Variants – John Duffy | Substack | June 25, 2021

Look, I’m not a make believe virologist. The best I can do is read what’s out there, maybe talk to some virologists, and then write what I find. My overall concern, at the end of the day, is media, and how we as the public are spoken to. From what I have seen, too often during the pandemic the most explosive, the most terror inducing language has been used to garner attention, and this has resulted in populations that drastically overestimate the threat of COVID-19.

The lockdown lobby – Tom Slater | Spiked | June 18, 2021

The pandemic has been a reminder of how essential a free media is in times of crisis. As lockdown began last spring, journalists were designated key workers and lent a renewed sense of moral mission. Many rose to the challenge as viewing figures and clicks soared. But the pandemic also exposed more malign trends in both the economics and practices of the UK media.

Lockdown is here to stay – Alex Kaschuta | Substack | May 1, 2021

Lockdown has morphed from an outlandish proposition to a temporary, force-majeure measure to a tool in the toolbox of power and the “new normal” over the course of this last year of perpetual emergency. Normalization has set in. Most are already numb to this once sudden, now assumed encroachment on their freedoms. Some have hope for the liberating effect of the vaccine, some have learned to love their captivity, to find a deeper meaning in “safety.” Most have adapted by now.

What are they trying to do to us? – Winter Oak | March 29, 2021

Life has become very strange indeed for billions of people since March 2020.
We are no longer allowed to do what we always did, see who we want to see, live freely in the way we fondly imagined we were entitled to do.
Everything has changed. Now we have to check the latest restrictions on our movements and activities. We can’t go to concerts, football matches, pubs or cafés. We are told to avoid other people and to wear masks to cover our faces when we do share the same spaces.
Nobody knows what the future holds for them or their family. Insecurity and anxiety are rife.
To start with, these were supposedly emergency measures, but the weeks turned into months without any end in sight.

We are Living Through a Time of Fear – Not Just of the Virus, But of Each Other – Jonathan Cook | CounterPunch | March 25, 2021

In fear societies, basic rights become a luxury. They are viewed as a threat, as recklessness, as a distraction that cannot be afforded in this moment of crisis.
Once fear takes hold, populations risk agreeing to hand back rights, won over decades or centuries, that were the sole, meagre limit on the power of elites to ransack the common wealth. In calculations based on fear, freedoms must make way for other priorities: being responsible, keeping safe, averting danger.

Coronavirus Fines Are A Mutual Aid Issue – Kevin Blowe | March 7, 2021

It seems like the Left has surrendered its opposition to the oppressive power of the state to the Right. Across England, police have issued thousands of people with fixed penalty notices under coronavirus regulations, with enforcement levels during January and early February at levels seen in the first period of lockdown in March and April 2020. Many people may feel that such measures are necessary for a public health emergency, a view that has been actively reinforced by the police and the media. Why, though, would we immediately assume that coronavirus fines have been enforced fairly?

Cui Bono? The COVID-19 ‘Conspiracy’ – Simon Elmer | Architects for Social Housing | February 19, 2021

We are approaching the first anniversary of the coronavirus crisis in the UK, and more and more people — on the Twitter account of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the Facebook pages set up to share censored interviews with scientists, in the online platforms not yet shut down for discussing the evidence against lockdown, in the illegal meetings of friends in the homes of the people that host them, in the thousands of discussions and exchanges that happen at every act of resistance, every demonstration, every march — know that this crisis has been manufactured.

Bare Life: Biopolitics and Covid Capitalism – Victor Conti | Left Lockdown Sceptics | February 19, 2021

As we slowly emerge from what will probably be the most active phase of state intervention, the true costs of our government’s actions against coronavirus have started to become clear. In the unlikely case that your mental health or that of those close to you has not been severely affected by nearly a year of lockdown, you will still not have failed to notice the faint but audible howling of a society that is cracking to pieces around you: the stories of suicides and suicide attempts, familicide, relationship break-ups, child abuse and domestic violence.

Controlling the left: the impact edgenda – Paul Cudenec | Winter Oak | February 10, 2021

“There remains nothing, in culture or in nature, which has not been transformed, and polluted, according to the means and interests of modern industry”, wrote Guy Debord in his superb 1988 book Commentaires sur la société du spectacle. He warned darkly of “provocation, infiltration, and various forms of elimination of authentic critique in favour of a false one which will have been created for this purpose”. Today this manufactured astroturf “dissent” covers practically the whole political and cultural terrain, with only tiny green shoots of authenticity able to occasionally break through the plastic carpet of suffocating artifice.

Re-Socialising a Vaccinated World Requires Political Struggle – Mike Hulme | February 7, 2021

There is a naïve assumption that mass vaccination will allow social life in the UK to return to normal. It is far from obvious that this is so. As the authoritarian regulation of public life extends and continues, the erosion of collective and individual freedoms will only be reversed if citizens demand it. Science is sustained on the promise that its enterprise not only yields greater knowledge about how the physical world works but, crucially, that this knowledge offers more certainty about the future. And that with more certainty about the future, science therefore enables better (‘more rational’) decisions to be made about how to secure policy goals.

On the Anarchist Response to the Global Pandemic – Montreal Counter-Information | February 4, 2021

The Covid19 crisis has presented a challenge to anarchists and others who believe in a fully autonomous and liberated life. We write this today because we feel too many people who in better times carry these political and philosophical banners are setting aside their core beliefs – or worse – twisting and contorting those beliefs in wholly disappointing ways, conforming to the mandates of technocrats and politicians, and are convincing themselves that doing so is some grand act of solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our societies.

COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria – Philipp Bagus, José Antonio Peña-Ramos, Antonio Sánchez-Bayón | International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | February 3, 2021

Public healthcare systems form a vital part of the welfare state. Indeed, it is generally taken for granted that one main purpose of the modern welfare state is to improve public health. It is supposed that the state positively contributes to public health. In this article, we question this narrative in relation to the phenomenon of mass hysteria. We analyze how the modern state influences the development and extension of mass hysteria, arguing that the state exacerbates this phenomenon with adverse consequences for public health.

Ronald Cohen, impact capitalism and the Great Reset – Winter Oak | January 27, 2021

Social impact investing is at the heart of the Great Reset. It reduces human beings to the status of potential investments, sources of profit for the wealthy elite.
In ‘Guerrillas of the Great Reset‘ we saw how the Guerrilla Foundation, ostensibly a body that gives grants to activists involved in “a variety of social causes”, in fact very much belongs to the world of social impact investment.

Our analysis of lockdown and covid-fascism – Left Lockdown Sceptics | January 11, 2021

We are a group of socialists in the UK who oppose lockdown policy on the basis that it doesn’t work, is based on bad science and causes unnecessary harm and deaths to society. The impact of lockdown is most severe on the working class and vulnerable people, including children.

The Betrayal of the Clerks: UK Intellectuals in the Service of the Biosecurity State – Simon Elmer | Architects for Social Housing | November 12, 2020

It cannot be too strongly emphasised that SAGE, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies on whose recommendation the second lockdown of the UK has been imposed, is not a group of independent scientists, doctors, academics and other medical specialists dressed in leather-patched tweed jackets and politely advising the Cabinet Office with reports that are then ignored, set aside or belatedly listened to.