The evolution of state measures and their contestation from mid-March 2020 to the end of January 2022
[Editor’s note: Since Covid-19 « left » as quickly as it arrived — which confirms that it was political before it was sanitary -, between the writing of this external contribution and its publication, the power media switched to the « Ukraine » narrative. It was known that bombers and bombed were defined as such only in the interest of the West, and that the status of « victim » was given only to those who were killed by its enemies. All this should not make us forget what they were selling us daily until a few days ago, nor the collateral effects of their « benefit-risk balance » which they never measured, but which we know were much more numerous; their policies killing more than Covid. We will not suddenly stop our attempts to understand and explain because the media-political power has decided so. As for Ukraine, we feed on those who talk about it without being mentally entangled in Western propaganda and will soon publish content on the subject (article, interview, video…)].
This time, we are there: for two years, the pandemic has settled on our world. The media and the states have made it their main theme of daily propaganda. The resulting situation is largely new, even though we have been able to demonstrate that the possibility of a pandemic was thought of according to a counterinsurgency logic since at least the early 2010s(1). The aim here is to examine the main responses made over the last two years to this new health situation, which very quickly led to an unprecedented political development. Much has changed, and we will focus here only on the political aspects of the pandemic. It is difficult to establish a hierarchy between the importance of these changes, so we will start with what seems to us the most obvious: the rise of conspiracy.
The conspiracy and the announced catastrophe
From March 2020, the discussion centers on the origin of the coronavirus: a laboratory, an animal market, a pangolin, a bat? Or the Chinese — Donald Trump talks about « the Chinese virus »… Hundreds and thousands of Internet users start — as usual, one might say — to spread news in all directions.
Faced with them, the traditional media, newspapers, magazines, radios and television channels, appeal to the « experts ». But the experts also assert different and even contradictory points of view, without this leading anyone to reflect on the meaning of expertise in medical matters: is there only one medical truth? Is medicine as exact a science as mathematics? In medicine, there is a saying that if the explanation is simple, it is false, and that reality is always too complex to be explained in its entirety… The human body and life itself are indeed so complex that we can only approach a truth, and never hold it completely. But here is an obviousness that is far too subtle, and conspiracy theory feeds on simplicity, even absolute simplism!
The States, for the most part, have embarked on a policy of fear(2) They have frightened their populations, while taking contradictory measures, as in France where the government first declared that the mask was useless — because there were not enough in reserve — before making it compulsory and multiplying the inconsistencies with each new set of health measures. All the ingredients were thus gathered for a huge wave of conspiracy to develop: first of all, the main engine, fear, and the worst of all; the fear of dying. Then, the extreme complexity of reality, both that of the human body and that of the spread of a disease on a global scale; the repression of those who did not accept measures that they considered inconsistent or ineffective. Finally, the sometimes very serious insults propagated with impunity, which amounts to throwing oil on the fire.
Over time, a real scapegoat is created by the media and the government: the « group » of non-vaccinated people, who are blamed for the spread of the epidemic or for the measures taken by the state that are contrary to freedoms. The creation of a scapegoat always leads to at least two consequences: dividing the population and increasing the level of violence. Unfortunately, this is what happened in France, where the vocabulary used by some vaccinated and non-vaccinated people alike became more and more outrageous as the months went by, including at the Élysée Palace.
The French government’s extreme stance can be seen in the incessant deluge of interventions by the President of the Republic, his ministers, the experts of the Scientific Committee and the Health Defense Committee, two organizations lacking any « democratic » legitimacy, which drown the media and the citizens under an avalanche of alarmist statements. The leaders have only created fear, which leads to the inability to reason simply, and, for example, to ask the government why it continues to close hospital beds, why the health budget is only 1.8% of the national budget, while that of the army is 6.65% and that of the police 3.3%?
Lying or distorting the truth results in what an American think tank, the Rand Corporation, calls « the truth decay » (3). When a government or the media constantly changes its mind and propagates news that wants to steer public opinion in one direction, the Rand Corporation is experiencing a phenomenon of « decredibilization » of the speeches made by the State or the media: part of public opinion refuses to be manipulated, and goes to look for information elsewhere. That is, on the web! For the Rand Corporation, it is more the media that has lost its credibility than the social networks that have taken it away. The half-truths or outright lies of the media, the fact that they uncritically relay the state’s propaganda was enough to make them lose their credibility. The problem is that, at the same time, thousands of more or less crazy websites have gained some. As if it were impossible to carry out a serious and complete reflection on what oppresses us, and as if we had to fall from one oppression to another… Endless?
At the beginning of 2020, faced with the unprecedented situation caused by the pandemic, by the fear that was taking hold of the population and by the flood of conspiracy theories, think tanks immediately began to draw up scenarios on the number of deaths, on the most effective sanitary decisions, on the likelihood or not of a vaccine, on the way out of the crisis. For example, a French think tank, Futuribles, could, as early as April 2020, only six weeks after the « official » start of the pandemic and containment measures, provide three scenarios based on the number of deaths and the government’s policy on containment, travel restrictions, etc. What is surprising politically is that this type of drift is widely known and documented, especially in revolutionary circles. But they have been more or less unable to respond to the flood of catastrophic scenarios and apocalyptic forecasts, and have allowed themselves to be trapped in a drift of one-upmanship that we will examine. Rather than looking for « what’s going to happen », it would have been better to analyze why we were so caught up in a phenomenon that was largely foreseeable, that films had anticipated, that think tanks had announced, that Google thinkers or World Bank experts had practically modeled.
Incoherence that infuses society
It is no longer necessary, two years after the official start of the pandemic, to recall the contradictions of the state and the decisions of its two covid-19 committees. Note, however, that incoherence has become a political form in its own right, as if it has infused society itself, at all levels. It will be necessary to see further who manages to resist it.
Thus, revolutionary activists, who have long been opposed to the takeover of our lives by the trusts and in particular to the gigantic pharmaceutical companies that pour tons — literally — of antidepressants, anxiolytics, neuroleptics and antipsychotics into our bodies every day, are going to be vaccinated by Pfizer at the simple behest of the state. They forget in particular that it is perhaps possible not to be vaccinated against a disease which has killed, since its appearance two years ago and according to official figures, each year, only 0.04% of the world’s population, that is to say 3 million people out of the 7.8 billion that we are; each year, about 60 million people die in the world, a quarter of them of heart disease or stroke, a tenth of them of respiratory or pulmonary diseases; some years, according to the FAO, there can be 10 million deaths due to famines. However, only 0.04% of humans died from covid-19 in 2020 and the same number in 2021 — including those who died « with covid » (and not « from covid »), as recognized by Santé Publique France in a note dated April 2020(4)as well as Insee(5). Is it politically reasonable to enrich Pfizer to the tune of billions for such an obvious danger?
The first major policy inconsistency here is not fear, because everyone has the right to fear for their lives — even if it is more dangerous not to quit smoking than to contract covid-19. The major political inconsistency is not to look elsewhere if there are no alternatives for treatment, and not to choose to boycott Pfizer. Thus, we do not drink Coca-Cola because alternatives exist to this drink symbol of a toxic capitalism; we do not eat Nestlé products because this company shamelessly exploits the farmers of the South; we do not change our smart phone every year or choose the Fairphone because we do not want to be complicit in the slavery of Congolese children in the cobalt mines. And when revolutionaries say that after all, we tolerate prisons in our societies, migrants who are treated as subhuman, the invasion of plastic, car travel or our lamps that are powered by nuclear energy, then the evidence is that the incoherence is not superficial; on the contrary, it is now deeply rooted in our reasoning.
It is indeed easy to answer these arguments that have been heard so many times in the last two years: the prisons, the situation of migrants or the structure of the electricity network and many other realities of our daily life are fundamental problems that we will only solve by ending this productive and oppressive system, and not by individual decisions. On the other hand, there are other situations against which we already have the means to act, including at the personal level. Thus, we are not obliged to acquire plastic objects or the latest Iphone or Samsung, since alternatives exist; we can decide to heat ourselves with wood instead of electricity, or travel by train when the network has not been destroyed by the State. As for the vaccine, the alternative is even more obvious: we can treat ourselves preventively(6).
It appears that the health and political incoherence of the State ends up rubbing off, in a way, on those who have made a profession of changing the world and who are no longer able to reason beyond their own fear. Moreover, since the decline of the emancipatory movement, from 1975–1985 in France, we have « held on » to the positions we occupied in companies or in the state or hospital sector, among others; we have fought to defend them against the so-called neoliberal normalization and against these destructive policies of the social link, of education, of the health system, etc., that the States have implemented. We held these positions to prevent every advance made from 1945 until the 1960s from being nibbled away by the state and the capitalists. With the refusal of the vaccine, we had a great opportunity — offered by the pandemic — not to give in, and even to counter-attack at least on one very precise point: we want more hospital beds and a real recognition and (re)valorisation of the professions of care for others.
Countering aggravated social control
Especially since the most serious and incoherent thing is not the eventual refusal of the vaccine, but the political necessity that there was and still is to refuse the new step of intensification of social control that the QR-code represents for all. Since the first Vigipirate plan, French society has been constantly on the alert. As of 2020, this alert is no longer a terrorism alert but a pandemic alert. In order to fight the pandemic, the State chose to impose a system of control by smart phone and QR-code, first called health pass, then intensified by the necessity of the vaccine, which transformed this health pass into vaccine pass.
The vaccine pass(7) is a fundamental attack on our freedoms, relegating a part of the population to a position of quasi-parias; it establishes a real internal border. Non-QR-coders who do not have an internal passport find themselves, like second-class citizens, in a situation partly comparable to that of undocumented migrants, for example — only partly, but the shift towards this situation is obvious — or like the black Americans before the abolition of the segregation laws. This time, the segregation is not due to a racist ideology, but to a hygienic ideology propagated by states and mega-corporations, including Pfizer, Sanofi and their colleagues; the difference is obvious, but the result is almost identical, since some places are already off-limits to non-QR-coded people.
In terms of inconsistency, let’s quote again an astonishing argument from people who claim to be supporters of emancipation: the QR-code would not be an infringement on the lives of vaccinated citizens. The opposite is true: the QR-code is an attack on the life of all citizens, since we are all members of the same « city », and our « citizenship » only has meaning collectively, and even collectivized, and especially not divided or subjected to any conditions whatsoever — including the deprivation of liberty for incarcerated people, which should not deprive them of their quality of citizens. A citizen can only regret and should even fight any situation that discriminates against people who, on the contrary, should have the same rights as him, such as undocumented migrants and, from now on, non-QR-coded people. Incoherence has a bright future ahead of it.
Political balance sheet
These various inconsistencies, of which we have only outlined the main ones here, lead, two years after the start of the pandemic, to four main political positions, which we have only sketched here in broad strokes.
First of all, a good part of the French population, probably almost the majority, has adhered to the discourse of the State and the media. This very large share is very much in favor of the vaccine and the QR-code, and is not interested in the non-vaccinated or those who refuse the control that the QR-code establishes. In the worst case, the « opponents » must even suffer, according to the most fundamentalist part of this group, a stronger discrimination than the one they suffer today: suspension of their rights (allowances or right to vote, for example), suspension of their access to health care, fines, or even incarceration, as this possibility has been expressed several times in some media. This part of the population is undoubtedly representative of what Erich Fromm denounced in The Fear of Freedom: it is more comfortable to follow the herd, where one feels less alone, than to risk assuming one’s own freedom.
A second part of the population is vaccinated, but reluctantly, forced by external realities. It may be the fear of dying, which we consider as something external to the person, since we all know that we are going to die and that this pandemic leaves 99.92% of the population alive; it is therefore necessary that incoherence has taken hold of some people to « force » them to be vaccinated outside of all logic, since death is, whatever we think, the exit door that we will all have to use… The majority of the reasons for vaccination, however, are much more obvious: simply the need to be vaccinated in order to keep one’s job or to be able to visit a sick relative or a relative in a nursing home. This time, the constraint is such that it is very difficult to resist. Among this large fringe of the vaccinated population, some people refuse to use the QR-code they have obtained, while others, finally, rally, sometimes with regret, to the position that, « after all, we have to live and we can’t do without everything ».
A third part of the population is totally conspiratorial, in the sense that it adheres perfectly to the most extreme speeches on conspiracy: this vaccine is only intended to kill a part of the human species (some announce that it is only intended to preserve 500 million human beings in total, that is to say more than 90% of humans eliminated… by the vaccine); it contains substances that allow the total control (sometimes even at a distance) of individuals. There are other variants of conspiracy theories around the vaccine, and this arguably small portion of the population is very useful to the state, the media, and the citizens who support vaccination and QR-code; it allows them to criticize without qualification all citizens who have taken a critical political stance toward QR-code or even the vaccine.
Finally, another part of the population rejects the vaccine and the QR-code, which they feel will lead to increased social control. This refusal aims to defend the freedoms we still possess, or « freedom » as such, as an existential and collective possibility. This part of the population is currently the least well represented in the media, whether traditional or web-based; its position is assimilated to « anti-vax », whereas it is a political refusal to see social control increase further — and not a refusal of the vaccine alone, either for a priori non-political reasons. Very often, however, when representatives of this anti-QR-code political position explain their line of action to emancipation activists, they are again equated with anti-vax or even fascists. Incoherence has thus crept into the relations between individuals at all levels, including among the advocates of human emancipation, through the false evaluation of the precise political positions held by individuals. Yet, this consistent position of absolute refusal of the QR-code implies discrimination suffered in daily life, which gives weight to this position since the non-QR-coded now live a reduced existence. Similarly, undocumented migrants, because they live their situation of discrimination, appear to us as extremely voluntary people who take enormous risks for themselves and most often also for their families who are far away. It is therefore surprising that the refusal of the internal passport is not better considered by some « critical » vaccinated people, because it could constitute a real common axis in the fight for our liberties.
In this struggle, the non-QR-coded are not the « vanguard » of anything; they are just individuals who chose total consistency, or were able to « construct » that choice, because in the final analysis, they did not need the QR-code to work, or had managed to organize their lives outside of a job requiring that vaccine pass. Compelled vaccinated people and people refusing the QR-code have therefore obviously a common interest in criticizing the QR-code and asking for its abolition.
It is quite unfortunate that some individuals, aware of the danger that the sanitary and then the vaccine pass poses to liberties, have nevertheless taken the trouble to defend their position on the vaccine tooth and nail when the real political issue is, in reality, for the past two years, the advanced restriction of liberties that results from the confinements and then the passes. This is a collective political issue, whereas the choice of vaccine is individual. However, some emancipation activists have asserted a rigorously apolitical point of view by saying that the only valid position is to protect one’s fellow man by accepting the vaccine. This is despite the fact that these people are not experts, neither in medicine nor in pandemics, and while otherwise rightly criticizing experts, not to mention that some of these emancipation activists even claim to be opposed to the power of the state and mega-corporations such as Pfizer — inconsistently.
Refuse all forms of restraint
So we have lost a lot of time and accumulated a lot of disappointments and defeats since the spring of 2020. As in other recent eras, it is time to take political stock of these mistakes and refocus on what makes sense. It seems to us that the situation can be summarized as follows:
Since the beginning of the pandemic, with the official death toll from covid-19 being only 0.08% of the world’s population, it is now apparent that the states and mega-corporations taking advantage of the situation(8) are pursuing another goal than our protection. This goal is obvious: the political and social control of humanity, without forgetting a more diffuse control through the restriction of the cultural possibilities offered to the population. Finally, the hospital policy followed in most States (restriction of the number of beds, no revaluation of the profession of care worker, etc.) indicates enough that the health of citizens is not the main concern of the States.
The fundamental political question today is: do we agree on this minimum program? If we are not, it is feared that the silence and low involvement of some « coerced » vaccinees will lead to ever greater discrimination against non-QR-coders. This discrimination would quickly lead to the use of this new scapegoat by those in power, thus paving the way for ever more dictatorial policies.
This organization of society based on profit monopolized by a few at the expense of the many (called capitalism) is in crisis. This crisis that capitalism is going through is such that the enemy has no way out. We can estimate that the main instruments through which it hopes to survive and continue to oppress us are first of all the distribution of money in the form of various allowances, including a minimum income, in order to silence the protests (since we would then always have too much to lose in the face of growing uncertainty about the future). Second, the use of drug and « vaccine » restraint of the population. In the United States, 55% of Americans are already dependent on antidepressants, anxiolytics and neuroleptics, and the American Psychiatric Association’s goal is to increase this rate to 75% in the coming years, all for the « good health » of Americans. In France, it seems that 50% of the population is already on antidepressants, anxiolytics or antispychotics at some point in their lives.
Through the antiviral vaccine, the pharmaceutical industry, supported by the obligations imposed by the state on its citizens, achieves two related objectives. First of all, it manages to secure a windfall of « pharmadollars » for many years to come (if the vaccine requires regular booster doses to remain effective), in much the same way as, since the 1970s OPEC countries have secured a steady stream of petrodollars by keeping the price of oil neither too high nor too low (so that non-producing countries do not try to outgrow the « oil » stage of their economies too quickly, while paying enough for oil to ensure substantial gains for OPEC). Then, through the QR-code allowing to control the vaccination status, the pharmaceutical trusts are inscribed in the mental landscape of our societies in a prevalent and lasting way, just like the car and oil from the 1950s.
As Simone Weil wrote in 1932 about the global crisis that followed the crash of 1929, » the ruling class [se trouve] forced by the crisis to constantly aggravate the oppression it exercises(9). Thus, our societies are evolving towards what Weil called, in the same article, » an absolute fascism, that is to say, a suffocating hold on all forms of social life by a state power itself serving as an instrument of financial capital. And, we might add, to the industrial capital represented in this case by global mega-companies such as Google, Facebook, Pfizer, Sanofi or Amazon.
The result is not a given, as the « grip » is only « suffocating » for the unvaccinated and those who, although vaccinated, refuse to use their QR-code and are therefore forced to create a new social and cultural life almost from scratch.
The struggle is now clearly at this level: refusal of the QR-code and of pharmaceutical restraint products; creation of another social and political life, with the aim of countering and even overturning this « absolute fascism » that our masters see as one of the few ways out of the crisis that their system is going through — the other being undoubtedly war, civil or foreign.
It would be helpful to propose a petition that reads something like this:
We who refuse the QR-code and who are not vaccinated
We who are vaccinated but refuse to use the QR-code in solidarity with the unvaccinated and in opposition to restraint in general,
We demand the immediate abolition of the vaccination or health pass, the renunciation of any possible confinement and the massive transfer of budgets devoted to repression (army and police) to public health and education of citizens.
The current political moment is, in fact, tense and very important. On the capacity to join us on the absolute refusal of the QR-code — thus its non-use by the forced vaccinated — depends the possibility of a reflux of the dictatorial measures, or at least their mitigation. If we do not manage to join together, on the other hand, the way is clear for the imposition of an ever more authoritarian, muscular or even worse order.
HUKO Group (Huxley, Ubu, Kafka, Orwell)
- Voir par exemple <lundi.am/De-quoi-le-QR-code-est-il-le-nom> ou <mrmondialisation.org/dictature-numerique- ce-que-google-vous-prepare/>
- On peut lire à ce sujet Erich Fromm, La Peur de la liberté, Belles Lettres, 2020 (texte de 1941).
- Voir <rand.org/research/projects/truth-decay.html>
- https://www.santepubliquefrance.fr/maladies-et-traumatismes/maladies-et-infections-respiratoires/infection-a-coronavirus/documents/bulletin-national/covid-19-point-epidemiologique-du-1er-avril-2021 , notamment la p.43
- Voir <insee.fr/fr/statistiques/4923977?sommaire=4487854>
- Nous ne donnerons pas ici de méthode de soin préventif, c’est à chaque individu de faire ses propres recherches. Précisons cependant qu’il y en a de plusieurs types, dont certaines ont d’ailleurs été testés dans des études randomisées, et donc très peu contestables.
- Le terme de « laissez-passer » est préférable car il indique plus clairement l’idée de frontière intérieure que le terme de « passe », qui insiste sur la seule possibilité et non sur le refus possible.
- Nous avons cité Pfizer, mais nous pourrions également citer Google, dont le chiffre d’affaires a cru en une seule année, entre 2020 et 2021, de 39 % ( ! ou Netflix qui consomme désormais 17 % du total de l’électricité consacrée à l’internet, ou encore Amazon, bien sûr, et tant d’autres acteurs centraux du monde capitaliste actuel.)
- « La situation en Allemagne », Écrits historiques et politiques, tome II, volume 1, p. 189.