By Thomas Buddenbrook
A. The Heritage We (No Longer) Defend.
“Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls. It Tolls for Thee” — John Donne.
The history of the revolutionary socialist movement has been periodically punctuated by crises, during which a good number of socialist leaders swing over to the side of imperialism. All the while, they still claim to support the furtherance of socialism. This happened with the Social Democratic Parties during WWI, as well as with the Stalinists, the Shachmanites, the Cliffites, the Pabloites, and, as David North documents in The Heritage We Defend, the British Workers Revolutionary Party. This betrayal of the workers movement occurs, again and again, because of the pressure of imperialism.
Unfortunately, it seems that during the present era of Covid repression, most of the revolutionary socialist movement has succumbed to full throated support for imperialist repression. Even the Spartacists and their offshoots, who once taunted the “Labour Militant” (now Socialist Alternative) for their “tender faith in the capitalist state,” and its purported capacity for helping socialists fight fascism, seems to have succumbed. And this class collaboration also includes David North’s International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and its sister parties—as well as their fraction inside the New York teachers union: who feel so sure of the absolute rightness of their pro-vaccine position, that they rejected the request of the NY Teachers for Choice to debate them.
Of course, this betrayal did not come out of a clear blue sky. For a very long time, the ICFI has turned away from some of the most central tenets of revolutionary socialism: the need to work in the trade unions, the unconditional defense of the deformed workers states. But now, in the Covid era, this slippery slope they have been steadily traveling toward pro-imperialist betrayal has become obvious and heinous.
Let us look at a WSWS article where this is rather horribly apparent. In Germany, the ICFI’s SGP is being politically repressed by the government. The SGP bases its appeal to the court to be relieved of this repression, on the fact that the SGP has supported these repressive Covid measures more faithfully than the German government itself. Of course, according to the article, it is not to the court that the SGP is really appealing. In the proud tradition of Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, and Paul Levi (or so they think), it is to the working class that they make their appeal, as the last best hope for the survival of humanity. The obvious question begged here is as follows, “This working class to which you are appealing—is this the same working class, thousands, tens of thousands, and in some countries, hundreds of thousands of whose members have died from the shots, and/or lost their jobs to the lockdowns, and are rising up in massive protest rallies against these measures?!
The ICFI will reply, that these anti-vax, anti-mandate rallies, are not representative of the working class, or at least, not the scientifically minded working class. Instead, these are “ignorant and backward” workers, under the influence of the “fascist” petit bourgeoisie. In the time-honored tradition of Bolshevik-Leninism, we of the ICFI serve as the vanguard of the class, our bringing “socialist” consciousness into the working class from outside, that these Covid “public health” measures are absolutely necessary. One might think that the ceaseless effort by the ICFI to bring such consciousness to the workers, over the last two years, might have reaped more substantial results by now, in the form of mass rallies supporting these measures. Ah, but the (self-appointed) “vanguard” must never underestimate the “ignorance and backwardness” with which they must deal if they are to lead the workers to ultimate victory!
This is a convenient excuse for the ICFI from any responsibility for actually dialoguing with workers (including the NYC Teachers for Choice!) or taking their rebellious struggles here and now seriously. Those now actually convinced by it, should remember Lenin’s words in his “The Irish Rebellion of 1916”: “to imagine that social revolution is conceivable without … without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices … this is to repudiate social revolution, … Whoever expects a ‘pure’ social revolution will never live to see it.
This insult to the movement against this repression, as “ignorant and backward,” appears in a similar article “critiquing” the Biden Administration. In this article, the authors criticize the Biden Administration’s policy for what the article calls this Administration’s “Fortress America” nationalist focus and its exclusively emphasizing vaccination in its fight COVID 19, vs. a globally coordinated and comprehensive policy involving vaccinations but also contact tracing, lockdowns, masking, testing, etc. They also critique the Biden Administration for diminishing the dangers of the alleged new South African based Omicron variant of Covid 19, in order to justify opening up the economy and getting people back to work. They blame capitalist governments such as Biden’s for what they consider to be the “ignorance and backwardness” of a significant, “vaccine hesitant” portion of the population. If the Biden and other national administrations would adopt a more scientific policy, there would be greater understanding and more acceptance of the need to take the jab.
In an earlier article, they argue that the vaccine resistant are trapped in the ideology of “bourgeois liberty.” This is quite strange coming from a group who consistently, and quite correctly, has rejected the #Me2 movement’s utter disregard for the right to due process of those accused, without much or any substantial evidence, of sexual crimes. Here they are quite fond of quoting Blackstone’s quite “bourgeois libertarian” maxim that it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.”, and Benjamin Franklin’s enlargement upon this, to 100 guilty men. And here, they ably insist that this particular “bourgeois liberty” is a right that the working class must defend, as integral to its class struggle with the bourgeoisie. But not in the case of the “vaccine resistant,” who so arrogantly and selfishly insist upon their right under the Nuremburg Code to informed consent with an experimental jab proven in the trials neither safe nor effective.
The WSWS authors argue that this “over”-emphasis on vaccines, at the expense of lockdowns, masks, social distancing, and contact tracing, are the result of the Biden administration’s favoring Big Pharma’s corporate vaccine profits, and the capitalist system’s desire to once again exploit workers, over human lives. We agree with the ICFI that the Biden Administration is a capitalist government, that it favors capitalism and corporate profits, and that this is the basis for its emphasis on vaccines. But we agree on very little else. We believe that the ICFI and other member parties of the “Lockdown Left” are suffering from a serious condition of “manufactured consent,” manipulation, and false consciousness.
The way this repressive campaign has been undertaken, has always involved, first, downplaying the danger of Covid and its variants, and the need for repressive measures—and then doing an about-face, overestimating the dangers and mandating the measures.
We agree with Ted Reese that this whole “pandemic” and the incredibly repressive measures to which the Lockdown Left so heartily subscribes, is in fact one giant psychological operation, part and parcel of a comprehensive globally coordinated campaign, designed not to free us from a pandemic (that does not exist), but to suppress the power of, weaken, and enslave, the working class, and to transfer wealth from the middle class to the billionaires. Thus the proper role of revolutionary socialists is to lead this resistance movement, rather than betray it and insult it, as “ignorant and backward,” and cede leadership to the petit bourgeois libertarian Right.
Central to this ongoing vast transfer of wealth by the ruling class, is the following:
a) the deliberate closing down of the global economy, which, as Red Fire Online has pointed out, has cheapened labor power by throwing millions out of work.
b) the movement toward vaccination of the total global population, with funds generously provided by national governments. The masks, the lockdowns, and the social distancing, are not actually anti-pandemic measures, because there is no evidence that they, or the vaccines prevent transmission. Instead, they set the stage for compliance to the (extremely profitable) vaccine mandates.
But yet another motive for this psy-op is the desire by an increasingly fearful, tiny ruling class to create a gigantic global Panopticon where they can monitor, not only our communication and our movements (through the vaccine passports—and the very “contact tracing” which enlists the ICFI’s full support. But in addition, through the self-assembling, intra-body nano-network technology they seem, from very good evidence, to have implanted in these vaccines, our thoughts and our emotions—and perhaps even control these.
The ICFI will probably reply that we have watching too many anti-science, anti-technological conspiracies on Youtube. Science, technology, and public health authorities, are always beneficial.
In response, I’d like to quote at length from Red Fire Online’s Stop the Great Reset:
Socialists are the last ones to oppose the use of technology to advance society, and in fact are its foremost advocates. However, as long as the working class does not have its hands on the reigns of state power, the capitalist ruling classes will use advances in technology for their advantage, and no one else’s. If technological advances allow capitalist state authorities to track and trace workers, to determine their ideological and political identities in an instant, to block “undesirables” (such as those who refuse what is most likely an extremely dangerous and experimental Covid vaccine) from accessing public transport or travelling overseas, then they will do it. The further the system of production for private profit drags society down, the greater the degree of political repression is required by the ruling elite. While technological improvements can make some aspects of workers’ lives easier, the agents of big capital can also use them for merciless tyranny.
In the next and final section, we will discuss the intellectual history of the Lockdown Left’s (LL) scientistic illusions. Part and parcel of this is the LL’s “touching faith” in the benevolence of the bourgeois governmental public health authorities. The ICFI/LL accepts without question that the likes of Anthony Fauci, the NIH, FDA, CDC and the World Health Organization would never lie to us and their word is the scientific gospel truth. However, these very same medical technocrats and global capitalist institutions, as Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has revealed in his book, The Real Anthony Fauci, have been responsible for incredible atrocities. These have included the use of AZT in “trials” which have killed at least 330,000 gay men in the 1980s, orphan children in Africa and in NYC and other U.S. cities.
The ICFI treats the population of “scientists” as if they were an intellectual monolith. Once you listen to one scientist—especially if he happens to be Anthony Fauci, or any other government appointed scientist—you can safely ignore what any other scientist has to say. This precious representative few, this happy band of government appointed Ph.D.’s, need provide no evidence for their technocratic diktats—and if you look carefully, you will find none. Trust the science. Trust Anthony “The Science” Fauci.
Yet there are tens of thousands of medical specialists, many of whom have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, who have dissented from the official narrative and called for an end to all this madness. They have actually provided evidence that the official statistics about the “pandemic” have been grossly exaggerated and challenged the worth of the official measures. These latter measures, these dissidents have shown, have done far more harm than good.
The Lockdown Left believes government medical experts when they say that these mRNA shots have been proven safe and effective. This is simply not true. There was not enough time for the trials to prove these shots safe. There is a minimum of five years necessary for such studies. These recent trials took only six months. And in fact, recent FOIA disclosures reveal that 1,223 deaths and 600,000 injuries were reported to Pfizer only in the first few months when these shots were rolled out. As for effectiveness, the trials were not even designed to show the shots could stop transmission. And in fact, a recent study from Vietnam shows that those injected harbor 251x the viral load in their nasal passages, than those never injected. All the trials purported to prove, was that the shots moderated symptoms. And while the Pharma companies bragged that the trials proved the shots 95% effective, this was incorrectly assessed by the “Relative Risk Reduction” measure. 30,000 people were in each group, the experimental vs the control groups. 2 people in the control group had serious symptoms, only 1 person in the experimental. The correct way to assess such an experiment is Absolute Risk Reduction, which lowers the rate down to around 1%. This was not even a statistically significant result.
If none of these measures can be proven effective in stopping Covid transmission/infection/death individually, why should the ICFI argue for an approach that combines them, and criticize the bourgeois governments for not implementing such a “Zero Covid” approach, centered on, but not exclusive to, “vaccination”? Why, despite the fact that these shots have not been proven during the experimental trials to be effective, and despite the fact that since then, the highest incidence of Covid has been found in those countries with the greatest inoculation rates?
One of the ICFI’s medical experts Dr. Malgorzata Gasperowicz, has asserted in several interviews that “we can assume” that these vaccines are at least “60% effective.” But what is the basis for this assumption? I can find no substantiation for this “assumption.” Perhaps it is just a “discount” she is offering to sceptics, off Big Pharma’s 95% claim? Or perhaps she is employing the fact that Covid-19 began to decline at the beginning of 2021, just as the shots were beginning to get rolled out? So, she–and they—deduce from this the “assumption” that adding the “vaccines” to the campaign for social distancing, lockdowns, masking, contact tracing “did the trick.” And so, we just need to continue with such a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach, rather than now adopt a “vaccines-only” possibility, to completely eliminate Covid-19.
But this is clearly fallacious. In the first place, this is an attempt to prove causation on the basis merely of correlation. In the second place, there is actually no correlation here. For if it was the shots that caused the decline, the decline could only have occurred when a significant number of the population had received the shot. This had not happened by the beginning of 2021. What was much more likely, according to Dr. Robert M. Kaplan, was that, like any cold or flu, the so far unvaccinated population was achieving natural immunity. A much more significant correlation, disproving effectivity of the shots, is the fact that the most heavily inoculated national populations are now experiencing the worst levels of hospitalization. The phenomenon of “ADE”– antibody-dependent infection enhancement –might very well be responsible for this. In the animal trials for mRNA shots in the past, all the animals—ferrets—died, because of ADE. The shots made their systems vulnerable to the wild virus, so much so that the virus proved deadly.
These dissidents have cited the government’s own adverse reaction reporting systems, and the Lazarus et al. study, which showed that these reporting systems only report about 1% of the total deaths and adverse reactions. Thus these dissidents have shown that these so-called vaccines alone have caused anywhere from tens of thousands, to millions of deaths and injuries.
These dissidents have developed alternate treatments, comprised of drugs already approved by the FDA decades ago (but unfortunately for Big Pharma, these are off-patent and thus will not make them billions in profits), treatments that have already saved thousands of lives, and could have saved millions if Anthony Fauci, the FDA, et al. had not worked systematically to suppress such treatments, so that the way could be cleared for Fauci and Big Pharma’s profitable treatments—remdesivir, these mRNA “vaccines”—could be cleared for Emergency Use Authorization. This is the same racket by which Fauci suppressed successful community based medical treatments for AIDS, to make way for the deadly, but profitable, AZT drug.
First-hand reports that the ICFI has been receiving from auto workers, that they are coming down sick with Covid, may indeed be accurate. But how does it then follow that policies already proven disastrously ineffective as well as deadly and toxic, should once again be supported, and that we continue to ignore already proven safe and effective remedies?! Why is the ICFI, in effect, arguing for another two months of lockdowns, plus these untested, toxic mRNA products, to try not only once again to “flatten the curve,” but to reach “Zero Covid”?! To paraphrase LBJ, Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel here?
But the Lockdown Left accepts government propaganda, coming from the CDC, that none of these deaths and injuries can be attributed to these “vaccines” and that the alternate remedies they wish to prescribe, are dangerous. Why? Because the governmental scientific experts said so. And because the dissidents are, in the words of a British leader of the Bolshevik Tendency, “outliers.” In other words, they are wrong because they dissent. A strangely authoritarian sentiment, coming from a leader of the Trotskyist movement!
As Robert F. Kennedy has argued about notion that we should “trust the experts” . . . . Such advice is both anti-democratic and anti-science. Science is dynamic. ‘Experts’ frequently differ on scientific questions and their opinions can vary in accordance with and demands of politics, power, and financial self-interest.”
How did the Lockdown Left, including the ICFI, get to this “touching faith” in the bourgeois state—by way of their faith in the “scientific” benevolence of public health authorities: the Left’s Trojan Horse? As we will now see, the Left has never really dealt with its ideology of scientism.
THE IDEOLOGY OF SCIENTISM
Knowledge is a deadly friend.
If no one sets the rules.
The fate of all mankind, I fear,
Is in the hands of fools.
–Peter Sinfield, Epitaph.
The very language the ICFI uses to describe the “vaccine hesitant” bespeaks their own utter “ignorance and backwardness” when it comes to matters of science. For them, nothing has changed since the 18th century Enlightenment (and their view does not even seem influenced by the Left Enlightenment thinker, Jean Jacques Rousseau, who critiqued notions even then that “The Arts and Sciences” were always and everywhere beneficial!) This view was dualistic: there is Science, and then there is Feudal Reaction, Religious dogma—ignorance and backwardness.
This view got a powerful restart with the Progressive movement of the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. The middle class Progressives offered the view that scientifically trained government regulators could rein in the abuses of Robber Baron capitalism. (And thus socialism was unnecessary—but this, strangely, has not deterred socialist acceptance of this ideology).
Trapped in this “backward” thinking, the Lockdown Left seems willfully blind about the possibility that the products of science might ever be toxic, that the scientific process itself, and the (bourgeois) governmental regulatory process governing it, might be corrupted by capitalism in its avaricious search for profit.
The genuinely Marxian view on science, the view that stems from the masters themselves, is that it is indeed capable of finding the truth. If employed honestly and rigorously, it gives us the best basis for understanding and investigating reality. Yet it can also be corrupted into something extremely destructive, especially in its technological application. As Prabir Purkayastha writes, quoting Friedrich Engels in The Dialectic of Nature, such “productive forces” were capable of “destructive effects imposed on its natural [my emphasis—TB] and social ‘environs,’ that was ‘driving the whole of bourgeois society towards ruin, or revolution.”
Now, does not humanity’s “natural environs” include our own natural human bodies? If capitalism can pollute and destroy our natural environment, can it not also, through toxic medicine, pollute and destroy our natural bodily health? No, this is not RFK’s critique of the dangers of medical scientism, word for word. But neither is it the Lockdown Left’s allegedly “materialist,” neo-eighteenth century, neo-Progressive, blind faith in some imaginary, absolute benevolence of science and technology—as long as it is “regulated” (i.e. promoted), of course, by public health officials like Anthony Fauci.
After Marx and Engels died, their understanding of the contradictions of science and technology were not fully inherited by their intellectual followers. A faith in the honesty of natural scientists coexists uneasily with an awareness that this honesty can be compromised by the interest in domination of the ruling class. Take for example, Kautsky’s notions about natural science, in his 1903 article, “The Intellectuals and the Workers.” Kautsky acknowledges the fallacy of Lassalle, for whom “science, like the state, stands above the class struggle.” He accepts that “Today we know this to be false. For the state is the instrument of the ruling class.” Yet he provides a loophole for such “classless” status, for natural science: “Moreover, science itself rises above the classes only insofar as it does not deal with classes, that is, only insofar as it is a natural and not a social science.” So for Kautsky, natural science avoids capitalist class distortions, merely because it doesn’t explicitly deal with classes?! That is not very convincing. Kautsky seems to assume that all natural science is pure, rather than applied science, which is patently untrue, especially in the field of medical science (even in “pure” natural science, however, great class struggles have been fought—for example, the Earth-centric model of the universe, a bolster for feudal ideology, was finally undermined by the bourgeois scientific revolution of Bruno, Galileo, and Copernicus—but at the expense of Bruno’s life, Galileo’s virtual house arrest—and Copernicus only published his theory posthumously!) It in fact represents a backward step from Engels’ warning that natural science, under the profit-seeking regime of capitalism, misses the truth because it examines phenomena in Kantian, isolated fashion, without connecting these phenomena dialectically.
Leon Trotsky provides a somewhat more convincing rationale to Marxists who want to provide a blank check of credulity to the natural sciences: if not immediately, then by and by, as “practical experience” provides a check. Thus he admits that natural science can be an applied science. Ultimately, however, his rationale falls just as flat. He seems in fact to hark back to the C.S. Peirce’s pragmatic-idealist “Beloved Community” vision of Establishment Science, to which the liberal Atlantic Monthly writer Paul Bloom also subscribes. In Trotsky’s discussion of Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleyev. he writes that
Science as a whole has been directed toward acquiring knowledge of reality, research into the laws of evolution, and discovery of the properties and qualities of matter, in order to gain greater mastery over it. But knowledge did not develop within the four walls of a laboratory or a lecture hall. No, it remained a function of human society and reflected the structure of human society. For its needs, society requires knowledge of nature. But at the same time, society demands an affirmation of its right to be what it is; a justification of its particular institutions; first and foremost, the institutions of class domination, just as in the past it demanded the justification of serfdom, class privileges, monarchical prerogatives, national exceptionalism, etc.
Trotsky argues that the check upon this distortion of science by this demand for affirmation of the present exploitative class structure, is ultimately checked by “practical experience,” especially in the realm of the natural sciences:
The need to know nature is imposed upon men by their need to subordinate nature to themselves. Any digressions in this sphere from objective relationships, which are determined by the properties of matter itself, are corrected by practical experience. This alone seriously guarantees natural sciences, chemical research, in particular, from intentional, unintentional, semi-deliberate distortions, misinterpretations and falsifications.
Yet this opens the question of whether the ruling class, even in the natural sciences, will permit an adequate response to the “practical” results experienced by ordinary citizens as well as scientists, from techniques developed on the basis of those natural sciences: distorted by the profit motive. Will they encourage, or rather actively and militantly discourage, on pain of dismissal, corrections and critiques, by these very same scientists who work for corporations, or government agencies controlled by the bourgeoisie?
When it comes to their power, and their pocketbooks, the ruling capitalist class, like previous ruling classes, are noteworthy, even during the crises created by the modes of production they control, only for their gift for denial, and for willful blindness. Trotsky’s assertion that practical experience, all by itself, is an adequate check upon such corruption and blindness, is of very dubious comfort.
Trotsky writes somewhat vaguely about the process of “practical experience” by which these distortions will be checked. Just who exactly will conclude from this “practical experience” that there needs to be a correction, and who exactly is powerful enough, within the capitalist system, to make these corrections? He seems to assume this agency is either the capitalist class-as-a-whole, and/or the natural scientists themselves. But both hypotheses are naive, at best, and fail to consider the actual class motives and relationships surrounding each group. Can we really rely, as Trotsky implies here, upon:
- The capitalist class, which must by the nature of its rule, understand accurately how to master nature? But this is in defiance of the common sense most of us, I think by now, share, due to our own “practical experience.” Trotsky imparts to this class, a rationality they simply do not enjoy, either collectively by the class-as-a-whole, or as individuals.
While the motive for accurate science is operative among the ruling class, in general, what Trotsky fails to consider here is what Marx, following Hegel, described as the system of [creating false] needs. In the section of his Economic and Philosophic Mss. Of 1844 entitled “The Meaning of Human Requirements,” Marx follows Hegel’s view that capitalism creates such a “system” for the purpose of selling its products to hapless consumers. There is no concern on the part of the capitalist for the welfare, safety, or health, of the consumer in this transaction. There is only his concern to make a profit.
Is the rational general interest of the capitalist class strong enough within its own collective social relationships and collective decision-making process, sufficient to counter this natural mendaciousness and indifference when it comes to the general welfare of society and its consumers? No. The rationality and collectivity of the capitalist class, is simply too weak, due to the basic anarchic profit seeking of this class and of capitalist social relations, to effect this.
- The natural scientists? But then we are thinking of them as an independent force in capitalist society. Is that really so? The stories are legion of how the natural scientists within the EPA – up in arms about such toxic, carcinogenic products as Malathion and Roundup, both produced by Monsanto, a corporation with which the top officials of EPA, and the oversight committees in Congress, are in bed with – alarmed as they are about the dangers of these products, are routinely gagged by Monsanto, through its influence over these leading officials.
The lacuna between official optimism about natural science, and the actual “practical experience” we the public suddenly, repeatedly, and shockingly encounter in terms of premature death, morbidity, environmental pollution, etc., is profoundly unsettling to all of us. We live today in an environment that is bound up intensely with the products of capitalist science and technology, including the food we eat, the air we breathe, the vaccines we took when we were kids, etc. The very idea that these are unsafe, is profoundly troubling, personally speaking. Despite their brilliance, therefore, in understanding social relations, many of my Marxist friends fall into the same trap as ordinary people.
For their refuge from such cognitive dissonance, they unconsciously fall back upon, not practical experience–pathos–but ethos: the blind faith of Lassalle that science is classless because the State is. They place their faith in the allegedly scientific, regulatory and Progressive–bourgeois–State. In this realm of the collective Imaginary, as Althusser might say, the Progressive State reins in the anarchic impulses and natural mendacity of the capitalist class; to grant to the natural scientists an independence of mind that in reality, if they actually even try to exercise it, will get them fired.
This accounts for the contradictions in even the hard Left’s response to toxic product scandals: which can only be described as a policy that shadows, rather than confronts, the capitalist “scientific” Establishment: first, denial, and then, quarantine and damage control, but never, critical thought about the broader implications for other industrial products. I refer to the inevitable response among these True Believers when a given toxic industrial product is exposed for being so, and the Progressive regulatory agencies are exposed for looking the other way, for decades, due to their corruption. Time and time again, the public has encountered these scandals: tobacco, or opioids, for example, and even the vaccine for swine flu. The mainstreamers, including the hard Left, will admit these facts, grudgingly. But then when dissidents point out the possibility that other medical-industrial products could have the same stench of toxicity and official, “Progressive”-regulatory corruption about them we are indignantly denounced. You have no faith in the scientific process! The whole process resembled the myth of Sisyphus—or the 1993 film, Groundhog Day.
Enlightenment philosophes conceived the enemy of science only as the feudal vested interests that thrived on dogma and superstition. But what of the new vested interests that now thrived under capitalism? Has not faith in science replaced the old religious faith? That might sound good. But the question is has “science,” as a result, become a new religion, manipulated by the new, corporate capitalist, vested interests?
As we have seen, while such Marxists as Trotsky are aware of the problem here, they seem a bit naive in asserting that as far as the applied sciences are concerned, the problem is pretty much self-corrective. They too, fall back on their faith–faith in the Progressive, scientific State–rather than critical Reason.
Faith is necessary for any society. Each and every individual cannot investigate every scientific question by themselves. So not only must the majority have faith in the process of scientific investigation, but also, the results of scientific investigation must at some level be accepted on faith. But how much faith in the latter, should be required? And what happens when faith is not checked and supplemented by a democratic understanding of logic, and evaluation of empirical results? Are not the new vested interests of capitalism—the corporations—free to get away with murder, to skew those results in their own interest, under the guise of “science”?
The central fallacy of the mainstream, and even the hard Left, champions of “Science,” is that they confuse doubts about whether or not the scientific process has actually been respected by “scientists,” and faith in the veracity of that very same process. There is, however, a difference, between the two sets of doubts. The latter may indeed be embraced by spiritual crystal-channelers, post-structuralists, and other irrationalists. But the former might just have a legitimate concern. They don’t question Science. They question whether it is Science that is really being employed to sell us untested vaccines, GMOs, hydrofracking, psychotropic drugs, etc. Where are the checks and balances here, and have they actually been operative, before the scientists of today pronounce a given technique, “safe and effective?” Is the scientific establishment, rather than science itself—none of us are questioning that–worthy of our faith?
The checks and balances that are supposed to keep the scientists scientific, and honest, are the educational institutions and regulatory agencies and oversight legislative committees, etc., that were created by and/or during the Progressive movement. It is these institutions, agencies, committees, etc.—and not some metaphysical entity hanging from the clouds called Science—that allegedly ensure this. My hard Left friends have a touching faith that this complex will produce scientific, safe, and effective outcomes. They seem to forget that all of this is engulfed and enmeshed in capitalist social relations!
At the turn of the nineteenth century into the twentieth, a new movement of middle-class reformers developed: the Progressive movement. Taking its cue largely from August Comte’s Statist, Positivist sociology, and aligned with Walter Rauschenberg’s Social Gospel movement, the Progressives saw their school as a weapon against all corruption: the economic corruption of the robber baron capitalists, as well as the machine boss politics of Tammany Hall. Yet it had still another opponent: the working-class socialist movement. The Progressives saw their reforms as a way to stave off this threat to their middle-class privileges under capitalism. They believed that they could offer a “third way” between robber baron capitalism and working-class socialism. Capitalist business had become Big Business, extremely powerful, extremely corrupt. But capitalism, as opposed to socialism—or so the Progressives maintained—made for efficiency, and individual rights. The Progressives’ solution, therefore, lay in expanding the State staffing it, not coincidentally, with upper middle class, university educated experts like themselves, and thus reining in capitalism’s natural economic and political corruption.
The reforms championed by the middle class professionals of the Progressive movement, were at different points similar, and in others, diametrically opposed, to the spirit of the political representatives of the old middle class. This class, instead of being the mainstay of Progressivism, was the backbone of the Social Darwinists, and of the Populists. Their demands were pilloried by Marx and Engels in their Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League.
The middle class, “far from wanting to transform the whole society in the interests of the revolutionary proletarians, only aspire to a change in social conditions which will make the existing society as tolerable and comfortable for themselves as possible.” As far as the working class was concerned, the middle-class favors reforms which amounted only to “alms… to break their revolutionary strength by temporarily rendering their situation tolerable.” They desire “the transference of the major tax burden into the large landowners and bourgeoisie.”
Where the more recently developed professional middle class differs, of course, from the old independent middle class, is the elder middle class’s “demand above all else [for] a reduction in government spending through a restriction of the bureaucracy.” Instead, the professionals desire to expand this bureaucracy, because they see it as a “third way” between capitalism and socialism, and because it will offer them a greater number of job opportunities, where they feel they will be able to share power with the ruling class.
If we look at the reforms instituted by the Progressive movement, we see the truth of Marx and Engels’ insight into the phony compassion evinced by the middle class, new as well as old. While the poor were supposed to be the targets of Progressive reforms, it was the upper middle and the corporate capitalist class who ultimately benefited, at the poor’s expense.
One example is the “Lung Block,” a whole block of Little Italy whose residents were displaced by “reformers” because of the alleged threat of tuberculosis. This was a threat, however, that was actually subsiding. It was a threat which the reformers, in xenophobic, racist fashion—so prevalent among the Progressives, confused with the alleged filthiness inherent in being an Italian immigrant. Thus the displacement of poor working class Italian immigrants, created the space upon which to build the Knickerbocker building complex, which served new middle class residents.
Far more extensive was the havoc wrought by Progressive “planner” Robert Moses. As Robert Caro relates in his biography, The Power Broker, originally, Moses was a wealthy Progressive idealist, who genuinely wanted to stand up to the power of the rich, and the machine bosses. Gradually however, as he worked with Belle Moscowitz and Al Smith, he came to shed his ideals, and seek power for its own sake. And he could do that, creating a far more powerful political machine than Boss Tweed ever did, through the newly expanded Progressive bureaucracy created by the New Deal. The results, at first relatively benign in the form of public beaches and freeways out in Long Island, became tremendously destructive when they took the form of bulldozing working class neighborhoods to make way for the Cross-Bronx expressway.
Yet as James Weinstein and Gabriel Kolko pointed out, the Progressives’ solution was delusional. Instead of reining in the power of the fat cats, they got played. The anti-trust reforms they championed, for example, with the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, were actually designed to get the public to think that something was being done about the problem of monopoly. But in actual fact, Monopoly used the new law to secure its power even more greatly over the market, displacing the small fry who could not meet the new industrial standards. This slavish service to the corporate elite was exemplified by Moses himself. He was, in the words of Marshall Berman, Detroit’s man in New York. His building of expressways served the auto corporations’ agenda, and his “slum” clearance and ghettoization of public housing, served the City’s private real estate interests.
The educational institutions—universities, med schools, etc.—that grew up during the Progressive era, were financed and controlled by their corporate sponsors. The Rockefeller family, which made its fortune through petroleum mining and distribution, heavily sponsored the new medical schools, and made as its requirement for this sponsorship, the exclusion and marginalization of homeopathic treatment, in favor of the sale of drugs whose principal component was—petroleum. Those medical schools are now heavily financed by the pharmaceutical industry.
The regulatory agencies created by the Progressive movement and the New Deal administration of FDR, admittedly reined in the worst abuses—poisoned meat sold to the U.S. Army during WWI, for example. Yet in the main, because of an “iron triangle” of corruption, they have largely become shills for industry. The regulators are corrupted by those they purport to regulate. The industry purportedly regulated, due with its vast economic resources, can buy off regulatory bureaucrats with the promise of a lucrative job once they leave the government. They can buy Congressional oversight committee members, with campaign funds.
Yet it is upon this extremely flimsy basis that ‘Marxists’ urge us to have faith, not just in the scientific process, but in the alleged results of that process, presented to us as “Science.” By doing so, such Marxists forswear what should be their intellectual as well as political independence from the upper middle class and the corporate capitalist class “Progressives.”
Thus, until the problems with corruption become completely blatant, the Left, suffering under the weight of it neo-Progressive ideology, recuses itself from the struggle of working class people to protect themselves and their children from the toxic products of capitalist industry, accepting as good coin that these products have been tested and found safe and effective, even though the profit motive for saying so, for lying that this is so, looms large over the “scientific” process today.
I am not for a moment claiming that every single result we get from “Science,” because it is profit driven, should be rejected. But nor do I believe they should be so childishly accepted, as many on even the hard Left do today. Above all, it should not be our role to attempt to bludgeon ordinary people into such childish acceptance—especially, those people who have been victimized by vaccines, hydro-fracking, psychotropic drugs, etc. That is enormously insensitive. This provides a very good excuse for ordinary people to join the Right, and lump us in with the corporate liberals.
Rather, we should cultivate, and call for, a healthy, compassionate skepticism about these results. How exactly were they produced? Were they the result of dispassionate scientific inquiry–or of a skewed, rushed, “sexed up” process guaranteeing the positive results sought by the industry sponsoring the research?
And we should demand what John Dewey in the 1930s—he had become at least a Social Democrat by that point—demanded: that science and technology cease to be presented as an article of pure faith, but instead, that its workings be made “transparent” to ordinary people, so they can learn how to do it themselves: and evaluate whether or not the scientific process that “proves” industrial products are safe and effective, has actually been conducted. Instead of browbeating ordinary people, we should get out in front of movements that challenge products whose safety and effectiveness have in fact not been tested, and especially movements, such as among nurses, teachers and students, against compulsory mass vaccination.
If their own experience—the death of one of their children, for example–tells workers the product of industry is toxic: we should take that seriously. What they do not understand, for lack of training, they can have faith that others, not impelled by the capitalist profit motive, are not pulling the wool over their eyes—and will explain it to them.
For the Left to ignore this task in the past, pre-Covid era was indeed a betrayal—but this ignorance in the past was never as potentially disastrous as it is today. Today it amounts to a life and death issue for the entire human race. The campaign of these eugenicist billionaire maniacs to inject every single human being with a shot that is killing, maiming, and/or electronically enslaving us, must be resisted. And the only class that can stop it is the working class. But the working class needs leadership. The Lockdown Left is not giving it.
 Labour’s Touching Faith in Capitalism, https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/icl-spartacists/pamphlets/Labours_Touching_Faith_in_Capitalism.pdf
 One would think NYTC’s decision to leave the teachers’ union would have induced the ICFI to embrace us to their breasts, declare us comrades, or at least get them to think about their position. But alas, it was not to be. They could not bust out of their tender faith in Anthony Fauci and the WHO.
 V.I. Lenin: From the archives – Lenin on 1916 (1916) (marxists.org)
 “Omicron variant exposes “vaccine only” strategy to combat COVID-19” December 1, 2021
Joseph Kishore, David North Omicron variant exposes “vaccine only” strategy to combat COVID-19 – World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org) and In a more recent article, Lives before profits! Stop the pandemic! – World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org), by the editorial board, 12/4
 Tom Peters, “New Zealand’s Daily Blog seeks to legitimise anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination protests,” New Zealand’s Daily Blog seeks to legitimise anti-lockdown, anti-vaccination protests – World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org) 11/19/21
 Eric London, October 5, 2018, The #MeToo campaign versus the presumption of innocence – World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org)
 Ted Reese, Capital’s profitability now depends on lockdowns, acute social enclosure, and medical tyranny. https://grossmanite.wixsite.com/my-site/post/capital-s-profitability-now-depends-on-lockdowns-acute-social-enclosure-and-medical-tyranny
 Theses on Lockdowns and Political Tasks for Socialists – Red Fire (redfireonline.com)
 Intra-body nano-network – ORWELL CITY
 More Than 400 Studies on the Failure of Compulsory Covid Interventions
BY PAUL ELIAS ALEXANDER NOVEMBER 30, 2021 Brownstone institute, at More Than 400 Studies on the Failure of Compulsory Covid Interventions ⋆ Brownstone Institute
 This sort of flim-flam, posing as “science,” but in fact unscrupulously promoting profitable pharmaceuticals, is par for the course for Anthony Fauci and the “medical science” establishment he administers, as has been revealed by RFK Jr.’s book THE REAL ANTHONY FAUCI. Another example when after RFK Jr., and Aaron Siri and Del Bigtree of ICAN, were told in a conference with HHS officials, including Fauci, that placebo trials had been conducted for mandated childhood vaccinations, and stonewalled for years in their request to be shown these studies, they sued HHS to force that agency to admit that “none of the [by now 72] mandated childhood vaccines had been tested for safety in preliminary inert placebo tests.” [HHS Letter to ICAN, 1/18/18.] And these are the public health authorities whose scientific validity the Lockdown Left upholds without question?!
 Interview with Dr. Malgorzata Gasperowicz: “We have to aim for global eradication!” – World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org)
 Robert M. Kaplan, The decline in Covid-19 preceded vaccines. But we need jabs to finish the job at https://www.statnews.com/2021/07/12/covid-19-decline-preceded-vaccines-still-need-jabs-finish-the-job/ Stat, 7/12/21. Despite the central point of his article, that the vaccines did not cause Covid-19 to decline, Kaplan’s title itself, saying “we still need the jabs,” displays the usual, quasi-religious error into which his thought, and that of the ICFI, falls. In the article, Kaplan states, “Don’t get me wrong: I still believe in vaccines,” and also displays his acceptance of the fallacious “95% effective” figure of the mRNA jabs which we have already refuted as Pharma complex flim flam. Dr. Joseph Mercola gives a much more scientific interpretation of Kaplan’s discovery, in his article, Is Natural Immunity More Effective Than The COVID Shot? | Citizens Journal
 The Real Anthony Fauci, p. 6.
 Prabir Purkayastha, “Why We Need to Adopt Friedrich Engels’ Thinking on Science in These Times.” Counterpunch December 15, 2020. Why We Need to Adopt Friedrich Engels’ Thinking on Science in These Times – CounterPunch.org
 Karl Kautsky, The Intellectuals and the Workers,” Die Neue Zeit (Vol.XXII, no.4, 1903), at https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/revhist/backiss/vol1/no1/kautsky.html
 f Nature, 1883, at https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/EngelsDialectics_of_Nature_part.pdf
 Leon Trotsky, “Dialectical Materialism and Science,” http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1925/09/science.htm
 See Tessa Stuart, “Monsanto’s EPA-Manipulating Tactics Revealed in $289 Million Case,” Rolling Stone, August 14, 2018, at https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/monsanto-cancer-710902/
 See the Center for Humanities “Lung Block” exhibit, at https://www.centerforthehumanities.org/james-gallery/exhibitions/the-lung-block-a-new-york-city-slum-its-forgotten-italian-immigrant-community
 See James Corbett, The Corbett Report, Episode 286: Rockefeller Medicine, at https://www.corbettreport.com/episode-286-rockefeller-medicine/
 See Edward Goldsmith, “Our Broken Healthcare System,” The Ecologist, July 1980.
Photo credit: http://www.businessinsider.in
One thought on “The SEP in the Covid Era: A Post-Mortem”
WSWS/SEP leads the way into the allopathic abyss and has become a strange sort of Vaccine and Masking Cult under the rubric of “science” with no dissent permitted.