Health on a Human Scale

A smartphone: a device that is used to track movements and behavior 24/7 regardless of checkpoints, borders and passports, merely by being in the range of relay antennas.

from North Shore

Health on a Human Scale: A vaccinated anarchist against vaccine passports

Anonymous Submission to North Shore Counter-Info

Quebec is instituting a system of vaccine passports in the coming days, and Ontario is likely to follow suit. The passport is a document confirming your identity and your vaccination status that will have to be shown in order to access many spaces. Not a day goes by here without a barrage of open letters and social media posts asking to be required to show a passport to move around the city, for every worker to be given a policing function.

I got fully vaccinated as soon as it was available to me, and so did all my close people. However, I think the vaccine passport is despicable and that those who are advocating for it are making a serious mistake.

My crew’s choice to get vaccinated was just one product of ongoing discussions about how to relate to collective health during the pandemic. We did not obey the lockdowns or the rules about gatherings – we established our own guidelines based on our own ethical, political and practical considerations. We asked a different question. Sometimes this resulted in us being more cautious than the law allowed, sometimes it resulted in breaking the rules. We were far from alone in this, and I know my circle benefited from other people’s discussions.

The pandemic has been unique in our lifetimes, but its ethical challenges are not: controlling the behaviour of others is a pretty central element of democratic politics. The government looks at us as a mass of people to be managed towards various goals, notably profit and social peace. They look at the world from above, through a lens of domination and control – this is as much the case for the pandemic as for climate change and poverty. Different politicians and parties will have different priorities, and our agency is reduced to advocating for how we want to be managed – or how we want those other people to be managed.

We come to internalize the logic of domination and put the needs of order and the economy above our own. We start to view the world from above too, far from our own experiences, desires, ideas, values, and relationships. “The social war is this: a struggle against the structures of power that colonize us and train us to view the world from the perspective of the needs of power itself, through the metaphysical lens of domination.”

In the context of the pandemic, to view the world from above means understanding the situation through corporate media (whether social or traditional), through colour-coded maps, through the designation of hot zones, through policy debates, through rules laid out by experts (I want their knowledge, not their authority). It means to think about our own decisions in terms of what everyone should do, to act ourselves the way we think everyone should act. Our own priorities vanish, and the agency of others is perceived as a threat.

As a state-led covid measure, the vaccine passport is like the curfews and the stay at home orders, the expanded fines and the coercive powers given to bylaw. It is a public order measure. All these restrictions are meant to prevent the kinds of conversations that had people in the streets in recent months to carry out encampment defense, tear down statues, and honour residential school victims.

I want to oppose domination, but also its false critics. Some anarchists have thought they developed a critique of authoritarian responses to the pandemic, but they only succeed in being reactionaries. They are still seeing the world from above, where the only conceivable collective action is that of the state. They fall back on the discourse of individual rights, but there is nothing anarchist about a freedom carved into bite-sized pieces and spoon-fed back to us. Their analysis becomes totally unprincipled when they start defending the rights of religious conservatives to continue holding their services. They are involved in the anti-masking movement, which is not about individual ethical choice, but rather covid denialism,. They end up in bed with those who see any common good as an attack on their privilege.

To me, freedom also means responsibility. It is an individual imperative to make your own choices, but also to understand yourself as embedded in a web of relationships. It is about voluntary association, but also understanding that we are also embedded in webs of relationships with all people (not to mention all living things, the land and water). We have responsibilities to those webs as well. When our choices in the pandemic start from ourselves and builds outwards, to our chosen people and onward to the societies we exist in, we are no longer seeing the world from above, but on a human scale.

This is called autonomy, and it is itself a threat to the powerful. It means organizing our lives on a radically different basis, one that comes into conflict with the attempts of the powerful to maintain order and obedience.

A vaccine passport system is a way of cracking down on autonomy. I don’t give a shit about going to a restaurant or a concert, and my crew is continuing to avoid indoor crowds even though the state says we don’t have to. Let’s organize ourselves to avoid the repression and continue to act on our own priorities. See you in the streets.

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In this way they're demonstrating an “enlightened” positivist attitude to science. Claiming the instruments produced by technological & scientific knowledge are neutral, & only criticise the bad social use that Power puts them to. I think, on the contrary, that the instruments created by Power cannot fail to obey the logic that created them. They’re totally functional to its aims no matter who uses them & in spite of any apparent advantages they might bring to society.

I’m against those who are always trying to justify things, saying that there is some good at the base of everything & it deserves to be preserved. I think it’s useful to place an element of doubt into the swamp of certainties & commonplaces that abound. Those who maintain there is an absolute need for existing technology are the bosses, governors & their multitude of servants. They have good reason for doing so. We, on the other hand, should have just as good reasons for always being suspicious of such attitudes. Things become tragic when we see an identity of viewpoint between those in power & those struggling against it.

All the base technology that is used in every field of social life today comes from military research. Its civil use obeys this logic far more than we immediately understand. Until now all we have succeeded in demonstrating has been the precise, scientific, authoritarian project at organisational level. It is important to understand the unconscious mechanisms that operate at mass level, allowing the power structure to overcome people’s initial rejection & gain their full support. Only a few
people contest cybernetic command. The general tendency is a feeling of inevitability. It is coming to be considered indispensable, therefore socially useful.

Whoever points out the need for the total destruction of the technological apparatus produced by capital is passed off as an irresponsible madman who wants to take civilisation back to the Stone Age. This does not have to be the case, if one thinks about it. Present day technology is the practical result of a form of knowledge that matured during capital’s industrial development. It is always motivated by those who are in power. So those who support the need to safeguard part of capital’s productive technology, do not see that in doing so they are lending a hand to the declared reformists. The latter, more coherently, support a continual modification of all the organisms of power in such a way that the system is always functional & updated to meet the new needs of domination & social change.

The only attitude to have towards the bosses of science is that of discerning what they are hiding behind all the things that seem innocuous & humane to the profane public. This is very important as we are used to being aware of only the most noticeable & superficial things around us.

The aim of those who dominate is to use all the scientific instruments that scientific knowledge has to offer, not to alleviate suffering but to continue it within a set of relations that are modified incessantly.

This is why it is necessary to destroy the entire technological apparatus, beyond the use that anyone may think to make of it in the future. It will prevent the struggle from falling into the trap laid by the radical reformists who, from the partial destruction of the structures of domination have made the starting point for restructuring.

Therefore, I’m against those who support political criticism, even in the field of science, because such a critique always tries to reduce the reasons for radical opposition to a simple question of detail concerning certain operative choices. In this way the supporters of the political critique are looking for adjustment & compromise with the class enemy who is intelligently disposed to formally modifying its own position, with the aim of reconstructing a new, more rational consensus around the threatening institution

The use of things like covid passports is only the most overt of the mechanisms of control employed by the state. This notion of responsibility, and of ethical choices is the far more potent tool of the state if only for its subtlety. Though not really mentioned here but mentioned in the communique of the French anti-vaxx attack, the desire for health and the obsession with life operates in a similar manner. Especially in the context of covid, but even beyond it, there is such an obsession with staying alive yet very little questioning of if these are lives we want to live. If one wants to get the vaccine in an attempt to clutch to health or life or even here being responsible, whatever, I'm not really one to care about the gatekeeping bs, but I do question what life and health and responsibility have to do with anarchism since these are values of civilization?

"...but I do question what life and health and responsibility have to do with anarchism since these are values of civilization?"

What does this even mean?

No one but the so-called civilized can ponder about what a life worth living looks like? This reads like "brown people magical."

Hunter-gatherer band out on hunt: "well we could just continue to hunt, but then that's being responsible about feeding ourselves, socializing, exercising...and all of that other civilized shit we don't do."

One is already embedded within a complex web of continually unfolding relations. There's not just Thought, Scientism. One can take signals from the outside, acting intuitively with the relations that engender one.

What it means I that this idea that one is responsible to society is just as much a product of policing, of the state, as the mandates and the police who enforce them.

As well that there is such an obsession with survivability as life, this drive for more and more humans, the question "what a life worth living" is completely erased (except to discuss how terrible disabled people's lives are without questioning how cov makes them so).

So if you want to cling to life, cling to survival and rely on the state and industry for that survival, okay you do you. But again I ask what the fuck does that have to do with anarchism?

"I do question what life and health and responsibility have to do with anarchism since these are values of civilization"

life and health are not values of civilization, at least not exclusively. which is very different from the idea that every life must be extended as long as absolutely possible - THAT is a civilized concept.

life and health are also not specifically anarchistic values either. and all anarchists are not anti-civilization, clearly.

I'm going to eat my lentils, I'm going to bury my faeces near my lentil tree, I'm going to wash myself downstream from where everyone gets their drinking water. I'm a responsible hunter/gatherer anarch.

Does one wash down stream or do others choose to drink up stream? Does one choose to shit where one sows, or does one sow where they shit? And even if the answer to these questions is yes there's still the question of whether it's out of responsibility/obligation.

I live by the maxim -treat others as you would have them treat you-- a widespread ethos not exclusively Jesus's, but one usually learned the hard way during life. It becomes a mutual respect personal code up to the point where someone may offend my own space or harmony, and after some discussion an agreement and even friendship may result, but if beligerence is encountered, the maxim is discarded and one enters into ---survival mode----.
I feel you may be in this ---survival mode --- yourself, and I will respect that, because I do not understand your circumstances entirely, though I'm aware from our other discussions you have experienced some harsh things.

I don't like the whole mechanism of passports or permits either, but its out of convenience, do you like waiting in long queues? I don't like cities, overpopulation OR queues, but at the moment one has to live with it, and there's some poor dying perp in a queue trying to get to hospital, or another trying to escape a deadly situation, so out of respect for the feelings of another, *mini-lov*, one accepts Civ's protocols if one expects to be treated as you would treat someone else. Yes, its hard being an anarch in a Civilization full of greedy smuchs caught up in love looking after their old mom and dad, but hey, anarchs have feelings too you know, and mutual respect, unless you are in ----survival mode---

"but at the moment one has to live with it"

You do not have to live with it, one can choose not to get vaccinated, and not to partake in what activities need a passport (work, shopping, etc).

If one chooses to participate in these systems, perhaps out of a want to survive, that's understandable, but I do not think it has anything to do with anarchism, or at least I don't see how complying with mandates is anarchic. Personally I would say the opposite, rejecting all of these things, is anarchic but that's only my conception.

I did live off the grid for a while and lived a humble and unlawful life for many years in what could be called a purist bubble, but I found the physicality and process of maintaining that lifestyle actually more stressful and time consuming than just filling out a couple of forms and being done with it,,,,the convenience of spending one's time in an --anarch state of mind--- Dasein, could accomodate petty protocols.
I respect the purist if they wish to spend their entire life struggling to be religiously anarchistic,,,,go for it, but I have actually tapped into a higher form of anarch consciousness by going with the flow, of bending with the current of where my relationships with those I love takes me.
Ironically, I have attained the anarch version of nirvana!

If you disagree I would love to hear you elaborate on what you mean by purity, but I do not see how this desire to not participate in these systems is purity. If one wants to for example be an anarchist and a cop I think one is still an anarchist bit I don't see what being a cop has to do with anarchy. Similarly then if an anarchist wants to get a vaccine that's fine but I don't see what getting the vaccine has to do with anarchy. If you want to elaborate on what the connection is I'd be interested in hearing. Is this golden rule part of how you define anarchism?

No, I think YOU are the one pursuing a doctrine, I am the one who has let go of ---polishing my ideological mirror conscience----. I don't have one, I only go with the Now and flow with me spontaneity, and if "cop" or "authority" imposes a requirement, law, or protocol upon me, I will not protest, fight, or go to prison if by simply filling out a form, like getting a driving permit, is an option. But they never impose upon me, because I am invisible in my perfection, The Art of Peace,
I cannot be any more nuanced in trying to explain this rudimentary psychological self-awareness of the human condition, and if you continue to hound me and question my,,,,,,,perfection, I shall be forced to go into ---survival mode----beware, it is not pretty or aesthetically pleasing to behold!

I didn't mean to imply you were following a doctrine.

Thanks, and imagine that my tone in delivering my previous comment was calm and gentle, and not a tirade of an authoritarian quality. The mental health of all those in my relational sphere is of my main concern.

"If one wants to for example be an anarchist and a cop I think one is still an anarchist"

if one wants to be alive and also dead, is that possible too? a cop is a prescribed role of authority backed by the force of the state. please explain how someone who desires that role can possibly be described as anarchist.

I think an anarchist is just whoever calls themselves one, there's no common values all anarchists believe in. Being a cop and a anarchist is the same to me as being a teacher and a anarchist or a parent and an anarchist.

Anarchocops are the worst possible advert for anarchism. Toxic AF.

reject mandates. wear a mask if you want to protect yourself and/or others. get the vaccine if you want to reduce your risk of severe illness when you do get infected. it is your choice. act according to your own free will, not according to imposed behavior or morality. and show some fucking backbone by not giving a shit about mandates or who supports them.

The state is invalid. Any laws they enact are invalid. All moral imperatives they say are mandatory are invalid.

None of these things are invalid because of the fruits they may produce. They are invalid because they assume authority and obliterate choice. It's not wrong to feel like you need to take a drug to benefit others. It's not wrong to pursuade others of your view.

The biggest contention I have with some nay-sayers is that, if they seized control of the entire apparatus and narrative, they will not bring in anarchism. They will simply continue the overall work in a different flavor. They will presumably find a new epic crisis to focus all of our time, resources, and attention to. They will resort to tried and true methods of fucking everything up so that the next movement of contrarians can build their counter revolution. And the same shit will happen again.

But I noticed a theme here. Lots of talk about interconnectedness and competing interests, of authoritarian systems and their convoluted complexity and corruption, but there is also a persistent defense of ongoing scientism. No acknowledgement that even the most well intentioned professionals could intentionally or unintentionally feed you false information. No acknowledgement that the state is extremely aware that a scientific angle lends itself easily to consensus thought and even empowers the unaware masses to put fires out for you. No acknowledgement that there is a huge conflict of interest in the profitability of vaccines bought through tax dollars by the billions of doses and that those purchases will effect someone's bottom line, and that those most invested will be greatly disappointed by anything that should spoil that. No acknowledgement that some of these companies have gigantic billion dollar settlements or convictions for various wrongful actions involving the products they sell, the harms they unintentionally caused, and their shady marketing practices.

Lots of interconnectedness, but still blind to the idea that even "experts" and unelected government healthcare officials could be feeding you grade A horseshit from start to finish.

We're anarchists but we uncritically accept the media narratives that play into the power grab of the same people that love to throw you in jail for petty shit, buy military gear with your money, kill people with that gear, as well as the people that love to lobby the government for favorable business conditions and donate to random media networks and anchors for no reason at all.

But yes. Be "responsible." Whatever the fuck that means.

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