A new wave of draconic Lockdowns sweeps Europe but popular resistance and criticism of medical scientists are increasing
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 21 October 2020, www.thecommunists.net
A new wave of anti-democratic lockdowns sweeps Europe. Ireland has shut down all “non-essential business” for six weeks; people are not allowed to visit family and friends at their homes. Furthermore, people are required to stay home and, if they do so, they must remain within 5km of their home. Wales and Northern Ireland have also imposed similar attacks for the next two weeks.
Governmental advisers in other countries like Belgium and England are pushing for similar measures. Already now, people from different households in London are not allowed to visit each other. France and Spain have already imposed draconic restrictions including curfews between 9pm and 6am in big cities. An increasing number of countries made the wearing of face masks mandatory outdoors.
Portugal’s “socialist” government even went so far to draft a law that would make it mandatory for every citizen to use a “StayAway” Covid App with potential fines of between €100 and €500 for those who fail to download the app. Unsurprisingly, this has provoked such a massive public outcry that Prime Minister Antonio Costa was forced to suspend this plan for now.  Nevertheless, such an authoritarian foray confirms once more – as we have warned since March this year – that the ruling class is determined to utilize the COVID-19 crisis for a massive expansion of the police and surveillance state.  Germany’s Robert Koch-Institut – the federal government agency and research institute responsible for disease control and prevention – has already announced plans to continue various measures (the notorious “social distancing” which obstructs large gathering of the masses, mandatory wearing of masks, etc.) even if a vaccination against the Corona Virus has become available!  Clearly, Europe’s ruling elites are inspired by the “successful” dictatorship in China – the rising star among the imperialist Great Powers. 
Hypocrites and falsifiers
Why are Europe’s governments doing this? Because they want “to save lives”, as they claim in their daily press briefings? But, the Lockdown is not a particularly new invention. We all had this in spring. Nevertheless, Spain, France, Italy and United Kingdom were all global record-breakers in numbers of deaths. In addition, as we did report in past articles, there are various international studies which demonstrate that the curve of the pandemic was not particularly affected by such measures. 
And, if the ruling class is really so concerned about our health, why did they not use the past six months to massively expand the public health sector, recruit large numbers of new doctors and nurses, improve the working condition and raise the wages of hospital workers, massively increase the number of ICU’s, etc.?! But, as it is widely known, the European governments did nothing in this regard. According to a study in France nursing stuff is so overworked and exhausted that 40% of them want to leave their job. 
In addition, one has to question if there really exists such an alarming emergency situation in Europe. True, the number of infections is rising. In various countries, the number of officially confirmed infected is as high, or even higher, than it was during the spring period. However, most people infected have no or only mild symptoms. In order to judge the seriousness of the pandemic, one has to look at the really important figure – the number of serious cases in hospitals and the number of death. And here we can see that the pandemic – in contrast to the official propaganda of the capitalist governments – is not at all particularly dangerous. In Ireland there are between 1-8 deaths a day.  Things are similar in most other countries. Of course, this number will rise in winter. In the end, it is also the typical development curve of influenza that it spreads more rapidly in the cold season.
But, as we have pointed out so often and demonstrated with various facts and figures, the COVID-19 pandemic is not an extraordinary danger. Unfortunately, humanity has faced repeatedly various pandemics and diseases in past decades which have claimed hundreds of thousands or millions of lives a year. Examples for this are e.g. the so-called Asia Flu in 1957-58, the so-called Hong Kong flu in 1968, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, severe Influenza seasons, etc. In addition, one should not forget to view the COVID-19 crisis in proportion to other diseases and preventable health risks (respiratory infections, tobacco, alcohol, etc.) which also cause millions of death every year. Furthermore, we also refer to the fact that Sweden, a country which did not impose any Lockdown, has not experienced any excess mortality this year if one compares the figures of the first half of 2020 with those of the same period in past decades. 
Naturally, the ideological servants of the ruling class – conservatives, liberals and so-called “left-wingers” – ignore these facts and continue their support for the lockdown policy. If they have any criticism of the governments, it is that they use the “hammer” (as they call it) of the lockdown not fast and furious enough. They denounce the critics of the lockdown as “mad” and supporters of “conspiracy theories”.
Who is worse?
However – despite the never-ending propaganda offensive of governments, “scientists” in their service, the bourgeois media etc. – less and less ordinary people trust and believe this propaganda. Among them are people who are more progressive, less progressive and also outrights reactionaries.
As readers of our publications will be aware, the RCIT has analyzed the COVID-19 pandemic from the very beginning and pointed out the real political and economic interests of the ruling class.  At the beginning, we were part of a very small minority which was prepared to swim against the all-powerful stream of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. But things are changing. In the past weeks we have seen various smaller and larger popular protests. In addition there are also a growing number of medical scientists who withstand the pressure of the governments. In various studies and public statements, they criticize the brainless COVID hysteria and the anti-democratic Lockdown policy (see e.g. the so-called Great Barrington Declaration with which we have dealt in a recently published essay). 
Yes, there are also some people who spread silly or even arch-reactionary ideas. But one has to ask: Who is worse? The one who imagine a conspiracy behind the pandemic – or the people in power who falsely claim that this is “the worst pandemic in modern history”, that the Lockdown policy would be effective to save lives, who spend billions of dollars for contracts with drug corporations, who crush democratic rights, who order police and military on the streets and who lock up people in their homes?!
Who is crazier: The tin foil hats … or the prime minister who tells us that “soon everyone of us will know someone who has died of COVID-19” (like the Austria Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz) or that “millions of Germans will die because of the Corona Virus” (like Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel)?! Or the “scientists” who tell us that we should put ourselves in self-quarantine for several days before we visit our grandma (like the chief virologist/ideologist of the German government Christian Drosten)? To put it diplomatically, the tin foil hats are certainly not the only nuts!
However, it would be wrong to reduce the problem to the idiot-factor among the elite. While there is not a small number of dumbass among the rulers (just think about the White House and Downing Street No. 10), the majority of the ruling class is not stupid – or at least they are clever enough to listen to people with brain. These people spread the hysteria about COVID-19 not so much because they seriously believe in this. They rather create popular fear in order to utilize this situation to promote specific political and economic interests of the top tier of the capitalist class. They provoke fear and panic in order to utilize such a climate for political objectives like justifying the expansion of the police and surveillance state, finding a scapegoat for the Third Depression of the capitalist world economy (which began in late 2019), using it as an instrument against Great Power rivals, etc. Furthermore, the capitalists in important industrial sectors have been keen to exploit such a crisis as an extraordinary business opportunity. Not without reason, numerous corporations – in industries like drugs, biotechnology, robotics, Artificially Intelligence and the whole IT industry, the military-industrial complex, the whole online retail sector, etc – expect massive extra profits.
Resistance and criticism is growing
For now, we have to accept the fact that the ruling class is in power. They control the media in order to manipulate public opinion and they also possess a fully-armed repression apparatus imposing their local and national lockdowns. Currently, the workers and oppressed are too weak to break down the walls of this new prison.
We have often pointed out the similarities of the “shock-and-awe” policy of the ruling class in the present period of COVID-19 Counterrevolution with the situation at the beginning of World War I in 1914. In one of his writings at that time, Lenin stated: “The proletarian masses – probably about nine-tenths of whose former leaders have gone over to the bourgeoisie – have found themselves disunited and helpless amid a spate of chauvinism and under the pressure of martial law and the war censorship.“  To a certain degree, we are also in such a situation at the moment.
But, as it was the case in summer and autumn 1915 when mass demonstrations and strikes erupted against the consequences of the imperialist war, popular protests have also begun now in Europe. Times are changing and autumn is not spring. In spring, people were in a state of shock and there was hardly any resistance on the streets in Europe. Today, the situation is different. 20,000 people marched in Berlin on 10 October against the reactionary Lockdown policy under the slogan “Silent March against Racism and for Human Rights”.  There were also many demonstrations of workers and poor in Madrid against the Lockdown policy.  And three days ago, 2,000 fans of football and ice hockey clubs demonstrated in Prague and fought street battles against the Czech police.
So, yes, the hammer of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution is hitting our heads again. But times are changing and popular resistance is growing. Below the climate of fear, popular anger and hatred is silently accumulating. Sooner or later, this will explode. And then, Lockdown gangster – all you minister, ideologists, virologists, journalists, and all the other lackeys of the ruling class – then you better watch your back! The working people and poor will rise up and drive you out of power! Then, it will not be the working people who have to live in prison but rather you!
 Politicians against mandatory use of StayAway Covid 'app', 16-10-2020, https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/politicians-against-mandatory-use-of-stayaway-covid-app/56251; The Associated Press: The Latest: Heathrow offers rapid tests for some flights, 2020-10-20, https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-international-news-mlb-new-zealand-c81621024cceb260af0efcb0525350e4
 See e.g. RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-cover-for-a-major-global-counterrevolutionary-offensive/. See also chapter II in our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-covid-19-global-counterrevolution/. An updated survey by the same author is: The Police and Surveillance State in the Post-Lockdown Phase. A global review of the ruling class’s plans of expanding the bonapartist state machinery amidst the COVID-19 crisis, 21 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/police-and-surveillance-state-in-post-lockdown-phase/
 See e.g. RKI-Strategiepapier Masken wohl auch mit Impfstoff nötig, 13.10.2020, https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/rki-corona-impfstoff-101.html?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-de-DE
 See e.g. Michael Pröbsting: “Big Brother” in China: The “Personal Health Index” App, 27 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/big-brother-in-china-the-personal-health-index-app/. On China as a rising imperialist power we refer readers to numerous documents of the RCIT mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/. In particular we refer to the book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, January 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/. In addition, we refer readers in particular to the following works by the same author: The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-india-rivalry/; China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4, http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/revcom-number-4; see also Michael Pröbsting: Chinese Imperialism and the World Economy. An Essay published in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope), Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2020, https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-91206-6_179-1.
 Andrew Atkeson, Karen Kopecky, and Tao Zha: Four Stylized Facts About COVID-19, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 27719, p. 16, http://www.nber.org/papers/w27719M; see also Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: The Great Barrington Declaration is indeed Great! Numerous medical scientists protest against the reactionary lockdown policy, 11 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-the-great-barrington-declaration-is-indeed-great/.
 See e.g. Annika Joeres: Corona-Strategie: Was Frankreich versäumt hat. Die Corona-Zahlen steigen, medizinisches Personal ist knapp und wird knapper. In den Kliniken wird gefragt: Warum ist seit der ersten Welle nichts passiert? 13. Oktober 2020, https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2020-10/corona-strategie-frankreich-krankenhaeuser-philippe-juvin/komplettansicht
 Wikipedia: COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of Ireland, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland
 See e.g. Wikipedia: COVID-19 pandemic in Sweden, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_in_Sweden#Excess_mortality
 The RCIT has analyzed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February we have published more than fifty documents which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-2019-corona-virus/. In particular we refer readers to the above-mentioned RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive as well as Michael Pröbsting’s book: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. In addition, we draw attention to our very first article on this issue by Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/wuhan-virus/; See also by Michael Pröbsting: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. On the ruling class strategy in the current conjuncture, its inner contradictions and the perspectives of the workers and popular resistance, 20 July 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/the-second-wave-of-the-covid-19-counterrevolution/.
 The Great Barrington Declaration, https://gbdeclaration.org/; Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: The Great Barrington Declaration is indeed Great! Numerous medical scientists protest against the reactionary lockdown policy, 11 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-the-great-barrington-declaration-is-indeed-great/
 V.I.Lenin: The Collapse of the Second International (1915), in: LCW Vol. 21, p.257
 See e.g. Gegner der Corona-Maßnahmen demonstrieren in Berlin, 10.10.2020, https://www.rbb24.de/politik/thema/2020/coronavirus/beitraege_neu/2020/10/demo-corona-massnahmen-schweigemarsch-menschenrechte-berlin-adenauerplatz-grosser-stern.html; The call for the demonstration can be viewed on the website of the organizers: https://der-schweigemarsch.de/.
 We refer to our latest statement: COVID-19: Madrid’s Workers and Poor Protest against the Reactionary Lockdown Regime! Support the struggle against anti-democratic attacks and for expansion of the public health service! 2 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/madrid-s-workers-and-poor-protest-against-the-reactionary-lockdown-regime/. There are also ongoing protests in Israel against the corrupt Netanyahu government and its anti-democratic Lockdown policy albeit they are of a more contradictory nature. see on this e.g. Yossi Schwartz: Israel: Draconian Law against the Right to Demonstrate, 01.10.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/draconian-law-against-the-right-to-demonstrate-in-israel/ and Adam Smith: Israel: What is behind a Second Lockdown? 19.09.2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/what-is-behind-a-second-lockdown-in-israel/.