Dave – the editor
Ever since the columnist Peter Hitchens announced he had accepted a vaccination on the basis that those fighting the lockdowns have been ‘defeated’, there has been a degree of consternation in some anti-lockdown circles. This was how Mr. Hitchens justified his decision: I’ve had the Covid jab – and all it cost me was my freedom.
The point is there’s no single, unifying anti-lockdown viewpoint. Those of us opposed to the lockdowns come from a wide range of political viewpoints which to a certain extent, inform why we oppose lockdown. On the one hand, Mr. Hitchens opposition comes from a perspective of wanting to preserve individual freedoms. On the other, the likes of Winter Oak oppose lockdown because it’s seen as a step towards to a techno-fascist dystopia. While there is possibly some overlap between these viewpoints, there’s never going to be anything resembling an agreement on what issues we’re actually dealing with, let alone formulating a strategy to deal with what we’re up against.
This is why we’ve chosen to not step into the row over Mr. Hitchens ‘abandoning’ the cause because with his partial view of what we’re facing, we never considered him to be ‘one of us’ anyway. There are people and groups we do refer to for solid research to back up our arguments – Architects For Social Housing are one of them: Cui Bono? The COVID-19 ‘Conspiracy’. The point is, they’re experts to consult rather than leaders to look up to. Look, we’re anarchists and looking to any kind of ‘leadership’ to get us out of the situation we’re in is anathema to us! There are a few anti-lockdown activists who we admire and gain some inspiration from but we’re not going to put them up on a pedestal.
Is resistance to the lockdown over? Mr. Hitchens cited some opinion polls which in his view pretty much indicated that resistance is indeed over. If you take opinion polls at face value, that will be the conclusion you’ll draw from them. Let’s take a step back and briefly look at what’s been happening in the mainstream media here in the UK. Because of the lockdown induced decline in economic activity, advertising revenue from commercial sources has decreased. However, as you will have noticed, the decline in advertising revenue from commercial sources has been compensated for by a hefty increase in government sponsored advertising pushing the restrictions we’ve been living under for a year, and now, the vaccine roll out. You don’t have to be a genius to work out that the mainstream media are not going to start biting the hand that feeds them. That applies to reportage of the ongoing shitshow plus how the opinion polls can be managed to ensure the result supports the message you want to communicate.
Hopefully, the audience for this blog looks beyond the mainstream media for reliable sources of information and commentary. Also, we would hope they listen to what people are actually saying and how they’re acting to gain a more rounded, nuanced picture of how the populace is currently dealing with the crisis. If you do this, we’re sure you’ll have noticed the growing disconnect between what you read, see and hear from the mainstream media and what you see and hear from being out in your community. Slowly but surely, more people are waking up to this disconnect and are starting to ask some pointed questions as to who is pulling the strings of the media? Sure, the majority are still giving the impression of going along with the narrative that’s being fed to us but there are a growing number of people who are starting to join the dots.
Answering the questions posed in the title of this piece does very much depend on how you view the crisis. If you think it’s purely about a virus and that with the roll out of the vaccination programme reportedly doing well, you may well be of the opinion that the crisis will be over by the middle of the summer and that some kind of ‘normal’ life can resume. This would explain the desire of some people we know to get the vaccine as soon as possible, regardless of the potential risks involved, and get back on with their lives again. It also explains why some people we know in the anarchist and radical movement think there’s a possibility of a return to real life, face to face events by the late summer. Unlike those of us who think this is about a lot more than a virus and reckon there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of any major, real life events happening this year. If you’re of the opinion that this crisis is being leveraged to bring about a series of drastic changes to society that could broadly be described as the ‘great reset’, then you may well think that far from the end being in sight, we’re only at the start of what will be a bloody long struggle: A vile corporate conspiracy: exposing the Great Reset– Winter Oak – November 30, 2020.
Those who genuinely believe it is about a virus probably wonder what the heck we’re on about when we talk of resistance. Fair enough, everyone has the right to get it wrong. Moving on, there are those who have a nagging doubt at the back of their minds but think that if they knuckle down, do what’s asked of them, all of this will eventually blow over. Sadly, possibly tragically, these people will be in for a rude shock as 2021 progresses. Then there are those of us who can see how this crisis is being leveraged to bring about what can be be described as a techno-fascist dystopia. One where the corporations, aided and abetted by national governments and a largely supine and compliant mainstream media, will reap massive benefits while us mere plebs find our freedoms and horizons increasingly curtailed. For us, resistance is absolutely vital if we’re going to have a future worth living in.
So, how is resistance to / kickback against the lockdowns going? There’s no easy answer to this question. There’s certainly no unified movement fighting back against what we’re being subjected to. That in part is down to how reactions and responses to the crisis have pretty much done for the old political distinctions of left and right. A newer distinction is painfully emerging – one between those valuing individual and collective autonomy on the one hand and on the other, those who trust the state to look after their interests regardless of the loss of freedoms this may entail. While this process of political alignment is an ongoing process, trying to form a unified opposition to the lockdowns and restrictions that are being imposed upon us is to be honest, a bit of a futile exercise. A better approach is the formation of more fluid and flexible ad-hoc alliances as each situation demands.
As I’ve written a few times before, trying to work out what the heck is going on in a unique and very unusual situation is a difficult task. What is clear is that people are kicking back at the lockdowns in a number of ways. I use the term kickback in a different way to resistance. Resistance implies a degree of co-ordination and unity of purpose. Kicking back is more of an individuated response to what for a growing number of people is becoming an increasingly intolerable situation. That can simply be people doing what they can to lead as normal a life as possible by freely meeting up with friends and family. It can be people gathering to socialise in outside locations while disregarding the guidelines on who they can meet with and in what numbers. Obviously, in a major conurbation, this does carry some risk of police intervention. We get out and about quite a bit for walks in the neighbouring countryside and across the marshes and have noticed a fair few people not adhering to the guidelines on who they can and can’t meet up with. As we move into the spring and the weather improves, there will be more of this and to be honest. In their own way, a fair few people are doing what they can to sidestep restrictions and live as normal a life as possible.
Sadly, there’s a darker side to kicking back against lockdowns. We operate in a region where there are areas of deprivation. In those areas, there will be kids at risk of falling through the cracks. Gang violence has been an issue for a number of years. However, prior to the crisis starting back in March 2020, there was the possibility of intensive face to face interventions from a teacher that could have turned a kid’s life around towards a more positive path. With lockdowns and tiered restrictions forcing a lot of education delivery online, it’s inevitable that a number of kids on the edge will fall right through the net. These kids will feel that society has turned its back on them. They will feel they have nothing left to lose – the consequences of that will not be pretty. Then there’s the larger cohort of kids who while they may not be considered to be in the at risk category of falling into criminal behaviour, will feel they’ve been let down by the education system and will be resentful about that. We could well have a situation where there will be a level of discontent come the summer that will be hard to contain.
Back to resistance instead of simply kicking back. If the big corporations – hi-tech and pharma in particular – are to reap the huge financial rewards of this crisis, they will need a society that will be compliant and not question whatever restrictions are being placed upon them. The lockdowns and tiered restrictions could be seen as a way of seeing how much people can take before kicking back. That has obviously been aided and abetted by a mainstream media that seems to be forgetting what the practice of journalism is supposed to be about. Has their strategy of trying to terrorise the populace into accepting an unprecedented level of restrictions on their lives without complaint been a success? That is actually a hard question to answer because for a variety of reasons, people feel they cannot be totally honest as to what they really think of what’s being done to us. Our gut feeling is that a fair few people sense there’s something not at all right about the situation but who, for the moment, are just keeping their heads down.
So in answer to the question posed in the title of this piece, now is not the time to throw the towel in. All it takes is a miscalculation by those who stand to gain in terms of wealth and power from this crisis and a lot more people will start to conclude that the current state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue any longer. You only have to take a few steps back to look dispassionately at the propaganda that’s being deployed in a bid to cower us to realise that a certain sense of desperation is starting to creep in. They’re finding it harder to maintain the narrative as more evidence comes to light about what’s being done to us and why. The intervention from the reigning monarch which blew the myth of royal impartiality right out of the water and wheeling out Dolly Parton to try and persuade us plebs to accept an experimental vaccine feel like acts of desperation. In a unique and rapidly changing situation, all it takes is one spark and the whole dynamic can rapidly change.
All I can say is let’s hang on in there. If we want a future that’s worth living in, we have no choice but to hang on in there. The facade is starting to crack. When facades start to crack, the authorities start to get a bit desperate. The days are getting longer and warmer – that’s conducive to people wanting to get out and mix with each other regardless of whatever restrictions the government may want to put upon us. There will inevitably be a spark that will set events in motion. We have to be ready to react to that spark and do what we can to help the resistance. As far as I’m concerned, it’s game on…