I had COVID

Introduction 

I spent roughly 9 days at home recovering from COVID-19. It hit me like a moderate flu, with fevers, loss of smell, fatigue and a chesty cough. I bounced back quick enough and feel much better already. Laying about and scrolling the internet gave me much more time to think about what I call illusory issues.  These are issues that concern people, but on a balance of probabilities are not that important. They are made important by the over inflated traction they receive in the press and in the media. Suddenly, these issues go from being obscure issues, to primary issues, often pushing out more important problems that Irish society faces. But before I move into one such illusory issue, I’d like to re-affirm my commitment to obtaining a vaccine and denounce the smearing and conspiracy theories that have gone unchecked.  

I would like to express my complete support to the nurses, doctors, paramedics, porters, ambulance staff and every other worker who has worked through this pandemic. I know, and many of my readers know, that there is no conspiracy among you to conceal a highly infectious and deadly virus. I support you and will use my minimal platform to do what I can in that regard. 

Conspiracies are designed to make you panic 

Since the beginning of the pandemic (or should I say plandemic?) every sort of conspiracy theory has found its way to all parts of the internet. Indeed, I spent probably too much time engaging with many of these issues and it culminated in a permanent Facebook ban. My observation of many of them leads me to conclude that the theories / stories are designed not to provide a scientific of fact-based analysis of COVID-19, vaccinations, lockdowns, but to instil an emotional and psychological panic within the reader.   

Before commenting on some of the conspiracy theories, something else I observed – and perhaps others must, is that people have begun to interpret political, scientific and cultural changes through the lens of films I.e they jump to certain conclusions because cinematography has presented one or multiple issues in a certain light. There is even a relevant conspiracy theory associated with this, which I’ll comment on later. 

For example, one of the first stories that made the rounds was one that claimed that COVID-19 was in fact a bioweapon, designed to kill people. This story was repeated by Donald Trump and spread all over the English-speaking world. Numerous far right Irish YouTube grifters also repeated it and the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland had to take out a paid Sunday Business Post article to outline how the virus was neither ‘Chinese’ nor was it a biological weapon. As I said to a colleague of mine, if it was a weapon, it wasn’t very effective for most of the population. This conspiracy theory becomes relevant when we discuss conspiracy theories around vaccinations, because now, the focus is to panic people into thinking that the vaccinations are in fact the method of population control. More on this later. 

Another example of the absurdity of those against various regulations is attempting to link the roll out of high speed internet 5G to the spread of COVID. Indeed, last year, headbangers of a special variety attempted to explode a mast in Donegal only to later find out it was the Letterkenny hospital mast. The point however is that the panic underlying the conspiracy theory, led people perhaps with genuine concerns to act completely irrationally.  These attacks occurred all over the English speaking world, before quietly fading into obscurity (like many of the other conspiracy theories). To be clear, viruses don’t travel through mobile networks. 

Another example of absurd ideas is that COVID-19 and/or the vaccine are methods of population control because humans have polluted the planet.  This theory emanates from the wellness movement. In short, the wellness movement focuses on holistic and often anti-scientific methods of healing. One of the long-term overlapping theories that acted as a bridge between the wellness movement and the anti-mask/lockdown movement was their united opposition to vaccines, all of course based on debunked and outdated scientific claims linking vaccinations to autism / down syndrome.   

Another conspiracy theory revolves around Bill Gates. Why Bill Gates? I’m not entirely sure, but presumably because there exists a healthy working-class scepticism of NGOs and their objectives in relation to society.  As a Communist, I can state confidently that NGOs focus as a means of distracting people & resources from resolving issues caused by capitalism. Charities and NGOs are an industry and often function as a means of rewarding political allies of the establishment. This is all very clear and not conspiratorial – capitalists after all, do their business in the open. Back to Bill Gates, I think the stories about him began when he made comments about vaccinations and people needing them. The stories evolved into tales of microchips and brain control, or whatever the fuck, but that was their point of origin. There is actually a very simple explanation for why Bill Gates would support vaccinations. Are you ready for it?  Profit. Bill Gates is a capitalist. Capitalists are interested in getting wealthier. The manufacturing of vaccines, like many other medical supplies or medicines by the private sector, means they can be sold to people who need them at a rate of the private sectors choosing. In America for example, people die because they can’t afford insulin, because it’s private. That’s just one medicine of many.  So, fuck Bill Gates and all but fight him and his class because of their billionaire status achieved through exploitation, not because they’re drinking the blood of children to stay younger. 

One of the most prolific and original theories was a denial of the existence of COVID. It was just a flu, it wasn’t real, the numbers were falsified and so on. Some of my own relatives repeated these absurd stories, in Russian and English. The question arises, why were normal people bought into these theories. My explanation would be this: governments in most advanced capitalist countries are hated, despised and mistrusted, so when Fianna Fail and Fine Gael in coalition say something, our class gets a natural inclination to either do the opposite or believe the opposite. I get the sentiment completely. However, like any issue, one should apply a critical analysis to what is going on and ask themselves on what grounds they choose to believe or disbelieve something. Many people disbelieved the reality of COVID because somebody unqualified in the scientific community or disqualified from the scientific community spread misinformation. At what point does this scepticism end? When you go to your GP, do you challenge what their verdict is on your condition because you can diagnose yourself reading symptoms? Of course you don’t! That would be utterly ridiculous. 

When COVID continued to ravage communities and kill people, the conspiracy theories shifted to commenting about the lockdown and the vaccine. Theories about the lockdown talked about how fascism was on the way and so on. There is a small element of truth to this, the problem is, many of those who spread the stories about how lockdown would impact society did so based on what grifters on YouTube had told them. Personally, I closely followed the reports the Irish Council for Liberties released which gave a clear legal analysis of what kind of issues might arise from certain pieces of legislation.   

It became clear halfway through COVID that the biggest proponents of the lifting of lockdown were in fact corporations, hotels, bars and restaurants. Every single week you would have some sort of bleeding-heart story from a representative of big business talking about how their place of business is being killed. Of course, many of the newspapers didn’t bother to interview workers in a comparable rate, so the image one could get from reading newspaper and press coverage during the COVID period is the one that the Vintner’s Association want you to get.  

Fascist organisations such as the National Party adopted the positions of big business as well, demanding a re-opening of society under the slogan “Let Ireland Live”. Ironic statement from deniers of clerical abuses? Nevertheless, those who were anti-lockdown unwittingly (or willingly?) put forward the position of the very “big corporations” that they were claiming to resist in the pharmaceutical world.    

Although not a conspiracy theory, a common line put forward about the lockdown was that it wasn’t working. I cautiously agree with this statement but give it a different analysis. The 26 counties never had a “full” lockdown. Exceptions were made throughout the entirety of COVID. Whether it was for Keelings flying in migrant workers to exploit the fuck out of them, or letting Yanks come in from infested states so that they can do their tours of little ole’ Ireland, or whether it was Golfgate. Lockdown Ireland was done the way everything is done by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, arseways and full of contradictions and loopholes! Personally, I advocated for a complete lockdown Chinese style, one that would close businesses, provide support for workers and families and go forward with a robust tracing and testing programme that woul deliminate the ability of the virus to spread. 

The final conspiracy theory I wanted to touch on was the one that compared the rolling lockdowns and the introduction of mass vaccinations to being a Jew during Nazi Germany. Although the absurdity of it is obvious to many, unfortunately many people have repeated statements like this. An elected member of the 26 county parliament even did it and it’s honestly just repulsive.   The issues that surround the handling of COVID are in no way comparable to the systemic slaughter of Jewish, Gay, Roma and Slavic people and this comparison should not be invoked in this manner.   

Conclusion  

There are a lot of criticisms to be made of how the State and establishment handled COVID. They let people die in December so people could shop. They didn’t close traffic to Britain despite COVID hitting Western Europe. They didn’t question Cheltenham going ahead. They underfunded our health service since it’s been created to a point where it can just about handle a winter flu. They introduced questionable Garda powers of arrest and fining. Issue after issue exists – and all of it is widely commented on and discussed.   The central and primary issue that should concern everybody is the fact that countries which are considered “free” and “wealthy” collectively let hundreds of thousands of people die because they don’t give a fuck about them.  Our struggle is not a struggle for abstract and undefined calls for freedom, but for a very concrete changing of ownership of the political, economic and cultural levers of society, between capital and labour, between the exploiters and the exploited. If we had an economy that was run for the people, would our health services be so poorly run and susceptible to crashing under the weight of seasonal colds? If we had an economy for the people would housing be the issue that it is? These are all rhetorical questions – because the answer is no.

Death to the bourgeoisie!

Long live the class conscious working class!

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