Above: Sydney anti-lockdown protest, July 24. http://www.worldpoliticnews.com
25-07-2021: While Europe and the USA are in the process of at least temporarily lifting “Covid” lockdowns, Australia is headed in the opposite direction. Currently, 13.5 million – around half of the country – are under harsh lockdowns imposed by soulless politicians. Many of the lockdown measures and a dizzying list of rules and restrictions are illegal even according to state laws and the federal constitution, but the capitalist state imposes them with the threat of police enforcement. The states of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria (VIC) and South Australia (SA) resemble dystopian hellscapes, with most citizens effectively confined to house arrest. In NSW, the government lists 16 “reasonable excuses” for people to leave their homes and allows 14 reasons for an “essential gathering”. In all other cases, gatherings of more than 2 people are expressly forbidden.
If people breach the draconian “health directions”, they can face an on-the-spot fine of $1652 for individuals and $9913 for businesses, with larger fines able to be issued through the courts. In Tasmania (TAS), the island state on the southernmost tip of the country, people can be fined $16 800 or six months in jail – for not being at home. Western Sydney, areas which have a high concentration of residents from migrant backgrounds, are subject to heavier restrictions than those imposed on people living in the East. Some workers from Western Sydney are not allowed to leave their local government area – even in the case of work. Residents from the Cumberland, Blacktown, Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown local government cordons can only travel outside these areas for work if they are on a list of “authorised workers”. In addition, police in Western Sydney have reportedly been stationed at some shopping centres and have been checking the bags of those exiting – allegedly to ensure that shoppers were only purchasing “essential items”.
This was never about a virus
18 months after “two weeks to flatten the curve”, any claim that Covid lockdowns are about public health is vexatious. If the SARS-CoV-2 virus exists at all, it has an infection fatality rate of between 0.1% and 0.5% at the most, comparable to a medium round of influenza. Mandatory facemask mandates are risible, given that some studies have concluded that facemasks have no effect on the transmission of a respiratory virus, and may even increase the likelihood of infection, due to the collection of saliva and mucus within. Lockdowns prevent access to fresh air and sunlight, one of the key means which naturally combat cold and flu coronaviruses. Lockdowns create enormous psychological and physical distress, at least partially due to a virtual abolition of social contact, and the prevention of some being able to earn wages with which to pay rent and food. The lockdowns are predicated on the false notion of “asymptomatic spread” – where people who are 100% healthy and have no symptoms, can allegedly spread a deadly virus. The tests used to determine “positive Covid” are likely to produce false positives at a rate as high as 97%, due to their epic misuse.
The Covid “vaccine”, which is being pushed onto world populations with an overblown propaganda campaign, should not actually be referred to as a vaccine. A vaccine, until Covid came along, was a method of conferring immunity from infection to a particular illness – providing it worked at all. The Covid “vaccine” – from Big Pharma corporations Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson – does not at all deliver immunity from anything, let alone the SARS-Cov-2 virus (presuming it exists). If it does anything at all, it will only reduce what are effectively cold and flu symptoms. And this is IF you are lucky enough not to have any side effects. Side effects from the Covid “vaccine” include sudden death, Bell’s Palsy and other permanently disabling conditions.
Yet one and a half years into a supposed “pandemic”, it is becoming superfluous to rationally discuss science and medicine. Facts, much less scientific and medical research, are given little respect due to the intensely political use of “Covid-19” by the ruling class in their struggle for survival. This was never about a real or imagined virus. If anyone has any doubt as to the deeply misanthropic thrust of lockdowns, check the recent statement of NSW “Health” Officer Dr Kerry Chant, who warned the public that talking or being friendly to neighbours should be avoided due to the spread of Covid! Part of the nefarious agenda is clearly to physically separate workers from each other, in order to prevent them from fighting back against the terms of their “New Normal” slavery.
What is the agenda?
If the deliberate collapse of whole economies and almost limitless political repression of working people is not actually about a virus – what is the agenda? In a word – fascism. This is not an intentional exaggeration, but a description of what workers must resist. For despite its notorious history, fascism is not always immediately recognisable. This is because it can assume many different forms. It does not have to assume the form of a far-right Nazi type party or movement, which appears to be an outsider which gradually or rapidly acquires mainstream support. That is only one type and succeeding forms of fascism do not have to adhere to that model. As Robert Lindsay writes, fascism can and does call itself just about anything. In fact, there have been fascist movements which have called themselves anti-fascist. Today’s lockdown fascism is using the vehicle of liberalism and thus the rhetoric of “progressive humanitarianism” to sustain and grow itself.
This means that it can use the existing capitalist parliamentary parties – conservative or social-democratic – as its political driver. It does not have to create a new party or movement. Therefore, acting as willing auxiliaries of the parliamentary parties and hence of lockdown fascism are – wait for it – Trade Union officials and the parties of the former “left”. This has created mass confusion and political disorientation, but it is something we must understand if we are to defeat it. Union officials have a material interest, despite themselves, in restricting working people within the confines of capitalist relations of production. If capitalism enters a period of severe economic crisis and finds that it can no longer entertain the bourgeois democratic and civil rights pertaining to liberal democracy, the ruling class will simply junk them in favour of fascism. Trade Union officials retain their well-heeled positions irrespective of whether capitalism uses the liberal democratic or fascist shell. For example, the officials of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), instead of fighting against lockdown fascism, are instead one of its key protagonists. They have even pushed for four days paid pandemic leave so workers can receive the Covid vax and recover from the dangerous side effects!
“Left” parties uphold lockdowns
Despite decades of proclaiming themselves “Marxists” and “revolutionaries” and “socialists”, almost every Australian left party has been eager to deputise as agents of finance capital, even while it launched its most devastating broadside against the working class in history. They do not appear to notice that lockdown fascism has arrived, nor that they themselves are participating in it. In fact, some of them have so wholly swallowed the pandemic of lies, they adopt positions to the right of the ruling class itself. For example, the Trotskyist Platform does not appear to notice the devastation they are in the middle of in Sydney, when they write that half of the country “has had” to be locked down! They do not at all oppose lockdowns, but only the Morrison government for not ensuring a fast enough Covid vax rollout. They whine that some in Sydney had to wait six hours for a Covid test. These “leftists” complain that there is not enough Covid hysteria, and not enough state repression!
Socialist Alternative (SAlt) direct their fire at the Liberal Party for not enacting lockdowns earlier. Fantastically, they claim that by delaying lockdowns in NSW, the current lockdown now has to go longer. Despite millions of workers being thrown into unemployment, they still claim that lockdowns are in the interest of “public health” ! The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) are now known for pressuring the ruling class from the right for harsher, stricter and longer lockdowns. They appear blind to the adverse consequences of closing down whole parts of economies, removing already threadbare democratic and civil rights, and giving cops an almost free rein to keep workers restrained. Incredibly, they claim that the NSW government had not introduced a “genuine” lockdown, which meant that some businesses were able to remain open. Perish the thought that some workers can keep their jobs!
The Socialist Alliance (SAll) call for an extension of the incredibly invasive tracking, tracing and testing. The “Marxist-Leninist” Communist Party of Australia (CPA), Communist Workers Party of Australia (CWPA), and Communist Party of Australia Marxist-Leninist (CPA-ML) all blame the government for not imposing swifter and harder lockdowns! One wonders just how much poverty and destitution would have been adequate for these “revolutionaries”. The other “Marxist-Leninist” party, the Australian Communist Party (ACP)’ are a little more circumspect about actually calling for harsher lockdowns. Their strategy seems to be to avoid mentioning them, such as calling for the defence of democratic rights while refusing to even mouth the word “lockdown”.
To their partial credit, Solidarity actually recognise that the current lockdowns are pushing people to breaking point, and that many workers turned out on July 24 to protest against them. However, they then go on to warn against protests that seek to “let the virus rip”. They claim that the rallies were led by “reactionary forces”, while not recognising how reactionary it is to side with Big Pharma and Big Tech against workers demonstrating for the right to turn up for work. The Spartacist League (SL) have distinguished themselves by adopting a position which opposes lockdowns, albeit a full 12 months after they began. This would have been a positive step towards the defence of the working class, but it is overshadowed by their wholesale acceptance of the “Covid-19 outbreak” nonsense, which remains undistilled bourgeois ideology. A foot in both class camps is impossible to sustain.
Resist lockdown terror
As Connor Kelly writes, there are psychological reasons why many refuse to recognise the reality of lockdown fascism. Almost everyone imagines themselves to be a good and moral person, who cares about the welfare of others. Virtually no one wishes to identify as a fascist, and the thought that they themselves could be one is dismissed out of hand as a self-defence mechanism. Simultaneously, they are policing and enforcing lockdown fascism against those who even question the logic behind the removal of almost every right that has been won in the past. They even dismiss the fact of millions of workers being thrown into unemployment as an “unfortunate” by-product of a “pandemic”.
In a similar way, so-called left parties which have enthusiastically signed up to capitalist imperialism as Covid enforcers cannot conceive themselves as reinforcing 21st century fascism. They imagine themselves to be “leftists”, and thus dismiss the very possibility that they could be being used by the very forces they have sworn themselves to oppose. They have not been able to recognise how politics has switched sides over the last 20 years, and how it was turned upside down during 2020. Stuck in the 20th century, they push themselves further away from workers in dire need of direction.
Thankfully, the anti-lockdown movement has taken up the mantle of the struggle against fascism. During the “Worldwide Rallies for Freedom” on July 24, tens of thousands mobilised across Australia to protest against barbaric lockdowns, facemask mandates and dangerous vaccines. Numbers are disputed, but there were at least 15 000 in Brisbane, 30 000 in Sydney, and 5000 in Melbourne. Fascism cannot be combatted without confronting the capitalism from which it emerges. Therefore, the urgent task for genuine Marxists is to help build the anti-lockdown movement despite the disparate political forces involved. At the same time, the winning of the most class-conscious elements to the painstaking task of the construction of a workers vanguard party remains the key to breaking the back of lockdown fascism. Out of the wreckage of a crumbling capitalism, a socialist order must rise.