Blaming the Victims – again!
In the UK Boris Johnsons hasty and spurious pandemic ‘Freedom Day’ turned into ‘Freedom to Spread the Virus Day’ and has now eased the path for a ‘Blaming the Un-vaccinated Month’. This latter level of outrageous chutzpah by politicians and medical officials should not surprise us. The bourgeois elites of past and present generations have always tried to divert problems arising from their capitalist system on those who become its victims. The latest ‘blame game’ tactic associated with the ongoing Corona19 virus Pandemic, is now being directed at the non – vaccinated.
Those with longer memories than the much maligned goldfish, will remember that very early on in the pandemic, nurses and care workers were also blamed for not using protective gear correctly. Later still people who failed to abide by the first and second lock downs were blamed for the spread. Next came those who refused to wear masks who were castigated for being selfish and not thinking of others. The continuous and intentional disparagement of victims of the pandemic was (and is) designed to divert attention from the real culprits in this whole tragic episode.
The real culprits in the spread of the 2019 pandemic are those politicians and senior medical advisers who in lucrative government positions failed to prepare for a pandemic which was expected, then who failed to provide PPE for hospital and care home staff, simultaneously failed to put restrictions on the borders of countries and then failed to provide clear and consistent information and advice. Now it is the turn of those who are hesitant or averse to having a vaccination to be blamed. There is an increasingly authoritarian tone coming out of the mouths of these very same elite political and medical actors who created the problem to blame the un-vaccinated.
From Biden in the USA to Johnson, Gove et al and Macron in the UK and Europe, those suffering from or practising vaccine avoidance, are being aggressively targeted and character assassinated as being selfish and irresponsible. Yet these very characteristics of selfishness and irresponsibility are those which actually define the elite and their class, rather those among the real victims among the general population.
The servile press, who have proved incapable of having an independent or critical outlook, are now echoing the latest mantras of this blaming the victim tactic and this sets a dangerous precedent. If enough people out of frustration or anger at their situation just swallow this latest garbage gutter press opinion then it will effectively drive a wedge between the vaccinated and un-vaccinated victims of this pandemic. Such a response would collude with the elite intention to divert blame away from them and away from their system of production and governance. It amounts to a similar tactic to those who blame relatively affluent working class pensioners for the poverty that working class students and young people experience. It conveniently avoids blaming the system which handsomely rewards the elite and leaves the victims squabbling over inadequate social welfare provisions.
This Covid blame tactic is also a modern example of the historic bourgeois patriarchal game which tried to blame the size of women’s brains, or their menstrual cycle or their less robust muscles for the fact that they were being treated unequally at home or work. Similarly, dark-skinned victims of European elite colonising atrocities around the world were blamed because they did not have a monotheistic religious ‘god on their side’ or modern technological equipment. That same type of inverted mentality – in modern guise – also insinuates that young unemployed and low-paid people, of dark or pale skins, are at fault for not having the correct qualifications. It ignores the fact that a system of employment which only needs a certain (restricted) number of low-paid employees, and by necessity must discriminate by ‘selection’ on whatever basis it prefers.
The present system of exploitation relies on short memories, lazy intellectualism, ‘officially approved opinions’ and dualistic forms of thinking among the masses. Liberation from this exploitation requires the opposite: long memories, vigorous intellectual activity and dialectical thinking. [See ‘The Dangers of Dualistic Thinking’ on this blog.] The following fact needs to be stressed and widely publicised. The first quarter of the 21st century has produced a conjunction of multiple factors of crisis (economic, financial, social, ecological, political and medical) which existentially undermine the current system of production and consumption. These are not factors which can be solved on the basis of the system which produced them. They can certainly be ignored – but not wished away.
If the reader doubts this latter assertions, try to imagine how the problems of unemployment, social care, financial instability, ecological destruction, heatwaves, floods and fires, this current and further virus epidemics, essential species loss and political authoritarianism can be effectively slowed or reversed on the basis of the present capitalist mode of production. If, on the basis of the pro-capitalist elite handling of Covid 19 pandemic, you can’t imagine any of these problems being tackled effectively; then where does responsibility lie except in the hands of those who have recognised this inability?
All movements for radical change commence with a few who recognise the need for radical transformation rather than reformist tinkering but lack the ability and numbers to institute it. Their initial task, therefore, is to refuse to be hoodwinked by elite divisive propaganda and to broadcast the all-round negative reality of the system in a non-sectarian way. Real positive change can only begin to occur when a sufficiently large ‘critical-mass’ emerges which have understood the current system and in particular have understood the mistakes of previous attempts to change the mode of production.
[Use the following link to download a free document containing short articles on many of the multiple problems covered in this and other similar articles.]
Roy Ratcliffe (July 2021)