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The Bolton lockdown has clearly not worked, and I believe that the cure is worse than the disease, so I have stepped down from my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary.
They are both in tier three and the tiering system is designed to simplify the rules so everyone will find them easier to follow over the coming years. Off to a bad start...
It feels like all of this is a test in compliance
But “temporary” emergency measures exhibit a curious tendency to become permanent.
This may apply, for instance, to restrictions on public assembly, ever expanding surveillance, or “flexible” (read: precarious) labour relations and automation of people’s jobs. Meanwhile, the generalized self-reproducing anxiety creates conditions in which it becomes increasingly difficult to critically reflect – individually and collectively – on long-term effects of what is going on. A generalized and potentially permanent “state of exception” (Agamben 2005) is being introduced, globally, among overwhelming confusion and fear.
Permanent “social distancing” will thus negatively affect all areas of intellectual activity, from education and research to artistic creation, to cultural criticism and political critique.
There is a clear politico-economic dimension to this. Our lives in the post-covid-19 “new normality” are envisioned to become reduced to just two functions: production and (maximally individualized) consumption.
No gratuitous activities will be possible, or very few.
Every exchange we have via “social media” is not our own – it is a commodity in the data market. Most of us know and accept this as a matter of fact. But in lockdown, even more of our everyday communication will depend on these commercial technologies. Thus, the process of alienation, which, as Marx noted, began with the appropriation of our labour, might soon culminate in near-total capitalist appropriation of our time and commodification of our communicative capacities.