight emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19, AIDS, Ebola, and Zika with self-spreading viruses, and while the benefits may be significant, how does one weigh those benefits against what may be even greater risks?”

    And there’s this about vaccines in general:
    https://medium.com/@gautamtejasganeshan/is-there-an-intelligible-anti-vaxx-position-52c530b1d518

    • Coward19 sent me an email in French asking me to translate his reply to me above:

      1.
      I’m not comparing Lyme disease with COVID, but the time taken for testing the vaccine: it’ll take another 4 years for the vaccine for a well-known disease possibly becoming accessible to the public, as opposed to one authorised after 10 months , based on a technique never used on humans, against a virus that appeared a year ago. It goes without saying that in the latter case scientists discovered the medium to long term side effects practically at the same time as the patients.

      2.
      COVID is benign in the sense that the outcome is almost always favorable. Even those over 80 have more than 4 chances out of 5 of surviving. We are therefore not facing Ebola, nor even Sars-Cov1. This virus has no chance of disrupting the structure of society itself. Whatever happens (except an increase in the virus’s toxicity but the reverse trend is at least as probable), 97-98% of the population will not be infected. Moreover, it is worth noting that in France nearly half the deaths are in a nursing home, i.e. where there’s a dynamic of contagion and a very specific population compared with the general population (also note Germany, a country with an older population than France, where there has been no excess mortality at all for 2020). Afterwards, I specify “as far as we know”, because on this there remains the question of the consequences (pulmonary, neurological, etc.) in the medium to long term.

      Anyway, thank you for your testimony on 68 [1]. Another era indeed, with a shorter life expectancy and no saturated intensive care units. People severely affected by the HK flu died in hospital, but no one could do much about it. We certainly had a more fatalistic approach to things (and/or more unconscious, the population being generally younger than today), and therefore there was nothing to dramatize. Which could explain the sparse media coverage of this epidemic at the time, as opposed to the great difference today, where it is a real daily soap opera. It is also true that we had other hopes, and certainly not this absurd and sad idea of ​​having to control nothing less than the whole planet “like a good father.” On this subject (I take this opportunity), does a film like Year 01 [2] seem to you to faithfully reflect the atmosphere of the time?

      [1] Which echoes those of Henri Simon and Max Vincent in France: https://www.echangesetmouvement.fr/2018/05/ce-fut-aussi-cela-mai-68/
      http://lherbentrelespaves.fr/index.php?post/2018/04/13/Mai-68
      (Exchanges and movement looks like it’s disappeared for the moment)

      [2] https://archive.org/details/lan01_202003

      • Thanks for the clarifications.

        I totally agree with point 1. With reference to point 1: you can see the results in Spain – for example https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2021/01/15/huge-outbreak-in-benidorm-nursing-home-after-covid-jab/amp / and https://pledgetimes.com/man-dies-of-covid-19-after-receiving-first-dose-of-pfizer-vaccine-in-spains-valencia-but-death-does-not-indicate-weakness- in-jab-olive-press-news-spain /

        Regarding point 2, I generally agree but I am not sure what you mean by “97-98% of the population will be okay”. If you mean “will not be infected”, I agree, but if you want to say “will not die”, it seems that you have massively minimized the absurdity. So far, roughly 1.2% of the world has been infected (i.e. 98.8% were not infected). Of this number, a little more than 2 million have died. Another way to say something like 1.2% of the world’s population has been infected, and only 0.000000257% of the world’s population has died. In other words, 99.99999973% have so far survived (or died for other reasons). So although I agree with your general point, I don’t know what you mean by “will be okay”.
        And I’m not sure about your last paragraph. Or maybe I have misunderstood. At least in the UK, the National Health Service was in a much better condition than it is today, at least in terms of beds (and other aspects). Perhaps you mean that people were more “fatalistic” towards death, but much less towards life – that is, people wanted to find life outside of work and consumerism. I do not associate consciousness with age as in your sentence “and / or more unconscious, the population is generally younger than today”. For me, age has nothing to do with “consciousness”. Or maybe you wanted to make a link between consciousness and life expectancy, but I don’t understand exactly what you wanted to say. I think the low media coverage may have been due, in part, to the fact that just over 10 years previously, the equivalent of more than twice as many people in the world had died from Asian flu than from Covid so far (i.e. in a population of about 40% of what it is now, about the same number of people have died). And the memory of WWll was still very present. Death was therefore not as separate from life as it is today – that is, people had a lot more social life than today, and as a result there were many more communities of struggle, discussion and critique of everyday life and resistance than there is now – almost everything is virtual and with this 6:00 p.m. curfew, confinement proposed for the weekends, life outside of the misery of work has been reduced to only those with whom we live trapped at home, and the Internet (Skype, WhatsApp is not three-dimensional life at all).

        I haven’t seen the movie you’re talking about. I’ll try to see it soon. But there is so much that I need to read and see, I am sometimes overwhelmed….

        • Coward19 sent me a French email, which I’ve translated:

          You say:
          “I totally agree with point 1. With reference to point 1: you can see the results in Spain – for example https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2021/01/15/huge-outbreak-in-benidorm-nursing-home-after-covid-jab/amp / and https://pledgetimes.com/man-dies-of-covid-19-after-receiving-first-dose-of-pfizer-vaccine-in-spains-valencia-but-death-does-not-indicate-weakness- in-jab-olive-press-news-spain / “

          C19:
          On this point, we should probably look more towards the conditions of administration, because the Pfizer vaccine does not contains a virus. It uses the body’s cells to generate the SARS-Cov2 spike, i.e. the key that allows it to enter the cells, not the virus itself. What is, however, feared with this method, are the autoimmune reactions where the body, not knowing what it is dealing with, feels overwhelmed and attacks anything and everything.
          On the other hand, it seems that the benefit for the very vulnerable is not so obvious: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-16/norway-vaccine-fatalities-among-people-75-and-older-rise-to-29

          You say:
          “Regarding point 2, I generally agree but I am not sure what you mean by “97-98% of the population will be okay”. If you mean “will not be infected”, I agree, but if you want to say “will not die”, it seems that you have massively minimized the absurdity. So far, roughly 1.2% of the world has been infected (i.e. 98.8% were not infected). Of this number, a little more than 2 million have died. Another way to say something like 1.2% of the world’s population has been infected, and only 0.000000257% of the world’s population has died. In other words, 99.99999973% have so far survived (or died for other reasons). So although I agree with your general point, I don’t know what you mean by “will be okay”.”

          C19:
          I’m talking about the case fatality rate, which is the number of deaths compared to the number of infected. 1.2% of the world’s population is a huge random sample in absolute numbers, so we can extrapolate the degree of danger of the virus. For example a man over 80 has “only” an 85% chance of escaping death (a 40-year-old of the order of 99.9%). And it will be probably less than 2-3%, because 1) as the epidemic progresses, more and more people are immunized, which breaks the chains of contamination and will ensure that we will never have 100% of the population affected (in France, the most pessimistic speak of 400,000 deaths ~ 0.6%) and 2) many of those who are asymptomatic pass under the radar, not to mention 3) the management of severe cases is still progressing. Obviously, in absolute terms, it will cause a lot of deaths, millions, and this will be horrible to see, especially in countries like Italy or Japan with aged populations, but even in this extreme scenario, it does not not justify this apocalyptic atmosphere .

          You say:
          “And I’m not sure about your last paragraph. Or maybe I have misunderstood. At least in the UK, the National Health Service was in a much better condition than it is today, at least in terms of beds (and other aspects). Perhaps you mean that people were more “fatalistic” towards death, but much less towards life – that is, people wanted to find life outside of work and consumerism.”

          C19:
          I mean there just wasn’t the technology to keep people alive. Doctors were helpless [1]. Today, the media coverage focuses on the saturation of the hospital system, but paradoxically it is because we can do more for the patient that the system appears fragile.

          You say:
          “I do not associate consciousness with age as in your sentence “and / or more unconscious, the population is generally younger than today”. For me, age has nothing to do with “consciousness”. Or maybe you wanted to make a link between consciousness and life expectancy, but I don’t understand exactly what you wanted to say.”

          C19:
          Let’s say that at 20 years old, death is above all an old man’s thing, and that “old” at that age is 30 years. In good health. It is only when we get older that our mortality becomes concrete. Hence, even if you are told that there is a serious epidemic, without you being bombarded with images and numbers continuously like today, a priori it doesn’t really affect you.

          You say:
          “I think the low media coverage may have been due, in part, to the fact that just over 10 years previously, the equivalent of more than twice as many people in the world had died from Asian flu than from Covid so far (i.e. in a population of about 40% of what it is now, about the same number of people have died). And the memory of WWll was still very present.”

          C19:
          Exactly. People had seen a lot of other stuff, some incredible crap. We can add that a lot of people over 65 had experienced the Spanish Flu.

          You say:
          “Death was therefore not as separate from life as it is today – that is, people had a lot more social life than today, and as a result there were many more communities of struggle, discussion and critique of everyday life and resistance than there is now – almost everything is virtual and with this 6:00 p.m. curfew, confinement proposed for the weekends, life outside of the misery of work has been reduced to only those with whom we live trapped at home, and the Internet (Skype, WhatsApp is not three-dimensional life at all).”

          C19:
          Yes, the internet really “reunites us as separate” (but on the other hand, without it I would certainly never have heard of Debord). Yet the testimonies of ‘68 it also often give the wonderful impression that at last barriers between people had fallen and we could speak. I ask myself that it couldn’t have been as evident as all that.

          You say:
          “I haven’t seen the movie you’re talking about. I’ll try to see it soon. But there is so much that I need to read and see, I am sometimes overwhelmed….”

          C19:
          It’s a film from a comic book by Gébé, itself created from ideas sent in by Charlie Hebdo readers. It’s kind of crazy, but it touches a lot of questions that we don’t even ask today any more, which we lack more than ever.

          [1] This documentary is a bit superficial but it’s better than nothing:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT7qSGXyDWY

  3. From T. (via email):

    I’ve read the debate/NA and SF’s comments on Libcom. The state of
    anti-authoritarians these days is very sad. Judging by this “debate”, it
    seems that in their view the commodified and hierarchical nature of our
    society, its management, its division of labor, its laws, and how all
    this is manifested in the character and quality of those who are chosen
    to represent society – is only true for politics, economics,
    communication-information etc., but stops at the door of science. The
    “science” and scientists chosen to do what they do is quality-driven and
    done for the benefit of humanity, separate from alien interests; those
    who have reached the top echelon of science are probably good in what
    they do and that’s why they’re there, scientists are inherently
    different from politicians and statesmen, (chosen/top-level-) scientists
    are free from the contradictions and vile interests that – and on this
    these same anti-authoritarians will surely agree – lead other experts to
    the top and allow them to stay there. Whether this is still a remnant of
    that old Marxist and partly anarchist faith in “progress” – I don’t
    really know. But it’s depressing. I also find it interesting how some
    who are not anti-authoritarians per se (or not at all) – some leftists
    etc. that I know – have a much much more nuanced and critical approach
    to all this than long-time anarchist or anti-authoritarians. This adds
    to my understanding that the ideology of anarchism, communism,
    councilism usually goes together with an ideology of scientism, a kind
    of metaphysics of the modern capitalist age.

    Charles Eisenstein says something like how in our extremely polarized
    present culture, where almost any conflict is experienced in a
    polarized, two-sided way it’s more important and useful to look at what
    the two sides agree on or take for granted than on the alleged or
    official points of dispute – if we really want to change our habitual
    ways of living.

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