carlo von lynX on Sat, 22 Jan 2022 11:57:37 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> CfP: Critical reflections on pandemic politics: left-wing, feminist and anti-racist critiques

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022 at 10:32:44AM +0000, Hoofd, I.M. (Ingrid) wrote:
> Such lockdowns, health pass mandates, and blanket vaccine rollouts clearly attempt to posit some kind of 'public good' or 'solidarity' over more individualist considerations; sentiments which on the surface appear to be benevolent and even left-oriented.

Well, the irony is that most of the pandemic politics
has been left-oriented for the public good and
solidarity. And it has been harming the economy.

In other words, capitalism for once wasn't put first!
I have gauchist questions about the pandemic that are
not in your list:

- Why didn't parliaments issue laws that would
  reduce all real estate rental agreements to half
  of their normal value during pandemic times?
- Why didn't they rule a special condition to
  terminate contracts during lockdowns that make
  no sense while a lockdown is in place (flat fees
  for services you can't use, for example).
- Why are we leaving technology largely unregulated
  while our dependency on it is skyrocketing?
- Why are we letting the super-rich double their
  wealth? Will appropriate taxation ever take place?
  Isn't time overdue for a redistribution?
- What happened to the discourse on
  Unconditional Basic Income?
  Would have solved so many issues now!

A large number of people on the "left" side of politics have gotten
so confused by the pandemics and the spread of disinformation over
obscure Internet, that they are tempted to fall for some of those
falsehoods or just FUD. It's distracting from the real issues, IMHO.

On Thu, Jan 20, 2022 at 05:11:58PM +0100, Stefan Heidenreich wrote:
> Science thrives with doubts and diversity. And ends with apodictic
> calls to stop discussions.

Yes, this is how it should be.

> Sorry to say, Florian: your statement sounds to me like an attempt
> to block a very much needed debate. The comparison with intelligent
> design is itself a propagandistic trope. Even being "provax", I'd
> stilll feel much safer in a scientific environment that allows for
> doubts and discussions.

But let's discuss whether tobacco is indeed killing people, first.
And whether the planetary overheating is anthropogenic. What about
Earth being flat?

Why not? Oh because there is a wide scientific consensus that these
are *facts* not opinions, and we the people on the left side of
things are the ones who try to make politics that doesn't lie to
themselves in order to push questionable priorities (that's a
characterisation of right-wing politics: it tries to be egocentric
for all of its voters which of course doesn't work and ends up
being egocentric for a few - and it always has to screw the facts
and truths in order to achieve its intent).

It is important by now to assess that there is no more space for
scientific doubts about vaccine technology. Not even for mRNA
vaccine technology. We have all the reasons to doubt the business
behind medicines, because despite its heavy regulation (thank you
EMA for double-checking all the products before they flood the
EU market) they are still produced under the auspices of
capitalism. This has implications, but not as big as some like to
think. In a planned economy the government would still have told
all the pharma industry to develop vaccine - because there is no
other scientific way to go about it!

Let's talk about capitalism and corruption, okay, but let's not
indulge into anti-science promotion by questioning the effective-
ness of vaccines. Furthermore, psychology has found out that the
human species isn't even very talented at deciding for themselves.
Making vaccines mandatory eliminates much of the blues we are
experiencing now:

    "Anticipated regret sheds light on why vaccine-hesitant people seem more comfortable taking their chances with the virus rather than getting the shot, a decision that is not rational given the relative likelihood of experiencing severe effects of covid-19 vs. severe vaccine side effects.
    When people don’t feel the weight of making their own choice, they aren’t as tormented by the anticipated negative outcomes of their decision. Mandates externalize responsibility for getting vaccinated — shifting it from the self to others — making it easier to go forward with getting a shot."

So, if we're political activists in favour of truth and evidence,
then we should be embracing mandatory vaccination and rather focus
on regulating capitalism which certainly doesn't mess with the
super-controlled product it is selling to us. It is making a mess
on all sorts of other levels that we are being distracted from.

On Thu, Jan 20, 2022 at 07:12:06AM -0600, Frédéric Neyrat wrote:
> The difficulty from the oppositional left - I do not speak about the left
> that dissolved itself into the neoliberal discourse and practice - to
> clearly stand out from the extreme-right discourse, to courageously refuse
> the terms imposed by the extreme-right hegemony, is one of the most
> worrisome symptoms of our time, it will lead to war actually. Thus, we have
> two ennemis, not one, that is to say two fronts: the neoliberal one, and
> the neonationalist one. Facing both would require two clear lines of
> demarcation.

Well, I think the line of demarcation we need is to understand,
accept and embrace the practice of scientific consensus. We have
to stop the narrative of "your science" and "my science". We have
to combat PR using financed scientific papers and rather promote
the articulation and perception on what actual scientific consensus
is - the method that filters out corporate and individual interests
out of the word science. The scientific consensus maybe needs
better structures and institutions to defend itself from the huge
disinformation industry established on the Internet.

Am 20.01.2022 um 16:54 schrieb Florian Cramer:
> The word "provax" itself is a propaganda framing, similar to
> framing evolution as 'just a theory' next to 'intelligent design',
> and a complete giveaway of your ideology; just as your list of
> research questions was, in its sum, rhetorical.


On Thu, Jan 20, 2022 at 1:06 PM Hoofd, I.M. (Ingrid) wrote:
> > Your knee-jerk response is an excellent example of elitist and
> > false-oppositional ‘left’ thinking that has completely fallen
> > for the government and big-pharma propaganda, and forgets to

Should we call the general consensus, propaganda? Not just the
consensus among scientists, but journalists, medics and poli-
ticians as well? A sort of conspiracy consensus? Or is it more
appropriate to use the term propaganda for all the more or less
subtle lies and false interpretations of data that are flooding
obscure channels of the Internet, possibly orchestrated and
coordinated by a very small group of manipulatory masterminds?

When considering possible conspiracy theories it is important
to see which one could actually be realised. Is it possible to
create a conspiracy among all doctors, journalists, scientists
and politicians on the planet? Or is it more realistic to think
that most Telegram chatrooms are run by the same administrators
with a very relevant agenda: mobilise money in the immediate,
stir up shit on the streets and ultimately direct voting power
towards their own candidates!

> > think critically about power structures, knowing very well that

Are you thinking critically about the power structures that
have led you into thinking that there's something wrong with
the vaccine and thus all politics promoting the vaccine must
be bogus? You're taking a strong anti-scientific position
and even promoting an event on the topic? Who is paying for
this? Is it okay to invest money in right-wing narratives?

> > right-wing and left-wing, while also entertaining huge
> > differences, are not pure opposites. Baudet would be proud of
> > you; he can rake in the spoils.____

Oh sure, I bet those groups also promote the idea that left
and right must be united against the powers of capitalism.
That was the origin of the "Querdenker" movement, it
derived from the word "Querfront" which is a ficticious
alliance between left and right. It was heavily promoted
in that scene around March 2020. When the real left told
them where they can stick that alliance, the word "Querfront"
disappeared but "Querdenken" is still out there.

Am 20.01.2022 um 16:54 schrieb Florian Cramer:
> All beautiful examples of a "Querfront" discourse where extreme
> right positions are packaged  in left-wing rhetoric. Not a
> single point, however, on minorities and vulnerable people and
> communities endangered by anti-vaccer egoism, and neo-Darwinist
> politics - for example in the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands, of
> "herd immunity" through survival of the fittest.____


US 	846,729 
Brazil 	621,327 
India 	486,451 
Russia 	315,495
Mexico 	301,410
Peru 	203,464
UK 	151,987

Over 150'000 dead in the UK alone. Sounds atrocious to me.
Several top ranking countries for CoViD19 deaths did try 
"herd immunity" strategies at first. Trump, Johnson,
Bolsonaro. India made the news for believing anti-
scientific propaganda, then running into a catastrophe
of people having to die even if their conditions were
treatable if only the health system wasn't overrun.
Russia had those catastrophic week-end travel promotions.
Is Peru the worst hit country on Earth by amount of 
population? Is it the only one in this list to have 
suffered an actual injustice in vaccine distribution?

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022 at 10:32:44AM +0000, Hoofd, I.M. (Ingrid) wrote:
> Similarly, mandatory vaccinations and health passports lead to obvious forms of exclusion from everyday social life and movement

To penalise the people who let themselves be
manipulated into believing the anti-vaccine
propaganda on the Internet... since it's only
because of them that we are still experiencing
lockdowns... to protect their health. While for
the vaccinated this is mostly just a flu.

I know, these people are victims of right-wing propaganda.
Does it make them free of responsibility?

> - Lockdown as pre- or proto- totalitarian

Lockdown as the only reasonable option to avoid
an exponential spread of the virus. Lockdown as
a temporary intervention fully supported by most
constitutions. This inflationary use of the term
"totalitarian" is factually incorrect and thus
misleading and distracting should we one day face
real totalitarian threats such as caused by bulk
surveillance and manipulation via the Internet.

Should the time arise that we really have to speak
up against totalitarianism, will the people still
pay attention? Or have Querdenkers already used
up that narrative with their paranoid conspiracy

This conflation with irrational and fact-free narratives
sure has made it difficult to articulate any legitimate
criticism about the actions of governments.

On Thu, Jan 20, 2022 at 07:12:06AM -0600, Frédéric Neyrat wrote:
> "When the government was having such difficulty masking its
> panic and its inability to exercise its fundamental and spiritual function,
> to foresee, we heard some leftists, even anarchists, cackling: if all this
> is happening, it is because they wanted it to happen or decided it to
> happen. Cruel irony, even when the state finds itself in the cabbage with
> the greatest difficulty in governing, it can count on its faithful
> contemptors to detect its omnipotence there and feel finicky about it."

Lel, indeed. I see my Italian leftist bubble totally embracing this
ridiculous narrative of governmental omnipotence. Luckily my German
leftist bubble is acting quite reasonably, currently.

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022 at 10:32:44AM +0000, Hoofd, I.M. (Ingrid) wrote:
> - Lockdowns, vaccine rollouts and digital health apps, and their relation to global neoliberal capitalism

Yes, stop the general paranoia in this regard and
understand what capitalism can do and what it can't.
Capitalism is terrible and we need to change it,
but vaccine production is not the problem. This
incompetent conflation of fears belongs into the
box of scaremongering.

> - Lockdown as privileged or elite strategy

Some countries are too poor to suspend the economic
machine in order to save some lives. Indeed.
Apparently only Peru has been hit severely by
this, however.

> - Affective aspects of lockdown: fear (eg. thanatophobia), hope, despair, anger, depression, exhaustion, arrogance, dissociation, trauma reactions

This has indeed not been examined well enough.
How much other psychosocial damage is acceptable
in order to save a population from an exponentially
growing virus spread? How many people would have
died otherwise? Would a million have died in the UK
if there had not been any lockdowns? Is this more
or less than the people affected by psychosocial

> - Lockdown and vaccine development science and politics as performances of masculinity

Wasn't mRNA developed dominantly by women?

> - Ethical considerations regarding mass experimentation, moral shaming

"Mass experimentation" is a conspiracy theory, as
discussed before. "Moral shaming" is an appropriate
measure considering that vaccine deniers are causing
problems we otherwise wouldn't be having - and they
are causing deaths.

> and lateral citizen surveillance

How much do the political measures satisfy data
protection requirements? Most of the time they do.
If that sucks anyway, it's because of the GDPR
loophole. The loophole by which with a click of the
mouse you can consent to the loss of control over
your data. Probably nothing nasty happens with the
data collected in the EU Passenger Locator Form,
and yet you have no other choice than to consent
handing over all that data if you want to travel 

It's ridiculous to see a totalitarian masterplan in
the way data has been collected during the pandemic,
but rather an illustration of where our current
approach to regulation in that area is leading us.
We have been letting digital technology run free
and unregulated for many decades. The consequences
are showing more and more.

> - Teleological and theological narratives of science as salvation (eg. via vaccinations)


> - The appropriation of health pass systems for perverse political ends

Paranoid conspiracy theory?

> This expert meeting is the first one of a series of three meetings, and part of a larger transdisciplinary research project on Covid-19 politics titled "Towards a Pandemic-Proof University." This project explores how scientists and citizens, also and especially from various marginalized backgrounds, can be involved in processes of co-creation in order to enhance common understanding of the pandemic and improve policy interventions.

How can you expect any scientist to show up?
Oh, maybe the bogus ones from the Telegram groups will do.

On Thu, Jan 20, 2022 at 07:12:06AM -0600, Frédéric Neyrat wrote:
> See also when they speak about the necessary "mise à dispositions des
> techniques de fabrication du vaccin" / the provision of vaccine
> manufacturing techniques.

I'm not familiar with the details, but I presume this too to
be a too complicated issue to have a simplistic opinion about.

In general, it would do the political left some good to drop
*all* ideological simplifications and populisms. If they want
to distinguish themselves clearly from the right-wing side of
things, they need to embrace facts and acknowledge complexity
wherever things are too complicated to have a quick opinion.

To me, the distinction between left and right is in the intent
of doing general good versus just pretending to do so. And the
temptation to take shortcuts and simplifications leads onto an
in-between thing which starts left and ends on the right, also
known as that notable road to hell paved with good intentions.
And always remember, Hitler too had good intentions.

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