H1N1 Chaos and Mayhem, Oh My

This morning, when the alarm went off, I was treated – and I use the term very loosely – to some public radio personality telephoning, on-air, various health professionals around the country and doing thirty-second interviews about the swine flu – excuse me, H1N1 – pandemic and the mass vaccination that’s underway. It was being covered with a mix of excitement – think the morning of a presidential election – and hysteria – think any big security scare immediately after 9/11. The guy, whomever he was (hey, I had just woken up…) was breathless with excitement as nurses and doctors and other people from around the country told him the same thing over and over again: there’s nowhere near enough vaccine to go around, and the public is pretty damned alarmed, oh noes.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the nine begathon months this year for the local public radio station, so it could have been worse – people could have been imploring me over and over and over again to give them money.

Laying there in bed, half awake, a needy kitty on my chest demanding attention, and the H1N1 hysteria temporarily muted thanks to the snooze button, I got to thinking…

I’m not surprised that this pandemic has occurred; these things happen. What surprises me, though, is that – vaccine makers and government spokespeople aside – nobody is really doing much about it.

Oh, stupid people are apparently buying less pork than they used to, and some already sick people, by and large, have gotten sicker or even died because of complications from catching the virus – but where are the face masks, a la the avian flu? Where are the mass animal culls?

For that matter, where are the ecoterrorists? Back when “swine flu” was still “swine flu”, the independent left-wing press was full of accounts of how the virus had originated at a factory pig farm in Mexico owned by a multinational agribusiness called Smithfield Foods, and they should be held responsible by whatever means necessary.

Since then, have there been any protests? Have any of their financial partners been targeted? Have there been denial-of-service attacks, letter-writing campaigns, or acts of sabotage or vandalism?


Okay, one of their factories – in Cudahy, Wisconsin – did burn down this July, but that was, apparently, unconnected to ecoterrorism. (In the words of Deep Purple, “some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground.”)

In fact, the really radical left has pretty much ignored the H1N1 drama, which seems… strange, to me.

More attention has been paid by the far-right fringe – all the allegations that it’s a government-designed bioweapon meant to kill or sterilize brown people, black people, poor people, white people… it’s hard to keep track of what the current conspiracy theory is at the moment. Whatever you do, don’t let your kids get the nasal spray – it’s got live virus in it, as well as RFID tags and mercury and arsenic and lead and antimony and selenium and gods know what else, and if it doesn’t kill your child it’ll make him or her gay and a Democrat and a terrorist sympathizer… at least, according to the crazy people.

It’s totally counter-intuitive, and it makes my head hurt, even when I’m fully awake. The far right should be all conservative and responsible and supporting the vaccination of everyone, regardless of risk factors, because this could affect everyone and that kind of fearmongering is right up their alley. Instead, they’re all downplaying the threat, arguing that nobody has died from H1N1, and denouncing the government position as… fearmongering.

The anarchists should be decrying everything about the pandemic – how this is obviously the result of globalization, and wouldn’t happen if we as people took better care of the earth, and how vaccination injections are unnatural and wasteful and if we didn’t use so many antibiotics or whatever, our immune systems would be strong enough to fend off a wimpy little virus like this. They should be burning pork chops in the streets, and sabotaging hog farms, and derailing trains, and hanging misspelled banners off of bridges, and putting superglue in the locks of butcher shops and grocery stores. It’s an obviously environmentally-connected disaster that is and has been in the forefront of the public’s mind for months now, receiving huge amounts of (corporate) media coverage; the situation seems tailor-made for the anarcho-primitivists to exploit, but what are they doing about it?

Absolutely nothing.

It’s weird, I tell you. Weird as hell.

Published in: General | on October 27th, 2009| 1 Comment »

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  1. On 10/27/2009 at 3:23 pm PG Said:

    From the perspective of an anarchist from Euroland I must say that, yes, we’re all very appalled by the flu strains, that here in Europe we acknowledge that new flu strains somehow evolve out of existing strains also in the wild, I’ve never met any “comrade” that is anti-vaccination (but I read those rare idiots on mailing lists now and then) and that usually Americans are a bit loony in the head. Said that we’re too busy already trying to make something about attacks to public housing, public education and (mostly relevant to the matter) public health systems that we get to use here. And anarcho-primitivists, well, IMVHO are a bit bonkers TBH.