Interesting to see this piece from the ICC. It would appear to stand in some contrast to the emphasis of other interventions, where there is much criticism of the decision to open up "prematurely," as well as scorn for those who reject the idea that there was no other choice to lockdown.
And if this article is heavy in its depiction of the disastarous results of lockdowns for the working class and other vulnerable sectors of the population, it is neverthless not written in the same vein as the criticims made by Tagore2 elsewhere, where lockdowns are characterized as irrational, driven by fear and stupidity, etc. Rather, the article here suggests that there was no alternative for the bourgeoisie and for society as a whole, even suggesting that the lockdowns were accepted as necessary by most of the population, despite their heavy burden.
The difference in emphasis here is important as we are now facing a new surge in the virus in which the possibility of further lockdowns looms. While most national bourgeoisie remain very reluctant to do it again; it nevertheless appears that many may arrive at the conclusion that they have no other choice very soon, giving rising case numbers, with the expected eventual uptick in hospitalizations and deaths.
However, this time it may not be as well regarded by the population. There have been a series of protests against lockdowns across Europe in recent days. What do we make of the nature of these protests? It is difficult to tell just what weight they carry in society from the scant reporting, but the fact that they are happening in a number of countries simultaneously seems important. And it doesn't appear as if they are emanating solely from the populist or libertarian right. At a protest in Barcelona, signs were seen denouncing the state of affairs as "Covidatlism." Its not clear what this means, but there seems to be a growing sense in the population that states are relishing a little too much in a new found arbitrary power to reorder society, using the virus as a pretext. The situation in Barcelona may have been aggravated by the proposal for a weekend only lockdown. Apparently, it is safe enough to brave the virus during the work week, but the workers will spend their off days locked in the house? Who wants to live like that? Is stopping this virus, assuming that is even possible, worth it?
Clearly, the various European governments find themselves in a state of utter confusion at the moment, unable to offer any real perspective for overcoming the crisis. Without a Trump to blame for the spread, it seems they are turning their frustrations in on their own populations, who are said to suffer from "pandemic fatigiue," when they are not being downright selfish and reckless. Compare this chaotic situation to the US, where the Trump administration, perhaps in its dying months, has essentially given up on mitigating the spread and has basically just told the population to endure it until there is a vaccine. However, crass this may be, it at least releives the US state from dealing with anti-lockdown backlash, the prospects of protests that call its legitimacy into question and even more deeply ruined petty bourgeoisie. Here, the federal nature of the US state may be a blessing, as these kind of decisions can be spread down to a lower level; something it appears the European governments are attempting to as well through localized lockdowns, although with much greater difficulty.
I have thought from the start that the lockdown policies were adopted mostly out of concern for the legitimacy of the state and particular governments, such that they feared the backlash and recriminations from society should the hospitals be overrun. The Swedes on the other hand, whose response the article does not really address, appear to have had the opposite legitimacy concern--that their population would not tolerate a series of lockdowns with no longterm perspective. Perhaps this was more prescient than is acknowledged? But what do we make of the protests? It is said in Italy that they are being stoked by the Mafia, but is this all a reactionary anti-social phenomenon, on the order of the "Yellow Vests," or are these protests the result of people pushed to the limits of human endurance and given no perspective?