Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

The Far-Right and the ‘Covid Sceptic’ Bandwagon.

with 14 comments

Piers Corbyn Shown the Door.

(Anti-vax protestors including Piers Corbyn have been forcibly removed from an event led by Sadiq Khan in North London tonight.)

The presence, and in important cases, the leading role of the far-right in protests against restrictions brought about to deal with the Covid pandemic, has been widely reported. The hard core have propagated the view that efforts to stop the spread of the virus are part of a ‘globalist’ plan, run by a Cabal of various bodies, Big Pharma, an opportunity fabricated by those planning the Great Reset of Capitalism (after the expression prominent at the 2000 World Economic Forum).

A widely broadcast video, Hold Up, Retour sur un chaos by French conspiracist Pierre Barnérias claimed that the virus was created in “l’Institut Pasteur before being sent to Wuhan. On-line it was seen by over two million of people in France and elsewhere. The film compiles a variety of false claim “These include the supposed futility of face masks, claims that hydroxychloroquine is a proven remedy for Covid-19, the theory of links to 5G mobile networks and the notion of a totalitarian global government – known as the New World Order – bent on enslaving the people.”

During Lockdown there were protests in many countries, including Ireland and the UK. Their theme was ‘freedom’ from health based restrictions but included conspiracists and the far-right. No formal rightist presence was noted, although the robust anti-vacinne actions called by ‘Official Voice’, “a collective forum of like-minded truth seekers”, in September had a quasi-militarist look about them.

When in France the government introduced the Health Pass (Pass Sanitaire) large demonstrations took place. On the 17th July 100,000 marches across the country, initiating public demonstrations which reached a peak of 237,000 in the middle of August before declining to a few thousand in November. The leading role of Florian Philippot, former henchman of Marine le Pen put the leader of his own far right party, Les Patriots, back in the limelight. “When Philippot was addressing the Paris rally and introduced a man called Benjamin onto the stage, saying, “He got vaccinated, but that was his choice,” there was an awkward moment of hesitation in the crowd, Le Figaro reported. It then erupted into cheers when Philippot said, “But he’s against the health pass!” as Benjamin ripped up his vaccination certificate.” (France 24).

Phillipot’s association with the anti-Health Pass movement was joined by the participation of other extreme-right groupuscules. Their presence went with the anti-Semitic symbols and placards of some protestors, (asking Qui ? ‘Who’ said to indicate a cosmopolitan plot behind the Macron/Cazeneuve measures). This did not deter some left-wingers from joining the upswell, sometimes on the very same ground. For them it was an issue of civil liberty. Jean-Luc Mélenchon called the Health Pass, and other moves, Une addition de sottises sans nom, dans une inefficacité totale et une brutalité absolue.” (a pile of nonsense, completely ineffective and totally brutal) while dissociating himself from the racist presence. The La France insoumise Presidential candidate rejected being lectured to by the Macron political “caste” and complained of having to put up with the far right and anti-Semites on the rallies, ( France Info, “de devoir supporter l’extrême-droite et les antisémites.) Some suggest that the motive of this section of the left was to make a populist appeal to the remains of the gilets jaunes movement which has supported the movement.

At present France’s far-right is engaged in a battle for next year’s Presidential elections. In the duel between Éric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen Covid issues have come up. The former has winked towards the anti-Health pass movement and has promised to abolish the Health Pass, adding, that boosters will be only for the over 65s. The candidate of the Rassemblement National has called to end the obligation of health care workers to be vaccinated and an easing of restrictions. Florian Philippot has announced his own Presidential candidacy, around the call “le rétablissement de toutes nos libertés” (re-establish all our freedoms) which barely registers (Présidentielle 2022 : Florian Philippot candidat 16.11.21).

The issue has come to the fore across Europe with the weekend demonstrations in Austria, the rioting in the Netherlands, and outbreaks of violence during a Brussels march.

Today the US NBC sums up the most recent developments.

Far right spies an opportunity in Europe’s new wave of Covid pain and protest

A new fault line is emerging in Austrian and European politics: whether or not a party supports Covid restrictions.

The Vienna rally was organized by the far-right Freedom Party, the third biggest political party in Austria, which experts say has used the pandemic to further its anti-establishment credentials and re-establish public support after a high-profile scandal.

“STOPP Impffaschismus,” (stop vaccine fascism) one sign in Vienna read. “Kontrolliert die Grenze, nicht euer volk,” (control the border, not your people) another said — just some of the slogans mixing vaccine skepticism with right-wing ideology.

Austria has become an explicit case of direct far-right involvement in these issues.

What of the UK?

Piers Corbyn is still at it.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 24, 2021 at 2:44 pm

14 Responses

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  1. Piers’s footsoldiers ? Tasty geezers. Mind, it is what a combination of 30 years of cider, the best chemicals in town and fascism can do the physique…..

    David Walsh

    November 24, 2021 at 6:26 pm

  2. There’s something missing here: A class analysis. Also, an anti-racist analysis, anti-sexist analysis etc. In addition, the far Right attaches way too many riders that are completely unnecessary, the anti-Semitic world conspiracy theories among them. Too much Xenophobia and other nonsense too. These are the foundations of a Red-Brown…problem…and sadly it is getting some traction in North America too, even amongst some “leftists” who are supposed to know better…

    American Dream

    November 24, 2021 at 7:21 pm

  3. Its worth noting Andrew that this antivax, anti covid and what not isn’t just the reserve of the far right and is just as present in leftist consciousness.

    I have to wonder if the ever increasing governmental reach to justify the use of censorship and force beyond its original purpose to combat crime and terrorism hasn’t fanned the flames of mistrust from all sides of the public.

    I do believe this recent attempted segregation of those that have and have not and the ever growing talk of mandation currently in Europe will only make matters worse.

    Name a decade where no matter the party in power that they’ve withheld reports/research, watered it down or when firmly caught out tell the public the matters not open for debate, didn’t happen.
    Its impossibly hard to imagine the conspiracy gun being put away when governments are allowed so consistently to supply the ammunition.

    Doug

    November 25, 2021 at 11:32 am

    • The point though, is if you’re going to fight the Power, fight smart. Don’t be a national chauvinist (e.g. xenophobe) be an internationalist. Don’t be a wingnut, be rigorous and dialectical. Don’t be fashy, be radical left. Never has the opportunity to organise been more clear.

      American Dream

      November 25, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      • Standing in a street/marching with a placard and thus providing the opportunity for the seeds of anarchy to be planted is exactly not that.
        If an influencer like pewDiePie to name but one can garnish 110 million subscribers (if this was a country, he would be the 13th largest country in the world) let alone the millions/ tens of millions of views daily just on video game playing and talking nothing note worthy then the movement should know their doing something very wrong in the gaining support department.

        Doug

        November 26, 2021 at 9:44 am

        • It’s deep. There is surely a generational element which impacts associated media. I honestly do think the Left could embrace a bit more conspiracy investigation, given that some conspiracies are real. The question is how to make something more truly enlightening and mobilising than the standard fare. That said, bigger is not always better and a media spectacle is sometimes just a media spectacle.

          American Dream

          November 26, 2021 at 12:05 pm

          • Its a tough one as conspiracies often have the dots too far apart, spotted through a lack of concerted effort put in by the conspiracists to close the gaps further before outing their findings regardless of whether or not they later prove to be true.
            I can only speculate but i believe social media is still the way forward but perhaps instead of supplying a dictum, a person and or group should present a deep question that the public feels warrants further investigation beyond whats already supplied as its hard for governments and business to avoid scrutiny when millions are behind something and have the bit between the teeth.
            At the end of the day something must be impacting. the absolute truth and not a version of the author.

            Doug

            November 27, 2021 at 10:08 am

            • It IS a tough one, as there are truly unsolved mysteries that may never be solved- I was thinking less of that. I meant moreso, “hiding in plain sight” true crimes: the drug traffic, official corruption, privileged behaviors of the high and mighty, things they don’t want you to know. A bit sexy and interesting but there’s revolutionary implications to the stories if you know how to explain them…

              American Dream

              November 27, 2021 at 10:53 am

  4. Oswald Mosley’s goons used to do the same thing, eject anyone raising awkward questions–this according to firsthand accounts by Comrade Eric Arthur Blair/George Orwell. Socialism, warmunism and nationalsocialism are still as alike as peas in a pod after all these years.

    oiltranslator

    November 28, 2021 at 12:10 am

    • Questions, Questions, What’s with wrong with questions? Fascists, Fascists, Who are the REAL Fascists?

      Where have I heard these kinds of things before? Oh and Socialism is now synonymous with Stalinism???

      American Dream

      November 28, 2021 at 2:45 pm


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