Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Categories

+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 (2.2k points)
i missed this in in the queue, so it's been waiting for a month or so.
"...shrug and admit I don't really know what the right way to respond to this crisis is."

i hear that loud and clear.

the (false?) dichotomy between "health" and "economy" seems to have become the political linchpin of the moment (wrt the covid pandemic). anyone that claims to know the "right" way to respond is almost certainly on one side or the other of that dichotomy.

is a "mask mandate" considered a "lockdown"? i guess i mean this: in protesting "lockdowns", is the issue:

- the principle of being told what to do (general rejection of authority)

- the specific activity/ies being constrained (assuming overreaction to the risks)

- both

- neither

- other possibilities...?
the question of protests in general is one that many anarchists i know struggle with, as it usually ends up as no more than a symbolic gesture. a few blm murals, etc.

as to the lockdowns, i completely understand opposition to them. in many ways, they are completely authoritarian and economically counter productive. while i live largely on the outskirts of mass society, it is undeniable that urban concentration of humans creates problems for "society" as a whole (it also creates some benefits). when many people - for whatever reasons - ignore suggestions related to health and cause wide spreading of the virus in population centers, it is understandable in the context of mass society (which i despise and consider a root cause of authoritarianism in many of its forms) to impose restrictions that "protect" the most people. that is at least theoretically the very purpose of the government/authorities (ha!). the fact that such restrictions inherently impact the economy is obvious. the strategic question would seem to be: is it "better" to hurt the economy in the short term for assumed long term health, or let the virus run its "natural" course, take the health hit now in hopes of herd immunity and/or scientific control (vaccines etc). leaving aside any death rates, letting the virus run rampant will (and has) cause huge numbers of sickness and hospitalizations, which impact both the economy (many people can't work or be a customer even if businesses can be open) and the health care system (overwhelmed in dealing with the virus, limiting access to care for other health issues that normally would not result in death but do so due to lack of health care resources).

imo, folks that don't follow the simple guidelines that seem to make sense to most people (avoid crowds, distance, wear a mask, wash your hands) should be denied health care when they catch it.

and if folks want to protest lockdowns, go for it! just don't complain to me when nothing changes as a result.
@fa: i overall am not supportive of the state controlling people, because it always seems to have so many other consequences, and as i saw people talking with edward snowden on the internet, states around the world are using the pandemic to "build the architecture of oppression", this is not really happening in the U.S. though, as there's a huge portion of population that has a very reactionary take on caution and control ("people who wear masks are pussies" for example)

"imo, folks that don't follow the simple guidelines that seem to make sense to most people (avoid crowds, distance, wear a mask, wash your hands) should be denied health care when they catch it."

that's a pretty bold statement! I see what you mean, i personally would go even further and say that medical systems do more harm more than good overall, keeping miserable people alive, giving people pain killers so they get addicted, doctors overall being snobby/ignorant specialists, the list goes on in terms of the harm the medical system does to the human race and the planet.

IMO, Overall i think we should all be careful in making judgements about what certain should/shouldn't be done from a bureaucratic perspective, and that's overall what bothers me about talking to dems and repubs. For example, directing a comment at what you said, if someone shows up at an ER and has medicaid (this is kind of an interesting question to me because i have medicaid), how would they even know whether they "should be denied coverage"? Band t-shirt they bought at a concert? Overall the evidence based court system has taught me a lot about the general issue of control, especially when it reaches out of your very tiny sphere of influence...

nihilist: "IMO, Overall i think we should all be careful in making judgements about what certain should/shouldn't be done from a bureaucratic perspective, and that's overall what bothers me about talking to dems and repubs"

my sentiments exactly. i would only quibble with the "we should" portion of your statement...in that i only know i don't want to think in terms of what authority should/shouldn't do - i desire their absence, not them doing the "right" thing. when i catch myself thinking like that, i remind myself of how i've been conditioned to think what people "in authority" should/shouldn't do...and to think more of what i would do in a given situation while i observe with interest what happens within all the various organizations...

nihilist: just to be clear, i wasn't saying that those people should somehow be denied health care based on policy of authorities. that was just a personal desire.

also, of course i don't support the health care system, the government, or any institution of authority and oppression. i make certain observations based on the actual world as it is, as compared to the world i wish i lived in. there is a state, there is mass society, there is a massive and complex economic system, etc. i do my best to keep them all out of my life (including the health care system), but at times i cannot avoid them. many (if not most) people in the u.s., including some i care deeply about, do not share my perspective. once in a while i engage with them in conversations, and they know very well where i stand. telling them to just avoid the government, the economy, doctors and hospitals, etc, is not a useful talking point. so i find myself trying to consider their context in those discussions, and use their own complaints about "the system" to bring up alternative perspectives.

plus i find the left and right to be so pathetically absurd, especially at this point in time, i can always find humor in mocking both.

the bottom line for me is: do what the fuck you want, and know that there are consequences. that applies to protesting, mask wearing, and basically everything. i can only understand (somewhat) potential consequences if i have a decent understanding of the context in which i am acting.

funky: "people in the u.s., including some i care deeply about, do not share my perspective. once in a while i engage with them in conversations, and they know very well where i stand. telling them to just avoid the government, the economy, doctors and hospitals, etc, is not a useful talking point. so i find myself trying to consider their context in those discussions, and use their own complaints about "the system" to bring up alternative perspectives."

well said. i have difficulty with this sort of thing all the time...and have tried similar approaches...without much satisfaction most of the time i must admit....i'm glad that we have each other here on this site where we can speak in different ways about the same "problems"...
 

ba@: i can't say i get much satisfaction from those discussions either. :-)

"my sentiments exactly. i would only quibble with the "we should" portion of your statement...in that i only know i don't want to think in terms of what authority should/shouldn't do - i desire their absence, not them doing the "right" thing. when i catch myself thinking like that, i remind myself of how i've been conditioned to think what people "in authority" should/shouldn't do...and to think more of what i would do in a given situation while i observe with interest what happens within all the various organizations..."

I agree that "should" is a problematic word, because it's essentially a human/authoritarian projection of imagination. However, the only way i can really change what said is to say something like "i try not to" or "it's better not to", which basically accomplishes the same thing. I guess could help me think of a better way to critique funky's political opinion so that i can get better at this stuff in real life ;-)

nihilist: "I guess could help me think of a better way to critique funky's political opinion so that i can get better at this stuff in real life "

what "political opinion" of mine are you looking to critique? i wonder if i have been unclear about my perspective. do you think i support government mandates for anything? or government in any way?

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)
so you do agree/believe that children apologize to their parents and grandparents for bringing Covid into their homes, for getting them sick, etc.? Oh well, that's very sad, I've nothing more to say to you about it; these days I only discuss the pandemic in a context of critical thinking otherwise it's just useless and tiring; my country is in a bad situation because of all the craziness surrounding a mild respiratory infection, which is destroying the society and taking thousands of lives out of pure fear; many people are slowly waking up to the irrationality of it all but the media still control the masses and so we are far from the end; thousands are being thrown into poverty even though it's well known that poverty is a primary cause of illness, you see people wearing masks when they are alone outside and far from other people and new measures have been released that forbid for example something traditional and absolutely harmless like old people sitting in gardens in sunny winter days, now they can't sit, it's all very stupid, I ignore the rules as much as I can.

Note: covid deaths, the way they are counted, are not necessarily of people that died because of covid, it's people that died and had a positive pcr test, they might have died of anything, stroke, cancer, other respiratory infections as usual in winter, lack of proper medical treatment (people don't get help or they get it when it's already too late because they are afraid of covid)...
"...taking thousands of lives out of pure fear"

right, thousands are dying of pure fear, not some inconsequential virus. so THAT's what you mean by critical thinking. got it.

people wearing masks outside and far from others doesn't make sense to me. but why does it upset you so? why do you care what someone else does if it doesn't impact you? could it be... thought policing?

"covid deaths, the way they are counted..."

seriously? that worn out denier excuse? of course many people that die after getting covid had underlying medical issues - that is what the medical people have been saying all along. the fact that someone has diabetes and then dies after catching covid - you would apparently say covid played no role in that death. yet had they not gotten covid, they'd likely still be alive. this is a scenario (with all kinds of underlying comorbidities) that has played out thousands of times.  but i forgot, any "official" source not approved by you is part of the global conspiracy.

aside from the huge number of cases where covid opportunistically combines with common pre-existing conditions, there is the fact (fake news to you no doubt) that many people are dying of treatable conditions because they cannot get into hospitals for treatment due to the hospitals being overwhelmed with covid patients. the friends and family i know in health care in now 5 different states in the u.s. all confirm this from direct experience. not from propoganda or politicians. so tell me, are they lying? are they part of your conspiracy to rule the world through fear?

oh yes, regarding children bringing covid home to their families... in the town nearest where i live, 3 families in the past month have lost elders due to younger family members coming home with the virus and infecting them. but why would you believe that?

btw, have you seen what the lungs of even some asymptomatic (but infected) people look like after a few months? wait, fake imaging, right.

yes, my tone may be a bit combative and sarcastic. i find your comments rather worthy. but this is just dumb internet babble anyway. stop wasting your precious time!
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 ...

+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 (12.6k 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.
...