COVIDIOTS AND NAZIS UNITED FACING ANTIFA
The feeling of uncertainty and fear has been fed by the State approach to this Corona Crisis like every other crisis that came before and that continues to grow by each day: Climate, Migration, Food Instability and Deforestation, all being exploited for profit, militarization and by the Right. With Corona at first we were all told not to bother wearing masks in public spaces, remember with illogical justification that only sick people should do so, dirty secret of capitalism and austerity being that there was not enough masks not just for all but also even for hospital workers, then came the present regulations for mandatory mask wearing together with world-wide subsidies and buyouts for heavy industries and large corporations and not for the healthcare or in the form of social assistance for those most at risk, the elderly the poor, migrants and prisoners. In this climate of practical breakdown it is the right that once again is trying to seize the opportunity to peddle their conspiracy theories to take advantage of the crisis: the narratives only on the surface apears to be critical of the state, assuming incredibly racist and antisemitic overtones: wearing masks is compared to sharia law or to wearing star of David during the Holocaust.
In last saturday demo #K2305 in Cologne a person appeared in a concentration camp uniform with a sign “Maske Macht Frei”, seen here being interviewed by a extreme right youtuber Oliver Flesch. This is only on the surface appearing to be critical of the state and its corona regulations as the conservative and right wing nature of those protest cover up any critique of social and healhtcare inaction of the state, marginalize highly affected groups like refugees, prisoners and migrant workers even further and their demo participants clap frantically any time any of the counter protesters get hassled or arrested by the police.
It is however the couter demonstrators, coming from left, antifa, social causes perspectives that make those demos worthwile and put them in the right context. After the initial surprise of the first demos on and around May 2nd, where Hygiene movement entered stores and harassed people wearing masks with some masks being pulled off people’s faces, with a very pronounced radical right element, the following demos on the 16th and 23 of May in Cologne and in Aachen, as in most other large cities, large antifascist counterdemonstrator presence was mobilized. In Cologne outnumbering the Hygiene Covidiots by 100, having 300-400 protesters to the Hyginist’s 200. It is not only the narrative that sets this group and movement as being clearly instrumentalized and heavily influenced by the right, its very name strikes uneasy parallels to Hygiene being a particuarly high propaganda focus of the national socialist regime with Racial Hygiene laws and potrayal of all ethnic minorities and enemies of the state as unhygienic. During the demos many agresive provocations took place from the Hyginists who caughed from a short disctance in the counter protester’s faces, sprayed them with desinfectant, and kept aggressively asking “Do you see any Natzis here?”. With each protest having its high profile extreme right wing social media personality as part of the protest on #K16o5 it was the Youtuber “Influenza”(with a rather intentionally disturbing self identification and fetishization of another deadly disease). Which is another more secretive, but seen in their group chats, element of this movement that not only does it deny that corona is a deadly to hundreds of thousands disease but at other times spreading the views that the pandemic is cleansing humanity of the old, sick and functions a needed population control instrument.
It is no wonder that like towards completly open natzis showing off in the streets, here too the response is that of disgust, actions and blockades. The counterdemos being organized with and without permits by alliance of the left and on the 26th of May in Cologne by the Sea Bridge, SeeBrucke People, offering a safe space and a garthering place for all that share a pro social, pro healthcare and anti natzi perspecive. This legality and permits of those demos, like allways, is not being respected by the State with several people being detained in Cologne and in Aachen. Once again solidarity is our weapon and we know that we can not expect anything more than inaction and brutality from the State, be it the Climate crisis or Corona, thats why again and again it is the self organized, autonomous and community groups that are filling the void that the State creates and enlarges creating an arena for the right wing extremists and neonazis.
The struggle for the streets and the minds has some parallels to the political situation fallowing the great depression in the 1920, with the unemployment in US and many economic indicators surpassing the great depression, especially in US and in the Global South, with the crisis expected to worsen with present unprecedented food insecurity in Africa and India and quite possibly this fall in Europe as well after a record breaking hot and dry winter. Equating every crisis with an opportunity, AFD, initianlly experiencing large drop in support due to not having any pro healtcare or pro social perspecitve(suprise, suprise) during the pandemic is now trying to catch up and postition iteself to take advantage of this economic/social/ecological crisis of Late Capitalism that is brewing out of,not just, corona, but also out of decades of ultra liberal austerity, climate crisis and now a global pandemic. The closures of many small establishments and loss of employment has to be adressed from a critique of capitalism perspective and the void filled with actions, mutual support and demands for not more cops but for free and open healthcare, not more guns but living wages and more open living and social spaces and closed borders responded with aid and open doors and admission to those impacted by wars and instability for which our privelaged Global North livestyles are responsible.
All the above demands, needs and social and climate emergencies that corona, cliamate and refugee crisis symbolize continue to be responded to by thousands who are not willing to sit at home and await the government to deliver any solutions knowing very well that unless those demands are not won in the streets and through actions and occupations they will never become a reality.