By Bruce Wallace
If there is any consistency on the activist revolutionary left in the UK about coronavirus it is in their massive overestimation of the risk posed by it, in tandem with a universal acceptance that the Tories were initially hell bent on a ‘herd immunity’ strategy.
The yarn spun goes something like this: The evil Tories, under the heartless libertarian Boris Johnson in league with the megalomaniac Dominic Cummings, planned to allow the virus to ‘let rip’ through the population, killing untold thousands of vulnerable people. Veritably applied Tory eugenics.
They were only forced to reject this strategy because of mass public opposition. They retreated and had to listen to the sound scientific advice from SAGE to impose lockdown measures instead.
This, however, is a complete inversion of the truth of events in March 2020.
Socialist Worker, the newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party, peddled just such a historical fabrication at the start of the scamdemic with a public statement on March 14 2020: Coronavirus—‘We need emergency action’1
Boris Johnson said, “I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.” This is not a statement of inevitability. It is a political choice by the Tories to allow people—especially older, vulnerable, disabled and poor people—to die.
The creation of “herd immunity” that the Tories want means allowing around two thirds of society to be infected. That means mass deaths.
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said that worst-case scenario planning projected that 80 percent of the country would contract the virus, with a 1 percent mortality rate. This equates to more than 500,000 deaths.
Such callous calculation has to be fought now. We need emergency action that pushes aside the priorities of big business and profit and puts people first.
This is myth making at its finest. The Tory government were following the direction of their scientific advisors from the very start and didn’t have a ‘herd immunity’ strategy at all. The government were relying on their established influenza pandemic response plan and had no intention whatsoever of allowing the virus to rip through the population.2
Sir Patrick Vallance explained that the plan was to reduce the peak of the initial epidemic and to protect those who were most vulnerable to it. This would allow for the build up of a certain amount of immunity to the disease. Most people get a mild disease in any case.3 This was the established scientific advice to the Tory government. It is simply a lie to state the Tories had some sort of independent demonic plan for culling the elderly in the UK.
The SWP (along with the Socialist Party) display a complete misunderstanding of the herd immunity concept itself. Herd immunity is an end point of any pandemic management strategy, including vaccination, but it isn’t a strategy in and of itself. The actual dynamics of the decision to lockdown was expertly dissected by Christopher Snowden (now pro-lockdown) in The Lockdown’s Founding Myth in the Critic magazine in May 2020 (obviously unread by the Swappies and their ilk).4
Lockdown was never proposed by either members of the government or urged by their scientific advisors. It was a measure taken a week before its imposition as other countries adopted it in Europe, principally in Italy. There was no volt face from a callous herd immunity strategy to the lockdown at all, nevertheless the SWP just keep expounding this myth.
Just how primitive the SWP’s notion is of the basic biology is exemplified in an article in Oct 2020 where the SWP managed to find a doctor to pontificate on herd immunity: Herded to our Deaths?5
This article could have been lifted word for word from the BBC or the Guardian as it came out with the same ludicrous suggestion that shielding the vulnerable was a form of ‘social apartheid’. This was almost the same phrase used by NHS England chief executive Simon Steven’s who was cited in the British Medical Journal the month before6. Far better to be equitable and lock up everybody in their own homes instead! The article repeated every BS government argument against the focussed protection plan proposed by the Great Barrington Declaration (long covid in the young, reinfection by the virus, wanning immunity, variants etc.).7
The SWP, like the rest of the left, are so blinded by ideology they are unable to see past their own noses. Incorrectly judging the government’s original intentions at the beginning of the scamdemic, they inadvertently ended up supporting a call for a lockdown based on the completely unscientific and historically unprecedented response of China’s Stalinist rulers! And simultaneously ended up supporting the Tories in the process.
Backing the Anti-Worker Lockdown
One would expect revolutionary socialists to address a crisis like a pandemic with sober senses, but with the Corony their objectivity evaporated. The left in general were completely overwhelmed by the catastrophist narrative. Socialist Worker adopted all of the hysterical language of covidiocy (surging cases ‘ripping through’ working class communities, overwhelmed health services and so on) but with a left twist and they declared:
The basic shift has to be away from all the normal activities that are dictated by the corporations and the market. We have, in effect, to suspend capitalism.
All production and services that are not essential should be shut down and resources transferred to the necessary societal offensive against coronavirus. We have to force the government to take action, but crucial decisions about what is essential should be the result of discussion among ordinary people. Self-organisation and solidarity are essential to getting us through this crisis.
Workers and students, for example, need to shut down the universities.
The SWP normally calls for the overthrow of capitalism but not in this crisis. To the contrary, they joined the chorus in support for lockdown. The irony is that the Tory government went even further than the SWP demanded by closing not only universities but also schools for good measure. The SWP no doubt imagined that these actions fostered solidarity when, in reality, they meant the social isolation and atomisation of the working class.
Depicting the scamdemic as a crisis of capitalism the SWP issued a host of utopian demands when the lockdown itself has transformed the UK state into a de facto Bonapartist dictatorship where civil liberties have been crushed and the right to protest outlawed.
Capitalism makes a killing
To imagine that lockdown enhances the ability of the working class to fight back in any way against capitalism is ridiculous. As Simon Elmer has so brilliantly exposed, the lockdown has given the system a heaven-sent opportunity to capitalise on the crisis.8
The lockdown is serving capitalism very well indeed. The huge multi-national corporations, Big Pharma (especially), Big Tech and supermarket chains are booming whilst small middle-class businesses are being crushed. An entire social layer has been thrown into the industrial reserve army of the unemployed. A centralisation and concentration of capital is going on at an unprecedented scale laying the basis for a new period of capital accumulation.
The destruction of smaller capitals and the immiseration of new social layers allows for increased exploitation, downward pressure on wages and a rise in the rate of profit. Paradoxically the lockdown presents capitalism with an opportunity to temporarily overcome its historic crisis of profitability. All this is taking place under the very noses of a revolutionary left supposedly schooled in the ideas of Karl Marx without a squeak of fundamental critique.
Left Props of Covid Bonapartism
The SWP provide a complimentary left narrative to the bilge of the government’s scamdemic press conferences. When a mass demonstration of over 10,000 took place in London in August 2020 against lockdown Socialist Worker was quick to denounce it: Reactionary protest says no to Covid-19 safety measures9
The paper honed in on the involvement of miniscule far-right elements attending but the article was almost like a ministerial statement in the Commons condemning ‘anti-vaxxers’. All the usual stereotypes were trotted out. David Ike was one of the organisers. 5G conspiracy theorists were there. An “even more sinister” demonstration took place in Berlin last Saturday they reported:
An estimated 38,000 people gathered and hundreds of far right protesters also tried to storm the Reichstag—Germany’s federal parliament.
Not for a moment do the SWP consider that because they, and the rest of the left, support lockdowns that they have fled the field, allowing the small right-wing groups to exploit the opportunity mass opposition to lockdown gives them.
Rather than intervening in these protests they merely echo the covid propaganda of the Tories as when people look to “conspiratorial explanations” to the system’s failures, this can provide an audience for the far right. They are a left-wing prop to the Bonapartist biosecurity state. The rest of the left is as bad or even worse.
Just how unhinged the SWP have become is exemplified by one of their leading theoreticians, Joseph Choonara. In their magazine International Socialism in Dec 2020, he issued the following astonishing statement:
In the absence of socialist solutions, the most effective responses have come where countries corralled their population, often in an authoritarian manner, into strict social distancing measures—then created effective testing and contact-tracing regimes. Hence China is one of the few countries to experience something approximating a V-shaped recovery following the initial hit to its economy. 10
Choonara conveniently ignores all the scientific evidence that there is absolutely no correlation, let alone proof of causation, between the severity of lockdowns and measurable outcomes. The evidence is that lockdowns are ineffective at virus control and that those countries who locked down hardest have had the worst outcomes for mortality.11 The idea that China itself has successfully controlled the corony is equally obtuse. Mainstream media peddles the myth that China is a glowing success when the ongoing government measures against the virus are a living nightmare for millions of Chinese.12
What would a “socialist solution” to covid even look like? The SWP have failed to come out for Zero Covid in my view mainly because they are opposed to closed borders with their attendant racist overtones. Apart from that they are enthusiastic supporters of a version of Stalinist totalitarianism to tackle a mediocre virus.
Revolutionary Big Pharma Reps
The SWP are enthusiastically supportive of mass vaccination. The problem isn’t whether or not a vaccine is needed for a pretty average respiratory pathogen but whether the evil Tories are capable of its efficient distribution? Any analysis of the nature of the faux ‘vaccines’ is absent from their publications, where they are presented as a life-saving elixir.
The main theme pursued is that Big Pharma are mainly interested in profit and hence are focussing their efforts in producing vaccines for the advanced countries. This vaccine nationalism is roundly condemned13. The SWP want the masses of India and Africa to get the snake oil but it has been hoarded by the racist western colonialists.
Noting that there is ‘vaccination hesitancy’ amongst Black and Asian minorities, the SWP explain that this is due to structural racism. They rightly raise the history of medical scientific racism in the southern states of the USA in the notorious Tuskegee case14 where African-American men were monitored for syphilis and denied treatment in the 1930’s and 40’s.
They also highlight that in the1990’s Pfizer carried out tests in Nigeria of a new treatment for meningitis. Eleven children died in that trial. Other participants suffered blindness, deafness and brain damage. US physicians also conducted tests on HIV-positive Zimbabwean women in 1994. Socialist Worker also carries stories on the obscene profiteering of Big Pharma during the scamdemic.15
Despite the eugenicist trail of misery left by Big Pharma amongst the masses of Africa and ethnic minorities, the ‘vaccine’ for Covid 19 is now the recommended snake oil from our erstwhile revolutionaries. Despite deeply held suspicion by ethnic minorities against racist medical intrusion, the SWP are now active vaccination reps in minority communities.
On Feb 14 this year Socialist Worker carried a letter for one of their Doctor members Kambiz Boomla: Give black people ownership of coronavirus vaccinations16
After ritual denunciation of structural racism Boomla announced:
After a local campaign we finally got central NHS approval to open a vaccine clinic at the London Muslim Centre next to the east London mosque.
This built on all the local work done over decades creating links between faith communities and socialists, and fighting racism both on and off our streets.
What we now need is the central government to allow local practices to directly vaccinate out of our GP surgeries and health centres. We need to go beyond remote vaccination centres.
And we need local flexibility to target BAME communities.
One cannot but savour the bitter irony that the anti-racist SWP now ‘target’ BAME communities for mass vaccination on behalf of Pfizer and Astrazeneca in a real conspiracy with the covid Bonapartist state. How these socialists can accommodate their cognitive dissonance is breath taking.
The sorry tale of the corony and the SWP is all too typical of the ‘revolutionary’ left. The only note of optimism I can end with is that, in the history of workers’ struggles, anything the SWP have ever played a major role in has usually ended up as a total fiasco. I hope this saves some black workers from the clutches of SWP eugenicists.
Bruce Wallace is a Social Worker and children’s Safeguarder living in Scotland