The Socialist Party and inattentional blindness

Read Time:3 Minutes

By Bruce Wallace

As we enter 2022 the Covid pandemic is now officially twenty months old. On the activist revolutionary left there is usually a taking stock of the events of the last year and conditional perspectives for the coming year of struggle laid out. In The Socialist, the paper of the Socialist Party, party general secretary Hannah Sell reviews 2021 and peers ahead in Britain 2022: Build a coordinated working class fightback.

This is a curious piece because of what it doesn’t mention. It is rather like an article produced by the Second International in 1916, passed by the government censor, that doesn’t mention the war! A case of inattentional blindness that misses the Invisible Gorilla.

Given that the biggest issue facing practically every working-class person on the planet has been coping with the seemingly insane response of bourgeois governments to Covid, surely there would be an analysis of it? Seek in vain.

In the lengthy article the pandemic is hardly mentioned. This is the treatment given when it is:

If the soaring levels of the Omicron variant lead to a new economic slowdown there could also be a new surge of job losses. Even without that, however, there will only be one way to prevent 2022 being a year of Covid austerity, and that is a coordinated working-class fightback.

One can only marvel at the weakness of Sell’s analysis here. A variant of a virus, only vaguely close to a life form, somehow has the power to slow down the economy! Sell, allegedly a Marxist, has discovered a new law of motion of capitalism: the Omicron Law.

Give me strength. If there’s been an international slowdown it’s been brought about by human action in response to the perceived threat of the virus, not through any mystical power attributed to it by the likes of Sell. She seems to think that the closure of businesses and schools, quarantining the healthy, the immiseration of a layer of the middle class and the enrichment of the big tech billionaires was because of covid. Such is the nature of cognitive dissonance.

There isn’t a single mention of the unprecedent mass vaccination campaign or the obscene profiteering of big pharma. Were one a historian a hundred years hence reading this article you would struggle to identify that it was even written during an international pandemic.

The Socialist Party website’s sidebar is weighed down by widgets linking to solemn guides to historical materialism and the history of international communism…

Theoretical widget on

In contrast, in an implicit comment on the pandemic’s presumed lack of historical significance, to read more about Covid we must turn to the 8 December issue of The Socialist, which features a very short article entitled ‘Covid News in Brief’ where, under ‘The Costs of Vaccination’, we have:

The cost of an undervaccinated world is new variants and millions of preventable deaths, particularly in the world’s poorest nations. Just 9.2% of Afghanistan’s population is fully vaccinated, 11.7% in Iraq. According to the Gates Foundation, $25 billion is what it would take to vaccinate the entire planet.

Leaving aside the fact that mass vaccination is itself likely to lead to new variants, the obvious solution is:

We say nationalise the pharmaceuticals, big business and the banks under democratic workers’ control and use the wealth to look after our health!

Amen to that, but it should then presumably say:

“Form worker vaccination battalions to give the clot shot to the poor Afghans and Iraqis

One may presume that the entire Socialist Party National Committee has not only been treble jabbed but lobotomised to boot.

Let’s consign the Socialist Party to the dustbin of history.

12 thoughts on “The Socialist Party and inattentional blindness

  1. The Socialist Party response reads like political satire – and would be quite humorous were the stakes not so high. Here in the States a similar “reality flip/flop” has occurred and we’re now living in what appears to be a completely “irony-free zone.” The same Democratic Party “progressives” who have for decades appropriately defended “a woman’s right” to maintain her own bodily integrity and decision making in the case of abortion rights – now appear to be at the forefront of supporting “all of us” losing our bodily integrity and decision making by vociferously supporting draconian vaccine mandates and lockdowns.

    It appears that Trump Derangement Syndrome somehow morphed seamlessly into Covid Derangement Syndrome. I’m now so far to the left of the Democratic Party that I believe I can see the freaking Libertarians just in the distance there on the horizon – as they appear to be the only ones apparently willing to share my position in favor of basic free speech and personal autonomy regarding medical decisions. It’s all really quite surreal here these days.

  2. Right on comrade.

    I am one of the libertarians you see on the horizon appalled at the almost total covid derangement syndrome across the political spectrum

    1. A cordial hello to you my libertarian comrade Tim. I think you and I can quite easily agree that no matter what trifles we may find that we might perhaps disagree about in terms of ‘economic policy’ – that we in fact have “much bigger fish to fry” – working together – when it comes to opposing what appears to be a form of global techno-tyranny descending rapidly upon the entire world.

      Here in the U.S. it has been Rand Paul, a libertarian who has garnered my deepest respect, as he has been one of the very few in our Congress to dare to challenge our malignant little sewer rat Dr. Anthony Fauci.

      Our once honorable ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) formerly noted for defending civil rights including free speech has now become completely unrecognizable. Within the last year the ACLU came out in official “support of” vaccine mandates offering the Orwellian rationale that such mandates “make us more free.” Yes, that’s right. I am now asked to believe that I am in fact “more free” if I give up my own bodily autonomy under threat of sanctions. That’s the level of barking-madness we call “the new normal” back here in the States.

      1. Yes to all of this!

        As a creature of the left, I have been supporting my friend who is a healthcare worker about to lose her job when the jab is mandated, so we attended the anti-lockdown rally in Plymouth city centre a few weeks ago.

        At the same time, the Socialist party were holding a rally highlighting ‘violence against women’, a cause I also support. The Socialist rally consisted of predominantly young, sexy student types – good for them – whereas the anti-lockdown rally was larger, much more economically diverse and predominantly working class people. The socialists spent a lot of time jeering at us, and one young human decided to scream at my friend that she was a ‘fascist’, ‘conspiracy theorist’ and ‘misogynist’.

        The irony of self described socialists attending a ‘respect all women’ march, screaming at a working woman who is losing her job because she doesn’t want to be part of a mass medical experiment, perfectly sums up the modern left.

        These people have conjured a romanticized version of the working class in their minds, which seems to justify their complete disdain for the concerns of actual working people.

        I am still a creature of the left, but I will be much more vocal in my opposition to this trend.

        Thanks for doing the work.

  3. Great article. And thanks to the author for reading the Socialist so the rest of us don’t have to! I can’t stomach any of those papers these days. They are no better than the oligarch press. At least you get some dissenting views from writers at the Mail and Telegraph (and plenty more below the line).

    Hannah Sell calls for ‘a coordinated working-class fightback’. What does she think has been happening for the past two years? The biggest attack on the working class in modern times has been met by massive, global working class resistance – resistance that is described by the Left commentariat as ‘far right’, ‘racist’, fascist’, when they deign to acknowledge it at all.

    These ‘Left’ pundits and their theoretician masters have betrayed the working class and scabbed on humanity. We are going to need a massive dustbin.

    1. I used to be a member of Socialist Party and couldn’t get into reading their paper. Full of dogma but in their eyes it’s the truth.

  4. Almost as if all of these cultic little parties were controlled opposition from the get-go…hmmmmm

  5. I have never been very political. Here in the US it all seems like a glorified popularity contest, and we’ve seem to run on autopilot for a while since our revolution. But now I am forced to consider all of this. Not sure where I would lie on spectrum. But I know good, logical discourse when I see it. I certainly consider myself an ally to your cause. Keep up the good work!

  6. Thanks for this analysis, I’ll share. But I cringe anytime a rational critique like yours goes along with calling the covid event a “pandemic.”

    1. It’s the official description that most people think we’re living through. By the same token even calling the snake oil “vaccines” is wrong. It’s a scamdemic but hardly worth arguing about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.