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+4 votes
I'm asking about this because how people react to the coronavirus pandemic is really controversial right now, there's lots of morality, misinformation, confusion, etc.

People in the U.S. and even Germany are gathering in the streets to protest the lockdown directly (in the U.S. a lot of people tie it to "the trumpees") and there's also the concurrent labor oriented protests, rent strikes, etc.

I personally don't want to be a part of any of this activism at the moment, yet I sympathize both with the people who want the lockdown to end, and those who don't think it's a good idea to go back to work, using this as an opportunity to counteract the things that rich folks and property owners want from society. I feel the most generous thing I can do at the moment is shrug and admit I don't really know what the right way to respond to this crisis is.
by (2.1k points)

All I can say about that essay is that it's a nuanced way of telling people about things they are already aware of. I do not care for "The Anarchist Response", it obviously doesn't exist.

Patience does not destroy trauma and death! Stop living for the future! There's all this identity politicking about protecting certain demographics, but institutional science has already failed to do this.

Melinda gates was already talking about how "black people" should be the first ones to get the vaccines many news cycles ago. Money and academia cannot really serve human beings, both are needed for microbiological warfare.

To elaborate even more, major medical experts have already been stating that vaccines are not anywhere close to being able to create "herd immunity". Why sacrifice any joy in service of anarchist morality?

Is this all we can do...bleet for higher doses of integrity? Bleet for a new breed of anarchist super humans? To whoever wrote the essay that dot posted: congratulations on your non-profit recuperation! You're probably just a cookie cutter cyber-bully anyways!

What can we expect from the internet beyond shitty "free education"?

Education is an ultra-liberated and de-colonized super-power, look at how it runs around confusing people and torturing them!

I really enjoy knocking people off of soap boxes...so...i'll step off for a moment.

"All identity groups, whether they choose belief systems, State citizen, race, gender, tribe or fetish, all of them have disempowered the individual's creative potential, they have polluted the critical logic of common organic empirical knowledge and replaced it with fake authoritarian phantoms and myths. This demeaning IdPol rhetoric has given the bourgeoisie a false sense of intelligence!"

-some loner who i will never know

There. Wisdom! About as luxurious and wonderful as the TP i use to wipe my ass!

Now to get off the soap box AGAIN.

nihilist - i basically agree with your first paragraph, but then you seem all over the place.

i am not really interested in continuing this discussion, but i'll give my 2c on that article.

it makes some solid, if painfully obvious, points. i won't comment on their quoted sources, as the article itself points out how everyone lies and no data/source should be unquestioned.

spot on points:

- fair-weather perspectives are useless and embarrassing. and anarchists can be absolutely dogmatic.

- the virus is way too new for everything to be known about it. nobody has all the answers, despite how particular perspectives and policies are promoted. across the board.

- context matters. the activity around the virus (and responses) will necessarily be driven by the specific situation in that area. northern vermont and southern california have very different realities around covid, both the medical realities and the governmental and social/individual responses.

- shutting down the entirety of human activity across the globe is completely unrealistic (if maintaining civilization is a priority). then again, i have never seen or heard such a suggestion, so i'm not sure why this even needs to be said.

"the fact is that modern civilization requires a massive amount of daily labor in order to prevent it’s immediate collapse, and that labor requires human beings to come into contact with each other, and to travel great distances."

in the context of the article, this sounds like a call to maintain the status quo of civilization. maybe my own bias.

i would suspect that anyone who supports state action has statist tendencies. anyone that does not have visceral mistrust of the state (and all power structures), and an intuitively critical/questioning response to state actions, is probably not anyone i would have affinity with around autonomy and liberatory living.

which is not to say that one cannot agree with the objectives of a state action. increasing minimum wage to $15 would undoubtedly help many folks in need; in the context of democrapitalism, one can agree with that objective while still being 100% against the state, wage servitude, property ownership, etc.

as an autonomous individual with a loathing for appealing to power, my tendency would always be to look at how people behave, rather than how the state mandates or coerces them to behave (understanding that for many, state positions will influence their behavior). i realize that urban folks are usually much more impacted by state mandates than rural folks, in terms of observation (surveillance) and enforcement. that is one major reason i chose to leave urban life 20+ years ago.

if, as this article seems to suggest, there are in fact substantial numbers of folks who claim to be anarchist, yet do not question the state's actions (much less act against those who do), i don't see why they would be seen differently (by "anarchists") than any other statist. is the goal to reform them? to show how inconsistent they are? to demonstrate the "right" way to be an anarchist?

not of very much interest to me.

i wasn't really trying to start a discussion anyways, it was a rant, you have no reason to continue so far it seems.

I really wish that every single person involved in politics would maybe just start being more pragmatic, i.e., keep the discussion focused on things that immediately impact people, such as laws and government expenditures.

But...uh practical pieces of paper that make mandates? What? Are you kidding me? Of course some reactionaries I've known have talked about good old days when things were different, and i'm very skeptical about that.

I don't know anything about the people they are criticizing, they seem to just be irritated with the leftists again, which seems fair. So i mean, fair weather perspectives...is that how you frame sympathizing with people? Sorry! Can't do much of anything else besides that or get mad. And of course being mad...well...I'm sick of that. There are scores of books and ideas about "using anger" and to me just another way of making it seem fucked up.

I apologize for the fact that i didn't respond to you when you were asking me a question. You wanted to know about political ideas i said you had, i was referring to your ideas about who should or shouldn't get medical treatment.


That's a fucking weird way to use words, i know, but I was kinda mad about a lot of different things and didn't want to lash out at you.

@nihilist: my "discussion" point was toward dot's comment about if there was still interest in the discussion. also, why would you assume my thoughts about who ought/not to get medical treatment was in any way political? that is what confused me, i didn't feel attacked at all.
Well, if you think a specific person shouldn't get medical treatment, that's just a judgement or an opinion, and of course...who the fuck am i to tell you that's bad? But if you put yourself in the mind frame of someone who works in the medical field (and maybe you do, my middle class up bringing taught me that inquiring about how people make money is overly anal and impolite, and seems extremely laughable on an anarchist forum about how someone earns their bucks) it's arguably activism or politics, depending on what you did and who you shared your opinion with.

I totally agree that a lot of people either get or are softly coerced into getting medical treatment they don't deserve. I say california should enact a law specifically preventing elan musk from getting any medical treatment whatsoever, even if he sells his soul to the movie industry in order to make his case against me. The penalty should be seizure of all corporate assets that are associated with all of his friends and family. Now, what to do with the proceeds? I'm sure some shit head cop around where i live would have something to say about that...probably not very intelligent or interesting though.

I'm in fake/real estate, to put it simply, I'm very unlucky to have that skill set.

2 Answers

–1 vote
In the beginning of the "pandemics" I believed that there was real danger. But then I started analyzing the health data, making my own statistics, crossing them with what the media say, studied the subjects and so I concluded, among other things, the following:

1) the virus is quite harmless, causing fewer victims than the flu;
2) a substantial part of the excess mortality is not explained by covid19 - the lockdowns caused more victims than the virus;
3) the media and politicians of our so-called democratic societies are blatantly lying and actively seeking to terrorize populations.

I imagine people who protest may have reached the same conclusions. I have not yet participated in any protest because these are not taking place where I live, but I will carry out civil resistance actions if they want to force me to wear a mask on the street.
by (530 points)
I don’t care abou your tone, I accept that this will be a looong ride, collaborationists have teamed with neoliberals and the world will be thorn apart; I have children and i don’t worry about mild viruses similar to the viruses we have and will be living with forever; the elderly are dying abandoned, isolated without proper care because their carers are irrationally frightened, there have been several investigations in different countries in Europe, it’s mass murder, it’s medieval.
i'd just like to add that i'm personally less interested in the things that we disagree about here--now that the terms have been pretty well delineated, for which i thank both funky and user:whatever--and more about how we decide what we're going to believe/distrust, and then how we communicate across the differences.

i've been thinking a lot about aesthetics, and that's one word to use to express some of these differences.

if we're together in rejecting media, corporate, and state frameworks, but we still have to deal with the world as it is presented to us somewhat through those lenses... then how do we negotiate that?

That's an interesting comment dot, I don't know how to solve it but could these communication difficulties due to a different background? Language could be an issue too but I have a background in science and engineering and so I tend to give a lot of importance to facts, like the criteria used to classify deaths as covid, or the reliability of the tests used to detect the infection. And I am totally convinced that what they are trying to sell to us through the media is a lie; I admit that this certainty can be irritating but I guarantee that I did not obtain it lightly. We could discuss these facts in detail to see if we agree on the conclusion but it won't be an easy discussion and we would need to be very succinct, objective and non-emotional in addition to doing a lot of background research of the issue. Does this make sense?

I've been investigating and reflecting on the facts since the beginning, namely comparing the data with those of previous years, and this was how last March I pulled myself out of the grip of fear. Now I'm not afraid anymore and I met some interesting people who are also not afraid and try to have a life in the midst of this big mess. A few hours ago for eg I was with a group of freethinkers and anarchists who are working to reopen restaurants here in the area, restaurants that have been closed by state order, leaving a lot of people without means of subsistence and our public life much poorer. And the day before I had a nice talk with a policeman who questioned me for sitting on a bench in a garden, which is now forbidden by law, can you imagine that, and he ended up telling me that he also thinks this situation is shit and that he just doesn't leave the police immediately because he has three children ...

@whatever: i'm trying to articulate this in good faith.

you proclaim that all the concern around the virus is based on lies being perpetrated by those in power (media, politics, etc), not on the actual risks and impacts of the virus and the reactions to it. which implies that the same lies are coordinated across the entire planet (surely possible, just not very likely in this situation, imo). it also implies, of course, that you have a monopoly on reliable information. which is a primary issue that i and others here have raised in response to your comments. you saying "i go by the science, i only follow the facts" is passive-aggressively condescending AND it implies that those who disagree with you are somehow ignorant of science and "facts". can you see how problematic that is? do the folks here seem that blatantly dumb? do you seriously think the mainstream media, politicians and the cdc are the trusted sources of information by critical thinkers here in the u.s.?

now that the volume of reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been rising substantially - as would be expected during cold weather and with so many people ignoring the scientific evidence of how to reduce transmission - is it your position that the liars have simply adjusted the false narrative to portray the situation as getting ever worse? in your mind, does the rise in reported cases/deaths in any way relate to the actual situation on the ground?

what do you say to the fact that someone with diabetes, lung/heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, etc, can live with their condition for many years, and yet they die right after getting covid? do you believe that covid was actually not related to their death? is it mere coincidence that so many people die shortly after catching the virus, when they were going about their lives as "normal" prior to getting it? if i had a heart attack while driving, and i crashed and died, what would the cause of death be? maybe trauma from the crash. maybe heart failure from panic as the crash occurred. it is almost infinitely unlikely - though not impossible - that i would have died in that moment, had i not been driving.  how does that factor into your logic?

finally, i'll point out michael osterholm from CIDRAP as the most unbiased, medical, science and fact based perspective i have come across on the covid situation in the u.s.  which is of course not to say he is the ultimate authority (there is no such thing). he is simply a 40+ year infectious disease specialist who has seen many, many infectious disease situations here in the u.s.  the fact that he does not sugar-coat his perspective is seen by some as "negative" or fear-inducing (given your perspective on the role of "fear", i wonder if you would say the same, even given his scientific approach). i see him as a realist, telling it how it is. i have heard him talk since the very beginning of this pandemic; he has accurately predicted (as many infectious disease specialists could and likely did) exactly how this would go, given the widespread opposition to steps for reducing transmission. he would probably be a good source for a critical scientific perspective on the conspiracy that you believe is in place all over the globe. if you dismiss him simply because he is in the u.s. and part of an institution, then you will lose all credibility (to me) as a critical thinker. on the other hand, if you can provide reasonable evidence that he is just another liar in service to your conspiracy, i will absolutely reconsider my view of him.

i care next to zero about governmental mandates or what have you - people will follow them or not, in often equal numbers. i am concerned with people's actual behavior. i act in ways that make sense for enhancing the well-being of myself and those i care about, regardless of what some authority "mandates". if i trust a source that explains why certain behavior is risky, i will likely include that in my risk assessment.

fear is a very useful emotion for living beings - it is a "natural" warning system. of course civilization is opportunistic, and using fear as a tool for control is as old as domestication itself.

you probably don't care much about reducing transmission, since you do not think the virus is dangerous. those that do want to reduce transmission need to understand that masks help some, but they are not a panacea. wearing a mask does not remove the risk of catching the virus, especially when you are close to others, and more especially when inside and close to others. the number of people who seem to think wearing a mask (often not even effectively) is all they need to do to go back to a "normal" life is staggering. i think there is only one reliable way to prevent transmission: stop swapping air. the closer you get to that goal, the less likely you will be get infected and/or spread it. when it comes to "lockdowns" (leaving aside the obvious anarchist critique), i suspect that where one falls on that coincides with how they prioritize economics and the over-the-top production/consumption way of modern human life. but even those that prioritize economy seem to be rather shortsighted. the herd immunity approach - aside from being akin to passive genocide (or mere imprisonment) against high risk individuals - would almost certainly cause economic damage far beyond the couple months of lockdown that infectious disease experts say would allow the virus' spread to be contained sufficiently. needless to say, a real lockdown would require governmental provision of necessities to those locked down. that removes the "basic survival" argument, but it does nothing for the social intercourse that (particularly urban) folks seem to require for their mental health. my sister, who lives rurally and can be outside safely anytime she wants, has started going into the nearby town every day (with her mask), just to be around others - her husband works long hours in health care (he has been vaccinated, whatever that is worth). i predict she will bring it home within a month.

i will say once again: i sincerely hope that anyone who refuses to take precautions against spreading the infection, is refused health care. not by state-sanctioned mandate, by individual will. the principle of the hippocratic oath ought to work both ways, imo.

"my sister, who lives rurally and can be outside safely anytime she wants, has started going into the nearby town every day (with her mask), just to be around others - her husband works long hours in health care (he has been vaccinated, whatever that is worth). i predict she will bring it home within a month"

i don't think it's that predictable...for the most part I am a loner, yet during the pandemic I have gone out in public many times, and my rule for protecting those who i care about (since i honestly have wanted to get COVID just to experience it, lol) is just to avoid large groups of people and wear a mask...I have not gotten it, even though some people i know who badgering me about being more concerned and less relaxed about it have gotten it (LOL). To me, the virus itself and the social/economic/governmental effects of it are all a concern to me. On one hand I'm worried about people in my family getting it and the mental health issues surrounding it, on the other I'm actually somewhat happy and relieved that there is something out there that can put a stop to rampant human activity...maybe mutations of covid will end us all, who knows?

according to a lot of studies, masks do seem to be very effective against the spread of the coronavirus, even if they can't stop all of it.
+1 vote

i am generally not interested in protests of any type (there was a time, though), as they rarely if ever serve my purposes. my primary purpose is to live without the imposition on my life of authoritarian institutions (and individuals), and appealing to those institutions to dismantle themselves - or just leave me the fuck alone - is far less than useless.

no anarchist i have affinity with would be supportive of ANY government mandates. how they feel about protesting those mandates is probably across the board, though very few would do so with any expectation of any government response other than repression.

however, in the context of modern human mass society, where a relatively dangerous virus is running rampant all over the globe, it is hard to imagine a government that would not mandate certain measures to try to limit its spread. authoritarians act in authoritarian ways, as expected. and despite the fact that i wish no government ever existed, it is very easy to understand why they would do so in this context.

enough people refuse to take the simple mitigation measures, that transmission is largely uncontrollable (if entirely predictable, based on history and behavior), and so governments feel compelled to do something to reduce transmission. duh. i find it mind-boggling how so many people refuse to take any precautions, and then those same people bitch about lockdowns and "freedom". is it really that difficult to connect the dots?

if you (any government) mandate that people cannot go to work due to your lockdowns, and you do not provide them with what they (have largely been indoctrinated into thinking they) need, do not expect them to comply with your mandates. same goes for small businesses. (fuck big business extra hard, they have plenty of government support as it is.) 

ignorance and binary thinking flourish, all around. i don't claim to be immune. but at least i understand why certain behavior is risky, and the relationship between that risky behavior and the effects on people i care about, and the folks working in health care and other "essential" (???) areas like grocery stores, pharmacies, etc., who are likely constantly exposed.

[edited the last sentence above for clarity]

let me not ignore the very real emotional/psychological impacts of lockdowns on individuals and their social lives. they are real, and they are potentially dangerous. i know quite a few people (including family members) who are suffering from serious "covid fatigue", and that can cause them to lower their defenses with a self-delusional sense of security. that is particularly acute with folks who are very social and that have never before been deprived of their social lives. i am glad i am generally anti-social. also glad i am much closer to the end of my life than the beginning.

by (13.4k points)
edited by
i feel the same way about the whole sociality thing, as someone who has been labeled anti-social and overall hasnt done a great job of getting along with other people, in the current context it feels a little bit like i have some sort of some special ability or advantage.

and it is a little sad how people have been predictably short sighted...both people who are trying as hard as they can to ignore the virus or deny its existence, and also health experts who are pleading with people not to be social.

the dark thing about this whole covid crisis is its kinda like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" kind of scenario, whereas no matter what people do there are serious consequences...life rarely has magic potions that can fix everything.
i think that wearing masks and keeping distance and washing hands are all reasonable.

i don't trust the media reporting on protests. i'm sure some people are being stupid, but i also think that the government is making decisions about what "lock-down" means, who it applies to, etc, and that people could be protesting those decisions (or corollary issues), i.e. how the government is applying safety measures. and i wouldn't be surprised if all such protests get categorized as anti-covid-informed. what is considered essential, how essential workers are treated, and the bias for large companies are all things that are probably (i certainly hope) fueling protests, but those are not the talking heads one sees...

not exactly answering anything or responding to anyone directly, just something i wish i saw discussed more.
i think each state it's own version of what "an essential industry" is, and it seems like every employee related to related to that is said to be an essential worker. Where I live, it's basically any business related to food or infrastructure. I've always found that category to be too vague to be that useful, because if everyone is under pressure to make money in some way, then basically any sort of job is an "essential" job. It has turned out that most of the office and bureaucracy related jobs (the ones that are "the least essential") can be done through the internet...so if you are a manual labor worker (which most likely means you get payed the least out of any sort of work) then you have to deal with all sorts new nastiness because of people's anxiety and legal mandates. Given that hierarchical power is pretty diffuse these days, it doesn't seem like much else has changes than that. I'm partially an "essential worker" and the amount of existential dread that people are feeling now adays is pretty rediculous, i feel very lucky that I only work part time and I don't have very many expenses.