Lobbing a spanner into the workings of the new (ab)normal

The new (ab)normal where we’re treated like walking bio-hazards, where we’re cajoled into regarding our fellow humans with fear and face an increasing level of invasive tracking and monitoring will only work if we let it. A growing number of us want a future where we can live a full life and interact with each other without fear or censure. How do we get there?

Next Saturday (29.8) will see a protest in London’s Trafalgar Square against the new (ab)normal. The point about large scale protests is that they’re an easy target to vilify and discredit. Mind you, if the organisers insist on adding the likes of David Icke to the line up of speakers, the media and everyone else pushing the new (ab)normal will find that the work of discrediting this protest has already been done for them… We’d like to point out that the inclusion of Icke as a speaker has now made our task of challenging lockdown and the new (ab)normal harder than ever FFS!

We’ve been round the block as activists over the decades and if we’re being honest, with a few notable exceptions, we’re not entirely sure what can be achieved by a large scale protest in a hostile climate where the mainstream media will undoubtedly vilify it. Particularly one where the organisers have scored a massive own goal by including Icke in the line up.

Sure, there’s a place for intelligently organised street protests and actions but more than that, there’s always a place for dispersed, sustained action that aims to sabotage and eventually bring down the existing order. We favour long term, dispersed action that will eventually crash the new (ab)normal. We’ve frequently posted about building the new world we want inside the shell of the increasingly dystopian one we’re forced to endure – now is the time to grab the opportunity to do just that.

From the evidence of our own eyes plus a number of anecdotal reports, we get the feeling that compliance with physical distancing, wearing face masks and the rest of what we’re expected to do is by and large a box ticking exercise. Sure, there are those who fanatically believe in it but our gut feeling is that many people just go along with it for a quiet life.

There has been a lot of talk about making the high street and shopping malls ‘COVID safe’. That means one way systems, other physical distancing protocols, temperature checks at a growing number of shops and other venues along with being expected to hand over personal details in cafes, restaurants and bars to facilitate ‘track and trace’.

People are not flocking back to the high streets and malls. In many cases, we suspect it’s not because they don’t feel safe but because they can’t be arsed with the hassle involved in what used to be a relatively straightforward exercise. Let’s face it, lockdown has been ideal preparation for staying away from the high streets and malls if the hassle involved in going back is too much to tolerate.

A lot of us learnt to adjust our lives and expectations accordingly during lockdown. What we thought we would miss in the way of consumer ‘experiences’ hasn’t been missed at all. So, if the shops that sell what are to all intents non-essential goods want to treat us like toxic bio-hazards, insisting on us masking up, keeping us apart from each other and eventually, demanding to see a CovidPass on our smartphones (assuming we own one) before letting us in, then let’s boycott the f**kers!

We’ve learnt to do without – let’s keep that value shift to a less materialistic outlook going. They need us more than we need them. Learn how to repair, make do and mend, re-use, re-cycle and craft our own goods if need be. Let’s start swapping, borrowing and free-cycling. This can be for anything from books and CDs through to gardening and DiY tools. Let’s get organised with our neighbours and mates to bring this about.

Obviously, we still have to get the essentials. Let’s plan for the long term by setting up neighbourhood food co-ops. Where possible, beat the system and secure some of our food supply by starting to grow as much as we can individually and/or collectively. If you don’t have access to a back garden or an allotment, get together with neighbours and mates to find some land you can guerilla garden.

If the terms and conditions for attending any live events that may be permitted are too invasive in terms of surrendering personal data, for those who are rebellious enough, there’s a growing underground scene. Granted there’s always the risk of the cops breaking these events up but eventually they’ll be so stretched, they’ll have to relent. Let’s create new music scenes on our terms. Let’s mingle and dance and enjoy life on our terms. We will be the many and they will eventually be the overstretched few.

Smartphones are at best a blessing and a curse. With increasing tracking, surveillance and eventually the CovidPass, our smartphones will eventually become a curse. They’re a relatively recent feature in our lives. Look into going back to old style mobile phones that just make and receive calls and texts – basically burner style phones that can’t be tracked or traced. If having a smartphone and a CovidPass becomes what’s expected from us to gain access to services, shops and venues, then the increasing numbers of us who will have ditched our smartphones can join together, engage the services of a sympathetic lawyer and sue the f**k out of these people for digital discrimination.

We’ve written about the psychological warfare that’s being waged to keep us fearful of and apart from each other: Gaslighting. With a bit of care (noting where the CCTV cameras are) a lot of this nagging, gaslighting shite can be subverted, either by hand with a permanent felt marker or slapping a sticker over it.

We’re making the image below and the artwork of the sticker (74mm x 74mm) freely available for you to download and get printed – just don’t get caught slapping them up:)

You can download a PDF of the sticker artwork from here.

We don’t know how things are going to pan out but we have to be prepared for the authorities to really start clamping down. They’ll try the divide and rule tactics, pitting neighbour against neighbour and friend against friend. If as we strongly suspect, a lot of people are only going along with the new (ab)normal for the sake of a quiet life, the divide and rule tactics may well falter and fail.

Solidarity is vital. If some gets a fine slapped on them for refusing to wear a face mask or attending an ‘illegal’ rave or underground music event, rally round, chip in and help them pay the fine. If the authorities threaten to break up a gathering of family, neighbours or friends, rally round, get out in the street and block them. As mentioned earlier, we are potentially the many and eventually, they will be the few. The same tactics obviously apply to the wave of evictions that will come as scumbag landlords try to re-coup their ‘losses’.

If your kids are due to go back to school but will then be expected to wear face masks, stay in small, closely supervised bubbles and not be allowed to freely interact, if at all possible, withdraw them from school and home educate them. This doesn’t have to be an individualistic, isolated gesture of defiance. If enough people are on board, this can be organised collectively. This is when we can decide what education for a full life should be and proceed accordingly.

To draw things to a conclusion, the suggestions above are a bit of a brain dump in what’s possible in terms of resistance. They should be seen as prompts for more detailed discussions about the future we want to build for ourselves. Hopefully, these discussions will lead to some more detailed posts about how we resist what the authorities want to impose upon us and start to build the world we want. How this gets disseminated depends on the risks involved in publishing it. One way or the other, we’ll get this material out.

Let’s really start to push this resistance and work towards real, meaningful change!

A PDF of a more concise version of this post is available as a downloadable, printable double sided A4 leaflet from here.

3 thoughts on “Lobbing a spanner into the workings of the new (ab)normal

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