Ben Warner relates the coronavirus pandemic to the wetiko disease, what Jack Forbes calls “a spiritual sickness with a physical vector”—the disease of colonization.
By Ben Warner
A virus has been infecting humanity for centuries and it threatens all life on earth. This virus of selfishness is named Wetiko by many indigenous Americans. It is a form of psychosis, an infection of the mind and spirit that allows the creation of this cannibalistic culture often called Western Civilisation.
“Now, were Columbus and his fellow European exploiters simply “greedy” men whose “ethics”were such as to allow for mass slaughter and genocide? I shall argue that Columbus was a wétiko, that he was mentally ill or insane, the carrier of a terribly contagious psychological disease, the wétiko psychosis. The Native people he described were, on the other hand, sane people with a healthy state of mind. Sanity or healthy normality among humans and other living creatures involves a respect for other forms of life and other individuals, as I have described earlier. I believe that is the way people have lived (and should live). The wétiko psychosis, and the problems it creates, have inspired many resistance movements and efforts at reform or revolution. Unfortunately, most of these efforts have failed because they have never diagnosed the wétiko as an insane person whose disease is extremely contagious.”
– Jack D. Forbes, Columbus and Other Cannibals
Although Covid-19 is not “the cure” as some misanthropes claim, it does expose some truths, allowing us time to identify the real problems and reflect on ways to build an effective resistance to solve it.
What kind of culture needs a virus that attacks the respiratory system to force it to make behavioral changes that reduce levels (in China, the UK, Australia and worldwide) of nitrogen dioxide, a gas that increases the likelihood of respiratory problems? The decline of air pollution over China is estimated to have saved 77,000 lives.
What kind of culture needs a respiratory virus to save people from choking to death on the poison it produces? A wetiko culture.
While reports of nature and dolphins returning to the ancient city of Venice were exaggerated, why did the tweet that started it become viral? Why did so many people love the idea that nature might be reclaiming one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations?
It is likely that globalized capitalism caused this pandemic. What other form of human organization would lead to a marketplace selling highly-stressed animals, thus creating the conditions for a virus to cross the species barrier? Even if the virus originated in America, as some claim, it was spread by globalized transport. What other system would create the trade links and transportation to allow this virus to spread rapidly?
There is a strong likelihood of more viruses emerging with every bit of nature we destroy. Industrial civilization is the only human culture that extinguishes biodiversity at such an unprecedented level that it makes mass pandemics almost inevitable.
In a sane and healthy culture families forced to stay at home due to a disaster would not fear violence from members of their own household. In the Wetiko infected culture we have already seen an increase of men inflicting domestic violence (worldwide, France, the UK, the USA, South Africa) on the women and children they should be caring for. This culture of dominance is one we should all reject. By objectifying every being and viewing them simply as resources to be consumed; women, forests and all of wild nature become resources to be used, abused, tortured and killed.
Medical experts predicted this crisis. Governments and the ruling class knew what was coming, but did not meaningfully try to stop it. They simply planned the best way they could extract capital from it. They asked themselves how they could turn the virus and its consequences into a resource. This neoliberal cabal, includes the World Economic Forum (an organization which only represents leading global companies) and, which is now in partnership with the United Nations and World Health Organization. The response to this crisis is being controlled by global corporations. Do you think they care about you, or their profit margins?
The global elite tell us “we are all in this together.” If that is true then why did Prince Charles and Boris Johnson get tested when displaying mild symptoms? Meanwhile our nurses and doctors remain untested. The authorities are using this pandemic as an excuse to take away our rights and force us to comply with their agenda. How exactly have the authorities provided the services you need?
Consequences of Economic Shutdown
The community-strengthening sectors such as; arts and culture, local markets and small businesses have been forced to close and are unlikely to survive. They could be taken over by multinationals or simply disappear. Sectors that serve capital (finance, big tech, mining, construction, energy, industrial agriculture etc.) either continue unabated with their destruction or will be revived and bailed out when the lockdown ends. In fact promises of bailouts have already started.
Working class people cannot work from home. They have to work to stock the supermarket shelves and make sure we have food to eat. Most of these people are women, so once again, poor women will suffer the most. The majority of the global poor do not have access to healthcare and are starving to death amid food shortages (the Philippines, India)
It is likely that after this pandemic, governments and the global elite will implement the green new deal. This will not benefit the environment nor will it benefit poor communities. It will benefit the corporate sector. What is happening currently may have far reaching implications; we may never return to normal. We are already seeing countries pass laws to force medical treatments on patients who do not want them. In some countries (e.g. Sweden) there has already been microchipping of people. It is voluntary at the moment, but for how long? Elsewhere there is evermore increased, intrusive surveillance. People are being fined thousands of dollars for simply leaving their homes. Some medical professionals are advocating for infrared-visible tattoos for those who have been vaccinated—a procedure with unknown effects on health and privacy. Could we see governments make this compulsory?
It is hardly surprising that with at least 200 species going extinct each day we are fast approaching the 6th mass extinction. What else can we expect from a culture ruled by psychopaths?
Covid-19 provides the privileged with a frightening glimpse of what many face in the present and what we are very likely to face on an increasing scale in the future. Panic buying, mass migrations, starvation, reduction or complete loss of civil freedoms, social unrest and nations switching from fake democracies (inverted totalitarianism) to outright dictatorships. As species extinction, soil depletion and climate change continue to accelerate we could all face a more extreme version of this.
What Can We Do?
In this culture, there are people who value (and hold) power and money over relationships and love. By taking a bird’s eye view we can remember the importance of building communities and take decisive, effective action. Those of us who value relationships and love rather than money and power need to prepare ourselves. We need to help others prepare. While the media propagates panic, we need to organize collectively.
We must engage with every form of effective resistance. We need to talk with each other. We need to be united. We must collaborate with others whenever we share a common goal. Here are some specific examples.
Go On Strike
In late 2019 and early 2020, striking French electrical workers cut off the power to major corporations, including Amazon and government agencies. Previous French strikes have seen transport workers park trucks across the entrance to oil refineries and ports, shutting them down. We can learn from the French workers’ unions. A strategic general strike could shut down whole industries.
Build Community Defense Networks and Practice Discipline and Skills
Neighborhood organizing. The military and the police serve the interests of the ruling class. We should keep them out of our neighborhoods by forming our own defense forces and patrols. Emphasizing community safety and mutual aid. We should confront, record and prevent racist policing. This is one way to create a sense of neighborhood sovereignty. Refuse to report on your neighbors, instead help each other out. Defend small business and community infrastructure, drive out industries exploiting neighborhood land and labor, and resist corporate takeover.
Engage in Rent Strikes and Debt Strikes
The economy doesn’t need our labor, as evidenced by, the UK government paying people not to work. To continue the economy needs us as consumers. We could stop paying rent and paying off our debts. We could boycott the economy altogether and provide for our own needs from a land base. We have the collective power to take down the economic system.
Create Mutual Aid Systems and Local Food
We could grow food together, providing for others in our neighborhoods. Get to know neighbors in person. We need to abandon any belief that the government will provide for us and start providing for ourselves. As millions of people lose their jobs, they will see that the money economy does not serve us. This could promote opportunities to explore localized economies that do not depend on money and the global economy.
Learn and Teach Practical Skills
Offer skill shares such as food production, permaculture, maintenance and repair, crafts, direct democracy, local culture, arts and healing. All these skills can be learnt and taught. Learning together strengthens community and supports neighborhood well-being.
Raise Awareness About Political Issues and Revolutionary Analysis
Increase understanding about where political power is held, and how it is being exercised. It is in globalist institutions (World Economic Forum, World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund) and Big Tech. It is not in regional, national or local governments. Power is being exercised electronically, including through surveillance, it need not be exercised overtly.
The more organized we can be in building resistance, in localizing economies, the easier it will be for everyone. Global economic collapse is inevitable. Bringing it about and/or supporting transition is important work. We can find vulnerabilities in the structure, as the French Union workers did. We can start conversations to consider the possibility of life without electricity as an option. Without it the ruling class have fewer ways to extend power over us. We could support direct action to target the electricity grid and shut down the energy industry.We could be at the point in history when revolution to overthrow capitalism is inevitable. We need to be ready.
Ben Warner is a longtime guardian with DGR, a teacher, and an activist.
Disclaimer: This article was based on information and evidence available at the time of writing. The situation is changing quickly. Please, post links to anything you believe is relevant in the comments section, so the article can be updated as necessary. The links and questions in this article invite you to seek answers for yourself, engage critical thinking and investigate. You may not agree with everything. However, now more than ever, we need to collaborate and unite for revolutionary change, whenever and wherever we can.