Above: Riot police in Melbourne pursue anti-lockdown protestors through food markets. http://www.pedestrian.tv
18-08-2021: The Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria (VIC) are currently enduring arguably the harshest “Covid” lockdowns ever imposed. A brutal lockdown has kept NSW incarcerated for seven weeks, with no indication of when it will be released. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has been reduced to a snap lockdown, allegedly after one (!) positive Covid case was supposedly identified along with Covid positive wastewater (!!). Average temperatures in Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory (NT) hover around 30 degrees Celsius year round, with humidity fluctuating between 60% and 80% between the wet and dry seasons. The north of Australia, close to the equator, scarcely has weather conducive to the circulation of a flu like virus. Despite this, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner indicated that the NT may still impose lockdowns and border closures even if the plan of the National Cabinet for 80% vaccination rates are reached.
The remote NSW outback town of Walgett, 230 kilometres east of Bourke, has now also been placed in lockdown. The town only has a population of 2000 but has been sent into lockdown on the putative finding of one (!) positive Covid “case”. Walgett will be joined in lockdowns with seven other Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the West of NSW, including Gilgandra and Brewarrina. Walgett in particular has a high proportion of Aboriginal residents, who make up around 30% of the total. For decades, Aboriginal people in Walgett have endured high poverty rates, with scant health and education services, and a high crime rate linked to a virtual absence of jobs. There is no shortage of money for the farmers though, some of whom have private airstrips, and send their children to expensive private schools in Sydney and Brisbane. It hardly needs to be said that the lockdowns will impact Aboriginal people, and scarcely touch the farmers in their vast properties surrounding the town.
The cruelty of lockdowns is having a devastating effect on the mental health of those subjected to them. Currently, 800 000 scripts for anti-depressant medication are being filled each week throughout Australia. Psychological distress and loneliness is but one measure of the pain being inflicted, as lockdowns restrict or extinguish the very ability to have social interaction. Tens of thousands of jobs are lost, throwing countless workers onto the unemployment scrapheap. Many small and medium sized businesses are driven into bankruptcy, large numbers of which will never open again. The right to travel outside your neighbourhood has been subject to control, or even abolished.
Health emergency illusion
The notion that the planet is being assaulted by the “Delta variant” of a SARS-CoV-2 virus is absurd. For one thing, even the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) admit that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has never been isolated and purified in a laboratory anywhere. Secondly, even if SARS-CoV-2 does exist and there is a variant of any sort, all previous immunology says that variants are less harmful than the original. Thirdly, if Delta exists at all, there is no test which can positively identify it. 18 months later, even the basic narrative about a supposedly novel virus which threatens the globe has worn itself to ribbons. There is not now, and never was, a “pandemic”. All cause mortality for the planet has barely changed in the last two decades, including the year 2020. There is no “health emergency”, and at the very least, this has left whole sections of the working class wondering what on Earth politicians are on about.
Even allowing for the possibility of a new coronavirus in circulation, this does not justify ANY extraordinary measures such as lockdowns, facemasks and vaccines. The lockdowns are quite obviously not about health care and are much more to do with political repression and the very real suppression of civil and democratic rights. In Australia currently, the Army is being used to enforce lockdowns in the streets of Sydney. All around the world, parliaments have been suspended, basic laws have been ignored, and the very constitutions of whole nations have been violated at will. Government “tracking and tracing” of entire populations has been introduced without even a cursory debate by local, state or federal politicians. In short, the very notion of democratic rights has more or less been made contingent on whether or not it can be overridden by “Covid”.
For 170 odd years, Marxists have stressed that “democracy” is in fact a form of class rule, and that capitalist “democracy” is only democracy for the rich. There can never be democracy – where the majority opinion or vote holds sway – across different social classes. There can never be a democracy where labour and capital co-exist in the same assemblies and same parliaments, in the same way as there cannot be “democracy” in a workplace between employers and employees. In the transition from capitalism to socialism, there can only be the rule of one class – the bourgeoisie or the proletariat. Thus, there can only be either bourgeois democracy or proletarian democracy. And bourgeois democracy for working people is as much a fraud and a swindle as is the “Covid Pandemic”. Hence, the (now urgent) historical need for the working class to rise to power through a social revolution.
Nevertheless, the pathway to a workers’ revolution can only be found via a thoroughgoing defence of the very rights that were won by the ascendent bourgeois class against feudal absolutism. Workers must defend their bourgeois democratic rights won under capitalism, for without them there cannot be even the first steps towards socialism. The right to free speech, to freedom of assembly, to a free press, the right to form political parties and organisations, the right to form trade Unions – all must be defended as a matter of priority. Ditto for the right to travel, the right to move freely, the right to consent, the right to bodily autonomy and the right to due legal process. The victory of proletarian democracy, via the establishment of a workers’ republic, cannot be obtained if the working class does not vigorously defend every democratic right it obtained during “normal” capitalist operation.
The twilight of liberal democracy
With the excuse of Covid, almost all bourgeois or liberal democratic rights have been curtailed, suspended or simply abolished. Even many of those who, despite everything, still cling to some notion of the government clumsily acting to protect people from a pathogen, are aghast at the blasé bypassing of the elementary norms of parliamentary due process. Even if they somehow uphold the notion of a “health emergency”, they sense something foreboding about the effective cancellation of elementary civil and democratic rights, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Despite being “onside” with the “war on Covid”, many of them agree that vaccines should not be forced. Even those within the anti-lockdown movement who can see through the false Covid narrative like a pane of glass, are also appalled at the removal of even the basic principle of consent.
Even though liberal democracy has always been a shroud for the dictatorship of capital, the bourgeois class was materially able to allow liberal democratic rights while certain economic conditions were maintained. Free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement – these and other rights were tolerated only insofar as the productive forces of capitalism were expanding, only so long as finance capital was able to expand internationally, and only to the extent that new markets were being found. This is no longer the case, so the Western ruling classes have little need for liberal democracy. Imperialist exploitation of the Third World has continued for decades, but that road is facing obstacles. Imperialist wars of regime change were another way for Western capital to expand, yet now that option is rarely available. Unable to expand at home, unable to plunder abroad, the ruling classes of the West now aim their guns at the heads of “their own” working classes. This is the real source of “Covid”.
Paraphrasing Russian Revolution co-leader L Trotsky, either the proletariat overthrows the Ancien Regime – the utterly decayed bourgeois society – or capitalism, in the interests of self-preservation, replaces liberal democracy with fascism. Lockdown fascism, therefore, is not the result of “panic”, or an “overreaction”, or of snowballing “mistakes”. For some time, capitalism had already been doing away with free markets and free competition and had for the last 30 years been cannibalising the state through privatisation and deregulation. Now, capital needs to go to another level in an effort to regain an adequate rate of return on investment. The cost of labour power – wages and salaries of workers – needs to be depressed as low as possible. Throwing millions out of work while scaring the daylights out of the workers who remain employed, is one way of doing this.
If it was possible to explain in three words why imperialism must remove liberal democracy and install lockdown fascism, it would be: People’s Republic of China (PRC). Economically, the PRC is on the threshold of surpassing the economy of the United States of America (US). The situation is analogous to the 1930s, when the economy of the Soviet Union was achieving record growth while the West was in the deepest economic depression it had then known. Today, breakneck economic growth in the socialistic PRC is simply embarrassing the West. Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), or the amount one can purchase for a given amount of currency, is one indicator of economic performance, and the PRC has in recent years left the US behind. The largest bank in the world – according to assets under management – is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Even though it operates commercially, this bank is in fact state owned and state controlled.
Lockdown tyranny the last roll of the dice
There can be no more accurate metaphor for the PRC’s economy surpassing Western decline than the recent launch of the world’s fastest train in East China’s Shandong Province. A magnetic levitation train developed by China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) has made its debut in Qingdao and is capable of reaching speeds of an astonishing 600 kilometres per hour(klm/hr). This compares with standard high speed rail at 350 klm/hr and passenger aeroplanes which cruise at around 800 klm/hr. CRRC is a wholly state owned company, as is the entire rail network in the PRC. Compare this stunning achievement to Australia or the US, both of which are not in possession of even one kilometre of high speed rail !! The abyss between the Australian and US private capitalist economies and the socialistic collectively owned economy of the PRC is there for all to see.
At the same time, the conservative and bureaucratic political caste leading the PRC is subcontracting itself to imperialism by enforcing its own version of lockdown, facemask and Covid injection insanity against workers on its mainland. Betrayal of workers at home and internationally is second nature to Stalinism, and the entertaining of the false Covid narrative by the Communist Party of China (CPC) is another prime example. Despite this, workers in China and internationally need to defend the enormous gains of the 1949 revolution against imperialist subversion. However deformed and distorted, the loss of the PRC workers’ state would arguably be a greater setback for the world proletariat than the counter-revolution which abolished the USSR in 1991.
In the West, the pressing task is the rebellion against lockdown terror, which now regularly mobilises millions of people determined to fight for freedom. Lockdown fascism is the ruling elite’s last chance to save capitalism, and it comes with enormous risks. Any form of fascism generates acute and continuous conflict, which can result in overthrow if the working classes possess the level of organisation required, or war against states that resist imperialist domination. Yet Covid is first of all a civil war waged by billionaire capital against workers and the oppressed. At the same time, by initiating conflict against its nemesis, the world bourgeoisie demonstrates its political bankruptcy.
The abject treachery of the lockdown fake left alongside Union officials is proof positive that lockdown fascism is being waged under the banner of liberalism, i.e., totally fake claims to progressive, humanitarian, “public health”, and even “anti-racist” and “anti-fascist” values. In that vein, the facemask is the swastika of lockdown fascism. Like Covid “vaccines”, facemasks can be forced onto those who question its rationale, becoming both a symbol and a method of gagging and suffocation simultaneously. They are also the perfect propaganda ploy, giving the appearance of a “health emergency”, when nothing remotely resembling it exists.
By a quirk of history, the anti-lockdown movement is currently leading the struggle for proletarian democracy – despite what many of its protagonists imagine themselves to be fighting. By its very existence, the anti-lockdown movement explodes the bourgeois fiction of Covid. Leninists must find ways to aid and assist this rebellion, while taking the time to “patiently explain” that freedom can only be won through the assembly of a workers’ republic. Indispensable for this is the manufacture of a Marxist vanguard party upholding the theory of Permanent Revolution, which can help lead the toiling masses to their rightful place as masters of their own destiny.
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