The Eclipse of the Sun by George Grosz, 1926

The air of optimism re Covid currently being projected by our Govt, our media, & our pharisees (excuse me, I meant to say ‘experts’) is wishful thinking.

Global cases rose by 15% last week. Health systems are on the verge of collapse across the Global South, notably Brazil. Panicked ministers across the European continent are confronted with the beginnings of a fourth wave.

Govts everywhere are unable or unwilling to implement effective public health measures. Social solidarity is breaking down both between countries & within them. The mass scale of the rapidly spreading infection all but guarantees the emergence of deadlier & vaccine-resistant mutations.

Boris Johnson tells us to get back to work. Bolsonaro says we should all man up & stop crying about it. Yet again the Irish airwaves are full of the representatives of Big Business singing their death song about ‘opening up the economy’.

& in practice the lockdown in Ireland is already over as, lacking leadership & support & clear information from above, many people have returned to work & resumed socialising.

The left’s campaign for a Zero Covid approach has no prospect of success in the near or medium term. It is easier for most to live in the false hope our rulers are so happy to provide us with, – a case, once again, of socialism battling against the human nature it refuses to believe in, & losing, again.

It isn’t what we can see, but what we are blind to, that so often defeats us on the left.

Socialists have spent too much time on parliamenting & fine speeches & pr for , & not nearly enough, with exceptions, building networks of solidarity with workers in working class communities. As a result we have only the influence the mass media & the algorithms grant us. We will suffer for spending our time perfecting our press releases & our logos when we should have been getting our hands dirty instead doing practical solidarity work.

Besides, the main party of the broader left, Sinn Fein, has neither the will nor the moral courage to argue for unpopular & difficult necessities – the kind of things which offer actual hope, but require sacrifice.

The situation of the working class, particularly the poorer sections of it, after a year abandoned to poverty, insecurity, & the withdrawal of educational, health, & social services, is dire. Addiction is general – the class is awash with weed, cocaine, alcohol, tranquilizers.

Criminal gangs have strengthened their grip in the cities & have thousands of new, young recruits. Far right ideology & misinformation is turning neighbour against neighbour & their is a real danger of a fusion between the far right & armed criminal gangs in Dublin, with all-too imaginable consequences.

What then, you will ask, is that brightness at the horizon, if it is not the rising sun?

Perhaps it is another kind of fire, another kind of flame, another kind of searing altogether, unstoppably heading our way.

PS – apologies if anyone finds this upsettingly pessimistic. It is in fact optimistic – as if Coronavirus were our only or even or biggest problem! To maintain false hope, or at least a state of blind distraction, i recommend upping your dose of Simon Harris, Morning Ireland, or Cocaine – or whatever is your poison of choice.