New covid-denial single from Eric Clapton and Van Morrison

The new Eric Clapton/Van Morrison single "Stand and Deliver" wants to be a rebel anthem. Instead these nationalist bards have delivered little more than a reactionary side note in a rising cacophony of Covid-19 denialism just at the moment the vaccines are dropping, argues Comrade Motopu.

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on December 21, 2020

"This is England, this is a white country, we don't want any Black w—s and c—s living here. We need to make clear to them they are not welcome."
--Eric Clapton, 1976

Isn't it strange, we never changed
We've been through it all yet we're still the same
--The Kinks, Rock & Roll Fantasy

Reading the lyrics of this anti-lockdown ditty reveals all the standard talking points of the Tommy Robinsons and Spiked cadre, the nationalism, the xenophobia, the small business identification with the ruling class mission of opening the economy as if that’s what is needed to help the “working class” as capitalist bosses and Right-wing fanatics imagine them.

Stand and deliver
You let them put the fear on you
Stand and deliver
But not a word you heard was true

They look at the science based analysis of the spread of the airborne, highly contagious, and deadly Covid-19 virus, and behind lockdowns to stop the plague spreading, and dismiss it with "Not a word of it was true.” Rather than media critique we get the standard “fake news” MAGA talking point. The "lying press" (lugenpresse) line from the Nazis, revived by Richard Spencer and Trump voters is not media critique, it's propaganda.

And the implication that “fear” is what makes people wear masks, that it’s a form of hysteria from above, is an insult to the vigilance of those who wear them to protect both themselves and others, including essential and frontline workers. Their efforts have been consistently stifled and counteracted by the contrarian Claptons and Morrisons of the world, and the Malthusian governments insisting on the allegedly more cost efficient Right-wing version of “herd immunity.” We don’t like masks, too “woke.”

But if there's nothing you can say
There may be nothing you can do

This is the standard Right-wing appeal to "free speech.” As wielded by the far right, this is almost always designed to place conspiracy theory on the same level as sources assessed as trustworthy through actual media critique. They want to put reactionary talking points on the same level as expertise, experience and data from healthcare professionals, epidemiologists, etc. It is precisely this kind of confusion that allowed the Trump administration to bully scientists and the Center for Disease Control into softening the urgency of their messaging. This cost lives and created doubt in the federal institutions that were in many ways, best placed to protect people and mobilize effective measures to fight the spread of the plague.

Do you wanna be a free man
Or do you wanna be a slave?
Do you wanna wear these chains
Until you're lying in the grave?

Next they compare isolating and mask wearing to slavery. The implication is that caring about stopping the spread is not only unfreedom, but bootlicking. This is supposed to go along with these artists being rooted in the tradition of the blues (hear the country tinged blues music of this song) and their legitimacy as artists who relate to the oppressed and some kind of righteous resistance. It really just diminishes and distorts the history of slavery, a favorite pastime for British nationalists these days, who insist that Black Lives Matter is irrelevant to England’s history of slave trading globally. It ignores the current disproportionate impact of the Corona virus on working class people, especially people of color, and on migrants. When a rockstar whose racist, xenophobic rant became the reason for launching “Rock Against Racism” in the mid 1970s wants to teach you about slavery, check his footnotes.

I don't wanna be a pauper
And I don't wanna be a prince
I just wanna do my job
Playing the blues for friends

They sing that they don't want to be rich or poor, but just want to do their jobs, as if this is an appeal to some work ethic of authentic salt of the earth folk who don't want a handout. Let’s put to one side Clapton’s Royal Honours as a Commander and Officer of the British Empire, and “Sir” Morrison’s Knighthood, and both artists’ vast wealth (and hence lack of need to work to survive) when assessing this lyric about just wanting to play the blues with all of us “friends.” The idea that normal people just want to go to work right now is four- goose-Bozo crazy. The point is that the capitalist economy, the drive to reopen and send people out into the plague environment is what drives the spikes in cases and deaths, and puts those who have to show up as frontline and essential workers at far greater risk. They may as well sing “I just wanna be a compliant worker, dyin’ for the man.”

The real solution is, as has been noted millions of times but almost completely ignored, paying people to stay home until the vaccine establishes science based herd immunity rather than the Malthusian version that demands we let the virus rip through the population until "the strong" are left to live on. For those who have to work to maintain social infrastructure, we provide PPE, temperature checks, free healthcare, hazard pay, testing and tracing, social distancing via things like curbside pickup where possible as well as increased staffing for healthcare workers. In short, do everything possible to protect and support them along with the elderly and other extremely vulnerable groups. Isolating protects them by lessening the spread of Covid-19. The fact Clapton and Morrison are portraying this anti-lockdown/anti-masker single as a defense of live music and the arts is shameful. The only solution for the arts is the same that applies to everyone else, pay them to isolate and fund alternative projects involving their skills that can be done safely away from super-spreading environments until the vaccine takes effect.

Magna Carta, Bill of Rights
The constitution, what's it worth?
You know they're gonna grind us down, ah
Until it really hurts
Is this a sovereign nation
Or just a police state?
You better look out, people
Before it gets too late

Then they make the appeal to the Constitution, now an empty dog whistle word for "kill the poor" and or leftists, and various voter suppression schemes when uttered by the far Right. "Is this a sovereign nation?" they ask, alluding to border controls, Trump’s Muslim ban, anti-China hysteria, and Brexit. Borders function first as capitalist labor controls, and exacerbate outbreaks by, among other things, herding sick and ill people together into detention and deportation centers where viruses spread rampantly, then sending the infected back to their alleged countries of origin to further spread the virus globally. In this logic, there is no priority to save human life and no respect for workers specifically. The nationalist exclusion of outsiders, those who "don't belong" to a place and should therefore be denied rights, decent living conditions, healthcare, and basic social services, makes it all worse. The implication is that they are "leeches" rather than hyper-exploited workers generating profits for the bosses and politicians who demonize them. This is standard fascist nationalist rhetoric. It has ensured the virus would spread rapidly and largely unrestricted. “More of this!” the rebels yell.

Stand and deliver
Stand and deliver
Dick Turpin wore a mask too

They end their song with a weird “gotcha” (and the source of the title) by offering a counterpoint hero from the early eighteenth century, singing: “Dick Turpin wore a mask too.” This is to counterpose the outlaw to the mask wearing sheeple, duped by elites and globalists, Clapton and Morrison are trying to wake up. Turpin was the son of a butcher who was also an inn keeper, meaning the son of a small business man and skilled artisan. He probably was a small business man himself at certain periods in his life, a perfect hero in the model of Trump’s and the new Right’s base, and perhaps any remaining Clapton fans. Turpin became a “highwayman” and here the musicians again try to portray themselves in a Robin Hood vs. the “police state” for the good of the workers. I guess Clapton can’t really say “I shot the Sheriff” (apologies to Bob Marley) since Sheriffs have become so important to the sovereign citizen movement. The “Constitutional Sheriff” is supposedly the highest authority with the power to disregard federal laws among Posse Comitatus type outfits in the US. These are the states’ rights and white nationalist folks that would probably love this “Stand and Deliver” single. Turpin, whose gang sometimes murdered and raped their victims, stole mostly from his own class for himself, not out of any “resistance” or rebellion against the system. It’s a real whimper of an ending to the song, and hopefully to the careers of these two confused Covid Denialists.

Comments

Spikymike

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on December 21, 2020

Many thanks for this 'expose' - Thought Clapton had made amends to some extent for his notoriety with past nationalist and racist comments, obviously wrong - two good musicians using their talents for the enemy. I've seen some comments from even erstwhile ultra-lefts succumbing to notions of a potential common cause between them and these kind of fake rebels so this text is right on the ball. And never let the 'libertarian' in 'libertarian communism' politics become detached. There is hysteria around but it's mostly attached to right wing conspiracy nuts. Front page material for libcom.

R Totale

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on December 21, 2020

By the way, I think that as a non-UK commenter you may have missed the significance of the "Magna Carta" bit, I was trying to think of a US equivalent for the specific brainrot you get around the Freeman of the Land/Magna Carta stuff but I suppose Posse Comitatus is probably pretty similar from what I understand of it. If you've not encountered it before, here's a bit of background:
Magna Carta offers no way to get out of lockdown
A Medieval Historian Explains Why The Magna Carta Has Nothing To Do With COVID-19

Comrade Motopu

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on December 21, 2020

Thanks Spikymike and R Totale for these comments. I was expecting that maybe people would ignore this given the current pain of lockdown done wrong and all the horrible supply chain problems looming. I hope folks are ok!

On the Magna Carta, I wasn't aware that people were citing article 61 specifically, but I did know the basic outline that in 1215 it established a very limited check on the King's power, and this is held up as a precedent which partially explains British expectations against an "Absolute" monarch vs. other countries in Europe, like France and Austria. I seem to recall Ellen Meiksins Wood using the Magna Carta model of "democracy" as sharing power between a monarch and nobles as also partially explaining the limited scope of a lot of current Western democracy, which she contrasts to the direct democracy of Athens in ancient Greece. So the "Republic" model of indirect democracy has a filter of "representatives" who are in some ways nobles (that last part is more in my own words but I think what she was getting at). With the House of Lords and the House of Commons, after the Enclosures and then the Industrial Revolution, the Rising Bourgeoisie become the new Barons, surpassing today the power even of great kings, one could argue. So the bourgeoisie is in the House of Commons and legislates to legalize all their enclosing and business, and criminalizing the poor which leads to the harsh penalties for vagrancy of Linebaugh's _London's Hanged_ (still waiting to read on my bookshelf, but I know some of the content from other sources).

And "charters" as agreements, granting of rights, or a set of rules for a club, can also be the grant to a person to govern in a colony, as with the US charter colonies, or the Charter companies like the British East India Company which eventually became the actual government of India for about a hundred years.

Ok, sorry the world history intro class adjunct prof came out for maybe no reason there, ha ha.

R Totale

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on December 21, 2020

I am quite curious as to how much it's a specifically British thing and whether there's equivalents in other countries - do some people elsewhere have this weird belief that one specific historical document means that they can just ignore all contemporary laws? Oh, thinking about it I suppose there's the Sovereign Citizen movement in the US, that's probably the closest thing.

Spikymike

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on December 21, 2020

Regarding the USA I recall this left-wing text had a reference to the constitution and the Qur'an that caught my eye being pretty ignorant as I am of supposedly radical deferring to aspects of the USA constitution See here:
https://cosmonaut.blog/2020/09/29/us-constitution-hiding-in-plain-sight/
But then most on that site would lack any clear communist critique of 'democracy' as such.

Red Marriott

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 21, 2020

Surprised they didn't rope in Rod Stewart;

Interview Q-"What do you think of the political situation in this country?"
A-"I think Enoch (Powell) is the man. I'm all for him. This country is overcrowded. The immigrants should be sent home. That's it."
- Rod Stewart, International Times 94, Dec 1970.

adri

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on December 22, 2020

Nice piece Motopu, and shit song from Clapton. I'm not really a fan of the apolitical flavor of blues that focuses on individual "misfortune/bad luck" rather than things actually responsible for people's conditions, which seems common with a lot of the later blues stuff especially. Clapton's lamenting wearing a mask seems pretty remote from the post-slavery conditions of African Americans from which the blues developed. I'm not sure for example Memphis Slim would really appreciate Clapton covering songs like "Mother Earth" (with Slim referencing the civil rights era there) with the things he's said. Anyway the fact that safety measures against coronavirus, businesses shutting down etc., might impose capitalist hardships is more an issue of capitalism than anything else.

Noah Fence

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Noah Fence on December 22, 2020

Clapton’s music, especially his guitar solos, have always turned my thoughts to measuring him for his lampost. This only makes the act all the more appealing!
What a wanker.

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on December 23, 2020

Leftist bollocks from the usual suspects

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.

- here: https://dialectical-delinquents.com/covid1984-latest/

adri

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on December 23, 2020

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),

Glad you posted all this here instead of your utterly unnavigable site where I'd never read it anyway. Thanks for the French sources also (from experts? -- like I don't speak French but "conservative editorial stance" I think should raise an eyebrow) in your English review -- really helps drive home how pointless and "alienating" masks are, while also demonstrating an audience awareness. Was it really necessary writing up this petty review of Motopu's review of an anti-lockdown Eric Clapton single?

I have nothing else to really go off other than what experts say (and you too apparently?), and there seems to be consensus (dominant science?) that masks are helpful in preventing the spread of covid, not to say governments couldn't and haven't abused covid measures. There hasn't really been much in the way of "covid1984" in the U.S. (not sure if you've been following here the last couple months). It's mostly just right-wing idiots upset they can't enter stores without masks and social distancing (the "Liberate Minnesota Rally" crowd and others), along with small/large businesses who have an interest in opening things up. The fact the pandemic has caused layoffs and other disruptions is again just capitalism's inability to cope with such situations (recall the mass food destruction which coincided with increased visits to foodbanks); people are made to want to put themselves and others at risk in order to "sustain themselves." I'm also sure Motopu wouldn't be posting here if they were nothing more than some American liberal.

Comrade Motopu

3 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on December 24, 2020

Hi NA,

The “recent scientific research” you posted was not a controlled study or really “research” so much as a professor of economics and professor of physics and chemistry taking a look at some stats and trying to tie mask policies and death rate reports (not Covid specific death rates) to that and then saying the one “caused” the other. If you have any scientific studies showing that increased masking causes rises in infection, transmission, and death from Covid-19, I’d be glad to look at them as a layman, but this article is not an example of that.

And yes, I’m counterposing the scientific consensus to the sources like rock stars, Spiked, Anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers. That doesn’t mean I think science is a God, or infallible “In Science We Trust” as you have me believing in your very excited straw man.

I wrote a review of Angela Mitropoulos _Pandemonium_ book and in it she talks about “catastrophe bonds” and countless other ways that nationalism, capitalism, and white supremacist views categorize populations in an essentially Malthusian way, and using those categories, make calculations as to who is worthy of protection and who it is more cost efficient to let die. So yeah, science is embedded in these factors too, of course. None of that changes my focus on the ideology and logic of these rock stars and how their rebellious posing is reactionary and anti-scientific as well as that their song acts as a popular mobilization for the absolute worst capitalist “herd immunity” lies. Lies that kill. That’s not in contention.

My article isn’t pro-lock down vs. anti-lock down. I say in a response that this is lockdown done wrong. To understand why lockdown alone is not enough, you have to place it in the greater picture of migration, nationalism, how aid depends on casino logic like “catastrophe bonds” and how that helps justify governments doing less and being unprepared, and also how capitalist borders exacerbate plague situations.

Forgive me for my “uncritical pro-vaccination position.” I’m for vaccines because they are the only basis for herd immunity. The other capitalist herd immunity that Spiked, Boris Johnson, Trump, and other misanthropes promote means letting the virus rip through populations leaving only the strong. The half-assed “we must protect the vulnerable” provisions are non-provisions, or worse, because if you have everyone going out into the plague, contracting, and spreading it, they will deliver it to the old, the sick, those with “pre-existing conditions” etc. Aside from that, those who are deemed as not at risk, also get this virus and the long term effects are now understood as extremely serious for many who “get over” it. You refer to the vaccine as a magic wand, but it’s not, it’s the only actual possible basis for herd immunity unless you support mass death, and it really sounds like you do.

Then you imply that states have been paying people to stay home but your main objection is that this isn’t socialist enough. Please explain to me my situation in the US where people have lost jobs, been evicted, been laid off, lost most of their pay, healthcare, union representation, etc. how this is a good example of a sustaining payment to stay home while jobs, food, shelter, and general social security are maintained. This is just a nutty thing to insist and is completely not what is happening. And if you're saying that states have fully funded people to stay home without losing money, wages, jobs, basic services, over the last 9 months, I find that very hard to believe.

If you can’t see the difference between my critiquing the ways the state distorts healthcare and emergency responses, and on the other hand, peoples' demands on capitalists that they not let people die, you arrive at your weird non-rebuttal to my article. And let's face it, capitalists are not just "letting" people die, they planned for it as an externality, and are now _demanding_ it in a sacrifice to markets.

I don’t know. I won’t respond to the rest of this, which mostly seems like dressing up standard MAGA talking points in Situationist sounding lingo. I happen to like the Situationists as far as I can understand them, but you seem to fall more into this current trend of talking left to push right, if you know what I mean.

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on December 24, 2020

Whilst I agree with you about attributing a very scary Malthusian project on the part of capital's use of this virus, what you say has nothing to do with the quote (not from something I wrote, by the way) - eg:

If you have any scientific studies showing that increased masking causes rises in infection, transmission, and death from Covid-19, I’d be glad to look at them as a layman

Why would I have such a study? The bit I quoted doesn't claim that "increased masking causes rises in infection" etc. so I doubt it does. It merely says that it makes no difference wearing them outside. Are you so illiterate that you don't understand the difference between "wearing a mask outside makes no difference" and "increased masking causes rises in infection"?

As for vaccines - check out this on Pfizer - https://labourheartlands.com/coronavirus-what-do-we-know-about-pfizer-and-can-we-trust-them-with-a-vaccine/

And this - https://medium.com/@gautamtejasganeshan/is-there-an-intelligible-anti-vaxx-position-52c530b1d518

Nor does the quote talk left or right - it's you who's trapped in the false choices of left and right, MAGA shit v Democrat (or whatever) shit, etc., incapable of thinking critically outside of these repulsive choices - eg "it...mostly seems like dressing up standard MAGA talking points in Situationist sounding lingo" - seems to you but not to anyone who can read. Since you clearly are incapable of reading what's written here I too won’t respond to the rest of this.

Comrade Motopu

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on December 24, 2020

Are you so illiterate that you don't understand the difference between "wearing a mask outside makes no difference" and "increased masking causes rises in infection"?

In fact, the article from the far right wing le figaro you posted, is not "scientific research" as you called it, and they do state that masking measures had "the opposite result of that expected," of the hoped for lowering of infections and deaths:

"What was the effect of the imposition of the mask on August 28 in Paris and the inner suburbs? The comparison only relates to the wearing of the mask outdoors because it was already compulsory everywhere in closed public spaces. Let's compare weeks 35, just before the measurement, and 39, at the end of this experiment. The departments where the mask was imposed outdoors at the end of August saw their deaths increase by 129.2% against the pile + 100% in the peripheral departments of the region: the opposite result of that expected, failure of the measure."

And yes, that a source is far right is context for any kind of media analysis. Everyone knows that it's almost entirely far right wing parties, street fighting groups, and media companies, who have been pushing bogus reports on how masks supposedly don't lessen transmission of the virus, and holding mass anti-masker rallies. It's you who lack any kind of media literacy here. You also post sources you may not have read, but certainly don't understand.

From the wikipedia page on le Figaro: In February 2012, a general assembly of the newspaper's journalists adopted a motion accusing the paper's managing editor, Étienne Mougeotte, of having made Le Figaro into the "bulletin" of the governing party, the Union for a Popular Movement, of the government and of President Nicolas Sarkozy. They requested more pluralism and "honesty" and accused the paper of one-sided political reporting. Mougeotte had previously said that Le Figaro would do nothing to embarrass the government and the right. Mougeotte publicly replied: "Our editorial line pleases our readers as it is, it works. I don't see why I should change it. [...] We are a right-wing newspaper and we express it clearly, by the way. Our readers know it, our journalists too. There's nothing new to that!"]

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 24, 2020

To claim that ;

masks worn outside are utterly ineffective

is over generalising. Even the article cited in defence of that claim acknowledges masks are worthwhile on crowded streets. Nor does the article show if it took into account various factors - eg, relative population density, housing density, transport hubs - when comparing different regions.
If one is on, eg, a shopping trip, and going in and out of buildings, it's also worth 'wearing a mask outside' rather than keep taking a mask on and off and so risking infection by hand contact with the face.

And this is a vague claim;

masks.. are even unhealthy because you breathe in your own bacteria.

"Your own bacteria" is what is breathed out of you so is already in you;

Speaking to Reuters specifically about fungal infections, Dr. Thomas Nash, an internist, pulmonologist, and infectious disease specialist at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, said: “The only thing that hits the mask is what you breathe out,” as he explained that healthy people “don’t exhale fungus.” 
He added that someone who already has a fungal infection in their lungs could possibly contaminate their own mask, but not the other way around.
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-have-not-been-developing-antibiotic-resistant-pneumonia-from-wearing-face-masks-idUSKCN26E2NA

Spikymike

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on December 24, 2020

I don't imagine Comrade Motopu is suggesting any open ended acceptance of all the states 'lockdown' measures and border controls irrespective of the circumstances and is supportive of many of the strikes and protests by workers in defence of our working and living conditions that inevitably have to contest those restrictions to be effective, but that doesn't deny the reality of the threat from this virus and the need for us to take sensible precautions based on the best available scientific knowledge available at the time. Don't get too fixated on the benefits or otherwise of waring masks in public or the propagandist displays of those in organised displays of refusal in some misplaced idea of protecting civil rights.

R Totale

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on December 24, 2020

I think that if you're interested in questions around social control, it's a bit inadequate and one-sided to just say that masks "intensify dominant separation and the alienation of the streets". Where's the consideration of how generalised mask-wearing affects the powers of CCTV and facial recognition? At this point there's been decades of debate around the black bloc tactic, with militants urging the need for people to protect their identities versus critics arguing that the advantages in terms of hiding a given individual's identity are undermined by the dangers of setting up the mask-wearers as a separate collective identity, the black bloc, antifa, casseurs or whatever. At one stroke that whole distinction has been erased, meaning that it's now much harder to spot the difference between a group of people leaving the house with the specific purpose of keeping their identities hidden while carrying out property destruction and any other mask-wearer on the streets. I don't want to be reductionist about this, obviously it's not as simple as "everyone masks up -> we get a massive social uprising", but I think there is an interesting question to be discussed there.
To say nothing of other social benefits, e.g. I'm aware that some people who are expected to perform conventional femininity have expressed relief that normalised mask-wearing frees them of social expectations from the nose down at least. You can say that this is reformist or whatever, and it'd be better to get rid of those expectations altogether, and that's true enough, but in the mean time we are where we are and I'm not going to scorn anyone who finds that mask-wearing gives them more freedom in that area.
Obviously, that's just one side of the argument, I'm sure there are plenty of negatives to discuss as well, but if you're interested in discussing state and capitalist impositions of social control, then I think there's a bit more to say on this subject than just "you breathe in your own bacteria".

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on December 26, 2020

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.

- https://dialectical-delinquents.com/leftist-bollocks-from-the-usual-suspects/

adri

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on December 26, 2020

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.

Yes, my glasses also fog up when breathing into masks, which makes me feel incredibly sad and alienated, as well as making it even more difficult to see people's smiles or frowns. On the other hand, I actually kind of like the hierarchical powers my masters have given to me with respect to telling people not to sneeze or cough in my direction, even though, as you say, it does intensify my alienation, despair and irritability. I am now convinced we should break free of this dominant capitalist pseudo-science of mask-wearing, so that it will lead to even more deaths and more of a strain on health care workers.

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 26, 2020

Re Khouri (Catholic MP and close friend of Lebanese President) and his anti-mask quote;
1. He talks of "the masks on the market"; but there are 1000s of mask suppliers of various designs and materials.
2. He says they "do nothing to protect people from the virus." The consensus has long been that masks mainly protect others from droplets that may come from the wearer's mouth & nose; their reach is greatly reduced by masks. That has been repeatedly illustrated by research. Anyone who doesn't even grasp that has no business talking about masks.
3. "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." There are many jobs where people wear masks for hours every day, have done so for 100s of years or more and AFAIK there is no known history of medical conditions or outbreaks caused by regular mask wearing. Of course masks should be washed regularly, like any piece of clothing.
4. He doesn't explain what bacteria he's referring to or its source.
So again, unconvincing claims. Where are all the people made ill by mask wearing - surely we'd be seeing a clear pattern of such illness by now?

The 2nd 'michel' link is dead.

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 26, 2020

NA

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.

There is a wealth of recent evidence to dispute that claim so to baldly state it as fact is highly misleading. In fact the quotation you gave which cites the Nature article distorts what it actually says – it finds that asymptomatics are less infectious but it doesn’t conclude “that asymptomatic people are largely not otherwise infectious”;
Nature

Nov 2020 - ... evidence suggests that about one in five infected people will experience no symptoms, and they will transmit the virus to significantly fewer people than someone with symptoms. But researchers are divided about whether asymptomatic infections are acting as a ‘silent driver’ of the pandemic. ... a meta-analysis published last month, which included 13 studies involving 21,708 people, calculated the rate of asymptomatic presentation to be 17%. ...
Byambasuren’s review also found that asymptomatic individuals were 42% less likely to transmit the virus than symptomatic people. ... Although there is a lower risk of transmission from asymptomatic people, they might still present a significant public-health risk because they are more likely to be out in the community than isolated at home ... But other researchers disagree about the extent to which asymptomatic infections are contributing to community transmission. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03141-3

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.

Just how does that process work? So many thousands of medics and scientists of the world are in league with governments to doctor and distort scientific evidence constantly? And the governments of the world needed to do something on this massive scale to repress us with a tactic that has wrecked economies at enormous cost? They haven’t faced any massive class struggles in, eg, the UK that necessitated such a conspiracy.

Comrade Motopu

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on December 27, 2020

Try to keep this short just so people can judge for themselves on what they think about Nymphalis Antiopa's sources:

Nymphalis Antiopa wrote

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

Here is an article on this guy NA uses as an expert source. I link to the google translate from French to English.

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fmenace-theoriste.fr%2Fjean-dominique-michel-imposteur-de-lanthropologie-medicale%2F

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on December 27, 2020

Re. RM:

As the quote says "Well, maybe." And continues later on by saying " given the enormous contradictory “facts” spewed out by scientists and other experts,.... 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." - which may or may not apply to the author of these quotes, but at least he later on says "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" .

No point in continuing - just to say that there are plenty of other articles about masks which are also critical of their use, just as there are an overwhelming amount that support them.

As for CM's continued avoidance of the main point of the quote against him/her - " “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…”. ... 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."

I suggest people also look at articles like this:
https://enoughisenough14.org/2020/11/01/corona-state-measures-let-us-not-leave-the-field-to-the-far-right-and-conspiracy-theorists-again-be-prepared-and-get-organized/#more-85185 (sample quote "Anti-authoritarians have not much to gain in coalitions with the „Corona-conformable“ left.")
And there should be no problem with this link for CM since by his/her logic this site should be considered a good reference because the people involved supported the RAF and the USAF's bombing of Dresden in 1945. Good anti-fascists. Hitler opposed Stalin - we should support Stalin. Hitler opposed the British Empire - we should support the British Empire., etc.etc. ad nauseam .

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on December 27, 2020

Though I said "no point in continuing", I'll just say this re. RM's " the governments of the world needed to do something on this massive scale to repress us with a tactic that has wrecked economies at enormous cost?"

Since when has the use of masks wrecked economies?

And though certain economies have been wrecked by this permanent crisis, particularly for those at the lowest end of the hierarchy, since when has capital been concerned with particular economies as long as the economy as a whole (in particular the need for money) remains firmly in the hands of the rulers? Two world wars wrecked elements of the economy but reinforced it for the arms industry, for example - and massively reinforced state power. The pharmaceutical industry is raking in billions each month now, just as state power and the desperate need for money is being reinforced endlessly (and often with the tacit, though largely unconscious, support of so-called "libertarian" revolutionaries). Capital in the 19th century was subject to periodic crises that saw individual capitalists regularly "wrecked" but capital itself continued unabated. 1929 saw bankers jumping out of windows, but the Great Depression didn't wreck the economy as a whole - Roosevelt, Hitler testify to that.
So what's the relevance of saying " the governments of the world needed to do something on this massive scale to repress us with a tactic that has wrecked economies at enormous cost" other than to manipulate the reader (or maybe just to contribute to your own confusion) by implying that critiquing CM's post is landing in the same camp as simplistic conspiracy theorists ?

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 27, 2020

Despite media rhetoric this is not a war, it’s a health crisis, one largely caused by the capitalist mode of food production and distribution etc. Yes, 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.

So all the world’s governments, 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.

Your stated claims are based on sources that don’t hold up to scrutiny, as shown several times above. Before weighing in to try to show how superior your analysis is try basing it on credible cross-referenced, fact-checked sources. Seems like you’re the one swallowing the dodgy “force of propaganda” more than those you denounce.
For instance your recently quoted JD Michel source claims;

"Most of the deaths from Covid are political deaths, consequences of an imbecile and lethal health policy" while affirming that the Covid19 is the exact equivalent of a seasonal flu: "From what we know today, the characteristics of the Covid-19 epidemic in terms of contagiousness, dangerousness and lethality, are exactly the same, in terms of order of magnitude, than the influenza epidemics that we have year after year. No more, no less. ”…

Which is wrong. Contagion and mortality from Covid19 are considerably higher than that from seasonal flu. These are the most basic factual errors or distortions, falsehoods known to be so by anyone who cared to find out since the start of Covid. That should make anyone think twice about using such sources.

Despite you denouncing others for an uncritical deference to Science the only ‘evidence’ you’ve presented has been, not actual scientific research, but the dubious personal opinions and articles of scientists and science journalists – as if their qualifications and status give automatic extra weight and validity to their claims above actual conducted material research. So it looks like you deferring to the authority of Science more than anyone else.

And again, where are all the millions of people made so sick by wearing masks that we could expect if your claims were true?

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 28, 2020

The presence of bacteria in the air was discovered by Pasteur in 1861. It was soon realized that some sick people could spread disease via expelled droplets and airborne transmission. (Amazing that some anti-maskers still dispute its relevance in a pandemic.) For a history of medical masks; https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/XwMmcBQAAGwR9GY8
Masks were used during the 1918 flu pandemic, though not without a minority opposition;
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/us/mask-protests-1918.html
Those wishing to get an idea of the recent science regarding masks with good visual illustration of airborne infection, see; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJ4Epf8i1uk

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on December 29, 2020

I have to say I find it quite strange that various libcommers have such strong views on the mask related science as well as other covid health related topics. This really isn't basic stuff thats simple to understand. The libcom twitter account for instance as well as commenters in this thread are making it seem as if the knowledge about these issues are settled. I'm pretty sure knowledgeable and sincere researchers on these topics would be much less certain about various conclusions.

I think it's doing "our politics" a disservice to weigh in with certainty on these topics. The politics are to a certain extent entangled with the science but I think it's important to maintain separation as much as possible. Several opinions seem to stem, at least in part, from traditional political oppositions. Or are marshaled as arguments for other political reasons. Picked to suit the politics.

The pandemic has seen the rise of the amateur virologists etc and it's not pretty to be honest. There isn't clear evidence for anything making a critical difference as far as the spread is concerned. It's just very complex. The mental and physical health issues as well as secondary violence, poverty etc are also really difficult to grasp or compare to covid deaths.

edit: Countering the class targeted nature of the covid response without ending up in half baked policy suggestions is obviously difficult but nevertheless important.

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 29, 2020

There isn't clear evidence for anything making a critical difference as far as the spread is concerned.

Are you sure? :)

It's hardly controversial to say that airborne infection is a reality and that there is credible evidence that masks can help protect against that (and wearing them doesn’t make you ill). That has been known since the 1860s. Or that washing hands during a pandemic is sensible.

And, against the conspiraloons, certain things have to be stated as facts; eg, the virus does exist, Covid contagion rate and death rate are considerably higher than normal flu, there won’t be a microchip in the vaccine etc.

That some things are not absolutely proven doesn't mean evidence suggesting certain outcomes should be dismissed. There is nothing wrong in assessing critically in a sincere way research like this suggesting (in line with evidence from earlier epidemics) that mask-wearing resulted in a significant drop in infection; https://www.pnas.org/content/117/51/32293 - but equally no reason to dismiss it as useless or not credible if it doesn't give final absolute proof (something often hard to obtain under pandemic conditions). This article indicates also a protective effect; https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/55216518 In contrast, this earlier survey found only marginal protective effect from mask wearing; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.564280/full [Edit; see note in my later post below about this link]
But the predominant consensus from available evidence is overwhelmingly that mask-wearing is protective. That is consistent and logical with the evidence in the video I linked to earlier (based on recent research) showing how airborne infection occurs.

For myself I’ve only challenged here dubious claims presented as facts and blatant distortions such as the false interpretation of the Nature article.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on December 29, 2020

Just to say I completely support everything being said here by Red, especially in response to NA/Samotnaf's conspiracy nonsense, which would be amusing if it were not actually extremely dangerous, and contributing towards tens of thousands of deaths, especially in the US where the extreme right has been propagating the exact same propaganda he is propagating here, leading to significant numbers of imbeciles refusing to wear masks and continuing to spread this deadly virus. Which has already killed one member of my family, as well as a friend of another member of the libcom group, a health worker.

Just wanted to add one small thing:
Red Marriott

In contrast, this earlier survey found only marginal protective effect from mask wearing; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.564280/full But the predominant consensus from available evidence is overwhelmingly that mask-wearing is protective. That is consistent and logical with the evidence in the video I linked to earlier (based on recent research) showing how airborne infection occurs.

On this, authors of some studies on mask-wearing in non-medical settings, which have found similar results (i.e. that there was only a marginal protective effect), have warned against misunderstanding the results. Because these studies are mostly not looking at universal mask wearing, they are mostly looking at whether individuals wearing a mask are less likely to become infected. Whereas it is generally accepted scientifically that mask wearing by infected people helps reduce the spread, and universal mask wearing helps reduce it further. Hence the general projection now in the US that universal mask wearing help save around 50,000 lives in the next few months.

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 30, 2020

I put the link to the article finding only marginal effectiveness for mask-wearing to avoid accusations of imbalance; it was the only source easily found with that view and cos it has been often (mis)used by anti-maskers. Though it is dated on that site as Sep 2020 that is the date it was published on the site. But I should have mentioned that its findings are based on;

Relevant peer-reviewed literature that assessed the effectiveness/efficacy of surgical face masks (SM) in preventing community-acquired acute respiratory infections (ARIs) were identified and extracted from PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases on February 25, 2020.

So it's based on a Feb 2020 overview of various studies of mask use in previous respiratory epidemics & pandemics and has little to do with what has been learned from the pattern of mask wearing during Covid that we've come to know since. Feb 2020, when this survey was made, was very early in the pandemic; before it was even officially declared a pandemic. That probably accounts for the different conclusions of this research compared with later research based on longer experience of this pandemic.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on December 30, 2020

I'm certainly no covid denier nor pro or against masks. I firmly know that it's way outside my ability to reach good conclusions from a selection of articles and papers.

My main point is that handling the public health during a pandemic is about a lot more than blocking the virus. What Samotnaf/Nymphalis points out (with trademark hyperbole) has *some* merit. Mental health and other issues also kill, the long term behavioral consequences of masks on distancing and safe behaviour are uncertain and culturally dependent. Balancing this is waay beyond my knowledge and I'm therefore reluctant to cite a few papers or articles supporting either way.

As I said the issue is fighting the class skewed solutions but avoiding making conclusions about medical matters or elaborating whats beginning to look like home made policy proposals. Particularly when they are based on reports about small parts of the whole public health question.

Steven those projections about mask wearing saving 50,000 lives are projections and the US has huge issues with spread. It's just extremely difficult to judge the merit and complex interactions of all these things. The depth of knowledge, effort in popularising the information and research consensus just isn't at the level of say global warming. Yet

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 30, 2020

As I said the issue is fighting the class skewed solutions but avoiding making conclusions about medical matters or elaborating whats beginning to look like home made policy proposals.

How are you going to demand safety at work and sufficient PPE for, eg, front line workers without concluding that it does work, it is protective? That's a class issue.
How are you gonna bother to make the effort to try not to infect others if you don't make those conclusions?
If you sneeze into your hand you can feel the moist droplets; if you sneeze in a bright light you can see the droplets in the air. In a person with a respiratory illness those droplets are infectious (as are the smaller aerolised particles) to others close enough to absorb them. They are expelled when coughing, sneezing, talking, shouting, singing etc. A barrier, such as a mask worn by the sick person (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), reduces the the reach of the infectious material so lessens infection of others. The mask also gives some limited protection to the wearer from absorbing infectious gunk from others. It ain't rocket science.

Reddebrek

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Reddebrek on December 30, 2020

Back in the beginning of the year the company announced a whole new Covid response package in line with government regulations, they were as follows, a reminder to wash your hands, don't congregate unless necessary and use the anti bacterial dispensers.

Now anti-bacterial wipes can kill viruses provided the sterilising agent is strong enough, but no one knew how high that was or if the stuff the company ordered was strong enough, so potentially they were completely worthless. Oh and they promised that they'd eventually print off some "Do you have COVID Yes/no?" questionnaires for visitors.

I and some other co-workers thought this was pathetic and started arguing for improvements, we got new soap dispensers put in, some signs (of course) and a supply of rubber gloves, they refused to give out masks because they didn't think it did anything. A couple months later the outbreak continues to worsen and eventually, glacially slowly the government and company h& e departments concede that yes actually mask usage does limit spread, so now we have masks and limits on numbers of people in site vehicles too.

So I don't really find much of what's been said here really credible, from my memory the government and the business sector were actively hostile to providing these "alienating" tools until it became clear they had no other choice.

Given the direction much of this conversation has gone here I suppose its worth bringing up the work of a group of anarchist medical researchers https://libcom.org/library/anarchists-guide-surviving-coronavirus-four-thieves-vinegar-collective

The guide was written way back in February, and at the time I was unsure whether sharing it was a good idea, but since then its aged very well, most of the research that's been conducted since then has backed up many of its claims and most guidelines follow what it was suggesting. So there are DIY responses we can use to deal with the spread of this virus.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on December 30, 2020

Much of this is sidestepping the argument and mixing in other aspects not related to masks or speculating about how the virus spreads and how much other health issues are made worse or better by the covid response. I'll reply anyway.

Red Marriott

How are you going to demand safety at work and sufficient PPE for, eg, front line workers without concluding that it does work, it is protective? That's a class issue.

You can argue that it's reasonable to throw all even potentially effective ppe at those that absolutely must work. But having worked in toxic environments with strict ppe requirements I know how hard it is to keep it on and always follow the requirements. Particularly long hours and for months. You start out really proper then take it off more and more. "funnily" enough that has impacted how dangerous covid might be for me. This way masks and some other measures might well lead to more dangerous behaviour because you're doing your thing with the mask. More people can be forced to do dangerous work etc. The other thing is constant fiddling with mask risk leaving more virus on your fingers which you then spread on contact.

Again I'm not saying I know where the line should be drawn or the relative risk or effect on societal spread. So I refrain from speculating or stating assumptions as fact. The above are just things off the top of my head that might be negatives with wearing mask.

Red Marriott

How are you gonna bother to make the effort to try not to infect others if you don't make those conclusions?
If you sneeze into your hand you can feel the moist droplets; if you sneeze in a bright light you can see the droplets in the air. In a person with a respiratory illness those droplets are infectious (as are the smaller aerolised particles) to others close enough to absorb them. They are expelled when coughing, sneezing, talking, shouting, singing etc. A barrier, such as a mask worn by the sick person (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), reduces the the reach of the infectious material so lessens infection of others. The mask also gives some limited protection to the wearer from absorbing infectious gunk from others. It ain't rocket science.

No thats not rocket science but you're doing "common sense" thinking when it wont do. No one disputes (ok some might) what you're saying above but it's simplistic thinking about only one aspect of the pandemic and public health. See above.

As I said I don't have an opinion on masks I'm just attempting to show how amateur virology misses the point. I do think however that masks are great for politicians regardless of their benefits and risks. It's part of an array of tools they can use to signal decisiveness, action, that they are "doing something" etc. whilst still demanding people go to work.

So I don't think the "science" nor the politics bit is clear cut.

R Totale

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on December 30, 2020

Cooked

As I said I don't have an opinion on masks I'm just attempting to show how amateur virology misses the point. I do think however that masks are great for politicians regardless of their benefits and risks. It's part of an array of tools they can use to signal decisiveness, action, that they are "doing something" etc. whilst still demanding people go to work.

What would you give as examples of this? I know that things vary differently from country to country so in the US the whole issue has a kind of party political significance it doesn't have so much here, but I really didn't think of it as something that politicians had particularly embraced in their messaging. Of course, politicians do love their symbolic PPE on occasion, but I still hadn't really thought of it as something that they were pushing in this context.

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 30, 2020

Cooked

No thats not rocket science but you're doing "common sense" thinking when it wont do. No one disputes (ok some might) what you're saying above but it's simplistic thinking about only one aspect of the pandemic and public health.

The reason I'm stating the nuts and bolts basics of infection are because they haven't been either understood or taken into account by some of the anti-mask arguments here. Btw - in the UK, and I think elsewhere, anyone can claim medical exemption from wearing a mask with no penalty – I’ve never seen or heard of anyone being checked on this so presumably it’s easy enough to not wear a mask if it’s badly affecting you.

But I don't know how you can so confidently – or “simplistically” - attribute mental health problems to mask wearing so distinctly from problems brought on by the other concurrent pressures of a pandemic situation, including non-wearing of masks; the fears of sickness - sometimes intensified by seeing others not taking precautions and endangering you, the isolation, increased poverty etc. Like mask wearing, they are symptoms of a pandemic; that doesn't mean we should have no social distancing and no attempts to limit infection because there will be some impact on mental health. It doesn’t mean we don’t take that impact into account either.

Death and serious illness of yourself or those you're close to has a pretty bad effect on mental and other health, surely worse than wearing a mask when shopping.

You could apply your arguments to a clinical setting too when treating the sick but I think the good reasons to not do so apply equally to non-clinical situations.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on December 31, 2020

Cooked, really don't understand you are getting at here. There is a very large and growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of universal mask wearing. So much so that it has forced even political entities which were politically opposed to mask-wearing to support it (e.g. US government/CDC/Mike Pence etc).
On the other hand, you seem to be giving this huge amount of scientific evidence an equivalent weight to purely conjectural and unfounded fears about mental health and mask wearing. Which if there was anything actually to it, there would be mountains of evidence about already, since in many parts of the world (and indeed, many parts of UK industry) there is frequent mask wearing all the time. And as mentioned by Red earlier, similar to the preposterous claims about "breathing your own bacteria", if any of that was actually an issue, there would be plenty of evidence about it already.
In terms of the real impact on mental health, again this is far worse in places where science-denial is more widespread like the US, than in places where health authorities are well organised, and believed by the population, like South Korea or Aotearoa/New Zealand, where people are able to live much more normal lives because inaction hasn't let the virus spread rampantly out of control.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on December 31, 2020

I've tried to steer clear of pretending to know the effectiveness of various measures. I'm clearly failing as most comments seem to think I'm arguing against masks! Or in Red Mariotts case that I think we should do nothing!?

The point I'm trying to make is that it's a mistake to quote papers and think you understand the issue. The world is full om men (yes almost exclusively) pulling numbers from reports like they are arguing about their football teams chances and correct strategies. Then being football stand loud on issues they have the most minimal understanding of. I see some of that misguided confidence in the comments above as well as on the libcom twitter feed. It's just that being wrong has consequences.

I don't think there's a consensus on how to best handle the pandemic and the response. Important new knowledge is being created continuously.

Steven with your examples you just sliding further away and opening up more and more issues. South Korea... New Zealand... "places where health authorities are well organised, and believed by the population". Germany. Sweden... I mean you just have to briefly think about these places to realize UK for instance is a completely different matter. Finland... The culture, authoritarianism and connectedness of these places are just so different. The same strategies aren't feasible.

I'm dragging people into more replies about specifics and details with the above but that's what I'm trying to avoid. I understand that it's necessary for people to think and have opinions about these things. It's the over confidence in various numbers etc. I'm against, particularly when semi official. The replies like yours Steven are very obviously connected to your frustration with the UK situation and formed by the opposition to what's happening there.

I'm not someone who thinks thinking always should be small scale or such anarchy cliche. In this case however it's really the only thing we can sensibly do. Speaking for yourself and your situation. Demanding ppe at work as Reddebrek discusses. Attacking obvious class warfare such as keeping people at work whilst being absurdly strict on social gatherings.

Most of the replies to my posts have been against strawmen. I don't think they are intentionally so but the fact that they are means than either I'm not expressing myself well (impossible!) or the whole discussion is so locked into this numerology of select papers and forced into the territory of Politics (note capital P) . The latter is the argument I'm trying to make.

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 31, 2020

Your assessment, several times repeated, that the science is too uncertain at present to be reliable so we shouldn’t even try to draw conclusions from it is just as much a drawn conclusion. One I don’t entirely agree with. Yet your opinion must be based on the evidence of your observation, assessment and experience. On the one hand you denounce drawing any precautionary principles as “amateur virology” but also make your own “amateur” judgement that we can’t trust the evidence of professionals; which seems an abdication of any use of scientific knowledge. Science has many sins to its name and we should be cautious in assessing its claims. But saying we can’t assess or comment on any scientific data for fear it may not be proven is condemning ourselves personally and collectively to less informed, more dangerous behaviour. But the science on airborne infection and protective masks is not a Covid phenomenon, it’s been known and verified since the 19th C.

I’m not sure why you think combating potentially deadly infection may be outweighed by other less deadly factors. Nobody is denying, ignoring or diminishing mental health aspects. But AFAIK there hasn’t been an increase in people dying from or being hospitalised from mental health issues at anywhere near the rates of Covid patients.

Considering that you say you accept the logic of airborne infection and protective mask wearing but appear unhappy with the idea we should try to make informed decisions about it I’m beginning to wonder if your focus on mental health is really a metaphor for the inalienable rights of individual civil liberties. In any emergency/crisis situation there will be mental health stresses whether there is mask wearing or not. Forgive me for being amateur by using evidence again, but these 2020 studies found;

The researchers found that adherence to face-covering guidelines had no association with poorer mental health. The team also found that people who wore masks consistently had better mental health than those who did not.

Hence, the study offers evidence to suggest that wearing face coverings or masks more often will not negatively impact mental health.

The study found that the odds of feeling anxious were 58% lower among those who always wore their masks. The likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms was 25% lower among people who wore their masks most of the time. Lastly, the odds of feeling lonely were 67% lower among those who always wore their masks.

Indeed, the opposite appears to be the case: stronger adherence to guidelines is associated with less anxiety and loneliness, and higher life satisfaction and wellbeing," the researchers wrote in the paper.

The study findings agree with past studies that found that not adhering to the rule of wearing face masks can be viewed negatively by others. It reveals the other side to adherence behavior, even though stigmatization or discomfort of wearing masks do or do not harm mental health and well-being.

... More research would be needed to fully understand this correlation and it should be weighed up against the ways in which consistent mask-wearing can have negative effects on one's physical and mental well-being. In short, further study would clarify the implications of this finding. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201224/Researchers-find-correlation-between-consistent-mask-wearing-and-improved-well-being.aspx#:~:text=Hence%2C%20the%20study%20offers%20evidence,who%20always%20wore%20their%20masks.

These comparisons of mask wearing and non-mask wearing approaches in China and Poland found similar results;
Conclusion: Use of face masks at the community level may safeguard better physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.569981/full

In summary, our findings imply that face mask restrictions may not only protect against the COVID-19 but also increase the level of perceived self-protection as well as the level of social solidarity and thereby improve mental health wellbeing. However, longitudinal studies performed in representative cohorts are required to address limitations of our study and disentangle causal associations. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7204728/

While masks can contribute to anxiety, there are also other factors at play.

“Well I think it’s more than just the masks. I really think it’s about the stress that the pandemic has caused overall in our society, Woike-Ganga said. "I think that all of that has a lot of people with heightened anxiety in general, so certainly masks can contribute to that, but I wouldn’t call masks the underlying cause.” https://www.wkbw.com/news/local-news/can-face-masks-contribute-to-mental-health-concerns

So there is evidence that mask wearing actually improves mental health. But maybe that’s too amateur and commonsensical for you so should be ignored.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on December 31, 2020

The misunderstandings continue. I'm not saying don't trust the scientist I'm saying there are an awful lot of scientists, and others, that need to be listened to. It's an enormous puzzle where most of the bits aren't even biology. Anyone not working full time looking at *all* the pieces and searching for new missed ones will be failing to see the whole picture. The media and the virologymales have a one eyed focus on certain issues. Ones that are at the perfect level of enabling smartasses whilst avoiding real complexity.

It's just so blatantly obvious that the focus is at exactly the right things for a certain type of mind, media and personality. I expect more people to understand they could never keep up. The key people working full time can't keep up!

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on December 31, 2020

Nobody ever has a complete understanding of the totality of anything but so what? That doesn't prevent us from assessing critically what we know so far or mean that it's not necessary to try to do that. We don't need to know everything about everything to make useful decisions - otherwise we'd be paralysed by doubt on the basis we 'have to leave it to the experts'. Yes, everything is politicised and filtered through competing interests but you can't discuss, criticise or assess anything without dealing with that.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on December 31, 2020

So while away this popped up
libcom twitter

Then there's a potentially even more serious issue that the UK is vaccinating people at the exact moment the virus is ripping around the population. This means hundreds of thousands of opportunities for the virus to infect semi-vaccinated people and mutate into a resistant strain

55.7K Followers

Honestly wtf! A levels style biology speculation. Yes that's how it works on that ultra simplistic level but is libom able to judge the risks involved with any precision at all. No, is my answer. Why pollute the world with this nonsense then? There are loads of real even very good high level scientists of various fields with serious resources coming out with theories and predictions and they are almost always wrong because the are working from a narrow perspective. I don't know what the libcom admin does for a living but...

I think the rest of the libcom collective should try to rein in the twitter admin a bit. It's not good and he's clearly falling down a rabbit hole.

So again, my argument is that everyone cut down on the pseudo science quoting of papers and painting of scenarios good or bad based on a couple of hours a week of research. There are important issues to tackle and discuss and generally speaking they are closer to home. Even if home for the locked down or home working people really is the internet.

This is not an appeal to authority but to give some context to those pinholing me as some anti-science person. Shortly after my ppe demanding job mentioned above I started university on a 5 year path that would have led me pretty much straight into the heart of this topic (molecular biotechnology). I dropped out after two years.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on December 31, 2020

Okay so trying to avoid some extended unproductive back-and-forth, I tried to go back a bit and explain the reason you are coming across as essentially being anti-science/anti-mask.
NA was recycling a load of far right conspiracy nonsense, saying things which were not only preposterous but demonstrably untrue.
Red Marriott pointed out a number of factual inaccuracies, and asked questions poking holes in his logic (which NA has just not even tried to answer).
Then from the perspective of somebody reading it it appears that you commented arguing against Red trying to use scientific studies to debunk NA's nonsense. I didn't see you say anything addressing NA's nonsense. And while you criticised non-epidemiologists for making judgements based on the available scientific evidence, you didn't criticise non-epidemiologists making judgements based on conspiracy theories pulled out of somebody's arse.
So that's why I was confused by your general approach here. It looks like you are trying to defend NA from criticism based on scientific evidence. If not, not sure what your general point is?
The libcom account tweet is essentially a rehash of concerns being expressed on the platform by virologists, who are worried about proposals in the UK to delay giving the 2nd dose of vaccines, as some people are now suggesting. So don't particular understand your problem. You seem to be implying that people who don't have PhDs in a subject cannot share concerns that people who do have PhDs/postdoc qualifications in a subject have?
But your more general point about non-experts not being able to make judgements I also find a bit odd. I mean of course there are limits, but I'm not a climate scientist, but I believe in climate change.
Also don't completely understand your bringing of gender into the discussion. More men than women ignore the science and refuse to wear masks, mostly presumably because of some ridiculous sense of machismo. Ditto hand washing.

R Totale

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on December 31, 2020

Cooked

I've tried to steer clear of pretending to know the effectiveness of various measures. I'm clearly failing as most comments seem to think I'm arguing against masks! Or in Red Mariotts case that I think we should do nothing!?

The point I'm trying to make is that it's a mistake to quote papers and think you understand the issue. The world is full om men (yes almost exclusively) pulling numbers from reports like they are arguing about their football teams chances and correct strategies. Then being football stand loud on issues they have the most minimal understanding of. I see some of that misguided confidence in the comments above as well as on the libcom twitter feed. It's just that being wrong has consequences.

I don't think there's a consensus on how to best handle the pandemic and the response. Important new knowledge is being created continuously.

Steven with your examples you just sliding further away and opening up more and more issues. South Korea... New Zealand... "places where health authorities are well organised, and believed by the population". Germany. Sweden... I mean you just have to briefly think about these places to realize UK for instance is a completely different matter. Finland... The culture, authoritarianism and connectedness of these places are just so different. The same strategies aren't feasible.

I'm dragging people into more replies about specifics and details with the above but that's what I'm trying to avoid. I understand that it's necessary for people to think and have opinions about these things. It's the over confidence in various numbers etc. I'm against, particularly when semi official. The replies like yours Steven are very obviously connected to your frustration with the UK situation and formed by the opposition to what's happening there.

I'm not someone who thinks thinking always should be small scale or such anarchy cliche. In this case however it's really the only thing we can sensibly do. Speaking for yourself and your situation. Demanding ppe at work as Reddebrek discusses. Attacking obvious class warfare such as keeping people at work whilst being absurdly strict on social gatherings.

Yeah, I don't want to join a pile-on or anything here but I'm still a bit confused by what you're arguing. Like, we can all agree that it's good for people to demand PPE at work, in those situations where they're still going to work, but surely that position is based on having a whole set of reasonably confident beliefs? Like 1) beliefs about how the virus is spread - there seems to have been a shift from early in the pandemic when there was much more focus on handwashing, washing everything, not touching your face, etc to understanding it as being more airborne, and masks being part of that, 2) thinking of PPE as not hurting more than it helps - sorry to keep harping on this, but if you thought that e.g. mask-wearing had significant negative consequences that might outweigh the positives, then you would not want to make that one of your demands at work, and 3) making a calculation that furlough/working from home isn't plausible/feasible/desirable and so having adequate PPE is the best goal that can be reasonably hoped for? Like, I'm not trying to have a go, but you seem to be setting simple clear-cut stuff like demanding PPE at work against speculating about the bigger issues, and I'm not sure it's so easy to disentangle them?

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on December 31, 2020

From here : https://dialectical-delinquents.com/leftist-bollocks-from-the-usual-suspects/

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-moy...), 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_...

- which is then apparently debunked by this: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343263629_A_Complete_Debunking_...

But these are interesting:

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

and this from the same site:

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

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".

For something on the politics of libcom from 8 years ago, see this: https://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles-chronologically-2/war-polit...

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on January 1, 2021

When people criticise your inaccuracies here it's not cos they don't like you, it's cos you're factually undeniably wrong. But if they don't like you it's probably cos you come on here all guns blazing to denounce and contemptuously dismiss everyone as inevitably less radical than you - see, eg, your first arrogant & aggressive post here. Despite numerous times acting like this under various different names and flouncing off the site claiming you'll never return you just can't stay away and always return. Why? cos you're libcom's most loyal opposition - for how else would you define and reinforce your imagined superior radicality?

You came on here so you could put a link on your site showing how cleverly you'd put all the 'leftists' in their place; but it didn’t quite work out like that and now you're smarting from having your ignorance exposed. You could've had a calm adult conversation about your disagreements but instead you act like an arrogant egomaniac and spout a load of inaccurate rightist bollox and myth, as seen above.

You don’t seem to grasp or care that you can be right and an arsehole about it or wrong and decent about it (though in this case you were wrong and an arsehole about it). Everyone else here is capable of having a calm rational discussion; but you, almost certainly the oldest participant, act more childish than anyone. So some people HAVE WRONG IDEAS sometimes (though that was you this time). That’s not an automatic valid reason to contemptuously dismiss and denounce them; unless you’re an arrogant egotist or unless you have so much invested in your self-image of a supposed ideological superiority that it becomes necessary to reinforce it with regular arrogant denunciations like we’ve seen from you here (and will no doubt see again cos you just can’t stay away from all the ‘leftists’ here).

Red Marriott

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on January 1, 2021

On the latest links provided by NA;
The 1st link doesn't say what you claim it does. You say it;

is usually seen as inconclusive,

Yes, the authors themselves say it is.

though it says, amongst all the mathematical calculations, that wearing them outside is useless. It emphasises the uselessness of surgical masks outside

It was a quite limited study under conditions far from universally applicable. But no, if you read it, it doesn’t say at all that masks are useless outside – the research asked participants to observe social distancing and for one group to wear and the other to not wear masks outside the home - which would include outdoors;

Encouragement to follow social distancing measures for coronavirus disease 2019, plus either no mask recommendation or a recommendation to wear a mask when outside the home among other persons

So all the conclusions are based on the wearing of masks "outside the home"; they don't distinguish how much of that time is spent outdoors or in other buildings; so it would be impossible for the researchers to come to a definite conclusion on the effectiveness of wearing masks outside. So they don’t at all conclude, as you claim, “that wearing them outside is useless”;

Limitation:
Inconclusive results, missing data, variable adherence, patient-reported findings on home tests, no blinding, and no assessment of whether masks could decrease disease transmission from mask wearers to others.

Conclusion:
The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.
... Observational evidence suggests that mask wearing mitigates SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but whether this observed association arises because masks protect uninfected wearers (protective effect) or because transmission is reduced from infected mask wearers (source control) is uncertain.
The findings, however, should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections, because the trial did not test the role of masks in source control of SARS-CoV-2 infection. During the study period, authorities did not recommend face mask use outside hospital settings and mask use was rare in community settings (22). This means that study participants' exposure was overwhelmingly to persons not wearing masks.
......... The potential benefits of a community-wide recommendation to wear masks include combined prevention and source control for symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, improved attention, and reduced potential stigmatization of persons wearing masks to prevent infection of others (17). Although masks may also have served as source control in SARS-CoV-2–infected participants, the study was not designed to determine the effectiveness of source control ... Yet, the findings were inconclusive and cannot definitively exclude a 46% reduction to a 23% increase in infection of mask wearers. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817

So you’ve completely misrepresented the conclusions of that research.

The 2nd Raincourt link (who wrongly claims virus is only spread by aerosolised particles, ignoring larger droplets), from a climate change denialist, is convincingly debunked by another scientist. The debunking is a clear evidence-based description of why masks are considered useful and worth a read. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343263629_A_Complete_Debunking_of_Denis_Rancourt's_Mask_Don't_Work For a shorter summary; https://davidkylejohnson.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/resolved-public-mask-mandates-assist-in-curbing-the-spread-of-COVID-19/
3rd link is an opinion piece. Claims there is no evidence for prevention of virus spread by masks. As usual it makes much of changing opinion and advice; this is considered to be evidence of repressive deception rather than changing scientific opinion based on growth of understanding.
4th link is an opinion piece. It doesn’t deny the possibility of masks being useful but debates the political manipulations of the issues. Even if all the opinions on that were true it wouldn’t refute the evidence that masks are protective.
So there is nothing in these articles to give additional evidence to support NA’s claims at all.

[Edited to clarify the meaning of "outside"]

Spikymike

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on January 1, 2021

Dare I say it again but what was potentially the basis of a critical discussion about the relationship between the present capitalist states repressive measures aimed, according to them, with at least a semblance of validity and based on available, if sometimes contested, scientific evidence, at limiting the spread of the virus and protecting both the capitalist economy and we collective producers of surplus value in the economy and the part that is playing more generally in repressing class struggle and reinforcing class rule -- seems to have got side tracked by more detailed arguments about the specifics of the benefits or otherwise of wearing masks and not just in public, rather than the whole panoply of other restrictive measures , not least the increased border and travel controls. But NA's initial rather arrogant dismissal of the opening text (with it's limited objective) ,concentrating on the mask issue and contestable sources of information was as much to blame for that as anyone else. Red is known for a detailed and forensic examination of claimed facts behind such criticism which might irritate some but it serves a purpose even if it unintentionally misses other issues that might be more interesting or worth pursuing.

adri

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by adri on January 1, 2021

I still don't get the argument that masks are "alienating." Is this not just your opinion? I could just point to the counterexample of people who don't feel masks are something imposed on them and who recognize the importance of wearing them and the consequences of not; it would be more convincing if you at least conducted interviews with people to show that etc. It sounds more like your own negative experiences and distrust of masks that you're then generalizing to others.

Of course there's been instances of governments and certain factions exploiting the pandemic to quell recent protests, along with other uses. However capital in general really does not have much to gain from masks, social distancing, lockdowns (clampdowns are another matter) and other measures (with the exception of mask producers, drug companies, re-sellers, and all the other loathsome pandemic-entrepreneurs who have an interest in the continuation of the virus, just like arms contractors have an interest in wars, etc.). You haven't really explained here what capital has to gain except for pointing to some vague "repression for repression's sake," which I don't find all that persuasive. There is an argument to be made that there is "capitalist repression" (not based on some subjective/bogus nonsense that masks are "alienating" and "cause you to breathe in your own bacteria"). For example: people are being evicted amid a pandemic/while being told to stay at home; people have faced layoffs and hunger while food is overproduced and destroyed (due to how capitalist production is not aimed at people's needs); people have resorted to "stealing" necessaries in order to survive while private property rights persist; and so on.

The situation in France and elsewhere hasn't really been the same in America where the virus has been downplayed by the current administration from the start, with a continual push to open things up and a disregard for safety measures like masks. I'd also argue that governments don't really have the health of their citizens in mind, rather than the interests of capital (which is really what the coronavirus measures are ultimately for, rather than just letting the virus rip through countries worse than it already has), which I think is evidenced by the U.S. as well as the push to open schools up in some countries.

Spikymike

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on January 2, 2021

So while I'm on this there are a couple of short socialist articles with a fairly balanced look at the related issue of the vaccines (pro and anti) currently being rolled out around the world, here:
https://worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020s/2021/no-1397-january-2021/pathfinders-42/
and
https://worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020s/2021/no-1397-january-2021/cooking-the-books-3/

jaycee

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jaycee on January 2, 2021

I think this thread illustrates the difficulty the working class faces with covid. On the one hand lockdowns and 'social distancing' etc are most probably the only way to deal with the virus within the current social system; certainly a more humane, broader and more health promotion oriented approach would cost too much and require too many adjustments to how the economy works etc.

On the other hand the question of 'supporting' a de facto 'state of emergency'/lockdown being implemented by the bourgeoisie is clearly more than a little problematic. The idea that the bourgeoisie will and is using this crisis to implement plans and policies which they have wanted to for a long time and will and are generally attempting to use the crisis in whatever ways will benefit their rule and their wallets that they can is not conspiraloonism; it's just how power works.

The focus on questions like vaccines and masks etc is on one level a response to this seeming paralysis of the class. Within a framework in which it is almost impossible to see how the working class can put forward its interests/solutions to the crisis individuals are attempting to assert their 'refusal' and their 'independence' in the only ways they can see. These are individualistic and generally self defeating responses (the petty bourgeois demand for 'back to business' is also important) but it is a mistake to underestimate the danger is simple acquiescence.

Things like the 'alienating' nature of masks is an interesting example; while it is clearly not in itself a 'ploy' to increase alienation, atomization etc much of the effects of lockdown will most likely be a massive increase in these phenomena. That is, more working from home allied to greater (open) surveillance in and outside of peoples homes as well as restructuring of the economy allied to massive attacks on living and working conditions. The working class will have to prove itself able to fight back against these trends but the longer this process takes the harder it may be to do so and we need to be thinking about how to respond now; although it does seem particularly difficult at the moment.

R Totale

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on January 2, 2021

Yeah, this was one article I've seen thinking about workplace organizing when working from home, would be interested to see any more: http://libcom.org/library/does-working-home-weaken-working-class-bluebirdbeta

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 3, 2021

Just a warning to Samotnaf/NA: don't use your sock puppet Samotnaf account which you flounced from in order to down vote posts by Red Marriott. Unlike Red, I don't know how old you are, but this is extremely juvenile behaviour.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 3, 2021

Partially agree with jaycee on how it is unfortunate how so much public discussion around Covid takes place, in a way which sees revolutionaries having to support measures enacted by governments.
However highly contagious viruses are things over which human behaviour plays a huge part, and so while some things are on states and employers, some of it is on all of us – like avoiding as many unnecessary activities as possible, wearing masks whenever other people around, and staying as far from other people as possible etc.
In terms of our class, though, there has been lots of organising around Covid. There have been many strikes for better protections in workplaces. And perhaps the biggest dispute so far may erupt on Monday (tomorrow), as the NEU teachers' union has advised all of its primary schoolteacher members to refuse to work in schools as of tomorrow on safety grounds, as permitted by the Health and Safety at Work Act. This is potentially an extremely powerful piece of legislation, and this is a really important test of the level of workers' organisation. Ideally this is something which other groups of workers can organise around collectively and emulate, as well as supporting the teachers.

R Totale

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on January 3, 2021

Oh, also thinking about the experience of class struggle under lockdown conditions, here's the obligatory plug for the Let's Get Rooted/Angry Workers series of interviews: https://letsgetrooted.wordpress.com/

Mike Harman

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on January 3, 2021

Cooked

The misunderstandings continue. I'm not saying don't trust the scientist I'm saying there are an awful lot of scientists, and others, that need to be listened to. It's an enormous puzzle where most of the bits aren't even biology. Anyone not working full time looking at *all* the pieces and searching for new missed ones will be failing to see the whole picture. The media and the virologymales have a one eyed focus on certain issues. Ones that are at the perfect level of enabling smartasses whilst avoiding real complexity.

It's not just science though is it, it's about how conspiracy theories and denialism spread through the population. It's also about the very real social way that states are managing the disease. In the UK this was about arresting people in parks in March, active resistance to masks until some time in July and only very reluctantly then. Then paying people to sit in restaurants and pubs unmasked in August.

To be able to address conspiracy theories and denialism, we need to be able to say they're conspiracy theories and denialism - which means asserting basic knowledge (at this point, not so much in January/February for many of us) that masks are very effective at stopping infected people infecting others (less so for everything else).

Then we need to look at the function of that conspiracism and denialism. For example UK schools discouraged (some banned) mask wearing for months and months. Masks are still only worn in corridors. In the classroom you have thirty kids and a teacher sharing the same air with shit ventilation. Secondary age children are now the most infected demographic in the country. Both the Tories and Labour are insisting that the majority of children go to school, with the exception of areas where hospitals are so full people are being treated in ambulances outside the hospital or airlifted to elsewhere. Everywhere else they are waiting to reach that point to close them. Talking about the bad ventilation in schools - in part at least a product of old buildings, and badly built new ones - would mean addressing the long term of how schools are built and run. But presumably talking about building ventilation is too amateur scientist for you. Perhaps we shouldn't talk about the dangers of coal and smoke inhalation from sending children up chimneys either, wouldn't want to look like an armchair epidemiologist.

What the conspiracy theories about masks do is two things - one they sap energy from people (such as those on this thread) trying to combat them, and they introduce a straw man Spiked!/Peter Hitchens 'libertarianism' where the social expectation to wear a mask indoors (given enforcement varies widely) is the massive impact on civil liberties, but forcing people to work in dangerous conditions is 'freedom'. And throughout all of this the measures which are not being taken at all (at least in the UK) to prevent the spread of the virus - like actual sick pay for people self-isolating, and generally reducing the compulsion to work, get missed altogether. Yes these are 'reformist' demands but they're also immediate material ones.

edited to add

cooked

The misunderstandings continue. I'm not saying don't trust the scientist I'm saying there are an awful lot of scientists, and others, that need to be listened to. It's an enormous puzzle where most of the bits aren't even biology. Anyone not working full time looking at *all* the pieces and searching for new missed ones will be failing to see the whole picture. The media and the virologymales have a one eyed focus on certain issues. Ones that are at the perfect level of enabling smartasses whilst avoiding real complexity.

Also cooked I have to ask, do you take this approach with climate change? Was Marx a soilerosionmale in the 1880s? Was pannekoek a deforestationmale in the 1910s?

Mike Harman

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on January 3, 2021

Cooked

So while away this popped up
libcom twitter

Then there's a potentially even more serious issue that the UK is vaccinating people at the exact moment the virus is ripping around the population. This means hundreds of thousands of opportunities for the virus to infect semi-vaccinated people and mutate into a resistant strain

55.7K Followers

Honestly wtf! A levels style biology speculation. Yes that's how it works on that ultra simplistic level but is libom able to judge the risks involved with any precision at all. No, is my answer.

Will there be a lower chance of another mutation in Taiwan, New Zealand, or Japan, with incidence levels in the dozens to low thousands, instead of hundreds of thousands (probably millions in the US)? Obviously it'll be a lot less risky. You don't need precision to understand that because the difference in numbers is massive. The UK policy of getting as many people sick as possible until hospitals start falling over then locking them inside for a month or two, then doing it all over again, is extremely risky both in the death toll of tens of thousands already, as well as the opportunities given for the virus to mutate.

Mike Harman

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on January 3, 2021

jaycee

The focus on questions like vaccines and masks etc is on one level a response to this seeming paralysis of the class. Within a framework in which it is almost impossible to see how the working class can put forward its interests/solutions to the crisis individuals are attempting to assert their 'refusal' and their 'independence' in the only ways they can see. These are individualistic and generally self defeating responses (the petty bourgeois demand for 'back to business' is also important) but it is a mistake to underestimate the danger is simple acquiescence.

Except that this week, schools all over the UK are closing in the face of both the Tories and the Labour party demanding they stay open. It won't be clear until Tuesday/Wednesday what the balance is, but a combination of these:

- parents refusing to send children into schools
- teachers refusing to attend schools in person (citing health and safety legislation which makes it technically not a wildcat strike/absenteeism), demanding work from home / online learning
- head teachers closing schools either due to the health risk, or because enough teachers are threatening to not come in they know the school won't be able to run as normal anyway
- local authorities closing all schools in their region, against government guidelines
- national government being forced to close schools in 'contingency areas' and already being forced to extend those areas in London.

To a large extent, even if all schools end up closed, this is more of a threat of industrial action (largely through the NEU, although the NEU may also be responding to pressure) than industrial action itself, and as the school closures go up the chain via headteachers and local authorities, what might have been de-facto unofficial strikes of teachers become official school closures. But it's still one of the few positive things recently.

In March we also saw over 1,000 wildcat strikes in the US of people refusing to work, in the UK in March there were also things like Waterstones employees just openly telling people not to go into the shops, forcing closure a day later.

What's important here is that this is a demand that economic (educational) activity stop, and it is one which is coming directly into conflict with the Labour Party's demand for a national lockdown with schools remaining open.

There have not been enough examples of this - partly since remote working, furlough schemes etc. while partially reflecting demands of people to not have to go into physical workplaces and get sick, have also increased the divide between those who can work like that and 'essential workers' who have had to keep working the whole way through - and service/retail workers who are in and out of work and workplaces constantly, some furloughed some unemployed.

Mike Harman

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on January 3, 2021

Steven.

And perhaps the biggest dispute so far may erupt on Monday (tomorrow), as the NEU teachers' union has advised all of its primary schoolteacher members to refuse to work in schools as of tomorrow on safety grounds, as permitted by the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Just to quickly say the day to really look out for is Tuesday, since most (all?) schools have non-pupil days tomorrow - so even if they're 'open' tomorrow, they could still be closed to pupils on Tuesday and decisions could still be made.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 5, 2021

Mike Harman

Steven.

And perhaps the biggest dispute so far may erupt on Monday (tomorrow), as the NEU teachers' union has advised all of its primary schoolteacher members to refuse to work in schools as of tomorrow on safety grounds, as permitted by the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Just to quickly say the day to really look out for is Tuesday, since most (all?) schools have non-pupil days tomorrow - so even if they're 'open' tomorrow, they could still be closed to pupils on Tuesday and decisions could still be made.

As far as I know at least some schools were due to have pupils Monday.
edited to add: according to the Guardian:

Although the majority of primary schools managed to open, many remained shut due to staff shortages as thousands of teachers staged a walkout because of health and safety concerns. Despite the government narrative of keeping schools open, in the end about half the entire pupil population in England remained at home on Monday, as secondary schools stayed closed to the majority of pupils.

But the government has already caved, and have now announced that all schools will be shut from Tuesday onwards, along with a nationwide lockdown.
If it were not for the NEU advice to collectively refuse to work, it's quite possible the government could have tried to keep schools open, while locking everything else down.
An incredible 400,000 people attended the NEU zoom meeting at the weekend. Think that is quite likely the biggest union meeting which has ever taken place, and represents a big majority of NEU members. When most unions would struggle to even get 10% of their members to attend a meeting. Interesting times…

Auld-bod

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Auld-bod on January 5, 2021

I realize I’m in a minority regarding wearing a mask as I’ve found it rather liberating. I wear false choppers and added to this inconvenience by recently losing another of my front teeth, so now display a large gap - the local dental lab not been operating for months. So out I go wearing a mask in the street where we’re all equally screened.

The alienation felt by many to mask wearing is I suspect, in the UK at least, in-part to the historical condescension we in the west have to those in the far-east who wear a mask when suffering from colds, etc. After all what could we learn from a bunch of aliens?

Mike Harman

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on January 5, 2021

On science and denialism, good twitter thread from a senior lecturer in epidemiology which talks about transmission in schools. For example even if a child is less likely to catch and transmit Covid than an adult individually, putting them in a school with 30-2000 other children + teachers, no masks in the classroom and sketchy ventilation and social distancing massively increases the odds that they'll catch it compared to an adult (not currently working in an office or factory).

Also since children live with adults and other children, there is a good chance of them spreading it outside the school too, whereas an adult who lives alone not so much.

This is not that complicated really. It's like needing to flip a coin five times and get heads twice, vs. having to roll a die 30 times and roll six twice.

However the government (and Labour) is going out of its way to avoid communicating stuff like this because it doesn't suit them, insteadfocusing on the fact that kids don't get as sick usually, and are probably less likely to catch and transmit as individuals. This is a form of denialism - constantly focusing on a couple of specific facts, which without context are extremely misleading.

If teachers actually believed that students can't (or extremely rarely) give Covid to teachers and their parents, it's very unlikely schools would be shut this week - but a combination of people trying to be informed, and also the very real experience of outbreaks at schools during the autumn term means they don't.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on January 6, 2021

Several of the responses make it seem even more as if what drives the virology theorising is a preconceived goal. There are arguments to win, people (conspiracists) to convince and useless politicians to criticise. That's why I criticised it for being driven by Politics. The discussion then becomes about finding info that support your position.

When the discussion is international it becomes more obvious what arguments are driven by local Politics rather than science or even libcom ideas. Finding a professor of two is unfortunately not useful as there has been hundreds of professors and scientists writing articles for or against this or that measure producing models and claiming evidence. Most of them have been wrong. Any position can find evidence to quote for or against this or that. Eventually we will know more but right now it's pretty speculative when the full complexity (social, cultural, environmental) is taken into account.

It turns into hot takes.

So again, I wish people with libcom type politics were less keen on wearing the mantle of the virologymale. It's a role that comes out of social media and political culture. It's the territory this battle *appears* to be fought on. Unfortunately we don't have any real way of judging the accuracy of the proclamations. (we simply don't) So it would be better to leave the battlefield to those invested in party politics or have online careers to build. What happens is that people align with virologymale that has their politics and quote information that appears to support their case only based on preconceived political potential of each bit of information.

Clearly many on here are unable to see or understand that they are transparently acting politically on information they've chosen from a sea of info to support their political position. The only way of being blind in this way is to think they have the capacity and knowledge to filter and assess the whole global research on the pandemic.

So then people above feel that there's nothing one can do. You're left without a position and without guidance, outside the social media debates. So what. This means you're actually in a space where you can think and act appropriately and more long term.

I quite liked jaycee's post above
jaycee

The focus on questions like vaccines and masks etc is on one level a response to this seeming paralysis of the class. Within a framework in which it is almost impossible to see how the working class can put forward its interests/solutions to the crisis individuals are attempting to assert their 'refusal' and their 'independence' in the only ways they can see.

Do we really have to have a "position" on the science of the pandemic?

Edit: A simple imho useful baseline is that no one should be forced (economic or other) to break social distancing. No virology male quoting required. Also if anyway quoting science make sure it's the conclusions of trustworthy global organisations.

R Totale

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on January 6, 2021

Cooked

Do we really have to have a "position" on the science of the pandemic?

Edit: A simple imho useful baseline is that no one should be forced (economic or other) to break social distancing. No virology male quoting required. Also if anyway quoting science make sure it's the conclusions of trustworthy global organisations.

I mean, sorry if I'm being a virology male hot taker or whatever here, but surely that simple baseline is a "position" on the science of the pandemic? Like "no one should have to break social distancing" (however we happen to define social distancing in the first place) isn't a simple neutral non-ideological truth that everyone agrees with, it's a response to a specific understanding of the science. Like, I agree with that understanding, but if you were challenged by someone who thinks that social distancing is unnecessary, or causes more harm and distress than it prevents, then how would you defend it, without getting into the dreaded terrain of the virology male?

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 6, 2021

Cooked

Several of the responses make it seem even more as if what drives the virology theorising is a preconceived goal. There are arguments to win, people (conspiracists) to convince and useless politicians to criticise. That's why I criticised it for being driven by Politics. The discussion then becomes about finding info that support your position.

I don't agree with this at all. For me the issue is public safety. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying. Both of my parents are old and ill, one of my elderly relatives has already died most likely because other family members continued to visit her indoors without wearing masks. Health workers I know have had young colleagues, parents of young children, die alone in hospital beds because no one can visit them.
This is not about being right, this is about trying to avoid mass deaths, generally of the most vulnerable in society, particularly disabled people, elders, and BIPOC. And how we as ordinary people react to this is relevant, because as I said it's not just governments and employers responsible (although it is largely), it is also on us – my elderly relative didn't have to go to work in a meatpacking plant, that was the fault of other family members.

When the discussion is international it becomes more obvious what arguments are driven by local Politics rather than science or even libcom ideas. Finding a professor of two is unfortunately not useful as there has been hundreds of professors and scientists writing articles for or against this or that measure producing models and claiming evidence. Most of them have been wrong. Any position can find evidence to quote for or against this or that.

Again this is just not true. For example NA/Samotnaf, who again you do not criticise at all, cited various studies and scientists as evidence of ridiculous claims that he made. Like masks not having any impact outside. But the studies he cited didn't show this at all, as Red pointed out.
As with climate change, yes you can probably find fake scientists funded by corporate and right-wing special interests to claim stupid stuff. But that doesn't mean this can't be criticised.
Again, questions put to you on whether not you think people who are not PhD level climate scientists are allowed to comment on climate change have been ignored.

So again, I wish people with libcom type politics were less keen on wearing the mantle of the virologymale.

Again you are bringing up this quite tired stereotype of men being more scientifically minded than women, which as I pointed out above is completely false – and demonstrated aptly by the fact that women are far more likely than men to follow scientific safety advice on Covid.

I quite liked jaycee's post above
jaycee

The focus on questions like vaccines and masks etc is on one level a response to this seeming paralysis of the class. Within a framework in which it is almost impossible to see how the working class can put forward its interests/solutions to the crisis individuals are attempting to assert their 'refusal' and their 'independence' in the only ways they can see.

Do we really have to have a "position" on the science of the pandemic?

Of course we do. In workplaces where workers have walked out demanding better safety features, like working from home, PPE, plastic screens, better ventilation etc, fellow workers who believe conspiracy theories about masks not working or making you "breathe your own bacteria", or think the virus is a hoax by George Soros and Bill Gates are an impediment to this.

Also if anyway quoting science make sure it's the conclusions of trustworthy global organisations.

And here you have now completely undermined your own argument. So you can't quote scientists, because that makes you a "virologymale", unless you quote trustworthy global scientific organisations. But this is exactly what we were doing responding to Samotnaf/NA in the first place. He posted conspiracy theory nonsense about masks, people responded based on advice from just about every major health organisation on the planet, from the WHO to the CDC and everything else who agree that mask wearing is a vital part of combating Covid-19.
Samotnaf/NA was completely ignoring the "trustworthy global organisations", so in order to argue against specific parts of his nonsense, Red Marriott had to call on specific studies in order to demonstrate the falseness of various claims. I'm sure he would have happily used pages from the WHO website on those topics, if they had existed, but that's not the type of thing that "trustworthy global organisations" typically do with their websites.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on January 6, 2021

R Totale

Cooked

Do we really have to have a "position" on the science of the pandemic?

Edit: A simple imho useful baseline is that no one should be forced (economic or other) to break social distancing. No virology male quoting required. Also if anyway quoting science make sure it's the conclusions of trustworthy global organisations.

I mean, sorry if I'm being a virology male hot taker or whatever here, but surely that simple baseline is a "position" on the science of the pandemic? Like "no one should have to break social distancing" (however we happen to define social distancing in the first place) isn't a simple neutral non-ideological truth that everyone agrees with, it's a response to a specific understanding of the science. Like, I agree with that understanding, but if you were challenged by someone who thinks that social distancing is unnecessary, or causes more harm and distress than it prevents, then how would you defend it, without getting into the dreaded terrain of the virology male?

The science quoting won't convince anyone who believes that there is no pandemic and that being near infected people won't spread the disease. *thats* known science right.

Those who feel that the line between acknowledging the pandemic and drawing conclusions based on stats and numbers from various papers is blurry are not the best suited to argue in public about the virus. Just by doing it you show you're out of your depth.

It's clear that many find the distinction very difficult to grasp. The uncertainty is very real though and I don't think amateurs, or social media scientists, take this into account enough. You can argue for masks, lockdown or jogging police whilst acknowledging the uncertainty. It's the false, and hard, conclusions from limited research that I'm against. Face up to the reality of hanging in a fog of uncertainty for the forseeable future. The pandemic might never end.

No one knows for sure why each of those national curves the nytimes has look like they do. Nor how Germany and New Zealand might switch curves. Neither what the "results" will be like in 10 years. Why would any of us pretend we do?

edit: Sorry Steven crossposted but I just have to say that I don't think men are more scientifically minded. I'm specifically criticising the virology male for being pseudo scientific. The driver is not science but a combination of hybris, male culture and handling anxiety through "control". My criticism is equally directed at Samotnaf when he went paper hunting.

moar edit: The reason the recommendations of someone like WHO is different is that they (hopefully) won't read five papers on viral spread and issue statements on a narrow band of research. As a public health organisation they are more likely to take a lot of experience and expertise beyond mere spread into account. Being global they also have to be general.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 6, 2021

Cooked

You can argue for masks, lockdown or jogging police whilst acknowledging the uncertainty. It's the false, and hard, conclusions from limited research that I'm against.
… The reason the recommendations of someone like WHO is different is that they (hopefully) won't read five papers on viral spread and issue statements on a narrow band of research. As a public health organisation they are more likely to take a lot of experience and expertise beyond mere spread into account. Being global they also have to be general.

Appreciate your response, but again you are contradicting yourself.
You're arguing that mask usage is something where the science is uncertain. But then arguing that what the WHO says is not uncertain.
But the WHO is saying that mask wearing is a vital part of combating Covid-19. As is the CDC, and just about every major international health organisation, which you say you consider is okay to cite.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 6, 2021

In terms of some of your other points, again what you are essentially arguing for is an extremely perverted appeal to authority.
You are saying that people who aren't experts, can't make scientific arguments using scientific evidence. Whereas you are not applying that same logic to governments.
So you criticised the libcom tweet, which was quoting virologists concerned about the UK government plan to only deliver half vaccines.
The delivering of full vaccines is something which was very much backed by large amounts of evidence – i.e. mass medical trials involving tens of thousands of people.
The government decision to only deliver half vaccines was based on no scientific evidence at all, just expediency, as they wanted to be able to claim they had vaccinated twice as many people as they actually had.
Many virologists (as well as major public health agencies in other countries, i.e. NIH in the US) have expressed significant concerns about this. In particular some virologists have pointed out this is exactly how in a lab setting they would try to create vaccine-resistant strains of viruses.
So you are essentially arguing that non-experts can't criticise government actions which were based on zero science – even to the point where non-experts aren't even allowed to repeat the concerns of actual experts. I mean seriously?
Are you saying that it would be best to essentially allow the government to conduct a mass experiment on its own citizens, then do a bunch of studies afterwards, and if they determine it was a bad idea, then retrospectively you can criticise it?
That is terrible logic, akin to saying people shouldn't have criticised the development of nuclear power before a major disaster took place.

Cooked

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Cooked on January 6, 2021

Steven.

In terms of some of your other points, again what you are essentially arguing for is an extremely perverted appeal to authority.
You are saying that people who aren't experts, can't make scientific arguments using scientific evidence. Whereas you are not applying that same logic to governments.

The same logic most definitely apply to governments. They risk being huge virologymales by picking science that they belive will make them look good for re-election. Of course they have a chance to get better input if they deem have the political will.

Steven.

ISo you criticised the libcom tweet, which was quoting virologists concerned about the UK government plan to only deliver half vaccines.
The delivering of full vaccines is something which was very much backed by large amounts of evidence – i.e. mass medical trials involving tens of thousands of people.
The government decision to only deliver half vaccines was based on no scientific evidence at all, just expediency, as they wanted to be able to claim they had vaccinated twice as many people as they actually had.

That was not the issue with the tweet. You, like many other are interpreting my comments and placing them in the context of current issues where you are. The tweet was basically scaremongering about mutations based on A levels biology knowledge.

I don't doubt it's a bad idea to half vaccinate! It's the specific analysis and delivery of the tweet that's bad. It goes way beyond the knowledge of our libcom admin. Just saying "half vaccinations are bad they have to sort full vaccinations out!" would do. Instead rather loose scenarios are painted with scary science words and no actual evidence of the likelihood of it happening.

Steven.

IAre you saying that it would be best to essentially allow the government to conduct a mass experiment on its own citizens, then do a bunch of studies afterwards,

There are mass experiments going on, there's no other way. No one knows how to universally "solve" he problem but still they must act. We are all living a huge mass experiment. Without marshaling papers and detailed science you can absolutely fight the covid response of governments.

There are huge, massive, obvious examples of how the covid response is class warfare! You need no paper quoting to make that obvious. In fact I think the virology male is a hindrance and shifts focus to the much more uncertain terrain of the science behind the pandemic and it's response.

Steven.

That is terrible logic, akin to saying people shouldn't have criticised the development of nuclear power before a major disaster took place.

I'm saying don't get super specific and pseudo scientific. Most of the papers aren't suitable for drawing the conclusions that are being drawn from them because they are small pieces of a huge puzzle. I've given some examples and pointed out the tendency to focus on "hard" more easily measured issues to the detriment of other factors. Nuclear power is actually much easier an issue it's not as much about human behavior at mass scale but more about just the science. So the "hard" issues basically get you all the way. The pandemic is different.

Edit: missed your first reply so
Steven.

You're arguing that mask usage is something where the science is uncertain. But then arguing that what the WHO says is not uncertain.

What WHO says is most likely also uncertain. There are probably pros and cons and they judged the pros to be more important. It's just that their uncertainty is likely to be better than others.

Steven.

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 6, 2021

Cooked

Steven.

In terms of some of your other points, again what you are essentially arguing for is an extremely perverted appeal to authority.
You are saying that people who aren't experts, can't make scientific arguments using scientific evidence. Whereas you are not applying that same logic to governments.

The same logic most definitely apply to governments. They risk being huge virologymales by picking science that they belive will make them look good for re-election. Of course they have a chance to get better input if they deem have the political will.

I'm really confused. You didn't criticise the UK government for deciding to dish out half vaccinations. You criticised libcom for making a tweet quoting virologists criticising that plan. The UK government didn't bother citing any "virologymale" studies to demonstrate the benefits of half vaccinations, because there aren't any. Trials were only done of full vaccinations. So you seem to be saying it's only bad for non-scientists to cite scientific studies, whereas governments doing whatever they want based on nothing isn't a problem?

Steven.

ISo you criticised the libcom tweet, which was quoting virologists concerned about the UK government plan to only deliver half vaccines.
The delivering of full vaccines is something which was very much backed by large amounts of evidence – i.e. mass medical trials involving tens of thousands of people.
The government decision to only deliver half vaccines was based on no scientific evidence at all, just expediency, as they wanted to be able to claim they had vaccinated twice as many people as they actually had.

That was not the issue with the tweet. You, like many other are interpreting my comments and placing them in the context of current issues where you are. The tweet was basically scaremongering about mutations based on A levels biology knowledge.

Again, this is just completely wrong. For anyone who wants to see the context of the original tweet, it is here:
https://twitter.com/libcomorg/status/1344618311821258752

This tweet was specifically about "current issues where [we] are": i.e. about the UK government's plan to abandon full vaccines and start giving people half, and worrying about the 2nd half later. As expertise seems to matter to you, the thread started with a retweet of a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow at the Crick Institute. And that section included a retweet from a PhD and Prof of virology at the Rockefeller University, which stated:

I can't be the only one who is unexcited by the prospect of a purportedly more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant, possibly with mutations conferring partial antibody resistance, propagating in a UK population that is 'semi-immunized' for 12 weeks. Experiments in viral evolution...
When our goal is to select resistant viruses in laboratory experiments, we maximize viral population size and diversity, and then titrate in selection pressure. If I was designing a scenario to select vaccine-resistant SARS-CoV-2, I'd do what they are doing in the UK.

so are you saying that this professor with a PhD only has an A-level in biology? Or that somebody with a PhD can say stuff, but only people with equivalent or higher qualifications are able to retweet it without being dubbed "virologymales"?

I don't doubt it's a bad idea to half vaccinate!

Why don't you doubt that? Are you a professional virologists? What is your educational qualification with regard to virology?

It's the specific analysis and delivery of the tweet that's bad. It goes way beyond the knowledge of our libcom admin. Just saying "half vaccinations are bad they have to sort full vaccinations out!" would do. Instead rather loose scenarios are painted with scary science words and no actual evidence of the likelihood of it happening.

It is a brief layperson's rewriting an explanation of a series of tweets from a professional virologist.
If you also agree that only giving out half vaccinations is bad, then on what basis do you hold this view? Your opinion seems to be that if you aren't an expert maybe you can express an opinion, on the basis of nothing, but you can't explain genuine concerns about why you hold that opinion? That's just ridiculous

Steven.

IAre you saying that it would be best to essentially allow the government to conduct a mass experiment on its own citizens, then do a bunch of studies afterwards,

There are mass experiments going on, there's no other way.

What are you talking about? There is another way: which is to give out vaccines in the way they were designed and tested by the manufacturers.

Steven.

You're arguing that mask usage is something where the science is uncertain. But then arguing that what the WHO says is not uncertain.

What WHO says is most likely also uncertain. There are probably pros and cons and they judged the pros to be more important. It's just that their uncertainty is likely to be better than others.

[/quote]
You criticised people here for arguing against Samotnaf's conspiracy theories against masks, referencing various studies to demonstrate why he was wrong. Rather than studies, which you said were uncertain, it would be okay to reference global health organisations. So I pointed out that pretty much every major health organisation like the WHO also advocates mask wearing – which Samotnaf obviously knows and has already chosen to ignore. But now you say that the WHO is uncertain as well. So are you saying it is impossible for anyone to advocate for mask wearing at all without being a "virologymale" (which again I feel the need to point out is ridiculous because women are far more likely to abide by virologists' advice and wear masks than idiotic men)? And if not, then how would it be appropriate to argue against nonsense like that spouted by Samotnaf, and a large percentage of the population in many countries in the world?

baboon

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on January 10, 2021

I agree with the point made by Cooked above about the general inadequacy and onerous nature of some PPE at work, the wearing of which makes a job almost impossible to do. In many cases the provision of PPE and the demand to wear it is a matter of putting the worker in an almost impossible situation while the management are legally absolved. Face masks provided for work in and around dangers I have found to be generally useless. if you can smell the danger - and you generally can - then you're breathing it in. But wearing a face mask to prevent or hold back droplets that may include a virus is obviously altruistic and beneficial to others. It is a mark of the absolute bankruptcy of capitalism and its inability to protect its wage slaves even, that we are reduced to such medieval forms of "protection" against a virus.

One virologist I saw suggested, though he said it was an impossibility, that if everyone had worn a mask at the beginning of this outbreak it would have cut deaths by 90%. At the beginning of last year the wearing of masks became associated with China or the East and was closely associated with a great underestimation - by governments of the west primarily - of what a virus can do and what a pandemic is and there's not much they can do except rely on a vaccine while hoping that it doesn't mutate too much or that another virus capable of causing a new pandemic - a near certainty - doesn't come along yet.

Herd immunity has been the favoured policy of the bourgeoisie from the beginning and it is still very much a policy - or rather a non-policy. At the end of September when "the science" was telling the British government to get rid of its ridiculous "tiers" (areas for the virus to move into) and have a wider clampdown on movement (another response rooted in the distant past), Boris Johnson and his Chancellor were in a Downing Street meeting taking advice from Sweden's herd immunity advocate and chief immunologist Anders Tegnell and virologist professor Carl Heneghan and epidemiologist professor Sunetra Gupta signatories to the Great Barrington Declaration, the anti-lockdown, pro-herd immunity document signed by hundreds of scientists (and others), sponsored by the American Institute for Economic Research and funded by the Koch brothers (there's scientists and scientists). Following the September meeting Johnson ignored the advice of the Sage committee and followed that of the blind, deluded and dangerous advocates of herd immunity. Every government did more or less the same throughout 2020.

Jaycee makes the point above about the difficulties for the class struggle caused by the conditions of the pandemic and these are indeed very difficult circumstances for the class to fight in. But throughout the year there have been expressions of class struggle which is not surprising considering that associated labour continues to be the driving force of society, i.e., workers have continued to go to work. And the bourgeoisie have continued, taken advantage even, their attacks. The workers are paying for this crisis with their lives now and will continue to pay at every level in the future. The movement for a strike by gas workers in GB showed a militancy that the unions were unable to fob off and the workers have begun a five-day strike. But the conditions of the pandemic make this problematic because any struggle that is going to be effective has to show a degree of self-organisation, assemblies and extension to other workers which the conditions are not favourable to.

The role of the trade unions has essentially been the same across the industrialised world: defend the national interest and they are part of the repressive apparatus of the state in this pandemic as well as generally. All unions have scrambled to keep production going, to get "their" members qualified as "key workers" in the dog-eat-dog race to get a vaccination whereas it's the whole of the working class that's under attack with rates of death, sickness and economic instability highest among workers.

Finally, a link to a more historical article on pandemics and what they say about the society that they occur in https://en.internationalism.org/content/16954/all-pandemics-past-were-product-decadent-societies-and-covid-19-no-exception

baboon

3 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on January 20, 2021

The police unions, like other unions in the main, want "their" workers to be vaccinated first. The latest ONS figures out recently show how the working class, including its so-called BAME constituent,is increasingly being struck down by this virus every day - all workers.
As for the police, here's a link:
https://foi.west-midlands.police.uk/coronavirus-deaths-665a-20/
I would think that this is fairly general.

Nymphalis Antiopa

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on June 6, 2021

admin: link to Covid denial conspiracy nonsense removed. If you persist in posting this dangerous, anti-working class bullshit, you will be banned.

Red Marriott

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on June 8, 2021

You, Nymphalis, previously criticised here the vague fake amalgam entity 'libcom' (ie, every disparate poster here who challenges your claims) with uncritically 'deferring to science'. Yet you were shown above to have deferred to various sources uncritically yourself. As seen earlier in this thread you quoted several articles as proof of your claims. Yet, as shown, those articles didn't prove what you claimed they did, in fact they often bluntly contradicted your claims. That is undeniable and can be seen in earlier posts on this thread.

So it was you more than anyone who was 'deferring' to some unreliable source that was distorting evidence. You saw something presented as reinforcing what you want to believe and grabbed it uncritically - without checking whether it really did verify your preferred belief. Therefore you were 'deferring' to the authority of some source - whether associate, dodgy website or whatever and your own uncritical belief system eagerly lapped it up. Therefore your own criticisms apply at least as much to yourself. Endless rants against your pet obsessive addictive hates won't change that, but only perpetuate it.

Whether you realise it or not, it's blatantly odd psychologically that you continue to post here. Despite your regular denunciations and hatred, you're more concerned than ever with this site and are literally addicted to posting here. What people here think of your ideas is more important to your ego than ever - why else do you repeatedly return when you so claim to despise and detest the site? You love to try to arrogantly dissect and 'reveal' the supposed unconscious psychological depths of others, as seen above - how about having a crack at your own absolute dependency on this site?

Red Marriott

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on June 8, 2021

It's even more blatantly psychologically odd if you think you're fooling anyone that SamFanto isn't also you. Or that you've used both your account names to down vote my posts, as revealed earlier on this thread - another indication of how much it matters to your ego.

libcom

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by libcom on June 8, 2021

admin: multiple conspiraloon posts by NA/Samotnaf above removed as they breached our previous warning. His NA sock puppet account has now been banned. If he reverts to using his Samotnaf account, he will be banned if he continues to promote dangerous, not to mention completely ludicrous and deluded, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, Covid-denial nonsense. This bullshit endangers lives at a time when millions of people, disproportionately poor, people of colour, frontline workers, elders and the disabled are dying needlessly because of the actions of governments trying to protect the economy over people.

Black Badger

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Black Badger on June 8, 2021

Were regular contributors complaining about NA? How is it possible that his (and Sam's -- they are clearly not the same person) anti-establishment perspectives somehow exist in the same realm as the opportunistic and mendacious policies of ruling class scumbags and their acolytes? If those perspectives are objectionable, then object to them; if they are unreasonable, then counter them with reason instead of facile pro-pharmaceutical common sense that just coincidentally lines up with the increasing intrusions of the cybernetic surveillance state. Even if their analyses and perspectives were dangerous, don't you think that people here are intelligent enough to decide that for ourselves, and act accordingly? I don't feel protected by your executive decision.

R Totale

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on June 8, 2021

I mean, not into "outing" anyone, but when you say "his (and Sam's -- they are clearly not the same person)", what makes you think that? I thought it was just kind of collective politeness that kept people from pointing out that they were very obviously the same person?

Steven.

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on June 8, 2021

Black Badger

Were regular contributors complaining about NA?

Don't see the relevance of this question.

How is it possible that his (and Sam's -- they are clearly not the same person)

That is a very bizarre comment. Up until you have said this, everyone we knew was well aware that they are the same person. Indeed, his pretence to be 2 different people was generally considered a joke.
Just in case any casual readers are not aware of the background, they are definitely the same person. Samotnaf got angry with us couple of years ago and repeatedly demanded we ban him. But we wouldn't, because he didn't breach our guidelines. So he flounced and said he would no longer post on the site. But he was unable to stay away, so shortly after this happened, he registered the NA account. Firstly NA just posted links to Samotnaf's personal website, Dialectical Delinquents. But on occasion he would also get involved in discussions, every single time, like here, initially stating he was just promoting Dialectical Delinquents posts, but then if the DD posts were criticised, for some reason it turned out that NA had exactly the same opinion as Samotnaf on DD, and would therefore defend those positions with the exact logic, wording, language and tone of Samotnaf.
They are also always online at pretty much the same time, depending on what account he is logged in as. And they use the up/down voting system to up and down vote the same posts – always down voting posts criticising Samotnaf.
And in terms of giving added background some people on here, like Red, have known Samotnaf very well for decades, and are completely aware that they are the same person.

anti-establishment perspectives somehow exist in the same realm as the opportunistic and mendacious policies of ruling class scumbags and their acolytes?

Arguments against masks and social distancing, which for the most part protect frontline workers, are not "anti-establishment perspectives": they are parroting the interests of big business who wish to keep all of their businesses fully open and force all of their employees to work as before, with no care as to how many of them die.

If those perspectives are objectionable, then object to them; if they are unreasonable, then counter them with reason instead of facile pro-pharmaceutical common sense that just coincidentally lines up with the increasing intrusions of the cybernetic surveillance state.

How in your view does wearing masks assist the "increasing intrusion of the cybernetic surveillance state"? If anything, normalising mask wearing does the exact opposite of that.
We are happy to have debate on here within reasonable bounds. But we are not prepared to accept certain views on our website, like Nazis, supporters of paedophiles et cetera, or people who completely ignore evidence and make arguments which are contributing to millions of deaths.
Various people debate NA/Samotnaf, and make points completely demolishing all of his arguments and false claims. But he failed to acknowledge any of this, and instead then just moved on and began making slightly different claims.

Even if their analyses and perspectives were dangerous, don't you think that people here are intelligent enough to decide that for ourselves, and act accordingly?

Our decision here was less guided by regular readers and contributors of the forum, and more considering the millions of other readers it has, most of whom do not comment or have accounts. To be honest, if the only people put at risk by this idiotic bullshit were the idiots themselves, then we wouldn't have a problem. If Samotnaf just wanted to infect himself with a deadly disease and possibly die, in order to show The Man, then that wouldn't necessarily be a problem. But it's not just the idiots affected, they affect other people. Just personally I have had 2 people in my family killed by other family members, who didn't follow safe Covid guidelines, and so infected them with Covid. Our views are concerned with the protection of society in general, and particularly those most vulnerable, disproportionately Black, disproportionately elder, disproportionately disabled and disproportionately poor and working class.
Samotnaf is free to disseminate his bullshit on his own website which nobody reads. But he is not entitled to use our platform, which he hates anyway, for this.
We did warn his sock puppet account that he would be banned if he continued, and he chose to. In any case, he is still free to post using his main Samotnaf account. Although of course if he persists in posting this shit we will ban that as well. But it remains to be seen if his sense of pride over trying to maintain the pretence of his flouncing off the site a couple of years ago will override his desire to keep posting…

Red Marriott

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on June 9, 2021

In one of his last posts here (since deleted) NA/SF falsely claimed that I'd previously distorted his comments about mask wearing. I didn't but simply pointed out that his claims such as that mask wearing made people ill were nonsense. To try to support his claims of distortion he cited this article; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.564280/full - as supposed evidence of the futility of mask wearing.
But I'd already cited that article here on page 1 last year, noting its survey found only marginal protective effect from mask wearing. But I pointed out that the survey was only of non-Covid19 pre pandemic situations: and that since then newer research within the pandemic has shown evidence of masks limiting infection. Of course NA/SF chose to ignore all that and instead only cite a pre-pandemic survey. While there's a wealth of research refuting his claims - some of which he'll have seen referenced here - that outdated article is the best he could come up with to defend his claims. Because that's still the article peddled around by anti-mask dogmatists ad nauseum and they have to ignore anything more relevant that challenges what they wish to believe. Or, as NA would put it, that challenges "the ideology they wish to reproduce".

Steven.

3 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on June 9, 2021

Red Marriott

In one of his last posts here (since deleted) NA/SF falsely claimed that I'd previously distorted his comments about mask wearing. I didn't but simply pointed out that his claims such as that mask wearing made people ill were nonsense. To try to support his claims of distortion he cited this article; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2020.564280/full - as supposed evidence of the futility of mask wearing.
But I'd already cited that article here on page 1 last year, noting its survey found only marginal protective effect from mask wearing. But I pointed out that the survey was only of non-Covid19 pre pandemic situations: and that since then newer research within the pandemic has shown evidence of masks limiting infection. Of course NA/SF chose to ignore all that and instead only cite a pre-pandemic survey. While there's a wealth of research refuting his claims - some of which he'll have seen referenced here - that outdated article is the best he could come up with to defend his claims. Because that's still the article peddled around by anti-mask dogmatists ad nauseum and they have to ignore anything more relevant that challenges what they wish to believe. Or, as NA would put it, that challenges "the ideology they wish to reproduce".

This is completely right, and indicative of the utterly disingenuous and dishonest way NA/Samotnaf was engaging in "discussion".

Also I mean it does kind of go without saying, but I think it might also be worth pointing out that to all the imbeciles like Samotnaf who criticised social distancing measures and vaccines, it is extremely clear from data around the world that the stricter social distancing measures are, the lower cases go. When they are eased (without mass vaccination), numbers start going back up again. And the more people get vaccinated, the lower serious cases and deaths go. The evidence is completely irrefutable at this point. The only people to benefit from these arguments are big businesses who don't want restrictions, and governments who don't want to have to pay to give vaccines to poor people (soon this will almost entirely be poor people in the global South).

R Totale

I mean, not into "outing" anyone, but when you say "his (and Sam's -- they are clearly not the same person)", what makes you think that? I thought it was just kind of collective politeness that kept people from pointing out that they were very obviously the same person?

This is basically accurate. If anyone has seen Arrested Development, it's basically analogous to when Tobias started pretending to be Mrs Featherbottom to spend time with his family which was blatantly obvious to everyone, but people played along to humour him.

Red Marriott

2 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on November 18, 2021

Recent research - the Guardian puts a more positive interpretation on it than the more cautious British Medical Journal;
Guardian

Mask-wearing is the single most effective public health measure at tackling Covid, reducing incidence by 53%, the first global study of its kind shows. ... “This systematic review and meta analysis suggests that several personal protective and social measures, including handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are associated with reductions in the incidence of Covid-19,” the researchers wrote in The BMJ. ... Results from more than 30 studies from around the world were analysed in detail, showing a statistically significant 53% reduction in the incidence of Covid with mask wearing and a 25% reduction with physical distancing. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/17/wearing-masks-single-most-effective-way-to-tackle-covid-study-finds

survey

Current evidence from quantitative analyses indicates a benefit associated with handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing in reducing the incidence of covid-19. The narrative results of this review indicate an effectiveness of both individual or packages of public health measures on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and incidence of covid-19. https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302

The BMJ assesses the survey's results and its limits and concludes that masks and other public health measures certainly given some level of protection but that there has been insufficient research on the topic to accurately indicate how much. The overwhelming bulk of research has been into vaccine and drug treatments rather than public health measures: https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj.n2729

Spikymike

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on January 1, 2022

Just going back to my earlier posts around the 1st/2nd Jan hoping for a wider discussion beyond some of the specifics of the science around vaccines and masks and onto the issues of increased state surveillance and control of the class struggle on the back of the states claimed emergency health measures, this contribution raises some more difficult issues for both anarchist and Marxist influenced communists in the current situation:
https://libcom.org/news/italy-against-green-pass-against-state-04122021
Edit: So in relation to Left/Right political responses and the overlaps with those of us treading the difficult line between the 'Libertarian' and the 'Communist' in current times, the now reformist Tom Henry makes some useful observations on the at least potential tendencies of a drift amongst some from the 'ultra-left' into the 'ultra-right' in the keenness to differentiate us from the mainstream left of Politics (see the later sections of this thread here: https://libcom.org/forums/general/monsieur-dupont-22122021)

Spikymike

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on February 7, 2022

Here are are couple more useful reflections on all this with the benefit of hindsight:
https://internationalistperspective.org/neither-idiots-nor-sheep/ and
https://anarchistcommunism.org/2022/02/07/international-anarchist-statement-on-covid-19-pandemic/