‘For whether or not the age of revolutions is over, the age of state-formation has only just begun.’
— T. J. Clark, Farwell to an Idea, 1999
Table of Contents
- What We Know
- The Conspiracy Paradox
- The Power of Nightmares
- Capitalising on the Crisis
- Disruption and Redeployment
- The Emerging Ideology
- Biosecurity as Cultic Practice
- The Authoritarian State
- Brave New World
- The Time Given to Us
Hegel remarks somewhere that the owl of Minerva only spreads its wings with the fall of night. By this he meant that history is always written in retrospect about an already realised world. In 1940, no-one could know what every school-child knew in 1945: who won the Second World War. In five years’ time, perhaps, everyone will know the outcome of the current revolution in Western capitalism. But by then it will be too late. The owl of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, will be on the wing, and we will be left in the darkness. But if we are to keep the light of knowledge burning in her lamp, we can at least try to awaken from the sleep of reason into which we have fallen, and try to anticipate what monsters will emerge from the dark.
1. What We Know
We are approaching the first anniversary of the coronavirus crisis in the UK, and more and more people — on the Twitter account of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in the Facebook pages set up to share censored interviews with scientists, in the online platforms not yet shut down for discussing the evidence against lockdown, in the illegal meetings of friends in the homes of the people that host them, in the thousands of discussions and exchanges that happen at every act of resistance, every demonstration, every march — know that this crisis has been manufactured. But what else do we know?
- We know now that Government strategies for responding to a viral epidemic that had been in place for years were abandoned in favour of the historically unprecedented policy of national lockdown.