2021 was the first full year of the Covid War, the position occupied in the World War One calendar by 1915. Does that mean there are another three years to go? Probably. Who knows? This is the second year that it hasn’t been all over by Christmas. Time itself is up in the air. Whereas it was possible in pre-Covid days to project oneself with modest confidence into the new year ahead, none of us can chart our course into 2022 with any surety. Even the past is uncertain. March 2020 already feels remote. Everything has changed since then, even though the public’s ears are still ringing from the shock and awe of the media barrage that announced the commencement of hostilities.
Are we winning the war? Not yet. Can we win the war? Yes. Has 2021 taught us anything? Of course! We now know for sure that this war is as much about public health as World War One was about protecting Belgium’s neutrality. We are even more informed about vaccine toxicity, testing futility, and government mendacity than we were in 2020. We are conscious historical actors and we have been wide awake throughout the whole conflict. More and more people are waking up. Some of them are even on the Left!
Resistance is fertile
The huge marches in London were bigger than any UK demonstrations since the anti-war marches in 2003, and much more exciting. Demonstrations have taken place in every town and city in the country. Millions of people all over the world have been on the streets. More importantly, they have been organising and agitating between marches. A vast network of community-rooted resistance has evolved. It is profound, organised, inchoate, rough, developed, naïve, decisive, unfocused, directed, wrongheaded and acute all at the same time – a mass of contradictions, inevitably, but possessing the capacity for revolutionary change.
(It wasn’t until after I had been on a few of the big London marches that Left Covidian associates who hadn’t been on any of them told me that the demos are attended entirely by white supremacists, QAnonites and Trumpists. I was shocked by the news. All I will say in the movement’s defence is that it does attract a very ethnically diverse collection of white supremacists and most of them don’t wear MAGA caps.)
The strength of the resistance movement, of course, is that it has erupted from the popular base and is not directed by the usual ideologues and theoreticians. Long may that continue. If some of our comrades and friends on the other side of the fence find the cut of the movement’s jib distasteful, they should remember that the Russian Revolution was not made by pronoun-conscious knee-takers. (It also wasn’t made on Zoom.)
These comrades and friends are welcome to join the resistance – they will find it liberating to replace the blue face mask of compliance with the red cap of liberty – but they should know that this is not a movement waiting for direction from the Left because it is the Left, the true Left. It is impossible not to be enheartened by the growth of the resistance movement in 2021 and not to feel confident about its prospects in 2022.
Everything is out in the open
It is now clear that the government and the media lie routinely, possibly all the time. Most people probably always knew instinctively that this was true but the relentlessness of the lying during the Covid War has destroyed any residual doubts. It is true that there are many millions still in this country who uncritically digest the contents of the BBC or the Guardian but set against them are a mutinous, articulate and swelling minority that will never again believe a single word any political or mainstream media journalist utters.
It is also quite clear that national governments are entirely in the pocket of powerful industrial, financial and ‘philanthropic’ interests. Again, this is not news but the starkness of this arrangement (promoted and defended by a compliant media) under Covid War conditions still hits one like a revelation, or at least a blazing confirmation.
As I write, this nexus of malign power interests is bending its dark thought upon the bodies of the unvaccinated. In the last month, this newly formed minority group drawn from all classes, ethnicities, persuasions and preferences and united by one common characteristic, a personal choice about a medical treatment that is nobody’s business but their own, has been subjected to a storm of vituperation and invective unprecedented in modern British history.
‘By choosing not to be vaccinated, people should be made to face their own personal lockdown,’ wrote Karren Brady in the Sun.
‘Free societies need to leave room for people to say “No” but we are not obliged to allow those who do not accept the need to protect others the same rights of association when the consequences of their actions are damaging,’ averred Anne McElvoy in an Evening Standard article headlined, ‘The unvaccinated are a lethal liability we can ill-afford’.
Politicians were obviously reading from the same script. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme on 19th December that the unvaccinated ‘must really think about the damage they are doing to society’. In an interview with Times Radio, war criminal and former Prime Minister Tony Blair dismissed millions of ordinary, decent unvaccinated British people as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘idiots’, whilst across the Atlantic President Biden told his unvaccinated fellow Americans that they should expect a winter of severe illness and death before blaming them for overwhelming hospitals.
Never has the Power spoken so brazenly and contemptuously to the People. This is good. Things are much clearer. Ambiguity has no currency anymore – the reality of class relations is finally revealed. This will bring more people over to our side. And all of this poisonous rhetoric is being noted and stored in preparation for the Great Reckoning.
Apart from LLS, the Left has been almost as wrong about Covid in 2021 as it was in 2020
For twenty-one months, the Left has continued to cleave to the ‘uniquely deadly pandemic’ narrative. The Left was cleverly outmanoeuvred by Boris Johnson at the beginning of the war. By feinting in favour of ‘herd immunity’, he secured the support of ‘progressive’ opinion for a lockdown policy that was the plan all along.
Herd was the word that did it. ‘We are not cattle,’ cried the Left intelligentsia, as they dutifully stayed in their quarters and waited for their injections.
I don’t see much evidence of the fundamental Left position having changed significantly in twenty-one months, even if Owen Jones has rowed back somewhat from his enthusiasm for lockdowns.
If there is an inflection point, it will surely be over mandatory vaccinations and vaccination passports. There is no middle ground on this issue. Advancing the cause of the anti-apartheid Left is our great task in 2022. This is where we will make inroads into the movement.
In the meantime, Dave Duboff’s article on the Left’s inexplicable response to the Covid crisis should be sent to every trades council, union branch and CLP in the country. It was one of many great articles on the site last year. And the creation of Left Lockdown Sceptics, along with two stimulating and productive meetings, made 2021 worth the price of the admission alone. We’ll be holding two more meetings in London and Manchester in the new year. There’s a lot to talk about, including the best name for this website and organisation in light of the struggle ahead.