Covid and the Blurred Line between Democracy and Fascism

covid police repression

06-05-2022: The years 2020 and 2021 have been permanently marked as the years in which political repression under the guise of “Covid” was most pronounced. What were purported to be “public health measures” were all but cover for a civil war waged by the wealthiest ruling classes in history against workers and the oppressed. The shutdown of whole sections of world economies was patently not about healthcare, but a deliberate attempt to drive some businesses to the wall, and “re-set” a floundering capitalism.[1] The resulting abolition of the jobs of millions of workers was scarcely about protecting them, but rather to intimidate whole populations into even broaching the thought of resisting state and governmental power. What some have referred to as the “biggest lie in history” – the manufacture of a pandemic[2] – was reinforced through government censorship, the desecration of free speech, the crushing of the right to protest and the removal of the most elementary of civil rights. In many countries this was done at the point of a police or a military gun.

No wall between democracy and fascism

While in most countries lockdowns and some other restrictions have been lifted, in other countries some still remain. Many in the West could not conceive that so-called liberal democracy would lower itself to the level of fascism, and yet there was unmistakable evidence everywhere that that is precisely what was and is happening. It is true that some elements of democracy were sustained, but this occurred at the same time as states were unapologetically suspending or simply cancelling basic legal and parliamentary processes, while police and the armed forces were mobilised to suppress millions – with the excuse of “Covid”. We were given the express lesson that in practice, there is no wall between liberal democracy and fascism. Most of the time imperialism prefers to rule through “complete” democracy, but at times it will not hesitate to introduce elements of fascism if necessary. During 2020-21, imperialism used parts of liberal democracy and parts of fascism in combination. In fact, this is still the case despite most lockdowns being at least temporarily shelved.

Democracy (or liberalism) and fascism, therefore, do not always come in separate boxes, with a barrier between them. Fascism, in fact, occupies the same class plain as liberalism, and each can grow out of each other depending on economic and political factors. The years of Covid repression experienced thus far testify to this fact, and Covid repression is by no means over. The main reason is that both liberalism and fascism share a total devotion to the upholding of the capitalist world order, and they have worked together throughout history to ensure it.[3]  Indeed, liberalism and fascism have historically functioned as two modes of capitalist governance that offer each other the perfect foil as in the good cop/bad cop routine.[4] Hence under the Covid peak, there have been some parliamentary elections, while at the same time, the police and military have been utilised to enforce effective house arrest, the prevention of human gatherings, and national border shutdowns – amongst other “restrictions”.

The resistance of the freedom movement

The onset of Covid repression was staunchly resisted by the freedom movement. Many who took part were incredulous that people they had once respected, in some cases for many decades, appeared to become an incarnation of fascism almost overnight. Friends, family, relatives, work colleagues and neighbours all of a sudden became enforcers of Covid state rule. They seemed to be “reclaiming their inner fascist”.[5] What was occurring was a real-life demonstration that democracy and fascism lie on the same continuum, and that “democrats” can become fascists without even blinking. However, the very existence of the freedom movement was proof positive that there was an alternative to submission to state power, and that there was no excuse for capitulating to the state as it became the very embodiment of a totalitarianism that arguably exceeded anything seen in the 20th century.

It is true that the overall political character of the freedom movement was such that it could only resist, rather than politically challenge, the repressive Covid state. Yet its presence was a vital first step against a very real threat. To become a challenge, at least some sections of the freedom movement and/or those who otherwise resist “medical” tyranny will need to at least appreciate a basic Marxist approach – whether they recognise it or not. While democracy and fascism lie on the same class line, working people cannot afford to be indifferent to the twin forms of capitalist political rule.[6] There must be a vigorous defence of ALL rights which have been won thus far, even if they are “only” bourgeois democratic rights. At the same time, there needs to be a recognition that democracy is often a luxury under capitalism. As soon as there begins a serious crisis – e.g., “Covid” – capitalism soon finds that it can no longer afford the luxury of democracy.[7]

Fascism and war

It is imperialism which calls the shots as to whether democracy or fascism will predominate – or at least until there is a pro-working class force substantial enough to offer an alternative. Imperialism can be an abstract concept to many, but it can be described as the rule of monopoly finance capital, which requires expansion (i.e., imperialist war) for its own survival. The ultimate cause for the economic crisis of capitalism is that the productive forces are fettered by the framework of elite private property and the boundaries of the national state.[8] It is thus no coincidence that fascism is often followed by imperialist war. Thus, the proxy war of the NATO/US/EU powers against Russia via Ukraine has come about as the corollary of Covid tyranny. This is the case even allowing for the facts that 1: Washington and Brussels have been provoking Russia for 25 years by the reckless expansion of NATO and 2: The Russian and Chinese governments capitulated to imperialism on the Covid narrative.

From different perspectives, the political leaderships of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) try their utmost to maintain the global status quo. Yet class struggle goes on regardless of fruitless attempts at diplomacy or maintaining the United Nations (UN) as some kind of neutral arbiter. Imperialism itself is a class struggle against the workers of the world, and Covid ultimately represented the instigation of elements of fascism and the curbing of liberal democracy, arguably in preparation for war. The Russian and PRC governments’ collaboration with the West on Covid repression did not at all appease imperialism, but in fact only emboldened it.

Working people are by no means passive onlookers to this process, and can with their own initiative, turn the tide against fascism and imperialist war. Millions in the West either fought with the freedom movement, or gave it backhanded support. Millions were skeptical of the Covid narrative, even if they could not express this through a political vehicle. Millions across the world, and especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America – do not at all accept the NATO/US/EU story of a supposedly innocent Ukraine fighting for democracy. Millions are aware that Russia is waging a war against Nazis in Ukraine who are armed and funded by “the collective West”. And despite the lies of Western corporate media, millions know that Russia will achieve its objectives in Ukraine, sooner or later.

Workers must build their own party

Even though 2022 has seen partial relief from the peak of fascist repression under the guise of “health”, the freedom movement – such as it is – is well aware that fascistic measures can easily be rolled back out at the next opportunity. If the freedom movement is not yet convinced of the need for the working class to form their own party, working people should be under no illusions. Fascism arises when the bankruptcy of the old regime is clearly revealed, when workers should advance to the seizure of power, but where they are held in check by a lack of political leadership.[9] Moving forward, fascism will again rear its ugly head if the freedom movement remains on the road of peaceful parliamentarism and the rejection of a militant struggle to establish and defend its own organs of power. Capitalism can  afford to sustain a few seats in parliament for those who are prepared to fight vaccine mandates and lockdowns. Indeed, there are already a few from conservative bourgeois parties who are already playing this role. Despite this, all manner of subterfuges are currently being used to prevent freedom candidates from even getting close to being elected to Western parliaments.

As much as they are necessary, democratic and social reforms in the end do not lead to a stabilisation of capitalism. In fact, they lead to fascism, which cannot be stable as it relies for existence on various forms of brute force. Fascism is the liquidation of all the social and political conquests of the past,[10] and thus it can only be removed through revolution, not the parliamentary road. That is also why the freedom movement must be prepared to discuss and debate socialist proposals, such as the establishing of workers’ councils, the seizure of the major means of production, banks, energy and so on. To win this debate in the freedom movement and throughout the working class in general, what is required is a workers’ party which fights for a workers’ government. This party will be committed to the struggle for collectively owned and planned economies both nationally and internationally. Based on the authentic Marxism of VI Lenin and LD Trotsky, such a party will guide the masses towards the end of imperialist wars and the horror of fascism, by illuminating the path to a new socialist order.



[1] (03-05-2022)

[2] (03-05-2022)

[3] (03-05-2022)

[4] (03-05-2022)

[5] (03-05-2022)

[6] (03-05-2022)

[7] (03-05-2022)

[8] (03-05-2022)

[9] (04-05-2022)

[10] (04-05-2022)

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

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