The process of trying to get our heads around the many facets of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis is difficult to say the least. We’re finding the best approach is to keep an open mind on this for the forseeable future. As you may have gathered from the tone of some of our more recent posts, a growing area of concern is the reaction to the pandemic – from states and from their populations. A concern that has informed the selection of readings we present below.

Suffice to say, inclusion of a reading in this list is not a full endorsement of the position the author is taking. The readings were picked because they were thought provoking, sometimes provocative and raise issues that need to be discussed and debated. On that basis, constructive, comradely debate is encouraged…

COVID-19: A sociological critique – Simon Carter, Judy Green and Ewen Speed | Cost of Living | 21 March 2020
The scale and rapidity of the global, national and local responses to the impact of COVID-19 are daunting, making it risky to comment in real-time. It is difficult to grasp all the fast-moving implications for societies as the crisis develops. A considered sociological critique will have to wait until the implications play out post-crisis. Still, the current unfolding of medical, economic and social consequences offer a unique insight into ‘sociology in action’.

Language is a Virus: SARs-CoV-2 and the Science of Political Control – Simon Elmer | Architects for Social Housing | 3 April 2020
This is the third in the series of articles I’m writing about what has become known as the coronavirus pandemic. In the first, COVID-19 and Capitalism, I argued that the sending home of workers without pay and the vast sums of public money being handed out to businesses in compensation for lost revenue was capitalism attempting to recoup its losses to the suspension of commerce and resulting crash of the stock markets caused by the spread of the pandemic. For someone who researches and writes about housing policy that claims to address the crisis of housing affordability in the UK but is designed to reproduce and expand it this was familiar territory for me.

Sociology of a Disease: Age, Class and Mortality in the Coronavirus Pandemic – Simon Elmer | Architects for Social Housing | 24 March 2020
Italy is now by far and away the country worse affected by the coronavirus, with 69,176 confirmed cases of infection and 6,820 deaths, the latter figure more than double the whole of China, with only 8,326 people recovered, and 3,393 currently in a serious or critical condition. As of today, Tuesday, 23 March, that’s almost 1 in 10 infected people dying in Italy. Last week the UK press universally reported that up to 7.9 million people could be hospitalised with the virus in the UK, so at this percentage of fatalities that’s nearly 780,000 people dead!
Okay, slow down, take a breath, start thinking again. Now, let’s have a look at the facts. I know this crisis has already gone far past that, and nobody cares about facts these days anyway, least of all those demanding the government — the government! — tell them the truth. But stay with me.

Our leaders are terrified. Not of the virus – of us – Jonathan Cook Blog | 24 March 2020
You can almost smell the fear-laden sweat oozing from the pores of television broadcasts and social media posts as it finally dawns on our political and media establishments what the coronavirus actually means. And I am not talking about the threat posed to our health.
A worldview that has crowded out all other thinking for nearly two generations is coming crashing down. It has no answers to our current predicament. There is a kind of tragic karma to the fact that so many major countries – meaning major economies – are today run by the very men least equipped ideologically, emotionally and spiritually to deal with the virus.

The working class should be hailed as Covid-19 heroes for enabling all our comfy quarantines – Dr. Lisa Mckenzie | RT Question More | 25 March 2020
I grew up in a working-class family and know first-hand what these people have endured for decades. With the Covid-19 pandemic, they are pillars holding up societies, and should be hailed as such – but I fear they never will be.
We now find ourselves in a new reality where the glass and chrome penises in the sky and the slick-suited penises that work in them are working from home on their laptops. Perhaps their important and highly-paid jobs, and the billions spent on their work environments, were not as crucial to our society as we were told 10 years ago when they were ‘too important to fail’ – those 50-story glistening buildings now sit empty. Covid-19 has pushed us through the looking glass.

Insane On A Whim – Ann Arky | Annarky’s Blog | 2 April 2020
The situation is serious, regarding the draconian legislation brought in on the pretext of fighting the pandemic, your basic rights are being eradicated. One individual can now decide who should be sent to a mental health institution, thereby stripped of all their rights, and forced take medication, at the whim of one individual, possible not fully trained in these matters. Difficult individuals, awkward people as seen by the state and its minions, prisoners that are a nuisance to the system, individuals that question authority, all can fall foul of this new legislation. We must ask ourselves, is this authoritarian step necessary to control this pandemic, or is it just another weapon in the state’s toolkit for total control of the population, should the public get really angry as this mess drags on, and the aftermath is rampant unemployment, endemic poverty and a society that is knee deep in deprivation.

Coronavirus: You Have Given Your Freedom Away Don’t Abandon Critical Thinking Too – Iain Davis | In This Together | 26 March 2020
Coronavirus has supposedly forced the UK State to enact medical martial law. Yesterday (23rd March) Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation and outlined the measures to be enforced. The vast majority believe these are as follows:
People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
– shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
– one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
– any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
– travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Anarchists and the coronavirus – Winter Oak | The Acorn | 3 April 2020
Moments of crisis like the one we are currently experiencing can allow us to see through the surface of our world and grasp with greater clarity some hitherto hidden truths. It is with this in mind that we present this provisional and far-from-comprehensive analysis of the reaction to the coronavirus situation from anarchist and left-libertarian outlets.