Yes, there is strong current of anarchism that is highly critical of the authoritarian measures taken in the guise
From the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a strong current of skepticism within the U.K. anarchist milieu.
By and large, anarcho-skeptics assert that presence of a health emergency does not justify the expansion of the police state, and they also refuse that logic that us plebs should obligingly submit to the authority to experts in times of crisis.
Furthermore, anarcho-skeptics understand that state and corporate interests will always seek to turn crises to their advantage. For that reason, we believe that it is important to understand who is profiting from the changes that are being forced upon us.
Highly skeptical about COVID skepticism? We suggest starting with the writings of the impeccably logical Architects for Social Housing. Simon Elmer, the author, has done the world a great service by critically analyzing the whole COVID situation, using the best available data to reach to arrive at very reasonable conclusions. U.K.-specific but very much still reading if you are not from the U.K.
The Anarchist Library allows its massive repository of texts to be searched by keywords. If you search the tag “COVID-19”, you will come upon a large number of texts, which I would say reflect the diversity of anarchist thought on COVID. Some classics are to be found here, such as “Our Dignity in Quarantine”, which deserves to go down in history as a perfect expression of the zeitgeist of early 2020.
Social Contagion (China)
Ecstasy in the Time of Cholera (Italy)
(This succinct Italian text analyzes COVID through the lens of Foucault’s biopolitics. Anyone wishing to understand the current moment would do well to study the paradigm of biosecurity.
Architects for Social Housing
From the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a strong current of skepticism within the U.K. anarchist milieu. The writing of Architects for Social Housing stands out for its sober, clear-minded analysis. If you are highly skeptical regarding COVID skepticism, I would suggest that you start here. The author, Simon Elmer, has done the world a great service by critically analyzing government statistics, revealing some of the fallacies committed by mainstream reporting.
Everything they put out is well worth reading! Anyone who likes logic will approve.
South Essex Heckler
This now-defunct blog was probably the most outspoken anarchist voice criticizing lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic. Much like ASH, the author is sober, clear-minded, and thoughtful. I would suggest beginning with this piece:
Estuary Stirrings (U.K.)
This anarchist blog picks up where the South Essex Heckler leaves off. See:
Lockdown situation report – February 6, 2021
Think of the kids then think of the future of education – January 5, 2021
2020, a lot has happened – 2021, a lot more will happen – December 9, 2020
It’s too late to go back, we have to move forwards – November 24, 2020
Resisting the ‘reset’ – a call to arms – November 11, 2020
Will the ‘rule of six’ be a licence to snitch? – September 14, 2020
How the f**k did we sleepwalk to this point? – September 9, 2020
Told you so… – September 4, 2020
Lobbing a spanner into the workings of the new (ab)normal – August 23, 2020
Are we sleepwalking towards a 21st century form of totalitarianism? – August 12, 2020
The World Economic Forum widening the digital divide – July 31, 2020
Gaslighting – July 29, 2020
Welcome to your ‘new normal’ – July 5, 2020
Trying to move ‘forward’ from this point – June 23, 2020
As predicted… – June 14, 2020
Language is important… – June 6, 2020
The emerging political divide – May 29, 2020
Welcome to your future of controlled misery – May 9, 2020
A sort of a warning… – April 27, 2020
Some thoughts on the COVID-19 future we’re facing – April 17, 2020
The consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for freedom and solidarity – April 13, 2020
Isolation and social control – March 17, 2020
Winter Oak Press / The Acorn
The best anarchist writing that I have been able to find on the subject of COVID-19 is on the site on the anarchist publisher Winter Oak Press, which publishes an excellent bulletin called The Acorn. Highly recommended!
For nature and freedom! May 11, 2021
The Acorn – 65 May 5, 2021
Divide, rule and profit: the intersectional impact racket April 22, 2021
What are they trying to do to us? March 29, 2021
The Acorn – 64 March 27, 2021
IMPACTOR ALERT! March 16, 2021
Anarchism not State Socialism February 27, 2021
The Acorn – 63 February 16, 2021
Controlling the left: the impact edgenda February 10, 2021
Ronald Cohen, impact capitalism and the Great Reset January 27, 2021
Shapers of slavery: the awakening January 13, 2021
Shapers of slavery: the virus January 12, 2021
Shapers of slavery: the empire January 11, 2021
Shapers of slavery: the leadership January 10, 2021
Shapers of slavery: the plan January 9, 2021
Enemies of the modern world: a triptych of novellas January 7, 2021
Sheep, Shepherds, and a Goat December 18, 2020
The Acorn – 62 December 17, 2020
Dismantling tyranny December 14, 2020
Rob Hopkins: transition to what? December 4, 2020
A vile corporate conspiracy: exposing the Great Reset November 30, 2020
Corporate-branded activism November 26, 2020
Guerrillas of the Great Reset November 20, 2020
The Great Reset November 13, 2020
Elite transnational fascism November 12, 2020
A system built on lies October 29, 2020
The Acorn – 61 October 28, 2020
Klaus Schwab and his great fascist reset October 5, 2020
We are the 99%! September 27, 2020
The Acorn – 60 September 17, 2020
Resisting in the real world September 3, 2020
The uprising has begun! August 30, 2020
The Acorn – 59 August 21, 2020
Fascism, newnormalism and the left July 26, 2020
The Acorn – 58 July 21, 2020
Occidental Despotism June 4, 2020
We will be victorious! May 31, 2020
Uniting against the dictatorship! May 30, 2020
Money, lies and power May 21, 2020
The Acorn: resistance update May 19, 2020
The Acorn – 57 April 30, 2020
Anarchists against freedom! April 26, 2020
Threads of inspiration — organic radicals April 22, 2020
Resist the Fourth Industrial Repression! April 17, 2020
Lots of reading… April 7, 2020
Anarchists and the coronavirus April 3, 2020
The Acorn – 56 March 29, 2020
Coronavirus thoughtcrime March 27, 2020
Montreal Counter Info
This website has not been shy in publishing anarchist critiques of public health measures. This website deserves special attention because it is very much a reflection of the beating heart of the Montreal anarchist scene. The pieces that it publishes are not by armchair revolutionaries, but by active participants engaged in revolutionary struggle. This means that what is published here influences what happens on the ground For instance, in early 2021, Montreal Counter Info began publishing critiques of lock-down. Soon thereafter, there were hundreds of people in the streets protesting Quebec’s draconian curfew.
North Shore Counter Info
Similarly to Montreal Counter-Info, this website is maintained by active movement makers, the Hamilton anarchists. Judging by the amount of the repression that they have been targeted, these are the anarchists that the Canadian state considers most dangerous. The North Shore Counter Info collective was the first to offer a critique of COVID-era technocracy in the early days of the pandemic, and that seems to have been become a classic, as it can be found reposted on anarchist websites from around the world. They have also published more recent COVID-skeptical pieces such as this, this, and this.
It’s Going Down
IGD, the biggest American anarchist news site, has mostly focused on anti-fascism, street mobilizations during the George Floyd uprising, and prisoner support of late and has not been highly critical of the media narrative around COVID. That said, it has published COVID-skeptical analysis, as well as thoughtful critiques of Universal Basic Income.
Decentralized anarchist blogging platform. Lots of stuff on here. I would recommend:
Enough is Enough
This European Blog has a bunch of good content but it’s hard to search! Well worth checking out though.
Plague and Fire
This insurrectionist blog contains writing in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek. It posts communiques from anarchists claiming attacks on property, among other things. This is where I learned that insurrectionary anarchists in the U.K., Netherlands, Sweden, France, Italy, and the U.S.A. have been sabotaging cell phone / internet infrastructure as part of a campaign protesting the growth of the surveillance state.
CONTRA LA CONTRA (Spain)
This Spanish anarchist journal has made urgent anti-lockdown writing a major focus over the past year. I would suggest checking out “Pandemic is Domestication” and “Against the Pandemic of Capital, Social Revolution!”
Oveja Negra (Argentina)
This Argentinian anarchist journal, which is entitled “Black Sheep”, is well worth checking out. I am inclined to believe that this piece was translated into English to serve as a contribution to the international discussion around COVID-19. From what I have seen of anarchist media from South America, they seem far more critical of the state’s expansion of powers during the pandemic than North Americans have been. Case in point, the excellent Brazilian short firm COVID-1984.
D.I.Y. CULTURE (U.K.)
This U.K. anarchist zine dedicated an issue to the theme of COVID-1984.
A zine from a group called Salish Sea Black Autonomists. From the intro: “From discourses willing to sacrifice more vulnerable people for “our” collective health (that of the nation and the economy), to neighborhood snitches calling the police on those violating the imposed rules of ‘social distancing’. How long before those neighborhood snitches become neighborhood shooters enforcing a hardened border of social distance? Everyone knows behind the walls of our healthy neighborhood are the hoards of sick others… The good (white) citizens are snitches and law followers, the rest of us are disease ridden threats because we are irresponsible and must go to work, must go out to buy groceries, because we long to feel the sun on our skin or the embrace of our friends and loved ones.”
This Dutch anarchist zine that shows the spirit of anarchy is alive in the Netherlands. From the intro: “About this pandemic we could say many things… but all the people pretending to be able to make the right analysis and have the truth on their side can go fuck their selves. All these little stories and media-hypes just exist to take away the attention from the real problems around the world: the power-hungry, war making, money obsessed, and nature destroying humanity. It’s only because of ourselves it could get this far… The rhetoric of the state about the pandemic is about the war against a virus, but the real war is the one against nature and the earth, against freedom and the not-knowing. We mean consuming everything till exhaustion, everything one can put their hands on, and then throw away what already wasn’t necessary. We mean the pollution of the air, the water, the soil. We mean the limitless flying around the globe, like fools looking for something- not realizing that their actually running away from boredom and numbing from the world we live in… But, as said, around the world it has shown that the measurements of control didn’t stop people from taking the streets or doing naughty things at night to the representatives of power and the ones that profit from it. In many prisons around the world revolts broke out, starting in Italy in more than thirty prisons. Let us find the courage to have joy in sabotage, to find the power in a coincidental meeting on the street in which you can protect each other from controllers. A lockdown also provides opportunities: fewer people or cops on the street, more free time…Throughout this issue you will find pictures of the graffiti-game, that is something to be enjoyed.”
(to be continued…)