Why are there so Few Reasonable and so Much Absurd Corona Protests?

Speech by Lothar Galow-Bergemann

german version

Tradução em português

at the vigil „Cross-thinkers“ get in the way – stop anti-Semitic conspiracy ranting! on April 17, 2021.
(This article published on 4/27/2021 is translated from the German on the Internet.]

Along with the Covid 19 pandemic, hair-raising and dangerous conspiracy fantasies are spreading. People are fabricating about secret plans by evil billionaires to implant microchips in them and about a „Merkel dictatorship“ acting on their behalf. The belief that they are at the mercy of malicious, greedy and unimaginably powerful dark forces is just as deep-seated in them as the conviction that they themselves are in legitimate resistance to it. More and more frequently, open anti-Semitism is also expressed, which insinuates that „the Jews“ are the real masterminds of evil.

Unfortunately, it cannot be said that what we are currently witnessing at the demonstrations of the alleged „lateral thinkers“ has nothing to do with the rest of society. After all, at the latest since the financial and economic crisis of 2008, a great many people believe that „it’s all the fault of those up there.“ Criticism of society is confused with anger at „greedy billionaires“, „pack of lies“ and „lying press“. This works in right-wing, left-wing and „alternative“ milieus just as well as in the supposedly „good middle of society.

Yet there are very good reasons for reasonable criticism in the Corona crisis. For this crisis is only in part a natural phenomenon. First and foremost, it is the homemade consequence of an economic system that, without perpetual growth and maximum profit, immediately begins to flounder. Not because of the virus, but because of this economy, masses of people are dying in „non-paying“ regions of the world that do not receive vaccines, millions are falling into poverty and hunger worldwide. Even in the richer countries, poverty and existential insecurity are growing, far too many people have to go to work and infect each other in the process. Many fall ill and die only because this economy cannot afford a proper lockdown.

Unfortunately, there is still little resistance to these impositions. An initiative like ZeroCovid, which calls for a lockdown based on solidarity – but a real one, where we don’t have to squeeze into the suburban train so that the assembly lines at Daimler keep running – such an initiative has hardly received any attention so far. Their demand for „three weeks paid special leave now“ is exactly the right direction. But why do only 100 people come to such a demonstration? And wouldn’t it be the unions‘ very own task to demand exactly that now? – Why are there no strikes to force the closure of plants that are not immediately vital? Where are the demonstrations for lifting patent protection on vaccines?

Instead, people are demonstrating not to criticize the half-heartedness and inconsistency of government measures to protect health, but absurdly to demand their end. Completely ignoring reality, they deny or downplay the pandemic, behaving irresponsibly and endangering the health and lives of their fellow human beings – and their own.

Why are there almost no reasonable protests, but so many absurd ones? Why do more and more people believe hair-raising nonsense? Why do education and intelligence not protect against it? And why do people find together, whom one does not believe to have much in common? Alternative esotericism and economic liberal capitalism fans, Nazis and hippies, leftists and Reich citizens, good citizens and anti-authoritarians…

All of them are convinced that they are deceived and oppressed by „those up there“. And what they have in common are misconceptions about capitalism. Some consider it the best and most natural of all worlds and therefore believe that crises can only be caused by incompetent and bad people. The others consider capitalism to be the work of such people from the outset. However – in the consequence they are united.

Opaque systemic causes tempt to personify crises. The belief that dark forces are to blame for injustice, disease, misery, war and crises has a tradition of almost two thousand years in Christian anti-Judaism. Modern anti-Semitism, for which „the Jew“ is the personification of evil par excellence, has been able to follow on seamlessly from this. It is no coincidence that current conspiracy fantasies are again permeated by anti-Semitic thought patterns and that more and more outright anti-Semitism is being expressed. History teaches that it can spread furiously in times of crisis. Auschwitz, in the delusion of most Germans, was the elimination of fraudulent greed in the name of honest working people.

Not understanding capital, but running up a storm against the consequences of capital-ism, is like sitting in a prison you know nothing about. The collective freak-out of such prison inmates is fed by irrational conspiracy thinking, which is mixed with quite justified fear for one’s own livelihood. The latter fear, however, is quite justified. For the Corona crisis, just like the climate crisis, reveals that the prevailing economic system is not up to existential challenges. Infinite growth is more important to it than people and nature, maximum profit more important than health and quality of life, rising share prices more important than the lives of future generations. This economic system has led us to the dead end in which we now find ourselves. We need a different, more sensible way of doing business, one that can shut down during a pandemic without causing additional suffering. And we need a broad social movement that demands this.

See also: Misanthropy with a Basic Law Fetish. Why the self-proclaimed „lateral thinkers“ are actually authoritarian conformists (german)

Translation published on Saturday, Apr. 16, 2022 in Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News (scroll)

With thanks to Marc Batko