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How the organized Left got Covid wrong, learned to love lockdowns and lost its mind: an autopsy

It is hard to destroy your own cause and feel righteous while doing so, yet the American left has done it. After more than two centuries at the vanguard of the struggle for freedom, the American left, broadly defined, executed a volte face and embraced anti-working-class policies marketed as purely technical public health measures.
 
by Christian Parenti
 
Part 9 - Covid Repression in the Global South
 
In the Global South the biosecurity justified lockdowns were far more socially crippling than those imposed in Europe or the US. As Amnesty International’s Report 2020/21 explains, “many governments imposed blanket bans on demonstrations or used unlawful force, particularly in Africa and the Americas.

The poorest of the poor were hurt the most. “Lockdowns and curfews led to particularly high numbers of workers in the informal economy losing their incomes without recourse to adequate social protection.” Women and girls, who are over represented in that sector, “were disproportionately affected.

The Report’s Africa regional overview explains that: “Governments used excessive force to enforce COVID-19 regulations and to break up protests…. Governments took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to intensify restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. In almost every country monitored, states of emergency were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. However, these measures were frequently used to violate human rights, including by security forces using excessive force.

One of the most draconian lockdowns in the Americas took place in the Dominican Republic, where police detained an estimated 85,000 people between March 20 and June 30 of 2020, “for alleged non-compliance with the evening curfew imposed in response to the pandemic.” Guatemala’s lockdown was also brutal, “more than 40,000 people” were jailed for lockdown and quarantine violations, “including people working in the informal economy.

Across Latin America authorities detained “tens of thousands of people in state-run quarantine centers,” which Amnesty notes “often fell well short of minimum sanitary and physical distancing standards.” In El Salvador, more than 2,000 people were detained in quarantine camps and “some were held for up to 40 days.” In Paraguay, 8,000 people were still in mandatory quarantine sites as of late June 2021.

Amnesty’s Asia roundup reveals more of the same. “To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, various degrees of lockdown and other limitations on movement were put in place by governments. Public assemblies were often not allowed, greatly restricting protests demanding political reforms… Many governments also further responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by adopting or weaponizing repressive national security or counter-terrorism laws.

In the Middle East it was similar: “Protest movements in Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon continued to organize in the first few months of the year until the spread of COVID-19 led to their suspension. Peaceful protesters faced arrest, beatings and, at times, prosecution for participating in demonstrations. In Iraq, federal security forces arrested thousands of protesters in the first few months of the year.

In Jordan, organized labor took the brunt of the Covid justified assault: “a protracted dispute between the government and the teachers’ union was exacerbated by the government’s decision to freeze public sector pay until the end of 2020 due to COVID-19.” When this was met by renewed protest, “Jordanian police raided 13 union branches, arrested dozens of union and board members and a court ordered the union’s dissolution.” The Lockdown Left, busy decrying the unvaxxed, paid very little attention to the Covid overreaction in the Global South.

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