#1161

cars posted:

The only out-loud “opposition” in the mainstream media are types like Tucker Carlson, utterly controlled by their bosses, and in any case, also completely behind the idea that whatever bad happens in the world, disaster or plague or fart in the air duct, the devious Chinese must be behind it.

i am never allowed to forget the idea that tucker carlson (father a former director of VoA - source: wikipedia) is one half of the Locke-Demosthenes gambit in action

#1162
I've been pretty strongly in favor vaccine mandates, but I also think the terms of debate around it have been fairly unclear. And so not being satisfied with the arguments I was relying on intuition. Most arguments focus on the benefits from the perspective of preventing disease spread and alleviating symptoms for those who do catch it. They then take those benefits and connect it to an abstract general will. This is something very easy to attack because we live in a class society. All policy is the policy of some class and even if the distribution of benefit reaches all classes the terms are still dictated by the alliance of classes in power. So the argument fails to acknowledge that "public health" is an ideological feature of bourgeois democracy. It's a feature of socialism as well but primarily what is being debated is bourgeois democracy. It presents an awkward dilemma for both sides: one either associates oneself with bourgeois democracy or the fragmented alliance of fascists and ultra-leftists against both democracy and the vaccine. It also opens up the possibility of socialists falling on either side of the debate, thus revealing sectarian tensions. Comparisons to Vietnam or China are not actually clarifying, as it's arguable that what succeeded in those countries was their own form of bourgeois democracy.

Of course most vaccine skeptics will respond that in actuality theirs is the side of democracy in the debate. This is effectively toyot's move when they attempt to uphold the legitimacy of the FDA protocols and their own expertise against emergency measures. However it's fairly obvious that both the consensus of scientists and bourgeois institutions that toyot appeals to is on the side of the emergency measures and vaccine mandates in general, so I consider this just the shameless trolling of a crank intellectual much like the attempt of sovereign citizens to wield the law toward their own ends. Just like irl it's only natural that when pushing this too aggressively they would be thrown into the loony bin. Liceo provides a more reasonable argument that the uneven application of mandates leads to incidental discrimination and surveillance, in his case the additional requirement of owning a smart phone. My response is that this imbalance is the result of reliance on civil society and since it's not possible for the bourgeois state to protect individuals from these demands made by civil society, the only progressive solution within the bounds of bourgeois democracy is for the state to beat them to the post by standing above civil society and enforcing/extending mandates itself. I would argue that rather than infringing on rights, vaccine mandates are one of the most complete instantiations of democracy possible in bourgeois society as it involves both a universal obligation and benefit that is very simple to observe and apply. Ultimately what is demonstrated is the shortcomings of civil society that must rely on a state that points beyond itself. Perhaps it's trite to say but like seatbelt mandates it's a democratic reform that anticipates socialism.

However there remains a problem. Namely, it is not clear how democracy and the communist program are connected. The sectarian struggle hidden by the initial argument remains. Should we take the line of CPUSA and Philipino Maoists in voting for Biden to defend bourgeois democracy? Or should all democratic obligations be resisted in favor of the communist program? One could maybe thread the needle by advocating vaccines be enforced by simultaneously voluntaristic, non-democratic measures by the most advanced elements in society, as absurd as that sounds. To be honest, I have no idea. But those are the sorts of questions I think we should focus on.
#1163
In the US one of the least vaccinated groups are the uninsured. Many covid deaths are tied to folks who are facing poor/inadequate care and treatment for other health conditions or in retirement homes by a system that cares little for its sick and elderly when they may no longer be profitable investments. A consistent theme of wide spread harm has been a lack of icu beds - the conscious result of decades of reductions and under investment in beds in order to make the most economically efficient system. There’s no good communist progressive answer possible when your framing begins by chasing after what is being set up as the central question in the of-the-moment, media-driven ‘discourse’. (To vaccine mandate or not vaccine mandate). Imo leave thinking about the short term reactive “progressive solutions within the bounds of bourgeois democracy” for social democrats. At the very least, the questions we ask ourselves should consider the wider local context for our current troubles and the solutions we propose should address both the immediate harm being caused by covid and the long term deficits of the current system. Taking that a step further no communist proposal should avoid the imperialist reality this entire pandemic is occurring under - how much are mandated vaccine boosters “anticipating socialism” while even liberal international health orgs are decrying boosters as imperialist driven bad policy.
#1164
it stands out to me that some tensions and clustering between positions (real or imagined) evidenced in how this conversation resonates here is perhaps particularly anglo-amerikan. so i realize the risk of inadvertently stirring flames.

it's surprising to me what is now presented as a normal conversation; i don't recall there existing much a call for compulsory covid vaccination earlier on, if anything there were dismissals of the idea. even now other self-described communist states that one might look to with less skepticism, such as cuba, do not have compulsory vaccination.

i do not understand the argument marmite is making, surely rather than it being the state taking greater responsibility it is the increasing recruitment of private sector into biopolicing that has been the central innovation.

until recently greece had a policy which did not require centralized covid pass, but rather a rudimentary self-signed document stating that one had either tested negative or vaccinated. no specifications or app beyond this were needed, and free mass testing allowed for relative risk management.

this changed at the end of last 'tourist season' and the requirement to carry / scan eu covidpass to enter businesses and other restrictive policies were implemented, such as unvaccinated healthcare workers being put on unpaid leave. the local communist response was not cheering:

kke posted:

the government insists on passing on its enormous responsibilities to the people, playing a dirty game against them, turning the vaccine from a need, a right and a weapon of science into a means of dividing workers, blackmail, attacking labor rights, but also an opportunity for private groups to increase their clientele

i think we are seeing a laundering of responsibility happening at the sites of biopolicing similar to that of the contracts for purchase of the major covid vaccines.

there are other aspects to this wedge i am struggling to articulate productively. although i've posted before in this thread, perhaps as solidar pointed out, the narrowing of such a conversations makes difficult any learning from broader or indeed more situated approaches.

with regard to any context i've been close to, the realities of covid, enforcement or active/passive resistance to these policies is most certainly obscured in any media. perhaps no one needs reminded of that, but i had somehow forgotten this until making an effort to shift between multiple contexts, listen and learn. toyot is definitely right about speaking with neighbors, including those outside of any gated community one might usually inhabit.

it is disappointing, although not surprising, that within the gated community that is europe the geopolitical strategy of vaccine hoarding + vaccine mandate is finding many unlikely advocates and collaborators.

#1165
I tried to leave the question somewhat open, but I guess I wasn't clear enough. I'm saying most communists worldwide have gone with the social/bourgeois democratic option, that even Cuba is just further along the democratic axis than others. I'm not saying this is necessarily a good thing, but opposing it does require articulating some alternative.

https://kathmandupost.com/health/2021/07/23/covid-19-jab-acceptance-highest-in-nepal-study-finds

97% percent of adult Nepalis want the vaccine. 85% of Cubans have already gotten their first shot even though it became available later than other places. This is because of the prevalence of communist ideology in these populations. Most resistance to the vaccines comes in first world countries where the vaccine is available, and its motivations are primarily ideological and right wing. If there was a fascist movement of Cubans sabotaging vaccination efforts it would absolutely be suppressed, and whether or not Cuba is socialist would be irrelevant in this process because the justifications resorted to would be democratic. Like everywhere else, Cuba has resorted to a mix of state and civil society coercion to facilitate lockdowns, mass testing and mask wearing. This includes the mobilization of capitalists, as they too exist in Cuba. And again like everywhere else all this stuff is unevenly applied: some people work all day with a mask on and others sit at home and wait for shit to be delivered to them. More democracy alleviates the problem but cannot extinguish it. KKE is the same: they're not actually against this stuff, they just want it to be more equitable. The vaccine is their "weapon" too because they're democrats and it's part of their democratic arsenal.

The word "biopolitics" was coined by a certain ultra-leftist named Michel Foucault. He saw it as a feature of all modern societies and he didn't see democracy or political parties as a solution. Instead he advocated for a very abstract voluntarism. That's the kind of path you go down when you oppose bourgeois/social democratic public health. Maybe it's worth it but you have to make it concrete somehow. And if you succeed you'll still have to face ideological competition from the fascists and liberals who resist it in the abstract.

Edited by marimite ()

#1166

sorry for the reddit link, but I thought this was an interesting discussion
#1167
bRa$il is what amerikkka will be soon #1168 it doesn't seem out of place to label it the vanguard of capitalism #1169 karphead posted: bRa$il is what amerikkka will be soon

i too have watched brazil

#1170

bRa$il is what amerikkka will be soon tbh if you live somewhere other than the coastal metropoles a decent amount of amerika already looks like brasil #1171 well, i think of bRa$il as hyper-amerikkka and you can't stop me
#1172
thanks for clarifying marimite.

marimite posted:

Most resistance to the vaccines comes in first world countries where the vaccine is available, and its motivations are primarily ideological and right wing.

in my experience resistance to policies such as forced/denied medical treatment and militarization of public space/borders are understood as distinct from resistance to the creation or availability of particular treatements such as novel vaccines. granted that may not be the case in other contexts you are familiar with or in their mediatic respresentation, but it clouds the discussion if we discuss without at least acknowledging this basic nuance.

i didn't really intend to adopt a foucauldian framework, hence using a less resonant term like 'biopolicing' instead of biopolitics. (in any case something closer to mbebe's necropolitics might be more productive).

perhaps it's worth attempting to delineate an emergent line split regarding complicity in what is euphemistically called global health inequalities. more accurately framed as the weaponization of transnational pharma/medical/biotech complex within the colonial / imperialist project.

this isn't a particularly controversial subject, i'm assuming some degree of common understanding of how the relations enacted through 'health', whether it's access/denial, human experimentation, population control, have historically and continually been as instrumental as the leveraging of finance capital or information technology toward the same colonial end.

we can see similar liberal arguments regarding the need to address 'underdevelopment' or 'the digital divide' obfuscate imperialist power relations established through supposedly benevolent acts.

regarding how that plays out in the core: vaccine mandates are only made possible due to hoarding/denial/patent enforcement. this does not look anything to me like a reflection of a democratic instrument, and to elude the material facts that underpin the very possibility of enforced vaccination can blind us to some of the incentives at play and our complicity in them. this needs to be at the foundation of how we understand the situation or we will get lost only in surface tensions.

i do acknowledge there are reactionary elements within the rejection of these approaches. i'm not advocating for brownshirt alliance or presenting some horseshoe theory, instead we must ask ourselves what are the specific class dynamics at play here? what do they point to? i think they will be particular to each territory.

it's only after following from that it may be useful to look at the variable forms of enforcement. in some places the current paradigm is an unprecedented activation of the security state. australia is an example that stands out. i do not have experience of being there, but the intensity with which 'zero-covid' has trojan horsed a series of authoritarian laws and brought troops into the streets appears to set a significant precedent.

the militarization of public space in tandem with the legal and discursive blame placed on the individual perhaps contrasts with other places such as the us, where the enforcement is laundered through employers.

as an aside regarding the case of brasil - the stratification of classes is an order of magnitude more intensified than in the us. gated communities / favelas are the norm, not the exception. the existence and threat of modern slavery and unaccountable murder underpin class relations.

similarly, the ability to police internal colonies through private sector biopolicing does not exist in the same way it does in countries in the core. this is due to a variety of distinct situated factors; from urbanism, to lumpen governance, to particulars of community social fabric. for similar reasons a military enforcement is also not straightforward and would likely play out with more similarity to an operation in gaza than melbourne. i would also argue the need to implement this as a novel instrument of control is less urgent when other avenues are already well established.

i'm nowhere near articulating this clearly, but it would appear that for leftists within the core the tensions and blindspots are similar to those that arise when questioning or rejecting sociodemocractic increases in public spending of imperialist superprofits.

#1173

Gssh posted:

thanks for clarifying marimite.

marimite posted:
Most resistance to the vaccines comes in first world countries where the vaccine is available, and its motivations are primarily ideological and right wing.

in my experience resistance to policies such as forced/denied medical treatment and militarization of public space/borders are understood as distinct from resistance to the creation or availability of particular treatements such as novel vaccines. granted that may not be the case in other contexts you are familiar with or in their mediatic respresentation, but it clouds the discussion if we discuss without at least acknowledging this basic nuance.

i didn't really intend to adopt a foucauldian framework, hence using a less resonant term like 'biopolicing' instead of biopolitics. (in any case something closer to mbebe's necropolitics might be more productive).

perhaps it's worth attempting to delineate an emergent line split regarding complicity in what is euphemistically called global health inequalities. more accurately framed as the weaponization of transnational pharma/medical/biotech complex within the colonial / imperialist project.

this isn't a particularly controversial subject, i'm assuming some degree of common understanding of how the relations enacted through 'health', whether it's access/denial, human experimentation, population control, have historically and continually been as instrumental as the leveraging of finance capital or information technology toward the same colonial end.

we can see similar liberal arguments regarding the need to address 'underdevelopment' or 'the digital divide' obfuscate imperialist power relations established through supposedly benevolent acts.

regarding how that plays out in the core: vaccine mandates are only made possible due to hoarding/denial/patent enforcement. this does not look anything to me like a reflection of a democratic instrument, and to elude the material facts that underpin the very possibility of enforced vaccination can blind us to some of the incentives at play and our complicity in them. this needs to be at the foundation of how we understand the situation or we will get lost only in surface tensions.

i do acknowledge there are reactionary elements within the rejection of these approaches. i'm not advocating for brownshirt alliance or presenting some horseshoe theory, instead we must ask ourselves what are the specific class dynamics at play here? what do they point to? i think they will be particular to each territory.

it's only after following from that it may be useful to look at the variable forms of enforcement. in some places the current paradigm is an unprecedented activation of the security state. australia is an example that stands out. i do not have experience of being there, but the intensity with which 'zero-covid' has trojan horsed a series of authoritarian laws and brought troops into the streets appears to set a significant precedent.

the militarization of public space in tandem with the legal and discursive blame placed on the individual perhaps contrasts with other places such as the us, where the enforcement is laundered through employers.

as an aside regarding the case of brasil - the stratification of classes is an order of magnitude more intensified than in the us. gated communities / favelas are the norm, not the exception. the existence and threat of modern slavery and unaccountable murder underpin class relations.

similarly, the ability to police internal colonies through private sector biopolicing does not exist in the same way it does in countries in the core. this is due to a variety of distinct situated factors; from urbanism, to lumpen governance, to particulars of community social fabric. for similar reasons a military enforcement is also not straightforward and would likely play out with more similarity to an operation in gaza than melbourne. i would also argue the need to implement this as a novel instrument of control is less urgent when other avenues are already well established.

i'm nowhere near articulating this clearly, but it would appear that for leftists within the core the tensions and blindspots are similar to those that arise when questioning or rejecting sociodemocractic increases in public spending of imperialist superprofits.

man on the one hand i’m sympathetic to points like the history of tuskegee and henrietta lacks and the like means there’s colonized communities with genuine reason to fear a vaccine that was deployed through a special accelerated process and that patents mean the core has access to a volume of vaccines not available in the third world.

but on the other hand countries like vietnam or china have been able to beat the virus without a vaccine through simply having a culture of giving a shit about the community and providing public services to make lockdowns feasible whereas the amerikan religion of personal liberty above all means people are never gonna do something to protect the community around them that whatever legitimate concerns there might be a vaccine mandate seems to me the only way to get the virus under control in the core.

and if we don’t get the virus under control amerika is gonna become a breeding ground for wave after wave of mutation that will then spread out and kill people back in the third world which will then inflict more crippling lock downs on those countries. so where i’m at is that it kinda doesn’t matter what moral or philosophical what ifs or quandaries you can come up with people in amerika are gonna have to suck it up and take their medicine for the good of the rest of the world.

#1174

SookieIlychStackhouse posted:

for the good of the rest of the world

perhaps i am not being clear. this argument of amerikan exceptionalism and duty to protect the rest of the world by protecting its own interests first is part of the implicit colonial paradigm i'm trying to delineate.

in the benevolent justification of the position you state it follows that its the periphery which then becomes the most active 'breeding ground', in addition to denying its vulnerable population preventative measures. the inevitable drive of such an approach is that death / suffering / disruption be contained elsewhere, with border policing and fortress nationalism further justified as a matter of 'public health'.

it looks to me like there is an implicit and functional advancement of white supremacy in such an approach.

#1175

Gssh posted:

it looks to me like there is an implicit and functional advancement of white supremacy in such an approach.

#1176

SookieIlychStackhouse posted:

countries like vietnam or china have been able to beat the virus without a vaccine through simply having a culture of giving a shit about the community and providing public services to make lockdowns feasible

this is not the case. china and vietnam did not rely on a vague care ethic in their response to the pandemic. instead, they exercised state power and control in order to contain it. i am not making a judgement on that type of power and control, and am instead only saying that one must define those responses adequately.

SookieIlychStackhouse posted:

a vaccine mandate seems to me the only way to get the virus under control in the core.

and if we don’t get the virus under control amerika is gonna become a breeding ground for wave after wave of mutation that will then spread out and kill people back in the third world

SookieIlychStackhouse posted:

so where i’m at is that it kinda doesn’t matter what moral or philosophical what ifs or quandaries you can come up with people in amerika are gonna have to suck it up and take their medicine for the good of the rest of the world.

there is no evidence that controlling the pandemic in some (i.e. imperialist states) but not all of the world will be beneficial across the board. in fact, there is evidence that vaccinating only core populations would actually facilitate worse, more lethal and severe outcomes for the Periphery:

Our findings indicate that while vaccine-driven virulence evolution in SARS-CoV-2 is a theoretical risk, the consequences of this event would be limited for vaccinated populations. However, virulence evolution should be monitored, as the ramifications of a more virulent strain spreading into an under-vaccinated population would be more severe.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.12.01.20241836v2

Although neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein are a goal of most COVID-19 vaccines and being developed as therapeutics, escape mutations could compromise such countermeasures. To define the immune-mediated mutational landscape in S protein, we used a VSV-eGFP-SARS-CoV-2-S chimeric virus and 19 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the receptor binding domain (RBD) to generate 48 escape mutants. These variants were mapped onto the RBD structure and evaluated for cross-resistance by convalescent human plasma. Although each mAb had unique resistance profiles, many shared residues within an epitope, as several variants were resistant to multiple mAbs. Remarkably, we identified mutants that escaped neutralization by convalescent human sera, suggesting that some humans induce a narrow repertoire of neutralizing antibodies. By comparing the antibody-mediated mutational landscape in S protein with sequence variation in circulating SARS-CoV-2 strains, we identified single amino acid substitutions that could attenuate neutralizing immune responses in some humans.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3725763

so sucking it up and taking your medicine may actually prove to be more problematic for the oppressed Periphery and Global Proletariat, so long as you're doing so in the broader context of a capitalist-imperialist landscape.