The first of this series of transcripts from the Take Back our Lives day of talks and discussion captures the talks and Q+A from the first panel of the event, titled “The Selling of Health and Immunity.” This panel featured medical specialists and activists discussing the impact of lockdowns on mental health care, the interaction between capital and our collective health, and finally some challenges and strategies in organising during the COVID situation and beyond.
You can find an overall summary of the day here.
- Introduction to the event and panel
- Dr. Jenny Goodman corruption and ambivalence at the heart of corporate biomedicine
- Naomi Bridges on Activism and Organising
- Questions and answers
Eli: Hello. I’m one of the organisers, my name is Eli. So, I’m just going to talk for two minutes just to give an introductory remark, then Chris is going to be our chair for the first panel, “The Selling of Health,” with our wonderful speakers, who Chris will introduce.
I just wanted to say that it’s really exciting to have this. The left Lockdown Sceptics is a very loose network of people who realise that strategically, it’s incredibly important to have a left presence in the freedom movement. Those of us who are already in the anti-lockdown movement realised that everybody was being tarred with the brush of being called right wing when that wasn’t the case.
We’re going to talk about a lot of interesting things today and one of the things I hope people talk about is: what is the strategic importance of the left in the [anti] lockdown movement? I don’t know. That’s a question; I don’t have the answer. When we say left, what do we mean? Do we mean it very broadly? Some of us came together because we joined the Labour Party to campaign for Corbyn four or five years ago, we were very excited by that, and his project is actually quite limited, but even that was crushed. It was crushed by the BBC, which now calls us right wing, as if it is in a position to denote what left and right is, which is very alarming and very strange for apolitical people, people in the centre, and people on the left to be called “alt-right” and “Trump supporters.”
It’s been a very strange time; I think we can all agree on that. The other thing I wanted to say is that it has been quite interesting, us all working together with very right-wing people, some of whom do not believe in taxation, some of whom who have a problem with the state entirely as an entity. So, we do have strange bedfellows in these strange times.
Do we try to adopt traditions of political purity and not work with right wing people? Do we all work together, and how does that work? We face significant challenges in the months ahead, even though we’re pushing back on mandates. So, I hope those are some of the questions that come up, because I am interested in them. I know that none of us have the answers but talking together will help.
The first panel will be “The Selling of Health” and then we’ll have Sunetra, Martin, and Jay of the Great Barrington Declaration. The two people from America [Martin and Jay] will be coming in via Zoom.
So, thank you so much for coming, and I’ll hand you over to Chris.
Chris: Thank you Eli. This first session is really fitting since we have been living under a narrative which has been all about health and more importantly unhealth since March 2020. So “The Selling of Health and Immunity” is a very apt way to kick off today’s conference.
We’ve got three speakers who are going to take us through this journey in this hour that we have. We should have about 20 minutes at the end for questions for the panel and discussion.
I’ll just introduce the panellists. On the near right to me is Dr. Jenny Goodman, who qualified as a doctor in 1982, and it took her until the 1990s to discover a way of practising medicine that she could really believe in. So, for the last 22 years, she has practised ecological medicine, looking at the nutritional and environmental factors that are damaging people’s health, and she makes them better. She has also lectured extensively both in adult education, teaching the politics of health among other topics, and teaching medical science at colleges of alternative medicine.
Her first book, published in January 2020 is called “Staying Alive in Toxic Times: A Seasonal Guide to Lifelong Health.” On my left, is Naomi Bridges, who is a feminist campaigner and “professional irritant,” it says here. Co-founder of the Make More Noise group, Naomi aims to widen the conversation around controversial issues and get people talking to each other, which is what today is all about. So, I’ll pass the microphone to the first of our speakers.
Dr. Jenny Goodman on corruption and ambivalence at the heart of corporate biomedicine
Dr. Goodman: That was so moving. Thank you. This vax attack is not the first attack on our health by capitalist greed masquerading as medicine, nor will it be the last. These so-called vaccines are just the latest weapons in a long running war against our bodies. What I want to do in this brief talk, is give a little bit of context as well as discussing some ways we can take back control of our health and bodily autonomy and maybe even our sanity both collectively and as individuals.
The NHS and Big Pharma: 1948, it was founded with noble ideals, a socialist idea, a kitty, essentially. But private pharma were part of the package right from the beginning. Their profit motive has distorted it right from the start and in my view, made truly socialised medicine impossible.
Drugs and surgery are almost all that the NHS has in its toolkit. What we never had was a national pharmaceutical service, imagine that. NPS. Pharmaceutical researchers in the service of the public, that has never existed in the UK.
Make no mistake, Big Pharma want you to get ill. They’re quite open about the fact that their first duty is to their shareholders. Not to patients, not to the public. The chemotherapy industry in particular is worth billions. Big Pharma wants you to get cancer. Their profits would collapse if we didn’t; if we were all well. They don’t actually want us dead, because we are their consumers, but they want us long term ill and on lots of prescription medications and increasingly, that’s what they’ve got. So, there’s no danger of their profits collapsing right now, there are millions of patients on waiting lists, and they will all eventually get surgery or drugs.
We’re being told that the “system is overwhelmed.” But it’s not overwhelmed by COVID, and it’s not only because of underfunding and under-resourcing, it is overwhelmed because the need has become infinite. But why is the need infinite? Why are millions of people waiting for new hips or new hearts or new kidneys? What went wrong with the old ones? These questions are still taboo in the NHS, but we’re going to look at them right now.
The burden of chronic disease, the kind of disease which may not kill you quickly but may make the last few decades of your life miserable has increased tremendously since the NHS was founded in 1948. Why? Largely because of what else happened in the late 40s immediately post war. A host of factors that have increased the burden of disease ever since. Going back to the first Industrial Revolution, but accelerating massively from the mid-1940s onwards, we have big oil, private cars, the petrochemical industry, cars emitting more and more toxic fumes, strongly linked to all of today’s real pandemic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, dementia, and so on. There’s massive evidence for this in peer reviewed journals but it never trickles down to the GP. They [fumes] are strongly linked with neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Exhaust pipes are at exactly the height of a toddler’s nose.
There are lots of new campaigning and charitable groups trying to address this – Mums for Lungs, ClientEarth, there was a Coroner’s Court case recently where a little girl Ella Kissi-Debrah was finally admitted as the first person to be admitted to have died from air pollution. She was asthmatic, but she was not the first nor will she be the last child to die from air pollution. Deliberate, avoidable, and lethally toxic.
And then we have industrial agriculture, or “big ag,” using agro chemicals. Again, highly profitable, [big ag] began in the rush to intensive farming after World War II. So, our fields are drenched in pesticides, which are therefore in our food and in our bodies. These chemicals were originally developed as nerve gases, but repurposed. They still damage the nervous system. They’re designed to kill living beings, and they do that. They cause cancer, reproductive damage, as well as neurodegenerative diseases and more. There are plastics in our oceans and microplastics in our babies, in the placenta, in the umbilical cord, in the babies. These are oestrogen mimics. They look like oestrogen to the body, and they are strongly linked with breast cancer and other cancers of the female reproductive tract.
Industrial heavy metals are in our soils and our water are linked with Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, as are the pesticides and toxic halogens like chlorine and fluoride. We have to pause here and note what’s happening. The Health and Care Bill which is going through Parliament right now, clauses 147 and 148 propose to introduce synthetic fluoride into the water supply of the whole UK. We have a pilot study in Birmingham in the West Midlands where there are an awful lot of sick children – I’ve seen them, I’ve seen some of them – where they’ve had fluoride added to their water supply for 60 years. Until recently, this was a decision made by a local authority. And now, oh look, it’s enforced mass medication.
I’m sure you haven’t got time to join yet another campaign, but you should be aware and join the dots here. It’s very touching, isn’t it, to see our prime minister’s sudden concern for children’s dental health? It’s nothing to do with dental health. Fluoride is actually toxic to bones and teeth and brain, thyroid, kidney, ovary. But guess what, it’s a by-product of the phosphate fertilizer industry. So big ag again, and they need a waste disposal solution. They have a problem. Forty years ago, they were forbidden to release this fluoride from factory chimneys because it was too toxic. Now it’s in the water, it’s in the toothpaste, it’s in the bodies and bones of our children.
So all of this stuff is health damage created by the rush for profit. Don’t forget iatrogenic illness, illness directly caused by medication, medical treatment. And all this, of course, comes on top of a lack of sunshine, lack of exercise, processed food full of junk, artificial additives (very profitable) and sugar even in so called savoury products, extremely profitable, because it’s highly addictive. That’s not to mention leukaemia linked with nuclear power, with electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone masts and the phones themselves.
Our increased burden of ill health, by the way, chronic degenerative disease, is nothing to do with aging. But I don’t have time now to explain why. There are at least three reasons why it’s not about aging and why they want you to think it’s about aging, you’ll have to ask me about that in the lunch hour. So, all these real reasons for our ill health, the NHS, God bless, ignores them completely, and Big Pharma is very happy about it, it’s part of the chemical industry.
So what are the alternatives? Self-help, self-education, natural medicine. These are the ways to escape from under Big Pharma. I believe that true bodily autonomy must include more than the right to say no. It must include knowledge about how our bodies work, how to put the good stuff in and keep the bad stuff out. That’s why I worked in adult education for years. Education is empowering, as Paulo Freire said. Everyone’s learning common law, maybe we need to learn some common biology. So, this is about demystifying medical knowledge, democratising it.
The first thing we need to do is boycott their poisons, and it can be done. So, with air pollution, it is partly about collective action, but it’s also about individual action. Don’t drive if you can walk or cycle or use what’s left of public transport. Water pollution, similarly, we need to campaign against fluoride and actually chlorine, but as an individual, you may also need to get a water filter. Soil and food pollution— eat organic. Everyone’s going to say it’s too expensive; again, talk to me in the break, because there are responses to that.
But this is not just about what “they” are doing to us. It’s about what we are doing to ourselves. We need to boycott all the petrochemical poisons we are actually buying voluntarily – synthetic perfumes, air fresheners, clingfilm, hair dye, oven cleaner, endless, totally needless cleaning chemicals. They’re mostly carcinogenic and there are safe alternatives to all of them.
We need to reclaim what I call the people’s medicine, herbal medicine, which is thousands of years old. Created by women, the original healers, and found across every land and culture on earth, it is traditional, but it is also seriously updated now. Modern herbalists know as much about biochemistry as doctors do, but unlike most doctors, they know how to apply it in practice.
Now, when I say this, I don’t just mean consult a medical herbalist, although that can be very helpful, I mean learn how to grow your own medicinal herbs on your window ledge, how to use them both preventively and for treatment, plenty of books available on how to do this, same with nutrition.
Big Pharma depend totally on us failing to join these dots and not learning how to stay well and take control of our own health. It depends on us remaining ignorant passive recipients of it’s sometimes useful, but often dangerous drugs. So, reclaiming our own health is the most radical and subversive thing we can do. Remember, they need us to get cancer as a horrifying 50% of us now do. You need to learn how to minimize your chances of getting it. Make their products redundant.
So, bringing it all up to the minute, this attack on our bodies I’m claiming, has been going on for many decades but it jumped to a whole new level two years ago with the silencing of medical science, all except the pseudoscience that suited the establishments’ purpose. It became monolithic, just like monocrop farming, just as poisonous. Science as a monologue, of course, is no longer science. Latin: “scientia—” knowledge. It only exists as dialogue, trialogue, multilogue, as an open conversation.
Has this happened before? I mean, since Galileo? Well, we had a sort of pilot study, a prologue, with what happened to Andrew Wakefield. It has happened before, not to the sciences perhaps, but to the arts in the Soviet Union where the only art that was permitted was art, so called “art,” that suited the state’s agenda. So of course, it was pseudo art. It was monolithic and it was dead.
So how did people resist? They circulated pamphlets in secret: Samizdat. The secret literature of the dissidents. The words that simply could not get published in the mainstream. Today we have Telegram, Odysee, High Wire, Substack and many more I probably don’t know about. These are our Samizdat, though I expect that Samizdat not being electronic, was less contaminated.
Most importantly, what did Stalin do with dissidents? They weren’t just shot or imprisoned or sent to the Gulag. Many of them were “diagnosed” with fake psychiatric disorders and put in psychiatric hospitals, where unlike prison, there’s no release date. If you disagree with the system, you must be mad. Does that ring any bells? The psychiatrists were roped into work for the state, as we know German doctors were for the Nazis. And what’s happening right now? What are we doing to those who are standing up for their bodily sovereignty? The pernicious label, the fake diagnosis of a “vaccine hesitancy.” It’s being used all over the NHS, particularly by senior staff to label junior staff who refuse the jabs. I found that profoundly sinister.
Here’s what exemplifies the total abandonment of real scientific thinking and decent medical practice. Hear me out, the very stance of being pro or anti-vaccine, the forcing of the whole world into one of those two camps, allowing no discussion, no debate, no middle ground, creating a war, creating an enemy, and therefore creating extremism on both sides. This is a false polarization because the real way to assess any vaccine, any medical intervention at all, should be in relation to an individual patient. Is this treatment the right thing for this person in this situation with their particular medical history at this point in time? Physician-patient interaction, that’s how we’ve always done medicine.
You wouldn’t be asked: “are you pro or anti aspirin?” Aspirin has its uses, and it has its dangers. It’s right for some people some of the time, ditto penicillin. But, in assessing any vaccine, you do have to ask three simple questions: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it necessary, i.e. are there no other better treatments available? And all the COVID jabs fail on all three counts, and we know that the evidence for safe treatment and safe prevention methods for COVID is extensive and extensively suppressed. So, it’s looking like goodbye to medical ethics.
Speaking of “is the vaccine necessary?” when did you last come across a person with diphtheria? Not since the 1950s. But it’s still being jabbed into our babies, along with several others at once because it’s still profitable for Big Pharma.
I’ve got about two minutes to conclude, I may not get to the end. But I want to ask why so many on the left have not seen through the lies, starting really from where Matias Desmet leaves off, why? Because in obtaining people’s obedience, the state has evoked on and drawn on people’s best side. Their altruism.
When people comply, they’re getting that warm glow of being part of a greater whole; we all need that feeling – of saving Granny, exercising the caring part of their soul, being on the side of the good in this horrific fake war. Our compassion has been hijacked for their extremely uncaring agenda. It looks like public health, it looks like it’s for the public good, so the left loves it and can feel itself to be in opposition to the government only by saying that it hasn’t gone far enough in oppressing us. This is unbearably ironic.
It’s very hard to challenge people, whether on masks, testing, track and trace, lockdown restrictions, or vaccinations because you are seen to be challenging their goodness of heart. And you are seen as heartless, even if they’ve known you for years as a good and caring person, that’s the power of propaganda. If it were all for the public good, that would mean the government really cared about our health. But if they cared about our health, why would they let us be increasingly poisoned and do nothing to reduce the pollution of our air and water and soil and food that is actually killing us, and indeed, right now be passing a bill to add a lethal toxin to our water supply?
I’m going to get more controversial now I think, from the point of view of some people here. How do we get through this and what are the pitfalls along the way? How do we get through this? I’m no expert, but I think we all need some kind of spiritual practice, however secular, to keep us grounded and sane. And we absolutely need the solidarity of each other’s presence to stop us falling into despair.
Now, pitfalls, and this is where I know I’m going to lose some of you. Because this is all so painful, it’s very tempting to admit to only one crisis at a time, to move on from whatever issue we were busy caring and campaigning about before COVID, to ignore the bigger picture. Specifically, it is tempting to forget or dismiss or deny the very real ecological crisis our planet is facing just as much as it was facing it before March 2020 or even more so now.
A lot of trees were cut down as well as draconian laws passed under cover of COVID. A lot of seabirds have died from oil spills, coral reefs are disappearing, many species and many human tribal peoples are being destroyed as their habitats are being destroyed. So why do we have to deny this? I think because it’s so hard to hold all these things in our heads and hearts at once. It’s agonising, which is why most of us block out some of the truth, most of the time. But these things are all connected.
Every threat to our health, which I mentioned earlier, is equally a threat to the planet. The toxins which are poisoning us are poisoning the environment too because we’re all part of one ecosystem. So, this is a plea not to move seamlessly on from one crisis to the next and not to forget about Planet Earth because of that vax attack, because it’s all the same attack.
Chris: Thank you, Jenny. That’s wonderful. And our final speaker is Naomi Bridges.
Naomi Bridges on Activism, Organising and being an ‘early anti-LD adopter’
Naomi Bridges: Thank you. You can applaud if you like. I feel very honoured to have been asked to speak here, amongst so many credentialed people. I followed a lot of the people who are going to be speaking later, I’m sure many people here have, the Great Barrington Three in particular, Silkie Carlo the director of Big Brother Watch, I’m sure there’s lots of other people, and I want to thank them and thank both of you too [ed: unclear as to who] as well for keeping me sane in lockdown; I don’t know if anybody here felt similarly.
But I must admit I felt a bit nervous because I’m not an eminent professor, doctor or a human rights lawyer, I’m just a gobby woman. So, here’s my story. Eli asked me to speak about my personal journey as an early lockdown sceptic. And I don’t necessarily want to rehash all the reasons that I thought lockdown was absolutely deranged, because it’s been done in other events and I’m sure we’ll speak about it today with people who can talk about it better than me. But I will say that I thought they were disproportionate, that they were hurting the most vulnerable in our society, it was an attack on working people, on workers’ rights, and on our fundamental rights to life and liberty.
I was greatly worried about the overreach of the Coronavirus Act as soon as I read what was being proposed and I was concerned that as with many societal disruptions, women would bear the brunt of the lockdown burden.
For example, we’ve seen it before between 2010 and 2017 and after the 2008 Economic Crisis. When we look at the changes to benefits and taxes and spending, 86% of the government reduction in spending was spending on women. What we’re going to see after the lockdown is going to be austerity on steroids.
I couldn’t fail to see the parallels between the lockdown state and an abusive partner. We can use this model of coercion and control called the Duluth wheel of coercion and control. It’s the framework that’s used to analyse abusive relationships. Some of the categories that it states are: isolation, speaks for itself, intimidation, emotional abuse, minimising, denying and blaming, using the children, economic abuse, and coercion and threats. I won’t do a full comparison here, but there’s a blog post I wrote about it as we went into the second lockdown in November to try and speak to other feminists about this issue. If you just do a Google search, you can see the Duluth wheel of coercion and control that explains those categories further.
I started to express these concerns amongst feminists and was surprised that instead of being met with empathy and concern for vulnerable women, feminists who I had organised alongside shirked away, avoided the question, and dismissed with a hand wave and an “Oh, but we have to do it,” or even worse, told me I was on a different wave of reality and compared me to David Icke. However, just by pricking the bubble of the lockdown stupor and refusing to go away, I hoped to create a space where others felt that they could express dissent. Slowly but surely, more and more women said to me “I agree [whispered].”
I looked to the feminist establishment and bar one or two thoughtful pieces that was mainly a lot of hand wringing about the plight of women, but again, with this subscribing to the idea that there was no other alternative. There was complete silence, and I can really relate to what was said about the mental health practitioners that were just completely cutting off and we saw it with women’s charities too. I was really disappointed that none of them were saying anything about the lockdowns.
Isolation was quite hard because we were physically distant. How can we communicate differences of opinion when all we have to communicate with each other is a screen? Social media is set up to be deliberately adversarial and you’re rewarded for the most polemic and provocative positions, though I do like a provocateur!
But, how can you communicate when you’re forced into these extremes of emotion all the time? Organising in person has been the absolute lifeblood of many feminist and leftist movements. Meeting in person was integral to the suffragettes. They were able to meet without being overseen by the state or the men in their lives.
When we can’t organise without being overseen by the technocrats and our very lived experiences being subjected to fact checkers, we have a problem there. As well as the physical isolation, there was also political isolation. Feminists know what it’s like to be dismissed and to be isolated from mainstream politics and know what it’s like to be isolated and dismissed even within the left. Being compared to certain people didn’t help how I was feeling, but I found like-minded women and together we worked little by little on the women around us, a conversation here, a shared graph there, a link to some writing by some of the people who’ll be speaking later today as well.
I tried to do blog posts and a couple of speeches at Speaker’s Corner and things like that just to get people speaking. I’ll also be forever grateful to Manchester Feminist Network for allowing us to meet when there were still some heavy restrictions when we were in that stupid tier system. And I know that it was quite difficult. They had rifts within their collective for that, so I’ll be forever grateful that they allowed us that space. But just as lockdown was easing, it seemed that isolation was going to come in in a new way with the vaccine passports, or the COVID passes or vaccine test, whatever, just a way to limit your participation in public life.
Just as the lockdown was awful for women, the vaccine passports look set to be equally awful for women, for refugees and for asylum seekers. I remember watching in horror as in France, it was ruled that a vaccine passport was needed to board a train. How could a woman fleeing an abusive partner with nothing but the clothes on her back and the change in her pocket ever hope to find refuge? It is a complete violation of bodily autonomy, which is integral to feminist thinking. It’s a violation of workers’ rights as well. If your employer can mandate what you put into your body so that you can have a job, what other the medical interventions can they mandate?
Women have fought really, really hard to not have things like pregnancy be a factor in our employment. If your employer can mandate this medical intervention, can they mandate how many children you should have, or not have, because having them might affect your work, your ability to do your job? Could they mandate if you need to go on contraception or—? It’s insane. I don’t need to elaborate. But there still remains silence from feminist establishments. I call them blue ticks because on Twitter, not that they’re all on Twitter, but it’s the verified ones, the professional feminists. Some of them do great work, but there was a lot of silence from them about this.
I chose to remain forever hopeful, but it saddened me and I don’t want to spend time finger wagging or berating or mentioning names, but I can’t pretend that it didn’t hurt. As a feminist campaigner, you support these women, you buy their books, you go to their meetings, you like the work that they do, and just to see them turn their backs on you is quite— Yeah, it hurts. But the isolation and the silence and the shunning all felt a little bit familiar. I looked to previous feminist movements and thought about the lessons there.
So, for the past few years, many of us in the feminist movement have been increasingly worried about reforms to legislation, especially around the Gender Recognition Act and we were looking on in horror as established feminist organisations remained silent or even worse, called us bigots, called us heartless, uncaring. A lot of the same adjectives have been used on this particular [COVID] issue.
But vaccine passports discriminate on the basis of sex as well. I was finding a lot of parallels to these previous lessons. I’ll come back to that. So, women started organising their own meetings around the Gender Recognition Act issue and putting together pressure groups. Just normal women, just women who were thinking: “our needs aren’t being met by the established feminist organizations, let’s get together and actually try and get a conversation going.” I’d like to think Make More Noise, my group played a part in this using social media, which is quite the double-edged sword, but it is helpful to connect with like-minded people. Just by putting on an event that we did in 2019, this little event we just did after an idea in the pub, is now cited in legal papers on the case law judgment Bell versus Tavistock and that’s just something that two gobby women did.
To bring it back to the lockdown thing, I’d found a group of lockdown sceptics in Manchester from across the political spectrum. Indeed, I was actually quite politically oppositional to a few of them. But after doing some meet ups and discussions, talk turned to: “well, what can we do?” And I looked back to the feminist campaigning that we’d done, the GRA reforms were walked back, but I didn’t feel like celebrating because I know it’s not over, there’s a lot of stuff by the back door that is still happening. That battle is over, but the fight is not won.
So, we thought: “Well, let’s do a town hall like this. Let’s do a meetup.” And through this, the Coalition Against COVID Passes was born and we did an event in Manchester in September. We had people like Dr. Claire Craig speaking, Jen Ayling the founder of Therapists for Medical Freedom, loads of great speakers because we thought “let’s get people talking.”
I don’t think that we can underestimate the transformational nature of meeting in person. This is another thing that’s come up again, the relations that we have with each other. So, I was pleased to see that the COVID passes got walked back, the NHS mandates have been walked back for now. I like to think that all these things that we’ve done, whether you’ve met just in a group in the park, the stand in the park stuff, or you’ve put on an even or whatever, you’ve tweeted about it, we’ve all had a part to play in that.
But I do fear a repeat of the by the back door [strategy], where institutions and establishments will be setting their own policy operating out with the law, we’ve seen this with the legislation around women’s rights as well and that it will come back in another guise and be tied possibly to digital ID. Maybe that’s what we’re seeing?
So, I wanted to end with a little call to action and just some of the lessons that I’ve learned that have been successful to greater or lesser degrees: Humour, skewer the opposition, make the bystander laugh, If they can see how ridiculous it all is, you are pricking that little bubble of the narrative and that can go a long way. People go and think about it.
The little things count. Just say no. Not everybody can put on an event, not everybody can get a slot on the news or anything like that. But just saying no! just say, “no, I don’t think I’ll do that, thanks.” It’s tough to be brave; it is tough, but try.
Take a break as well, get a really normal hobby. I really can’t stress that enough. I have a really normal hobby; that’s what I have to get back up to Manchester for later. Nobody’s talking about women’s rights, nobody’s talking about the lockdown, we’re just talking about what we had for our tea and it’s really nice, So, I would recommend that.
Don’t get caught up in infighting, a hallmark of the left, it’s easier said than done, but try. Write to your representatives, big and small. I’m sure lots of people wrote to their MPs, maybe some people feel completely alienated from the political system. But, there’s lots of ways that you have access to power, you can reach it in lots of different ways: Your counsellors, your lords, your school headmaster,the community leaders, somebody who runs a community hall that you want to use for meet ups, people like that. Just keep writing to people, keep speaking.
If none of that works, noncompliance. The suffragettes didn’t comply, the Civil Rights Movement didn’t comply. Noncompliance. It is immoral to comply with immoral laws in my opinion.
So, I wanted to end with a quote from the feminist writer and thinker Andrea Dworkin, this is about feminism, but I wonder if some of you might find it a little bit relatable to this situation just now and how we feel about moving forward; one of the remarks that Eli raised at the beginning was “how do we work with the people who’ve shunned us and called us names and called us uncaring?” So maybe this will be something to think about:
“Feminism is a political practice of fighting male supremacy on behalf of women as a class, including all the women you don’t like, including all the women you don’t want to be around, including all the women who used to be your best friends whom you don’t want anything to do with anymore. It doesn’t matter who the individual women are.”
Questions and answers
Chris: Thank you very much, Naomi. We’ve got about 10 minutes left for questions and answers. I think we can all agree we’ve had some fantastic speeches and there’s always time in the breaks to speak to any of our panellists. Many of these things will come up again throughout the rest of the day.
In the short time that we have left we’ll take some questions and just remind everybody in a nice comradely way: It’s questions and talking points, not statements and declarations. I shouldn’t need to say that, but it is worth saying it.
Audience member 1: I’ve been walking past for three months now, a sign that is obviously maybe paid for, a massive, great big pink and white one saying: “Stay clear, it’s not safe.” This is right outside their house, and there’s another one, I see children walking past. It’s [a] primary school and they’re being intimidated.
Everything in my gut wants to go there at night, chop it up and leave it. These things I’ve noticed aren’t going away. When I go into a shop and I haven’t got a mask and I’m smiling and the signs are still there and…how do we, when you say direct action, should I go there with a pair of clippers in the night?
Chris: Okay, thank you. That’s question number one. And question number two, please.
Audience member 2: Something Jenny said, but I would like to direct to the panel as a whole really stuck with me, which is that the left has been in some ways hijacked by the feeling that what they’re performing is an act of terror, when it can actually be an extraordinary type of cruelty and alienation in the way that Naomi described.
Do you have thoughts on how to create a paradigm shift in the left’s thinking or what it would take to reorganise from the COVID safety priority to a social community priority? Thanks very much.
Chris: Thank you. We’ll deal with that one first since it is directed at the [the first two speakers], then we’ll come to direct action.
Naomi Bridges: I would never recommend breaking the law.
Audience member 1: I mean, technically, we don’t know who it belongs to, it could get blown away but as long as those signs are there, I’m seeing the mental impact. It’s maintaining the status quo, that we here want to change. And I can assure you that in [inaudible], there will be people two years from now with those signs there, because it’s their safety blanket. They want it there. And they’re all over the place.
Naomi Bridges: I hear you; I hear you. I was being a little bit glib because I’m painfully aware that we’re being recorded and I don’t want to lose my job. So, I would never recommend that one breaks the law. However, law breaking and noncompliance has worked previously. So, you clearly feel very moved—
Audience member 1: I am a teacher, and I am not going into a school. I will teach one to one. I am not going to be part of the oppressive approach where there is no debate.
Naomi Bridges: Well, I can’t tell you what to do. But I get the feeling that you’ve possibly made a decision already. And you know what, it takes all sorts. I’m very much an all strategies are necessary person. I’m not really into the purity thing. It takes court judgments, legal cases moving through the courts, it takes media people, it takes noncompliance, it takes normal people, it takes credentialed people, not that credentialed people aren’t normal, but you know what I mean.
It takes all sorts. And I agree, I don’t think those signs are very good. I would maybe recommend speaking first; I think trying to speak to somebody is always best. And then—
Audience member 1: I knocked on the door. Thank you.
Chris: Thank you very much. [as for] the question [from Audience member 2] regarding moving on from the narrative?
Dr. Goodman: I don’t have an answer to your question, how can we effect a paradigm shift in the left-wing movement? But that question is the reason we’re all here and the answer will be gradually built together. But sadly, I think the left was pretty damn broken before this happened and very much lost.
Chris: We’ve got a hand up in the middle, woman on the end, and then down at the front, and then we’ll see how it gets on. The woman standing up there next.
Audience member 3: Surely, you can’t divorce the anti-vaccination movement from the environmental movement? You have to educate the left and the environmentalists in holism as opposed to reductionism. Now healthcare professionals have learned about holism because there was a great challenge to them in the 70s and 80s with holistic, complementary and alternative medicine, which they turned into complementary, because in those days, people were very [inaudible] with women and birth.
Natural childbirth had gone out the window, and middle class educated women were shocked at being treated like lumps of meat on the labour table. And from that, all sorts of things came about. Now…What my question is, can we not as a group here become educated in the wholeness of all life, that viruses are a part of life, and can we not be educators of the left and the environmental movement so that they don’t get stuck in binaries?
Chris: Thank you. And one more question down at the front standing up now, and then we’ll deal with both of them. Thank you.
Audience member 4: I’m Piers Corbyn from Let the UK Live and we are certainly taking the lead in quite a lot of actions all over the place, including humour. I’m also part of Piers Corbyn and the Non-Compliers who’ve had massive impact after dancing around the tube and singing songs like “wearing a mask is like holding a fart in your trousers. (laughter)”
I agree with the points about humour because we are stuck in a bubble, if we don’t do something. Now, the question is wouldn’t you agree that actually the left, whatever that means now, has kind of lost its way, and the problem we have is that a lot of them— I suppose I’m one of them as well, equate big state spending with socialism?
In fact, what we have, “the greater good” then becomes corporate greed. Certain people on what they call the far left actually support all this madness. I think what we have to do is break out of this left-right view and say, look, the key division…The question is then, do you agree that we should focus on the key divisions in the world of globalism versus accountability and building a united front around that? And that is a very simple united front summarized in the slogan: “Resist, defy, do not comply” but with obviously clear demands like end all the jab programs and all the COVID regs-—
Chris: We are going to take the answer section now.
Audience member 4: And also have a look at our sheet. So this sheet about Let the UK Live group, you’ll find that very instructive, and they’re outside, Peter’s got some here. Thank you very much.
Chris: Great questions in there. Naomi, would you like to take that one first about the role of the left?
Naomi Bridges: Yeah, I can do. We felt it very painfully in the feminist movement. So, I don’t want to rehash all of that, speak to me about it in the break if you want and I can tell you in exacting detail how much the left has pissed me off. Moving out of left and right is one solution to it, I think that the left has lost its way beforehand.
I think it is important and helpful in some way to look back over how it happened, why it happened because then we can learn from it, but I think dwelling on it too much and I find that sometimes in these spaces actually to be honest, people going on about how bad the left is, I mean, we all know that. That’s why we started this.
I think it’s important to admit and acknowledge and try and learn from the mistakes. But I’m just going to reiterate what was said in my introduction, and hopefully, what’s actually in my speech and I think it’s been echoed a few times, [to] speak to people in person, just honestly, human to human contact. When you are arguing through a screen, you’re on two different teams. When you are sat next to somebody and you have a different opinion, you’re both on the same side.
That’s actually really good a conflict resolution in couples as well. If you are fighting with your partner, go and sit on the same sofa with them and then have the argument or the discussion because then you both are sat on the same sofa because you’re both part of the same team.
Chris: Thank you very much. And Jenny?
Dr. Goodman: Maybe we need to stop talking about the hard left, the soft left, the far left, the near left, and start creating the “warm left.” The question about holism: I mean, absolutely, this is what I’m doing, joining the dots. So patriarchal medicine in the service of Big Pharma, has tried to take over the process of birth and, as said, the process of death.
These are natural processes, they need to be democratised. They need to be in the hands of the person who’s giving birth, being born, or dying, so at both ends of life. It is a form of colonialism and that’s a very important parallel to draw. Women’s bodies have been colonized, and women are at the forefront of reclaiming natural and holistic approaches.
What can I say? Some of the beautiful young people in Extinction Rebellion who care deeply and passionately about us not poisoning the planet, have gone and got themselves jabbed and waited until they were allowed to get back on the streets again, and it broke my heart.
Chris: We are over time now. But I’ve got one question or comment in the middle there. You had a hand up a few times, so I don’t want to overlook you. But we will have to deal with it quite briefly because we need to move on to the next session because our speakers are ready to go.
Audience member 5: I’ll try and be as brief as I can. I mean, basically, it’s on the question of holism again. I mean, another thing we need to look at, I mean, we talked about the ecological crisis, but I can’t be the only one here who is really dismayed about events relating to the Ukraine at the moment and wonder where it’s all going to end.
So therefore, it seems to me we’ve got a drive towards war, which is primarily driven by the military industrial complex, particularly in the West. I think we need to acknowledge that…I wanted the panel to talk about the possible connections between that as well, between the drive towards war and the other aspects of capital which are assailing us now, one of which, of course is the big pharma strive towards forcing us to have the vaccine because I think there is a connectedness there as well.
Chris: Thank you very much. Thank you for being brief. I’m going to ask Jenny just to deal with that because it sits with a lot of what you were saying.
Dr. Goodman: I mean, it’s just more dots to join, isn’t it? You will have noticed that the military industrial complex are not holding jumble sales to raise money. Yes, war is the agenda and it’s the same war on another front.
Chris: Right, thank you very much to everybody in the audience firstly. Great contributions. Terrific. More applause please for Naomi Bridges, for Jenny Goodman, a tremendous panel. Thank you all very much.