The Social Relations of Distancing

S. Artesian

I try not to waste time arguing with those who think Covid19 is just a “flu,” that Covid19 is a tool of the “state” to impose social control; that masks, or vaccines are worthless; that scientists, doctors, public health officials are all inflating the numbers infected, the numbers dead, and the number of ICU beds occupied by those infected.

Sometimes, just sometimes however, when the purveyor of such “positions” poses as a “leftist” or “radical” or “revolutionist” or “Marxist,” I am compelled to identify these peddlers of bullshit as part of and parties to the heightened reaction that has dominated the political landscape since the defeat of the Greek workers in 2015-2016.

One of those reactionary radicals goes by the name of Sam Fantos and produces a website, Dialectical-Delinquents, which functions as both aggregator and advocate of misinformation.

Below is a brief exchange I recently had with Sam the Sham. You read it here first.

September 5, 2021 at 6:11 pm
Sam Fantos of Dialectical-Delinquents wrote:

The following was posted by an ex-Trot marxist who is in favour of mandatory vaccination, who clearly hasn’t ditched his authoritarian statist mentality from earlier times.
The link to Mercola is in the quote from Eisenstein; however, there have been several others who have said similar things. Moreover, Eisenstein simply posits this as a possibility – ” some experts contend that it is the vaccinated that are more likely to drive mutant variants through selection pressure.” . Hardly worth Artesian getting on his high-horse about this. The fact that Mercola might be dubious or worse in other aspects
of his discourse is not in itself proof of being wrong on this, any more than the fact that Artesian, who is often wrong (he sometimes totally misreads what I say and attacks me for saying things I haven’t said), is invariably wrong. Several scientists and doctors have suggested that the variants that have developed, developed because of the gap between the first dose of the vaccine and the second dose having been extended from 3 weeks to 3 months and that the virus has managed to grow resistant to the vaccine and mutate due to this extended time. As against what he claims (” The basic function of the vaccine reduces the likelihood of variants. “) this article suggests that the Delta variant “could spread more readily than other coronavirus variants among people vaccinated”. Unlike Artesian, who claims to know the “science” and thinks that anyone who opposes his version of the science is anti-science, I mainly rely on other scientists and the contradictory evidence that they put forward to get some understanding of the complexity of what’s happening, but I’m open to correction. However, Artesian is a dogmatist – for him nothing is complex and everything that doesn’t fit his version is quackery (as closed and as narrow as those idiots who claim that vaccinations as such are dangerous). His attitude is symptomatic of a massive rigid intensification of Manichean false choices between different ideologies, product and producer of the weakness of general class struggle and social contestation. Though he claims to be someone who supports proletarian struggle, he takes the side of the dominant discourse that considers anything that goes against those servile scientists that support the state narrative (not all of them do by any means) as “anti-science”.

He (S.Artesian) wrote this:

Good to see you linking yourself to Mercola (“the vaccinated that are more likely to drive mutant variants through selection pressure”) well-known quack in the US, anti-vaxxer, including the measles vaccine, and scam artist– flogger of tanning beds, infra-red cameras, and coconut oil as “cures.”

Birds of a feather and all that.

Not to mention the faulty “genetics” behind the claim that those vaccinated “pressure” the virus to produce more virulent, adaptive variants. First, that’s not how variants occur– through “pressure” of a vaccine

Variants of a virus contain multiple mutations to the original genetic structure. Mutations occur due to errors in the replication of the virus. These can occur randomly, increasing in likelihood with the greater the number of replications; or by result of external forces that alter the basic genome. The vaccines are not antibiotics. There’s no such application of external force by the vaccines. They do not penetrate the lipid membrane surrounding the virus to “pressure” the genome by destroying it.

The vaccine works by limiting, suppressing replication. The basic function of the vaccine reduces the likelihood of variants.

But by all means, pay no attention to science. Science is so fatally compromised by commerce unlike Mercola who is so pristinely anti-scientific and pro-commercial. And be sure to stock up on your essential supplements at the Mercola Market (https://www.mercolamarket.com/)

_______________________________________________

So I reply to Sam :

  1. never been a Trot; always been a Marxist.
  2. re being in favor of mandatory vaccinations– I don’t believe I’ve ever stated that. If you can find some record of that, fine. But so far, I don’t recall stating that. Still if anyone cares to read to the end…..
  1. re mandatory vaccinations. IIRC you have expressed your opposition to mandatory vaccinations elsewhere, stating something along the lines of you “don’t believe anybody should be forced.” Well, OK does that mean you are always against all mandatory vaccinations, like the inoculations school children must have before attending school? Against mandatory DPT vaccinations? Mandatory measles, chicken pox, rubella vaccinations? Against mandatory polio inoculations?
  2. As for “The link to Mercola is in the quote from Eisenstein; however, there have been several others who have said similar things. Moreover, Eisenstein simply posits this as a possibility – some experts contend that it is the vaccinated that are more likely to drive mutant variants through selection pressure.” — nah…. that isn’t going to cut it, because you shouldn’t and Eisenstein shouldn’t argue that “some experts” and then link to Mercola who is not only not an expert, (he’s an osteopath), he’s a quack, cited for peddling false cures, and a major propagandist against vaccines, particularly the measles vaccine.
  3. Further on “some experts,” the nameless “some experts” is at worst misinformation, at best hearsay. Where are the studies that show a human to human communicable virus mutating in just the way these experts speculate? With smallpox? polio? Shingles? pneumonia? Hepatitis A? Hepatitis B? HPv? Nowhere? The answer is nowhere. In fact all the articles I’ve accessed by those engaging in such speculation emphasize that there is no evidence for such evolution. Even Eisenstein’s “favorite” article in Quanta states unequivocally that :

“Microbes resistant to vaccines, on the other hand, aren’t a major menace. Perhaps they never will be: Vaccine programs around the globe have been and continue to be immensely successful at preventing infections and saving lives.”

  1. Your claim to being “open to correction” and solely trying to untangle the complexity of the issue is belied by ignoring almost completely statements like the one above from Quanta when “reporting” on the pandemic. Your claim to openness seems to be an iteration of the old “fair and balanced” claim made by several well-funded right wing propaganda outlets advertising themselves as an alternative to the “liberal, slanted, elitist media,” only to spend all their time promoting their specific political agenda.
  2. Further evidence of (5) above? You stated in your reply “this article suggests that the Delta variant “could spread more readily than other coronavirus variants among people vaccinated.” First that has absolutely no relevance to your original contention which was that the vaccines were “pressuring” the virus to mutate into more virulent forms. Secondly, as for the vaccine allowing the mutated vaccine to develop a “critical mass” without suppression, the article clearly indicates conclusions should not be drawn from the preliminary studies: “’The bottom line is, this can happen — it can be true that vaccinated people can spread the virus. But we do not yet know what their relative role in overall community spread is,’ says co-author Thomas Friedrich, a virologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.”

Yes, this can happen. But to see if the vaccine is “quickening” the rate of reproduction of the variant, you would have to compare that to virus loads in the unvaccinated who are allowed to interact with the general population. But of course that doesn’t happen, because the viral load AMONG the UNVACCINATED “pressures” those hosts to seek medical attention, and remove themselves from the general population. How you can argue that variants might be able to breakthrough vaccine protection, and then ignore the explicit concrete data as to how few breakthrough infections there are compared to the unvaccinated; how you can ignore the filling up of ICU beds in areas of the US where vaccination rates are the lowest, is an index not to an open mind, but to a political agenda.

  1. Further, the article you cite makes it clear that preliminary testing for viral loads was conducted utilizing the PCR method. IIRC, you have referred to and reproduced one or more articles denouncing the PCR testing regimen as flawed if not(I think I’m quoting here) “useless.” So how can you now accept the validity of data obtained through a test previously characterized as useless?
  2. Further, note that article you cited closes with this, which probably won’t make a good headline for your Covid1984 thesis, but is more important than the speculation you wish the article was supporting:

However, vaccinated people with Delta might remain infectious for a shorter period, according to researchers in Singapore who tracked viral loads for each day of COVID-19 infection among people who had and hadn’t been vaccinated. Delta viral loads were similar for both groups for the first week of infection, but dropped quickly after day 7 in vaccinated people4. “Given the high virus levels seen in the first week of illness with Delta, measures such as masks and hand hygiene which can reduce transmission are important for everyone, regardless of vaccination status,” says co-author Barnaby Young, an infectious-disease clinician at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore.

One massive analysis of Delta transmission comes from the UK REACT-1 programme, led by a team at Imperial College London, which tests more than 100,000 UK volunteers every few weeks. The team ran Ct analyses for samples received in May, June and July, when Delta was rapidly replacing other variants to become the dominant driver of COVID-19 in the country. The results suggested that among people testing positive, those who had been vaccinated had a lower viral load on average than did unvaccinated people. Paul Elliott, an epidemiologist at Imperial, says that these results differ from other Ct studies because this study sampled the population at random and included people who tested positive without showing symptoms.

These findings — along with an increase in cases in younger people who have not yet received both jabs — underscore the effectiveness of double vaccination against Delta, Elliott says. “We think it’s really, really important to get as many people double vaccinated, and particularly those younger groups, as soon as possible.”

Nature 596, 327-328 (2021)

That you consistently ignore such information, but are willing to reproduce and link to information from known quacks, indicates something worse than simply cherry-picking information. You are either so taken with you pre-arranged Covid1984 thesis that you uncritically but willingly accept almost anything by almost anyone that fits that thesis… OR you are deliberately distorting information and spewing propaganda to serve an ideology.

  1. You have, in the past, referred to the Nazi’s anti-tobacco stance as an argument against “guilt by association” claims that link your, and other’s, positions with the conspiracy theorists, and wing-nut right wing. After all, regular ingestion of tobacco products is objectively a threat to human health. Are we afraid to accept the facts of tobacco use because of the Nazi background of the researchers?

Well, that’s not exactly the question that is relevant. The question is the context in which those studies exist, and what they are used for. So if the Nazis USED those studies as EVIDENCE that a Jewish-International-Banker-Central Bank group was promoting tobacco to weaken the strength and purity of Das Volk, would you then participate in an anti-tobacco protest, demonstration, designed, supported, by those Nazis, and intending to integrate resistance to tobacco into the propaganda of the “master race”?

Of course you wouldn’t.

But in the US, along every step of the course of the pandemic, from denial of its communicability, to discounting its seriousness, to claims that numbers are being falsified, to the praise of miracle cures like hydroxychloroquine, to resistance to social distancing, quarantine, use of masks, the “resistance” has been cultivated by those whose political agenda includes white supremacy, total opposition to women’s reproductive freedom, glorification of the slaveholders’ rebellion, hostility to immigrants, disenfranchisement, and suppression of scientific inquiry, from Darwin on. So yeah, if I found myself supporting or in agreement with “positions” by those who say “trust God, not Fauci,” those who threaten public health officials and the children of public health officials, those who want to eliminate public, secular, education, those who want to summarily execute people of color for being… people of color, those who think Donald Trump is a gift from God to rescue the US from a government of Satan-worshipping pedophiles controlled by Jews like Soros, those who think a vaccine is being foisted upon people so Bill Gates can insert his microchips into everyone, I would seriously rethink my position. The so-called “Covid resistance” in the US would never exist if it weren’t embedded in the midst of such an ideology.

  1. Perhaps I can use an analogy to make this more clear for you: You say elections are rigged. I say elections are rigged. The Republicans and the like say “this election was rigged.” The difference is, the Republicans and the like say the election was rigged in order to advance a political agenda that will suppress people of color, the poor, women.

You think there’s anything of value; a single insight that is useful to the prospects of human emancipation in the slogan “elections are rigged,” when the CLASS content behind the slogan is ignored; when the “slogan” or the characterization (like Covid1984 ) leads directly back to an ideology of reaction?

  1. As promised: just as I am for mandatory use of seat belts, installation of traffic lights; universal access to safe water supplies and proper sanitation, I support mandatory vaccinations in the face of pandemics and/or to reduce the incidence of contagious diseases, or life-threatening pathogens. That doesn’t mean I support the bourgeoisie’s methods, or practices. I’m for electricity, that doesn’t mean I support Elon Musk’s Tesla automobile.
  2. Three great contributions to lowering infant mortality and maternal mortality rates, and death rates of children aged 1-5, have been proper cleanliness and sanitation (including safe drinking water), vaccination, and medically supervised use of antibiotics.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: