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)

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5 Responses to CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC – 36.

  1. Randy Gould says:

    Hey, I agree with lots of what you have written as you know. That said, however, I refuse to look kindly on those who could be vaccinated but refuse to do so. You do not have to be a genius to realize and understand the need to get vaccinated. You also don’t have to be brilliant to know how selfish the decision of those who refuse to get vaccinated truly are. Yes, there is a lot of blame to go around, and most of it does not fall on individuals. Yet the surveillance numbers make clear that those who refuse to get vaccinated are plying a clear role in what is going now. All around the world people are pleading for vaccines, but in a few wealthy countries, especially the USA a large number of selfish idiots refuse to be vaccinated and perfectly good vaccines get thrown away unused. This is insane. Many of these people are the same ones who sit in 120 degree heat watching thousand year floods here, there and everywhere, while other areas burn, or are running out of water, and say, “global climate change, what me worry.” Of course, I blame Capital, but that does not mean it’s okay for so many people to stick their head in the sand and refuse to see what is happening right before their eyes.

    I am over making excuses for citizens of any class for their selfishness, racist, patriarchal , etc. thinking and actions. Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) nature ain’t taking it anymore. I think we have been given our last warning and our last chance. The Earth will survive. Whether humans do is another matter.

    I respect your thinking, but I also respect your life.


  2. christinahorsfield says:

    I see Michael Gove is calling students selfish for daring to have a different opinion to the government.
    This is not the way to try to change young people’s mind on this most controversial subject .I think, much better to bring them into the conversation by including their genuine concerns about vaccination ,not his way, by coersion , and threats of losing university places won’t work.. Typical Tories

  3. Hi Randy. I think it interesting and revealing that you commence your comment with the confession “I refuse to look kindly” on those I have classified as the victims of the capitalist mode of production and this pandemic. This demonstrates to me that you are a long way from a revolutionary-humanist level of understanding. ‘Refusing to look’ at evidence which contradicts a dogmatic opinion is a characterisation of a sectarian dogmatists – not one who is an ally of the oppressed and exploited. I have remarked before upon this tendencies of yours to adopt a sectarian tone and posture of superiority. This to me also explains to me why you find yourself perfectly lined up with Biden, Johnson and the elite establishment who are also so anxious to blame the victims of this alienated system. They like you think they have a monopoly of the abstraction ‘truth’. As you write above those who disagree with your view ‘truly are’ ‘selfish’. Truly? No evidence is needed for such sweeping generalisations and these are also the precise problems I outline in the article. To my mind this comment is not really on the content of the article but an emotional defence of your own rectionary assessment of people who don’t agree with your perspective on vaccines, as it was previously on masks. I note also you “blame capital” which is just a petite bourgeous verbal abstraction but studiously avoid blaming individual supporters of capital. You seem happy to castigate working people as ‘idiots’ if they disagree with the opinion articulated by you and the capitalist establishment of Biden, Johnson, Macron et al. Ordinary people trying to make sense of this mess they are in is characterised by you as being prone to ‘stick their heads in the sand’. What an insulting cliché to apply to fellow human beings struggling though the most profound multiple crisis sInce the Second Wold War. Practically everything you have written above recognises no contradiction just dualistic assertions and it reveals an almost complete disrespect for everyone who disagrees with your establishment view of what is happening. I refused once before to publish a comment of yours which I concluded was sectarian and against the very phenomena this blog and the book I sent you stands for. I hope I do not have to do that again, Roy

  4. lesliehammond says:

    I think that I understand many of the people who hesitate to accept the jab when it is offered, I hesitated myself though only for about 3 minutes, my understanding is that there is a generalized feeling of distrust.
    We have had a lot of people killed by contaminated blood products, we have had the terrible deformities caused by thalidomide, in an earlier period the danger caused by asbestos was hushed up and the medical establishment was slow to recognize the danger of tobacco.
    In my moment of reflection I realized that researchers had probably made a stupendous effort to provide vaccines in less than the usual time, also that there is a slight risk in accepting vaccination, but for once we aught to take it.

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