Text: Eugenics requires mass support, don’t give it that support

Comrades, stop playing ‘normal’

Maarten Steenhagen
2 min readMay 25, 2023

With a few exceptions, socialist movements do not seem to care a damn about the fact that if they gather in stuffy rooms without face masks during a pandemic, they exclude many of their comrades. I’m not going to point fingers, but examples abound. We need to learn.

Or can’t people like me who don’t want to catch COVID (or any other harmful virus) be your comrades? And if we can be, why are we excluded almost everywhere from political gatherings?

To be sure, we have to organise, and people have to come together. But why should this mainly be done in ways that reinforce current eugenic government policies? Why are so many socialists trying so hard to keep playing “normal” on this issue? For it should be obvious that coming together as a movement is something we can do in many other and more inclusive ways!

And no, my point is not that everything should take place outside in a park or on Zoom — although those are often great solutions. My point is that you should not do everything in indoor venues with poor ventilation and without masks. The pandemic should be a lesson for us, a moment of learning that alternative forms of gathering are essential for an inclusive movement.

In a cynical mood, I sometimes think that the emphasis on indoor venues, stages and cafes is because the pints usually beckon harder than the revolution; that people would rather keep their jolly routines than improve society and their own behaviour. But even if you mainly raise your fist to have an excuse to go to the pub, be more bloody creative and make your party more inclusive! Do not ignore the pandemic as capitalism asks of you, but make it clear what you will do to make the socialist movement accessible.

Concretely, I’m not going to prescribe what people should do. Everyone who calls themselves a socialist must draw up their own plans, and luckily creativity knows no bounds. But please take a critical look at your actions and planning, because I’m pretty sure there’s a neoliberal inside you, a dirty little bastard who thwarts the community and equality we’re all trying to fight for.

Fact is, eugenics requires mass support to succeed. Really, socialists shouldn’t be giving it that support! And yet, here we are…

During a pandemic with a virus that causes substantial damage to many people, continuing to do what you’ve always done may seem ‘normal’, but it is mainly proof of the supremacist thinking many people grew up with. Too many currently continue to stick out an ableist middle finger to thousands of comrades who have been declared dead by a capitalist system, and for whom systemic change cannot come soon enough. That needs to stop.

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Maarten Steenhagen

Philosopher and writer. Uppsala, formerly Cambridge. Writes about culture, psychology, and the dreadful state of the world. Sometimes writes about tech as well.