John Voliatis

About vaccinations: By coercion or by social responsibility?

An important dialogue seems to have opened in the wider revolutionary and radical movement in our country (and not only), on the occasion of the decisions of the Mitsotakis Government regarding the so-called coercion, the obligation of vaccinations for Covid-19, initially to specific professionals industries, with the very obvious prospect of extending the issue to many aspects of everyday life, directly or indirectly affecting life and work.

It is a dialogue that tends to divide the movement into camps, depending on the attitude of everyone towards the issue. Fortunately, however – but also unfortunately at the same time – through this separation it seems that broader logics emerge, which do not necessarily have to do with the coercion itself, but more generally with the issue of vaccinations. These divisions also highlight the limits to a possible collaboration and coexistence of parts of the movement even after the end of the pandemic, as they reveal highly opposite logics. Thus, the “camps” that are essentially divided are not two – that is, the “for” and “against” the measure – but multiple. On the one hand, this is because almost no one is in favor of coercion itself, on the other hand, because those who are against coercion,

I will try to present here a view based on two pillars, which I will try to explain in the article: The opposition to coercion, but also the belief that, even under the current capitalist conditions in which technology develops, it is necessary the VOLUNTARY vaccination of those of us who can, in order to protect ourselves and especially our weakest fellow human beings.

The hypocrisy of the Government and its responsibilities for the current situation

We have talked many times through this site about the responsibilities of the Government in the pandemic, about the way it managed public health, about how it used the lockdowns to pass various measures, etc. We were – and I personally – one of them that, the more we put the part of self-protection and social responsibility first, in relation to issues concerning our so-called individual freedoms and our entertainment, the more we put the part of the necessity of mass resistance and our presence on the street, on issues related to labor, the prohibition of demonstrations, etc. In other words, there was a hierarchy of priorities, structured in such a way as to go hand in hand with the firm view that social – and not individual – responsibility begins with our conscious choice to be responsible to those around us, but also on the other hand, with the fact that no one – no government, no state – can play games on the backs of the working class and the movement, preaching measures and lockdown, at the same time has done everything to promote the degradation of public health and the advancement of the private sector, counting thousands of dead outside the ICU.

So now I will say it again: We took some measures of self-protection and we would take them anyway, even if we were not forced by the Government and the State. We would take them on the basis of logic and on the basis of the data known so far on how the disease is spread.

The State also has a huge responsibility in this part, as with the strange instructions, which changed character and direction every now and then, with the regressions in relation to the measures (good mask – not bad mask, small mask – big mask …) And how he handled part of the work and the reproduction of capital (in squares and demonstrations it hangs, in factories and supermarkets it does not hang and so, in urban ones it DEFINITELY does not hang!) Turned a large part of the bottom-up into skeptics of any measure, even if it made sense, while, as expected, it reaped conspiracy theories and focused on marginal theories and “movements” such as those of vaccinators. Of course, why should any person believe you without any hesitation, in relation to the value of the vaccine, when you have lied to him about lies and insincerity for a year and a half? Especially when we talk about vaccines that were created in a much shorter time than normal and with a thousand reservations even by the companies themselves regarding their own responsibilities. All of this is perfectly normal to happen. I listen to them and judge them accordingly.

Negatives and anti-vaccines

In the pandemic, and while we were already counting hundreds – if not thousands – of dead from the very first months, we also saw the coronavirus deniers, who belong mainly to this characteristic social minority of “sprayed” conspiracy theorists. A minority that traditionally comes from the far right in all the lengths and breadths of the planet. Beware, I am not talking here about anyone who has doubts about vaccines. I am talking about the former and conscious deniers – conspiracy theorists. The original “sprays”. Those who fear the Bill Gates chip and the Antichrist.

Next to (or rather to be precise, parallel to) them, however, we have unfortunately seen parts of the (much) wider competitive movement make a dynamic appearance, with a public speech denying the pandemic, which downgraded it to “flu”, calling on defiance of ALL self-protection measures, even those that, as we have said, any society would praise without the coercion of any state (“mask low, our children”), while it also attacked the doctors (!) who were in the front line of the fight against the disease, even calling them “cops”. An argument based on the fact that the State used the hired “scientists” of the bad time, such as Tsiodras, to actually frighten the society with announcements, decrees and decisions on the channels every now and then, which were from very little to no understanding in society as a whole. Thus, all the doctors, the “white robes”, immediately became “Tsiodres”.

They maintained this direction in their speech for a number of other issues related to the pandemic, culminating (in my opinion) in the days of the student squatting, which took place en masse with demands for better protection of students, more health measures and less students per class, among all the others. So in those days, what he found to say about this part of the anti-vaccination movement today, the anti-covid movement then, was the reactionary “We also have a request: 35 students per class!” , essentially mocking the students’ own request for decongestion. They got there.

But why do I mention these? Again with these few and graphic I put, someone will tell me. However, the current anti-vaccination discourse has attached many of these arguments. Come on, an entire bloc was formed which combined the original, dura “spray”, with the discourse on “bio-power” and “biopolitics” – concepts that do not exist and are well-founded within the capitalist system. And of course with the generous help of the State, through its aforementioned responsibilities, which turned many people into skeptics first and then vaccinators.

About social responsibility and vaccination

I will not make any huge historical analysis here about the role of vaccines in history and how they helped man overcome huge pandemics, to prevent others. These are known. Besides, as the doctor P. Papanikolaou, G.G. of OENGE, diseases that are very common in the past and even deadly, such as polio, diphtheria, smallpox, etc., we have not passed them and we will probably never pass them, precisely because we were vaccinated against them as children.

Of course, on the other hand, the course of science from a more “neutral” function (if it ever had it), to a tool of Capital and Powers for profit, and even the exercise of “biopolitics” and “bio-power” is well known. ”, Social control, etc. And of course, if I were to start talking about the impact that the pharmaceutical industry has on the animal and natural world, I would have to write an entire brochure.

I will stay in this case.

To begin with, let me say that free access to health and social welfare was not given to us by anyone. Especially today, with a population of almost 8 billion and production heading for generalized robotization, a completely unbridled capitalist system would be fine, with no social resistance to it, leaving several million people to die. The reason this does not happen is the dialectical relationship between the interests of Capital and social resistance. The unwillingness of the oppressors for a complete and obvious escalation of the confrontation with the oppressed, which would bring generalized uprisings and -perhaps- revolutions.

It is therefore inappropriate to say that mass – not yet universal – access to vaccines only happens because the authorities want it and have a secret plan that will alter our DNA or something like that.

But what should be our attitude?

First, we must overcome the syndrome of reactivity. That is, not to face anything that the State and the Government approves and decides at a given moment, as de facto hostile, in terms of content. Instead, we need to understand the processes behind which these decisions were made. To understand that the whole strategy of Capital and the State is derived from the smooth operation of the market and its smooth reproduction in perpetuity, but, as we said above, in this process State and Capital can work out seemingly “popular” strategies. in order to protect themselves in the long run from an unpleasant situation, without this necessarily meaning that they have some other “dark plan”. Just make concessions for the alpha or beta reason. Also, we must understand that organized societies, such as e.g. States are also based on “social contracts”, which in their entirety can confer on an established authority the guarantee of their implementation in exchange for social cohesion and the granting of some freedoms by citizens, butin terms of content not everything is irrational or negative . Even if, as a form, they can be distorted within the existing socio-political framework. Corresponding “contracts” can be established between us, without the intervention of anyone from above, in a society of self-institution and self-organization.

Take K.O.K. for example: If we take for granted that there are cars (even if in a free society they can exist from less to a few, operate and be produced in a completely different way, be a common property), then for better or worse we have to find a common code so that everything circulates in parallel, without fear of dying every day from one person to another in a car accident.

On the contrary, part of the movement that has today turned its discourse entirely against vaccines (under the pretext of opposition to coercion), which has precisely embraced this psychology of apolitical reaction, without solid social and class criteria, would be ready to to urinate on sidewalks, to pee in public fountains and fountains, to work without any protection in kitchens of restaurants and taverns, suffering from a contagious disease, flu, etc., as long as Mitsotakis or any other dictator came out the next day is expressly prohibited. I’m probably exaggerating, but I’m very close to believing it, based on what I’ve seen and read in recent days here and there in public discourse.

So after this huge deviation, I have to say this:

As anarchists, we are part of the working class, the oppressed. Based on this quality, we should go out and encourage our fellow human beings to be vaccinated. This should be done precisely by building a culture of social responsibility among the oppressed and not by obeying some coercion.

When we are vaccinated we are not naturally safe and secure from a disease forever. However, we acquire antibodies. Antibodies, on the one hand, help us not to get sick from the disease, even if the virus enters our body, while on the other hand, in case this happens, they minimize the filial burden that can be passed from us to others. . This is very important for the protection of those around us, as the virus inside us weakens and if we transmit it to a third party, it is much less likely to affect it. And if this third party is also vaccinated, then the chances of getting the disease are almost eliminated.

However, because not every one of our fellow human beings can be vaccinated, as many have prohibitive health issues, it is very important that everyone else be vaccinated, so that a wall of immunity is built around them, that is, a way to further weaken the virus so that and if an unvaccinated person gets stuck, the chances of getting seriously ill or dying are minimized. After all, we are not all healthy. There are also those who are physically ill by nature or are elderly and may be at risk even after vaccination if the virus enters their body. So for all of them, we have to be vaccinated too.

All these are very simple things and it is questionable that we need to explain them in the year 2021 – and in fact to people of the movement. However, we should not baptize anyone who does not want to be vaccinated as a “spray” and “anti-vaccine”, as there are dozens of factors that can prevent him, in addition to his own health. We have already mentioned the really hard effort made by the State to make people suspicious, through its regression.

In addition to this, one may have had in one’s immediate area someone who had complications and / or died after the vaccine. Really, what about that? Are there no victims from the vaccines?

Of course there are. Every drug we inject into our body can have potential complications . After all, each preparation mentions the possible side effects in detail and accordingly encourages or prevents the patient from taking it. Most of the time, of course, we ignore all this, we consider them “fine print”, unless we know in advance that we may be allergic to a substance and really take a risk. However, there are many cases where people “step on” it from completely ordinary drugs. Because that’s simply how things work.

Nevertheless, speaking of one vaccine ( or rather many of the same disease ) that has been given to almost 2 billion people, even with a single dose (a total of 3.42 billion doses have been given to date, 12.1 % of the world’s population are fully vaccinated) incidents and deaths from side effects remain minimal and are in line with the rates of side effects of any other drug or vaccine. Typically, in the USA, in measurements of the last 6 months, a death rate from vaccine side effects of 0.0017% was observed on the vaccinated, according to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), ie the competent service that records these numbers. And this is really happy, considering that – indeed – they were created and licensed in a much shorter period of time than the average drug. Something that we hope is understandable that it happened partly for reasons of profit of the pharmaceuticals, but also because of the emergency situation.

Rest assured, however, that if 2 billion people were taking a particular drug tomorrow, even the most common formulation that some people can use almost daily (painkillers, for example), we would certainly have casualties and deaths from side effects between us. The massive nature of the vaccine for Covid-19 and all the fuss, the noise that is created around it, are the main factors that have led to the multiplication of the fear around the side effects of the vaccines. Of course, the battle of the companies around the best patent, the given unsuitability (again in a logical and not universal context) of some vaccines in relation to some vulnerable social groups and the “dose war”, in which several “developed” (certainly not in social solidarity) states of the Western world,

However, because human deaths are not just numbers and a near negative experience is enough to prevent even a healthy young person from being vaccinated, we must reiterate that it is very important that we do not perceive all those who do not want to be vaccinated – yet – as “sprays” . What we must do as an anarchist movement, taking into account EVERYTHING we mentioned above in relation to the plans of the government, etc., is to fully inform our fellow human beings and to try to dispel the false propaganda that surrounds them.. Either it comes from the state and its attempt to convince us that it is our “protector”, our “father” and the guarantor of social health, or of course it comes from sprayed and anti-vaccines of all kinds.

In other words, to try to structure the sense of social and class responsibility, the sense of “duty” towards the weaker parts of our class and society. And as for the attempted coercion, let us resist it as well, but having all the necessary filters that will allow us to separate our position from that of the vaccinators. And I explain below…

About coercion and social responsibility

Opposition to vaccination is absolutely necessary for me. In essence, the government not only wants to establish distinctions between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in shops, commerce and entertainment, but also to extend this measure to workers in specific -initially- workplaces, such as e.g. health and catering, with those who disobey having to deal with disciplinary action, criminal liability and dismissal.

In essence, the State does not come out – yet – directly to say that it will take the unvaccinated from their homes and vaccinate them by force, however it will de facto deprive them of the means for their survival, pushing them to a -no so- indirect coercion.

Why should we oppose this as anarchists? First of all, because any coercive act imposed from above is hostile to our ideas . In other words, this is not a decision that we have all co-decided together as a society and we ask a small portion that disagrees to abide by it or to take the alternative measures that it considers necessary and better, without sabotaging the common, collective decision. Instead, it is a brutal blackmail. In this respect, it should not yet concern us at this point in the text the content of this blackmail, but the form. And the form in which this measure will take place finds us vertically opposed.

Moreover, coercion by its very nature is contrary to the whole logic of social solidarity and responsibility that we have said we should promote as anarchists . It is a process that dispels any attempt to create such a climate, since any prohibition and any segregation “strikes” the most reactive instincts of man and makes him question even the rationalization of the content of a decision – in theory the protection of the socially weak and the attempt to build some immunity – and not just the form it will take – that is, coercion .

In addition, even in terms of content, such laws tend to be “horizontal” and do not take into account all the parameters mentioned above: Partially justified skepticism, short-lived experiences, fear due to their vulnerable nature, etc. Such a condition would get hold of all of the above.

Finally, something very important: Such coercive laws tend to be used as experiments for future strategies of Capital. In other words, today a large portion of the population can consent to coercion as a form, on the grounds that it is generally a correct and logical content. But tomorrow but the State and Capital can build a new “normality” for any issue (labor, social, etc.), impose it, through the media and brainwashing in society as equally logical and correct and then implement it compulsorily.

A consistent anarchist movement should therefore propose opposition to coercion, but not unconditionally and certainly not in parallel with the various “sprayed” and anti-vaccine. Instead, it should be based on analysis of all the above, with the first and main project the need for mass VOLUNTEER vaccination, as part of our social responsibility towards the weakest. And once we have proposed such a thing, we will very easily be able to separate our own movement from all the tragic and anti-social jesters and focus clearly on the part where coercion will function exclusively as a tool of the State and Capital to divide the class. us, to control us and experiment on us for their future plans.

On the contrary, unfortunately, most of those who belong to the movement and react to coercion and segregation do not meet these criteria at all . Instead, there is talk of ” everyone’s right to his own body ” and ” self-determination“. These, of course, are very important issues, but when they really concern and affect only the individual himself. No one can (should) impose or advise you on how to dress, how to behave, with whom you will make love, if you will take drugs, medicines – and what kind, how you will live your life – unless of course you are harmful to those around you. “My body my choise” applies in any case to all of the above. The fact that “society is shocked” and other nonsense of purists and conservatives is not something that concerns us, as in a tangible, material, real way, the only one who (should) be affected by all the above is you. And if such a thing does not happen, then it is not the fault of the subject itself but the social norms. For which we were largely flattered.

But things here are completely different, as we are not dealing with a simple disease, but with a contagious and even deadly. As for whether or not you like to get sick, so far so good. You can be as irresponsible as you want alone or in the close circle of people who may have co-decided to live and reproduce socially all together, without commitments and precautions. But when you come in direct or indirect contact with other people, who have not made the same consensual decision not to take precaution, then you have to be responsible. Because, as we said before, we can be young and prosperous and even if we catch the virus we do not have a big problem, but the grandmother or the vulnerable, with whom we can come in contact in public places, probably have serious issue, if we inadvertently catch them as carriers of the virus.

The fact that the main responsibility for the evolution of the pandemic and the death of thousands of people lies with the State and the management it did in the midst of a pandemic, we have said this a thousand times and we do not need to repeat it. And of course, we have often highlighted as a contradiction and as a denial of responsibilities on the part of the State the attempt to throw all the burden on the citizens themselves, with the ridiculous construction of “individual responsibility” alone. However, all the above do not mean in any case that, because the lion’s share of the responsibilities lies with the State, we in turn will relinquish any of our own responsibilities, at the same time that a large portion of the movement uses the argument of “self-determination of each in his own body ”, as we saw above.

And of course, when we talk about a decision that is entirely our own not to be vaccinated (while there are not always health reasons), we can not speak of concepts such as “health apartheid” and other such horrible things. I have seen people in the movement liken the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated in stores, etc., to situations of the not-so-distant past, such as the separation of blacks from whites in the MMM, toilets, to every expression of social life in the United States. e.g., before the African-American rights movement erupts like a wave of rage and brings about any change. I read others likening this treaty to the “closed clubs” of the bourgeoisie, in which workers were banned. And I wonder: Does not the people who write and reproduce all this understand how they make an infamous relativization of a structural systemic oppression, with a free choice, which of course has some consequences? Are you saying that African Americans were differentiated from whites and marginalized because they chose it? Or would the workers not want them too if they could taste a little of the luxury of the “closed clubs” of the privileged classes? But what arguments do we finally use?

But come on, it is through such completely individualistic ideologies, which do not take into account at all the social factor, that the “opposition to the compulsion of vaccination” turns into the reactionary “opposition to vaccination” purely. As none of these subjects -groups or individuals- who reproduce this kind of speech in public can honestly answer the question: “ Yes, but if you do not have any health problems that prevent you, why not get vaccinated, so that protect those around us“; The answer will always revolve around this wrong – in this case – ideology of individual choice, of self-disposition in our body, at the same time that none of them will accept to assume the -infinite, at least, in relation to state responsibility- burden of their own, personal responsibilities in case of transmission of the virus.

Well, no. With such arguments, I do not think that we can make a village as anarchists, as part of the oppressed. It is necessary, I repeat, to actively oppose the compulsion of vaccination and segregation, for all the reasons I mentioned above, but first and foremost advocating social responsibility, the responsibility of all of us, the need to protect the weakest members of our society. , through mass VOLUNTEER vaccination .

Against us we will have both the State and the Capital, with their plans for social control, with the murderous management of the pandemic, as well as all those who reproduce superstitions and conspiracy theories, while betting on the fear and semi-learning, on the confusion it has brought to society or state management to come to the surface.

To fight coercion and separation, away from – and on the contrary – darkness.