Readings that have influenced our thinking on the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown

As we’re being ‘eased’ out of lockdown and nudged towards a ‘new normal’ where we’re still going to be living under numerous restrictions and conditions, we thought it would be timely to present a list of readings that have helped us shape our position on the crisis.

As we’ve mentioned before, our position on the crisis and the lockdown has evolved and changed over the last few months. As more information and analysis about what was actually going became available, our position shifted from the consensus about the lockdown towards one of increasing scepticism.

We make no apologies for this because in the face of the drift towards authoritarianism and more censorship that’s a consequence of what ostensibly is the official response to COVID-19, we feel we have to join those of our comrades who are making a stand against this. We accept that we may lose comrades and so called ‘friends’ over this. So be it. If this is the price we have to pay for sticking to our principles, it’s one we’re happy to pay.

The readings are in chronological order with the most recent one at the top.

Child and adolescent mental health in a post-lockdown world: a ticking time bomb? – University of Nottingham | Vision | Health and Medicine | June 2020
Much has been said about the trade-off between risk of disease transmission and impact on educational outcomes, and the wider economy. Very little consideration has been given to the voices of the children and adolescents, and to the impacts on their wellbeing and mental health. From the beginning of lockdown many in the research community, and in frontline practice, were concerned about the impact on those with existing mental health problems and those who may be vulnerable to developing them whilst in lockdown (literally anyone).

Mass-Tracking COVI-PASS Immunity Passports Slated to Roll Out in 15 Countries – Raul Diego | Mint Press News | 26 June 2020
Through the magic of Internet meme culture, most Millennials will be familiar with the famous opening scene of the 1942 film, “Casablanca,” where two policemen stop a civilian in the “old Moorish section” of Nazi-occupied French Morocco and ask him for his “papers.” The subject is taken away at once after failing to produce the required documents. The cinematic exchange has been used ever since as a popular reference to the ever-encroaching hand of the state, which is now on the verge of attaining a level of control over people’s movements that puts the crude Nazi methods to shame.

Covid-19 and children: what does the science tell us, and what does this mean as the lockdown is eased? – Rethinking Childhood | 14 May 2020
The government’s plans for relaxing the lockdown, including greater freedom to spend time outside, and the possible re-opening of schools, have unsurprisingly generated huge debate. At the same time, evidence is growing on how Covid-19 affects children, and of children’s role in the spread of the disease. This post shares my take on that evidence base and its implications.

The Science and Law of Refusing to Wear Masks: Texts and Arguments in Support of Civil Disobedience – Architects for Social Housing | 11 June 2020
There are few issues about which the medical profession – which throughout this crisis we have seen subject to external political and financial pressures – is so divided; but an overwhelming mass of medical and scientific opinion is not only that masks do nothing to stop the spread of SARs-COV-2, but that non-medical masks of the type we are being advised to wear on public transport by the Government – a supposedly life-saving device it recommends fashioning from an old T-shirt – can endanger the wearer by increasing the chance of infection.

Lockdown: Collateral Damage in the War on COVID-19 – Architects for Social Housing | 2 June 2020
One of the things to have been revealed by the crisis caused by the global response to the coronavirus is that the overwhelming majority of people, and certainly in liberal democracies, would rather believe a lie to which we’ve been told how to react – in this case a civilisation-threatening viral pandemic that can be combatted through standing two metres apart, increasing the powers of police to arrest us and biometrically tracking our every move – than believe a truth to which we don’t have a clue how to respond.

Manufacturing Consensus: The Registering of COVID-19 Deaths in the UK – Architects for Social Housing | 1 May 2020
In my most recent article on the coronavirus crisis, Giorgio Agamben and the Bio-politics of COVID-19, I ended by saying that I would continue to read, as others apparently are not, the official statistics on deaths attributed to COVID-19, in order to show that they do not justify the dictatorial regulations and intrusive surveillance being imposed on us by the UK Government.

Anarchists against freedom! – Paul Cudenec | 26 April 2020
A number of rather strange criticisms have come flying my way over the last few weeks.
For the moment I am going to address just one of them – the one which strikes me as the most serious.
I had always been under the fond impression that freedom was an untouchable cornerstone of the anarchist worldview. The word certainly features a lot in anarchist literature and culture!
However, it turns out that sometimes freedom is not a good thing at all, according to certain comrades with whom I have been exchanging views.

Coronazombies! Infection and Denial in the United Kingdom – Architects for Social Housing | 9 April 2020
It’s a curious fact that, in every disaster movie that comes out of Hollywood, whatever threatens Western Civilisation, Humankind or Planet Earth typically starts with the United States of America, usually New York, but sometimes Los Angeles. Whether it’s alien invaders, nuclear war, the rise of artificial intelligence, terrorist attacks, a tsunami wave, an earth-bound asteroid, environmental catastrophe or a deadly epidemic, it’s as if the propaganda arm of the US state is preparing its population for the disasters to come.

And After the Virus? The Perils Ahead – Resistance in the Year of the Plague – CrimethInc. | 11 April 2020
How will our society emerge from the COVID-19 crisis? Does the pandemic show that we need more centralized state power, more surveillance and control? What are the threats ranged against us—and how can we prepare to confront them?

Winter Oak | 27 March 2020Coronavirus thoughtcrime – Winter Oak | 27 March 2020
It is hard to believe what has happened to our “liberal democratic” Western societies over recent days. Even those of us who have long been warning that we were heading into a new 21st century form of high-tech neoliberal fascism have been left gasping at the speed of the Blitzkrieg waged upon us. C.J. Hopkins sums up the situation in a March 27 article on the Off Guardian site. “Police are patrolling the streets of Europe, checking people’s ‘permission-to-go-outside’ papers.”

Sociology of a Disease: Age, Class and Mortality in the Coronavirus Pandemic – Architects for Social Housing | 24 March 2020
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.

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