A place there surely will be, in the annals of the early-2020s Corona-Panic, for the “Defeat the Mandates” rally, held Washington, D.C., on Sunday, January 23, 2022. To my knowledge, “Defeat the Mandates” was the largest single show-of-force protest- or rally-type event by opponents of the Corona-Panic in the USA.
The below is my attempt to provide some primary-source observations for the “Defeat the Mandates” event, as I was there. There are many thoughts, as well, on the bigger meaning of the event.
Although the largest part of this effort is the compilation of “scenes” (in text) from the Defeat the Mandates event, I can’t resist framing it with some of the usual running Corona-commentary and thoughts on the meaning of the Panic for our world. It still causes me a level of distress that something like the Corona-Panic could happen at all.
There are thoughts on the (many) positives and the (few) negatives of the rally. The place of the whole thing within the context of the Corona controversy (Pro-Panic vs. Anti-Panic). The meaning of the event within the history of the Corona-Panic. Also on its influence on the much more dramatic Freedom Convoy in Canada which followed soon afterwards. Finally, some thoughts on how “Defeat the Mandates” might be remembered in the future, in retrospectives on the Corona-Panic era.
You might be able to guess already at the outlines of my main points. The “Defeat the Mandates” event stands as an important signpost in the Corona era. It signals the major strength and vigor, momentum, energy, and broad base of the Anti-Panic coalition, finally getting organized and on the march, so to speak.
(1.) What was good about the “Defeat the Mandates” rally.
(2.) What was bad about the “Defeat the Mandates” rally.
(3.) A series of rolling scenes from “Defeat the Mandates,” that is, direct observations from various parts of the event, from morning to near dusk. This is the longest section.
A few preliminary words: I made the point of arriving early and leaving late. I took no pictures. I render moments or scenes into text.
People came and went during the day, but it’s thought that 100,000 people turned out for at least some of the event. This despite the cold and despite some people urging non-attendance citing potential risks of attack by counter-protestors, or trouble by agents-provocateurs, or just ending up a regime enemies list. (This turned out to be much ado about nothing.)
This section amounts to long-form journalism, I suppose, or something near it. I hope it offers insights not otherwise recorded about “Defeat the Mandates,” or at the very least things not recorded in the way done here. In other words, this account, I hope, offers value more than the sum of its parts.
It’s a bottom-up rather than the top-down view of the “Defeat the Mandates” rally, focused on the crowd and the general atmosphere and less on the speakers on stage, all of which were livestreamed (of course) and for which videos exist.
(4.) Next, a brief overview of reactions by the media and others involved in discourse-framing, in the immediate news-cycle and thereafter.
(5.) On the Canada Freedom Convoy event, which took Canada by storm in late January 2022. It follows soon after Defeat the Mandates. Thoughts and conjectures and to what extent “Defeat the Mandates” influenced this dramatic, bold, impressive protest action in Canada, one of the boldest Anti-Panic showings-of-force anywhere during the Corona-Panic era, but interesting that
(6.) Forward-looking thoughts on how History might see the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in its place within the context of the Anti-CoronaPanic movement of the early 2020s. How might “Defeat the Mandates” fit in a retelling of the Corona-Panic some ten years from now, or thirty years from now, or seventy years from now (nearly out of living memory), or after a hundred years (definitely out of living memory), or even five hundred years from now (if I may be so bold).
On with it!
In simplest terms, “Defeat the Mandates” was an important show-of-force and counts as a big success.
The rally itself inspired obligatory, bland, stale-seeming, top-down (non-“grassroots”) opposition.
Backing up a little, I should make the point by laying some groundwork for what the stakes are with events like this today. Three are plenty of critics of events like this, so it deserves a little time.
The idea that our reality has become “Interneticized” is a theme of the Corona-Panic writ large, and a clue to the origins of the Panic. A sizeable portion of today’s Western people might be classed as “more comfortable with,” or at the least “more accustomed to,” Internet-filtered reality than flesh-and-blood-and-fresh-air reality. The Corona-Moloch’s siren song worked through digital reality in way that would have fallen flat under analog reality.
(A lot of the thinking Anti-Panic side’s best and most sober analysis of why the Corona-Panic “happened,” and succeeded so ferociously and destructively, has to do with this cultural “Internetization.” How is it that people began to enthusiastically worship the Corona-Moloch with its mass child-sacrifice? And after just a few weeks of Corona-evangelism and doomsday-prophesying by the Corona-prophets? How is it they stayed so loyal to the Panic for up to two years thereafter? The ground was seeded by this cultural “Internetization,” of which we didn’t properly understand the social dangers. It allowed the Corona-Moloch’s minions and evangelists to swoop in and take over, the familiar coup d’etat of spring 2020. This is going to be studied a great deal in coming years.)
One of the many consequences of cultural “Internetization,” of digitization of perceived reality, has been the creation of a large, (one might say) bloated class of kibitzers and commentators, highly online, and who by temperament are (really, have become) critics of direct action.
There is still great power in mass mobilization. Whatever good points these critics may have, it’s a plain fact. Equally true is that mass mobilization of a regime-disapproved social movement—much less a more-or-less anti-regime social movement—is riskier, and more difficult to pursue successfully, than one dripping with elite or regime patronage (we’re looking at you, BLM circa mid-2020).
The Corona-Panic must be understood in part as an elite event, elite-backed and elite-led. Corona had its own kind of social movement, the Pro-Panickers. It was very successful in 2020 and kept the wide middle swathes of society totally cowed (passive Panic-accepters) and the Anti-Panic side intimidated, disorganized, and demoralized. A strong remnant of that social movement remains in early 2022, but only a shadow of its former strength. It is here that the Defeat the Mandates event, and comparable events, come in—a showing-of-force to show the momentum and energy is now entirely on the Anti-Panic side.
Even when discourse is shaped by lazy Internet critics, “e-celebs,” “social media personalities,” compulsively online MSM journalists, and kindred types bombarded with info-bites, even they need at-least-modest-scale public events to feed the system. Showings-of-force by one or another side are great for to make digital “hay” over. Even small events can get amplified and can thereby be experienced vicariously by many times the number who would ever have seen them in an analog world (cf. the 2010s-era term “going viral”).
There is also a “game theory”-like dilemma with an Interneticized populace and political action. The dilemma: People want things to happen, but no one wants to do risk being out. In other words, they don’t want to risk being first. This was a problem for the Anti-Panic side throughout the Corona-Panic nightmare. The dilemma is broken only when a crowd the size of a large rock concert or larger materializes….
The “Defeat the Mandates” is obviously significant not just for size but place (as well as production values of the afternoon portion, and to some extent also quality of attendee).
The place, the several miles’ worth of parkland full of monuments and memorials south of downtown Washington (the “National Mall”) is significant because of its symbolic value as near the center of U.S. government power but also as a well-known site of large-turnout protests or political rallies, almost always by “the Left.”
The significance of Washington in this (Corona-Panic) case is also global, more than usual. The USA has long played the role of global agenda-setter, of course. It seems to have continued to do so in the Corona-Panic era (2020-2022[?]). Political forces in the USA might have stopped the Panic before it began. Had that failed and the Panic-contagion had got loose and seeped into general circulation anyway, the USA could have shown leadership by leading a global Anti-Panic coalition, which could have soon turned the tide against the Panic. Instead, the opposite happened. The USA became a superspreader of the Corona-Panic, in part because a weak president in 2020 who lacked moral seriousness. This weak president’s otherwise-often-excellent instincts told him to ‘demagogue’ on The Virus, a disastrous mistake.
If the USA was the key the global Corona-Panic, a Washington rally is significant for the entire world. Yes, there have been bigger and more consistent rallies in Europe. In many of those cases, there is a long tradition of street protests in some of those places, and other factors facilitating protests. European countries have often had more extreme Pro-Panic regimes that actively seek to marginalize or crush dissenters, to make public-enemies out of principled opponents of the Corona-Panic, to legally mandate public loyalty to the Corona-Panic. The attempts to do this in the USA have often been half-baked. There have also been enough release-valves in place to blunt such things in the USA, which reduce incentives to risk protesting. The January 23, 2022, rally was also on a very cold day.
Also briefly on the production values of “Defeat the Mandates”: A lot of money went into the stage and sound system, including television screens for the overflow crowd. The quality of rally attendees is also something anyone can testify to. Political rallies always attract some measure of eccentrics, but the mainline of this crowd was Middle America type people, but only by a small majority.
The biggest disappointment is that it took so long. January 2022. It’s a shame nothing like this happened in 2020 itself.
We can trace the Corona-Panic, as social phenomenon, back to early January 2020 in its earliest form; it evolved fast over the next few months and more slowly over the rest of 2020 and 2021. These two-plus years were are terrible time for civilization. And not because of a virus (which was, even at worst, approximately at the once-to-twice-per-decade magnitude) but because of the social and political phenomenon I call the Corona-Panic, believers in which, or supporters of which, of which I call Panickers or the Pro-Panic side. They “held the whip hand” over us all, to varying degrees, for two years.
The effects on your own life directly vary depending much on your location and station in life, but all are ultimately affected in complex, indirect, and ongoing ways, leaving with an unsettling prospect for a future under regimes which keep the rights they grabbed for themselves, and leave the path open for future Corona-Panic-like events to wreak havoc.
I push through this review of the two worst years in living memory to emphasize how much the situation cried out for an opposition social movement, to confront and crush the Panic-pushers. Why did it take two years after the Panic first emerged for a major rally to come through in Washington opposing the Panic? This is a question for the scholars to deal with, but here I just want to point it out.
It shows how disorganized and off-balance the Anti-Panic side was in the first year or so. It’s not just Internetization (discussed above), it’s also that the Pro-Panic side staged a coup d’etat, quickly dug in the heavy guns, and dared a scattered group of opponents without any effective command structure to try a counter-attack, charge the heavy guns. No prudent field commander would order such an attack, and so the Anti-Panickers retreated to the hills, angry and feeling isolated.
Poetically, “Defeat the Mandates” was two years to the week since China bizarrely ordered an unnecessary “lockdown” of a city and then a province (very likely knowing that carriers of the virus from the outbreak in Wuhan were already all over China and the world). I didn’t hear anyone comment on how the two-year anniversary of the totally unnecessary Hubei Lockdown having just passed, some three days before the Defeat the Mandates rally.
Negative: The really also was the usual kind of stage-managed affair in the USA whereby the people “on stage” are much more “diverse” than the crowd.
Negative: The rally ran the risk of falling into (or being perceived as) a narrow anti-Vaccine (or anti-Vaccine Mandate) event. It was partly that, but not exactly that on the whole.
The Corona-Panic drew on predecessor social phenomena (the serious study of which deserves, and I am sure will get, more attention in coming years). But it must be evaluated in its own terms. In its earliest stage in January 2020, it was powered by people on a paranoiac- and conspiracy-fringe. Flashing forward a few months, the Corona-Religion had achieved state-cult status. This is all long before vaccines. Focusing too much on the vaccine problem alone may make it seem like the problem only began in early 2021, and all that came before was an understandable to a virus catastrophe. No, Corona was tainted from the start, the the vaccines were simply one more iteration of the story.
Scenes from “Defeat the Mandates”
I didn’t much mind that my smartphone camera died some days before the Defeat the Mandates rally. There are cameras everywhere, and during major events one more camera adds no real value.
Lacking the ability to take pictures, on the other hand, allowed me to observe more closely what was going on without feeling any need to capture it, at least with a camera. ‘Viral’ video clips do a poor job of conveying the situation, and a portrait in the written word can be uniquely effective. That is what follows in this section.
A cold Sunday morning. Trickles of people, here and there, headed down. Often in small groups, also some singletons. Rally attendees are identifiable because they are often carrying backpacks for the day and are dressed unusually warmly, as for a hike through the mountains. Even more easily identifiable are those carrying signs, of course. I see one had a sign mocking Fauci, who is shown declaring himself a god (a good example of Corona-as-Religion theory having become mainstream; there would be many more examples of the same on this day).
I should add here that in the days before the rally, some group had put up excellent propaganda mocking Corona-belief, again in quasi-religious terms:
These posters are also visible at the rally but amid all the other signs they are just a mild encore. The main event had been these teams plastering them in public places in the “federal city,” by night. This amounted to “softening up” the rhetorical ground in the days ahead of the rally.
The Washington Metro has been running embarrassingly badly in the weeks before the rally, perhaps another casualty of Corona-Panic-related disruptions. On this particular day they scale back their underwhelming service even more, running no trains at all on one of the lines from Virginia into downtown Washington. There is some kind of thin claim of a need for track maintenance, which can only be done on this particular Sunday and all day.
What is suspicious here is that local media had run stories earlier about how many of the out-of-town protestors were planning to stay in lodgings on the Virginia side because of the legal mandates now in effect in Washington, laws which purport to block people without a vaccine-pass from entering some businesses. Given the comparatively free state of Virginia is a short distance away, why take the chance? There is also the moral problem with giving any money to a system like that. In any case, it seems possible, even likely, that this Metro line shutdown was intended to disrupt the protest.
Arriving early at the vast Washington Monument grounds, said to be the morning center-of-action, I have still seen no sign of any substantial police presence.
It’s encouraging to see the early arrivals. They more overtly political than the general crowd as it develops by midday and afternoon.
Arriving from one direction in the 9am hour, you’re greeted by a large tent-like structure under a blue tarp. U.S. flags are flying but the “fort” here is really anchored by a big “Let’s Go Brandon” flag. Thick on the ground at this early hour, among some of those closest to the Washington Monument, are lots of other “Let’s Go Brandons.” Some are actively chanting “Let’s Go Brandon,” or the R-rated version “F*** Joe Biden,” perhaps more interested in Let’s Go Brandon-ing than in anything about the Corona-Panic, Vaccine Mandates, Lockdowns, whatever.
The LGB contingent is just the noisiest of the early arrivers, but the whole of them present the image of the old “Middle American Radical” idea. This initial impression steadily fades as more people filter in.
After a while it’s clear one thing is entirely absent, and that’s the “counter-protestor.” Counter-protesting what? Are there people willing to put his body on the line (so to speak) to demand unwilling strangers be forced under heavy penalties to get an unnecessary injection against their will?
In other words, the rally attendees are the rebels. It stretches the cord beyond the snapping point for a would-be “counter-protestor” to talk himself into some idea that these people are n the side of Power and the Vaccine Mandaters and Corona-Panic-people are the oppressed.
It’s funny also because there are plenty of people with the attitude of “crush the anti-vaxxers and corona-deniers,” but it seems none is willing to put themselves “out there.”
(I should say there was one, only one, counter-protestor. He was acting alone, and silent. He said nothing. He stood among others, blending in. Only by his sign would you know he supported the Panic regime. I cannot recall what it said, but it may have been a double-whammy Anti-Trump and Pro-Corona-Panic slogan of some kind. He was Black. I don’t think many people noticed him.)
After not more than a few minutes among the early-assembled crowd, increasing in size by the minute, one senses that the Corona-Panic regimes face a dilemma. Opposition energized, supporters passive, their own ideological line looking incoherent and out-of-touch.
Now it’s the 10am hour. This is still before the official start-time of the event. There are now thousands on the grounds of the Washington Monument and thousands more in the vicinity somewhere. A wide net would fall over tens of thousands by around the end of the 10am hour.
Large groups on all sides of the giant obelisk monument to the first president mingle freely and chat and laugh in the cold. It is a music-festival-type atmosphere (a rare such sight in cold temperatures and non a Sunday morning).
Conspicuous are Middle America types continue to dominate the scene, not usually seen in the Washington of recent years. America’s “provincials.” By declaring themselves openly against the Corona-Behemoth, they are declaring themselves dissidents, and unsurprisingly the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread on Me”) has lots of carriers this morning. It is probably the most common sight after the U.S. flag, but in close competition with “Let’s Go Brandon” for now. The LGB boys are noticeably fading in comparative numbers. Their energy early on did a lot to boost the mood of people assembled.
An interesting social dynamic has emerged spontaneously. I have to assume that most of these people have never attended an Anti-Corona rally or protest. No one knows what they’re supposed to do, or (more worryingly) what dangers there might be. The situation is fluid. But there is just no sign of trouble anywhere. I am pretty sure that most Big-Blue Washington types are frightened of Middle America people, but this just points to ignorance. These are much friendlier people than Big Blue equivalents.
At this point I send a message to the friend who had agreed to meet me here. I have arrived far earlier. I tell him the crowd is impressive, most comparable to “Rolling Thunder,” which is an motorcycle rally in honor of POW/MIAs held yearly on Memorial Day weekend in May, from the 1990s to 2010s. Rolling Thunder was a quintessential Middle America kind of event, the only time the provincials were present in force in the imperial capital in the year. (In 2019 they were finally squeezed out by local officials, who felt empowered by the anti-Trump wave, I suppose).
The sea of signs and banners with slogans on them gets my attention. One banner, flying on flagpole and carried by a guy, says “Stop Medical Segregation.” Some other signs: “Coercion is Not Consent,” “Robert Malone for CDC Director,” “Jim Crow 2.0.”
There is that one obligatory guy with a “Stop the 9/11 Coverup,” like an off-key note in an otherwise harmonious symphony. Another guy with an arguably off-key message has a sign with only one word: “SOCIALISM,” but a circle around it and line through it (i.e. Say No to Socialism). At least he gets credit for simple and understandable messaging.
There is a Buddhist religious group here. Or at least a group who present themselves as Buddhists. I believe I have seen the same group before, scamming tourists for donations. They may not be Buddhist s at all but con-men, for I don’t believe actual Buddhist monks would pester people for donations in exchange for prayer beads day in and day out. Maybe they are here out of conviction; alternatively, maybe they think it’s jackpot day if so many goodwilled and principled people are coming out.
After about a half hour here near the Washington Monument’s base, I still have seen no security presence beyond about half a dozen indifferent-looking police chatting with each other and paying no attention to any one the rally people. They have strategically placed themselves on the sunniest and comparatively warmest side of the Washington Monument. I do finally see two men markked “Secret Service” on bicycles. They speed by. But that’s about it.
The most exciting thing going here at the Washington Monument vicinity is a music group with a good sound system and plenty of energy. They are in exactly the right place. They’ve attracted a few dozen listeners, and soon a few hundred . They are good.
The band’s name is “Route 2 Revolution.” They play apparently original songs, including Anti-Corona songs, One called “Set Yourself Free. ” The live performance was more intense and emotive than the studio version linked-to there. That’s often true of live music. This is another way to say they were on their game.
The Anti-Corona band clearly fed off the energy of hundreds of people who had spontaneously formed a circle around them. Space in the middle got filled by several dancing ‘hippies,’ a rarely seen development for a very cold Sunday morning, and rarer still for hippies to be dancing to a clearly right-wing band.
Another song the “Route 2 Revolution” group played this day was “Free to Decide” (see also Bitchute copy of a live performance), which is an explicitly anti-Corona-Panic protest song. I think they encored “Free to Decide” many times. Every other line of this song got rousing cheers. The strong reaction no doubt kept the band at the top of their game but also lifted the morale of the hundreds listening. Where, we might ask, is the original music rom the Pro-Panic side?
I find the lyrics to their song nowhere online, so let me transcript them:
Free to Decide
by music group Route 2 Revolution,
released June 2021
I see all this masking is getting me down
I can’t see a smile, no, not even a frown
But I see your eyes and I know you’re alive
But please don’t condemn me, if I don’t comply…
I’ve been thinking about
the long-term effects of these masks
Something the mainstream don’t care to ask
Lockdowns are killing, depressing you
Unconstitutional, know that is the truth
I won’t comply
I won’t comply
Free to decide
Oh–we’ll get better!
Someday you’ll see
Someday you’ll see
Oh–we’ll get better!
And we don’t need your vaccine
99.975% rate survival
Please don’t condemn me, if I don’t comply
’cause it’s my right to breathe
And not for you to decide
Know I’ve got the Bill of Rights, it is on my side….
I guess this group played through much of their repertoire. They seem they have been active at other protests, but this may be their biggest audience ever. The positive attention and the total possession of the terrain by simpaticos (Anti-Panickers, lockdown-opponents, anti-maskers, vaccine-decliners, vaccine-pass enemies, and Corona-Moloch-worship refusers) clearly energized them. The mini-concert fit hand-in-glove with the tenor of the event as it shaped out.
The band’s leader occasionally addressed the crowd between songs. I would describe his few talking-points as Constitutionalist-libertarian. He read the crowd well enough to realize there were many not necessarily on board with any “right-wing politics” and kept message-discipline for which all could agree.
The spontaneous concert has achieved a rare feat, the merger of Left and Right.
Still from the Washington Monument grounds, I send a text message to the same associate of mine, who still says he is on his way. I tell him:
It was a reference to the union of these types who would otherwise not break bread together. It may sound cliche, but it was one of the more striking things about the event. I imagine these scenes are repeated in all the big protests in Europe, oppositionists actual and would-be Corona-dictatorships who never would have found common cause in 2019.
By the time the clock strikes 11, the number of slogans and banners has proliferated far too much to hope to take in, but I try for a few, a perhaps-representative sample.
There comes a group of people with matching “Make America Free Again” sweatshirts. here’s somebody with a “Joe Biden is Not My Father” sign. What does he mean?
The most common was the slogan (excluding LGB) may be “Do Not Comply.” Often it’s preceded by a “hashtag mark” (formerly known in the USA as the “pound sign”). “Hashtag, Do Not Comply.” This no doubt to signal hipness to social media meme culture, and therefore legitimacy in Interneticized discourse (I suppose). It’s a dangerous game, because the Corona-Panic itself burst through on the same social media two years ago.
“I Will Not Comply”; “Freedom Over Fear”; “Unmask our children!”; “Fauci is the Real Virus.” The latter banner, calling Fauci “the real virus,” is carried by a pair of over-polite white male teenagers (or young-looking early-20s), their extreme politeness a funny contrast with their banner’s slogan. Their politeness is also of that Middle America kind you wouldn’t se with a Big Blue anarchist type.
More signs: “Real journalism is dead”; “Mandate Freedom”; “Not anti-Vax, pro-Informed Consent.”
Coming in from the west I see two East Asian males. They lack nothing for boldness, or their sign says, loud and clear, “Covidian Cultists Want You in Camps.” I have to again tip my hat to the success of the Corona-as-Religion hypothesis, mainstreamed in 2021.
“Lesson learned: never trust a vaccine developed at warp speed”; “Build your immune system! Eat vegetables! Exercise!”; “Ask me about my adverse Vaxx reaction (Moderna).” The sad case of a woman with serious injuries from the injection is a white woman in her twenties or thirties. Later I see her being interviewed by someone with a large shoulder-held camera. Seemingly some kind of braodcast news organization, but I don’t think American.
“China Joe and the Ho gotta go–Stop the Communist now.” That crude, half-rhyming couplet carried by a man in a cowboy hat.
Not far off from the cowboy-hat is a thin and wiry Black male looking to be in his twenties. He presents as someone out of a BLM protest circa mid-2020. There are not many like this in the crowd, but there are a few. He a t-shirt on which is written in large letters “Unvaxxed AF” (‘AF’ is an abbreviation for “as f***,” which of recent years somehow came to mean “____ very much,” o “100% ____,” with a hint of pride).
Nor far off from the Unvaxxed-and-Proud Black male are two white men with “Thin Blue Line” flags (the pro-police symbol). Earlier, near the same terrain on the grass, was a group with a “Feminists for Freedom” banner.
The juxtapositions like this are too numerous to recount. The event may as well have been named: “Defeat the Mandates: Strange Bedfellows.” I noticed and wrote about this part of the Corona-Panic already in early April 2020—that there was an identifiable novel political split under the Corona-Panic. It’s evolved a good deal over time, but the initial observation remains valid in early 2022.
Now a sign appears with “Mandate THIS” followed by a middle finger. The carrier makes the round to make sure all see his handiwork, what with the well-made middle finger and all.
Ove there, a contingent or orange “Millions Against Medical Mandates” signs, seemingly arriving together. The median member of the crowd in the area I’ve been hanging around is not likely to join a Let’s Go Brandon chant, though the Mandate THIS!” guy no doubt is, as it Mr. China Joe and the H Have Got to Go,” but these are colorful protest types.
Now here’s something interesting: a “DeSantis” sign. I realize I’ve seen few if any Trump signs in general circulation. I suppose there were some Trump signs, but generally only in tight conjunction with the Let’s Go Brandon signs and banners, and a secondary element to the LGB mantra.
At time of writing, the Trump material just doesn’t stand out at all in my memory. One also suspects those were were carrying Trump or MAGA banners or flags were doing so only as a seemingly respectable, and useful proxy in the discourse-space aimed at their real enemy, which is the Corona-regime. Many of the sharper ones in this crow will have figured out that which Trump himself was an enabler, in final analysis, of the Panic. Trump would probably lose a straw poll of Defeat the Mandates attendees.
By now it is pushing to 11:30am and the “march” part of the event is getting ready to begin. People continue slowly flowing in from all directions, but a few begin moving towards the Lincoln Memorial.
It all flows like some natural force. There is no central control, and it all somehow just happens gracefully. There are a handful of people in yellow vests which say “March Route,” but no one is much paying attention to them. The march route is simple and clearly visible.
Although the terrain is basically open, the authorities have cordoned off all but narrow marching paths towards the Lincoln Memorial area. Given the number of marchers and narrow paths to follow, the movement takes much longer than the same stroll would take on an ordinary day. People also peel off here and there to see different things or talk to different people, and different grouplets of activists have stationed themselves at points along the march to distribute literature.
Standing atop a portion of the Word War II Memorial, which is directly on the march route, are a handful of men with bullhorns talking something about a planned “social credit” system. They’re getting lots of attention, mostly for having seized the best location to get attention on the march. Dozens have either peeled off from the march to listen to them or have slowed down considerably for the same purpose.
I don’t understand exactly what they’re saying. Just mentioning the “social credit system” idea is enough, though, isn’t it? (The disturbing thing is how not off-topic this is. Recalling that the original ‘problem’ was, supposedly, a flu virus, people ranting about a social credit surveillance-and-control systems might seem just as off-topic as the “9/11 Inside Job” solitary protestor.) What they were doing was classic public speaking, the kind from which we get the expression the “soapbox,” or the “public square.” This kind of public speaking is seldom seen in the USA anymore because so few places have the numbers in public to sustain such public speaking. Our forefathers, at least those in cities or when visiting cities, would often encounter this, but now the closest approximation is some high-follower Twitter account.
Deployed at one point on the march route was a team of about five people, all Whites, handing out materials for a “Stop Vax Passports Task Force” group. There seems to be some kind of tie-in between them and a “Save the Persecuted Christians” group.
I backtrack a little to check on something. From an excellent vantage point able to see the full march route, I overhear a man (White, age 30s or 40s) say something to a female companion. Looking upon the scene, the flow of people, and the energy of the marchers, he said this:
The line written in text might seem ironic, but he delivered it unironically.
There are people here carrying signs with names of dead young people who had had unexplained heart attacks after getting the injections, and then died. One such sign shows a picture of a young woman with name and and age (she was 24), dead days after the shot.
More signs: “No papers, please”; “Open the US/Canada Border!” There are a number of people parading around with a large Canadian flags flying upside down to denote distress. There is also a call to “Free Australia,” and later I see someone with an upside-down Australian flag. I don’t recall seeing anyone pushing some of the more extreme Corona-regimes in Europe, like Austria. Is it a language barrier thing?
I proceed up the march route One guy, White and of strong build, carries a “F*** Joe Biden” flag. The same man also has loud sound system hanging around his neck, I think it was, from which emits an uncensored version of a rap song whose title is also the charming “F*** Joe Biden.” That three-word line amounts to the chorus, and is repeated often. I think it was this song by Burden, a right-wing White rapper who has covered himself in tattoos.
(Addendum: I’ve learned that the very after “Defeat the Mandates,” the famous-and-successful Kid Rock released a somewhat embarrassingly vulgar song loosely modeled, perhaps, on the charming “F*** Joe Biden” rap song. “We The People,” release date: Jan. 25, 2022. It features attacks on the Corona-Panic-pushers, on Fauci, and especially on Biden. Seemingly his attempt to cash in Let’s Go Brandon-ism, but still it’s another signpost of where things were in January 2022.)
In a questionable act of political propaganda, inside one of the port-a-potties someone has put up a Patriot Front sticker. As I’ve said or implied repeatedly, any dissident nationalistic-right-wing-type element was a minority strain of the protest attendees, except in the widest sense.
Was this in part an anti-Biden rally. On the whole I have to say, No, it wasn’t. The Orange Man who caved in to lockdowns and vaccine-mania was hardly mentioned, either. It was really a more principled, and radical, opposition to the Corona-regimes wherever they be in the world. (Later, one of the speakers, called for a worldwide crusade against Lockdownists and Mandaters everywhere, which I do believe was the proper response to the Corona-Panic from the start. If this kind of opposition had been active and empowered from the start, might the whole, global Corona-Panic nightmare have been basically avoided?)
Slogans seen: “Covid Dogma is not science” (there it is again, Corona-as-Religion); “Separation of Church and Science” (and again); “Government is waging war against the people”; “End Mass Formation.”
One guy, a believer in brevity, has a sign which simply says “Technocracy” on white background. Nothing else but the word. A woman has a body-sized sign draped around her to fit her long slogan: “Dear Democratic Party: You lost me at ‘Mandate.’ Signed, a lifelong liberal.”
This about covers the scenes from the Defeat the Mandates rally up to the point of arrival at the Lincoln Memorial area, where the crowd became thick and maneuver limited.
The rally had a long list of speakers, some of which never got to speak because they ran out of time and the authorities cut the speaker system. These speeches are all available online, I’m sure.
One of the California doctors who was banned from Youtube for calling for an end to lockdowns in April 2020, Ryan Cole, delivered a good speech, but misread the crowd with his last line: “I’m glad to be among people who are awake, but not woke!” Given that there had never been a rally quite like this, it was hard to guess what the crowd would be. I don’t think it was fair to characterize the crowd as “not woke.” He meant to imply they were against the cultural Left. Quite a lot of the attendees were themselves at least loosely on the Left. He should have said “…awake, but not necessarily woke.”
The Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speech was good as was the Robert Malone speech. I won’t comment on these speeches because you can easily find them online.
There was an effective stand-up comedian, Tyler Fischer, who mocked the Panic and mocked Corona-Ayatollah Fauci. This, and the levity provided by the MC, also some kind of comedian called J. P. Sears, contrasted well with many of the more depressing talks. (Sears at one point announced that next up would be a surprise guest, Mr. Bill Gates, which about half the crowd bought for a moment.)
No surprise that the least effective by far were the few speeches broadcast by video. People want to see others live and in person, not broadcast by video, either live or pre-recorded. This demand is a subtext of the entire event, the entire set of grievances by Corona-Panic opponents.
At one point, a number of people who had been badly injured or disabled by the Corona injections (vaccines, so-called) assembled on the stage, including one athlete who said (as I recall it now) he could never compete again and had been paralyzed and was working hard to recover the ability to walk.
The final speech was by someone who goes by Del Bigtree. I don’t know that I’d heard him speak before. I had a vague awareness someone by that name was some kind of right-wing commentator or radio host. I have to hand it to Del Bigtree. His speech was rousing, capped off four-and-a-half hours of the main events, and the tone was just right for the moment. (Watching it in video form later on might be less impactful.) He finished just seconds before the authorities cut off the sound system.
Here is the seven-minute Del Bigtree speech at the Defeat the Mandates rally at the Lincoln Memorial hosted at Bitchute (good luck finding it, or any of the other speeches, anywhere on Youtube):
I was at the rally the entire time. With an eventual idea towards writing something like this, I focused on observation. My rate of note-taking and close observation, upon which this report is based, slowed considerably after my friend finally arrived, after the rear of the march reached the Lincoln Memorial area.
I talked to people throughout. In many cases, the most eager to talk are those handing out literature, a stock kind of character at all such rallies.
One was a guy handed me a “Chicom Virus” leaflet, which I lost before the day was out. I think the gist of it was that China and its system is more dangerous to the world than a flu virus pandemic.
Later, after the rally abruptly ended with Del Bigtree’s speech and everyone was left to their own devices, there were lots of people still eager to engage. A Chinese women was handing out literature about the Epoch Times (I think) and some kind of associated tv stations in New York City. Yes, she’d come down from New York City for the event, she told me. I made the mistake of saying “Oh, I know the Epoch Times, they’re against China,” at which she got unnecessarily defensive: “No! They’re only against the Chinese Communist Party! They want a revival of traditional Chinese culture.” I didn’t want to talk much to this humorless lady.
Most of the remaining crowd begin to clear out when authorities shut off the sound system (in accordance with he rally permit’s time limit). Poking around towards the main stage area, we found that the speakers who hadn’t gotten the chance to speak because time on the permit ran out were not speaking to a small assembled crowd with a very weak mic, making them hardly audible at a modest stone’s throw distance. In olden times any decent public speaker could have bellowed out and commanded the same crowd without any mic.
On the running theme of technology-reliance, all the speakers spoke quietly into the weak mics and didn’t think giving a “parade ground voice” a try. This amateur-hour lasted a while until it, too, ended. A pair of South Asians for some reason were giggling loudly, and an African (a foreign Black I assume to be from Africa based on accent) then confronted them, saying: “This is serious! Don’t laugh! It’s serious!” and then quieted down and wandered away. This remnant, too, was finally shooed away.
With temperatures still quite cold and the sun pushing down towards setting, it was time to hang it up on this day.
A historic day it was, in the history of the Corona-Panic, I think. This effort has been to record some scenes from the day, as curated by a first-hand observer (me). I am a believer in the written word, and an effort like this, if done well (I’m not sure if this is or is not) can be more effective than dumping raw video footage, or dozens or hundreds of raw photos.
Before leaving this section, I would stress again that all were encouraged by the feeling of unchallenged success and good feelings of the whole thing. The take-away impression was that defeat for Corona-regimes and their “mandates” was inevitable. The self-confidence of a social movement that knows it’s going to win…
In this section I touch on media and chattering-class reactions to Defeat the Mandates and several lessons learned. Of most interest is the meta-narrative in which Defeat the Mandates is part of a major social movement that is completely outside the regime and against the regime, and there are lessons worth learning for how movements without any elite or regime patronage can end up succeeding.
Before the event, I wrote:
What the reaction was, and what kind of “ripples” it has had or will have had when all is said and done, is therefore something I was thinking about even before the event. Now, as I write this with hindsight, I am not sure how to characterize the overall reaction.
It’s worth asking, Whose reaction? “Public opinion” if both diffuse and malleable and often unimportant as against the moral righteousness or energy or momentum of one side. The rally fits those qualifications for trumping any opinion poll the Panickers and Mandaters might come up with, as does it s surprisingly broad base.
As I write these words, almost four weeks, later, the event does not stand out as some kind of major or groundbreaking event, but does represent an kind of anchor for a movement.
Anyway, on media coverage. We know that people’s perceptions of reality are now guided by the firm hand of Big Media and now Big Tech, forces acting in unison to manage opinion.
The TV network nightly news shows (“regime media”) were predictably hostile, but they did cover it. A segment on the NBC Nightly News repeatedly editorialized about hos everything the protestors believed was based on misinformation.
Local media covered “Defeat the Mandates” rather neutrally, which in the media landscape is tantamount to positive coverage.
Fox News (still the national-level, agenda-setting, gatekeeper of the Right) got an editorial directive to ignore or downplay Defeat the Mandates. They mentioned it only briefly, and I hear their heavy-hitter evening talkers (Carlson, Hannity, Ingraham) mentioned it for a few-second-long segment. (It doesn’t take much experience with observing Fox’s approaches to different things to guess, with accuracy, when such directives come down; silence can speak more loudly than can words.)
MSNBC and CNN both attacked “Defeat the Mandates” in predictable fashion, giving it much more attention to it than Fox. Their attacks were thin gruel because they tried to cram it into a narrative-box of their choosing which didn’t quite fit. The “captive audience” for such outlets might still believe it, but that seems to hardly matter. What matters is where the middle is, and where the momentum is on the activist side.
I’ll put it this way: What I perceive to be the approach the would-be agenda-setting media of the Left was, as of January 2022, to rally their own base by vilifying the protestors as dupes of snake-oil con-men. The smart, “sophisticated” crowd stays loyal to the Panic and keeps a respectful bow towards the Corona-Moloch; the heretics might have made a show-of-force but who wants to be a heretic?
A word on international developments, not necessarily to the Defeat the Mandates event in Washington, but reflecting the general tenor of where Corona discourse was by January 2022 when the Washington event went on.
Days before “Defeat the Mandates,” the British government announced a final end to all remaining ‘Covid’ restrictions. A few days before that, Denmark’s leading newspaper issued a major apology for failing to be skeptical of the Panic from the start, admitting it had been wrong almost the entire time in allowing delusional Panic narratives to emit forth from its pages, and vowed to resist pressure to cave into Corona-Panic-like events-in-the-making again. Norway made major signals it was ending all restrictions, as did others. It looked like a rollback of the Panic was finally at hand.
A few weeks later, these developments seemed to have stuck. With the UK, in principle the odious health-pass system is now gone, as are mask requirements , as is the prospect for any renewal of lockdowns or other measures. The statues of Corona-Moloch which stood in every public place in England for almost two years are quietly being removed, a dizzying feeling no doubt to believer and disbeliever alike. I’m not sure how many asterisks come with the UK policy, but it did seem a bold move at the time given that a sclerotic Panic-regime in the USA under Biden and co. continues to issue flabby fatwas to continue to worship Corona-Moloch, seemingly seeing it as important for their own legitimacy.
People widely interpreted the British announcement as having been based in UK domestic politics. Certainly it was not directly related to one rally in Washington, D.C., and in any case the British announcement preceded the “Defeat the Mandates” rally. The importance of the timing is for our eventual construction of a timeline for when and how the Corona-Panic was finally beaten back.
An important Rubicon-moment in the entire Corona-Panic saga was when, in mid-March 2020, the British government fully caved in to the Panic, flipped allegiances, and in a snap decision reminiscent of policy reversals that follow coups d’etat, renounced its existing Sweden-style strategy, declared fealty to the Corona-Moloch, promised to ensure proper worship of Corona-Moloch in its domains, and vowed to dedicate its share of resources to suppressing Corona-heresy. It all these things, to varying degrees, for most of the next 22 months.
The British decision and the Washington rally, coming days apart, were clear signals that the Anti-Panic side had finally turned a major corner and looked the strongest it ever had. The battle over why policy decisions changed will continue, as the Pro-Panic remnant seeks to argue it’s entirely because The Science Changed but the original Corona-Panic was all worth it all along until then, while we of the Anti-Panic side would like to think the social movement against the restrictions succeeded in applying pressure which induced the changes.
Two more reactions to — lessons of — “Defeat the Mandates” relate to the way successful extra-parliamentary, non-regime or anti-regime social movements can succeed: “Simple Ideas” and social-movement “Low-Hanging Fruit.”
On “Simple Ideas“:
Hypothesis: to motivate people to action, you need several things acting together and a degree of luck (but a steady movement can eventually find its way to luck). They are, in part: Simple and clear ideas, a degree of radicalism, and a kind of ‘offense’-minded approach even if the goal is ultimately defensive (“defeating the mandates”).
The Corona-Panic phenomenon is too complex to reduce to one simple idea or ‘narrative.’ There is a long list of reasons to have opposed it from the start which seem obvious in 2022 but which were more-or-less fringe-extremist ideas in spring 2020 and beyond.
The reason the Anti-Panic side failed may be that it could not compete with an elite-backed, single, unified religious-like vision like the one sold to, marketed to, and pushed by the Panic people. The Anti-Panic side had won on the ideas, on the data, on the evidence, even by May 2020, but failed to successfully counter-attack, maybe in part because it couldn’t point to some, simple idea.
Except for Ron DeSantis, and a handful of like figures or regimes that somehow remained sane (Sweden, Belarus, Nicaragua, and several other national-level regimes; many regional governments; and some cultures outside the rich world seemed to decline to participate in the Panic), the scene was quiet, opposition strong in places and at times but unable to break through.
As I wrote in the long review-essay of Alex Berenson’s book, there was a point in early 2020, perhaps in late February, at which the Anti-Panic side—which was only then in the process of finding itself!—would have had to have gone on a major “preemptive offensive” to crush the Pro-Panic side, before the latter staged its coup d’etat. The Anti-Panickers failed to do so. By the time enough came around to realizing the nature of the game, it was far too late and the Rubicon was out of sight in the dust behind the raging Panic wagon.
A lame consolation prize was that the Corona-Panic ended up partly, and awkwardly, embedded in pre-existing political molds. The dilemma, of course, had been that few would ever counsel the kind of advice (stretching the limits of the law and ethics to suppress the Pro-Panic side before its breakthrough), at the moment it was needed.
Opposition was left leaderless, rudderless, stunned, and unsure what to do, and soon the Panic regimes began policing discourse on search-and-destroy missions against skeptics or Corona-deniers. In retrospect it all does seem so clear that the Pro-Panic side represented a decadent and anti-civilizational attitude (“Safetyism”). Tthinking people came around to the Anti-Panic side (as demonstrated by the Pro- vs. Anti-Panic split, soon lopsidedly for the latter, in the Steve Sailer commentariat, one of the smartest general-interest comment-sections anywhere), some very soon, some after a few months, but “thinking people” don’t run the show.
So political failure or complacency, acting with any number of other things, led to the Corona-Panic. But lack of a “Simple Idea” to animate the Anti-Panic side also allowed the Panic to happen, to harden, and dig in. The Panickers (or Pro-Panickers, some may not have quite believed their own gospel, but still supported the Panic), they did have a compelling simple idea, as the Corona-Moloch version of a virus apocalypse requiring an emergency new religion.
By mid-2021 and swelling into early 2022, a successful, Simple Idea counter-narrative on the supposed extreme dangers of the “Vaccine” came to lift the beleaguered Anti-Panic side and energize it, and gain it new adherents necessary for a mass social movement.
It does seem clear that some have died of reactions to the vaccines. Also it’s clear that absent the Corona-Panic as social-political force, and absent the near-lock on power by Panic-loyal juntas in most countries, none of these vaccines (so-called) would have ever been allowed at all, or at least not on under-40s or under-60s, whatever.
The power of the Simple Idea that the vaccines were potentially going to kill millions inspired people to openly oppose the Corona-Panic in a way they were unwilling to before.
On “Low-hanging fruit“: The Defeat the Mandates rally is illustrative of another phenomenon in the study of social movements known as the “demonstration effect.”
Long-swelling popular sentiments, moods, attitudes, or specific policy positions may long seem to go nowhere if they have no outlet. The scene can be so quiet it might seem there is essentially total regime-loyalty. Then movements can suddenly burst forth when one or several successful ‘demonstrations’ occur. The term is meant as a pun: demonstration as protest and demonstration as showing by example, but the latter is the more important. The events on their own do not cause the social movement. The causes are underlying and longer term. This all lines up really neatly with the Corona Anti-Panic movements in many places (nowhere more than in Canada in early 2022, on which more shortly).
If successful, protest actions or rallies or some other showings-of-force can, on well-fertilized soil, inspire a million flowers to bloom. Not cause the social movement, but trigger one waiting to happen. A cascade of imitators follows if the first successful protests “demonstrate” that it could be done, that they would not end up crushed by force by the state after all.
This is how a major social social movement can emerge seemingly overnight, as if by some magic. This is what explains the seeming ‘suddenness’ of the 1989 movements in central and eastern Europe, and many others before and since, including ust recently in Kazakhstan (which also ran a brutal Corona-Panic social-surveillance health-pass regime).
In other words, there is often low-hanging fruit out there, but narrative-police succeed tin shooing people away from plucking.
The weight of all I’ve written here shows, I think, some of this low-hanging Anti-CoronaPanic fruit in the USA was finally scooped up with “Defeat the Mandates” in a way predicted (or predictable) within social-movement theory, a nice example of the phenomenon.
It’s important to stress here again that Panic-Regime-loyalists (the “Pro-Panic” people) are plentiful, to be sure, and the statues of Corona-Moloch still stand in many places, but the loyalists to the Corona Cult or other Panic-backers are not energized and have now long been reliant on the narrative-policing to block the Anti-Panic rivals from scooping up of vast fields of ripened fruit.
This discussion of the demonstration effect and “low-hanging fruit” is theoretically interesting, at least to me, but leads me to directly wonder on something more tangible and immediate, still ongoing as of this writing, now in the regime-crackdown phase after four glorious weeks. I refer to the events in Canada and especially Ottawa, known as the Freedom Convoy. Did “Defeat the Mandates” play a “demonstration effect”-type role there? We might wonder, given that the events in Canada followed so soon after.
“Defeat the Mandates,” the ‘demonstration effect,’ and the Canada “Freedom Convoy“
Many have said the Freedom Convoy strikes them as the boldest social movement in Canada in living memory. Something really lifted from cinema.
I would qualify the Freedom Convoy movement as the boldest regime-disapproved social movement in Canada in the adult lifetimes of anyone of working age (born mid-1950s and later).
But what is especially remarkable about the Freedom Convoy is that it began in western Canada at almost exactly the same time the “Defeat the Mandates” rally was held down in Washington, D.C.
“Defeat the Mandates” was all day, Sunday, January 23, 2022. The Freedom Convoy swelled to a true, unexpectedly successful mass-mobilization social movement in the following week (January 24-30). The convoy dramatically arrived at Ottawa on the weekend of January 28-30. The consolidation there of protestors and big-rig trucks at the Canadian capital had, by the weekend, been joined by trucks and non-trucked persons from all parts of Canada. Some provinces attempted blocking movement, but the social movement succeeded.
The Freedom Convoy had caught the Panic-pushers holed up in their bunkers off guard and within a day the effeminate prime minister disappeared, inspiring thousands of comparisons to Ceausescu, Romania, 1989. Conveniently, the Panic-regime claimed the effeminate prime minister’s disappearance was because he had “caught Covid” and had to “isolate”! A claim circulated that he had fled the the USA; Banana Republic territory. Canada’s Prime Panicker, Mr. Trudeau, did nothing to dispel the claim that he had fled for safety to the USA. As unlikely as it was to have been true, he for some reason did not put in any public appearance. This was all uncharted territory for Canada, and the total humiliation of a soft target (pun…intended).
Anyway, as interesting as are the events in Canada, this essay is on the Defeat the Mandates rally in Washington, on which I have to point out the incredible synchronicity in timing which may have been overlooked or forgotten. I would ask as an open question, what is the connection?
The Freedom Convoy’s breakthrough and surprise success following in the week after “Defeat the Mandates” in Washington is highly suggestive of the “demonstration effect” in practice, although the Canadian activists had their own cascade of demonstration-effects as they rolled from west to east to send a message the effeminate tyrant in Ottawa would have to listen to.
It is said the very first truckers pulled out of western-most Canada on Saturday, January 22, a day before the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington. But if the size had remained with that original group, little might have come of it. The social movement was really born in the coming week.
So Canada’s organized and radical opposition to its brutal Corona regime occurred at the same time as a high-water-mark for the US movement against the Corona-regime, both following an unexpected British government announcement to on their Corona-rollback and dismantlement of their Corona-Panic apparatus. Other international news was comparable, and it all seemed to be following the ancient principle of “when it rains, it pours.”
On the other hand, the core activists of the radical Anti-Panic side in Canada, both the truckers and their core backers—who together created a strong and confident-looking base on which the mass movement quickly emerged in the January 23-30 period—must have been inspired by the international news, including the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington.
I don’t think that any of the Defeat the Mandates attendees were much aware of the Canada trucker plan as of January 24, though possibly those holding the upside-down Canadian maple-leaf flags were.
There is a degree to which Canadians, as others in the NATO bloc, and satellites of the NATO bloc, still follow the anchoring moral-discourse parameters set by the USA. News of a protest/rally success in the US capital shifts the goalposts, no doubt encouraging some marginals to turn out and “fly the flag” openly, which is what leads me to suspect a direct influence of “Defeat the Mandates” on the heroic Canadians.
That said, the Canadian activists went far beyond anything going on in the USA. Thousands of truckers, knowing well they might be destroyed, were willing to take the risk anyway. Most have attributed this to the extreme nature of the Corona-regime in Canada. The social pressures were similar but adjusted upward in Canada in accordance with the force of the Corona-regime (cf. Newton’s Third Law). Okay, “so far so good,” but why exactly in late January 2022 and not some other time?
(A side-note here on Canada: The symbolic power-nexus of its odious Corona-regime is of course its capital, Ottawa. In principle the various provinces made lockdown laws for themselves, as I understand it but there were few, if any, cases of a “Florida” in Canada. Not even right-wing Alberta or Saskatchewan refused lockdowns, a big mark against their premiers, Jason Kenney and Scott Moe, respectively. As of 2019, some commentators predicted active secession movements from these provinces to emerge as a rolling political game of the 2020s, as Quebec secession had been a generation earlier, and pegged Western Canada Secession with a fair chance of success even by 2025. Kevin Michael Grace, for one, predicted this in a late-2019 column, and VDare editor Peter Brimelow has likewise long highlighted it, feeling it could spill over into the USA. The Corona-Panic revealed that neither of the two conservative premiers has it “in” him to push the ball on separatism, if neither was even willing to “go DeSantis” on lockdowns and mandates, how would they lead a secession movement? It was laughable. It took a full-on extra-parliamentary opposition to take bold action against the Corona-regime in Canada.)
What went on in Canada in the last week of January 2022, and through most of February, will overshadow the one-day “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington. That seems clear enough.
But in all the words spilled over the (inspiring) Canadian movement, I point out the link between the two, a synchronicity in time at the least, a “demonstration effect” likely at play.
The high production values of the Washington rally meant good-quality video was soon available to stream in Canada. I cannot guess at numbers who saw the livestream or videos later, but as usual in our age of discourse-digitization, it is likely orders of magnitude more saw video of at least some part, or “highlights,” than attended in person. This includes those in English-speaking Canada, whose cultural and discourse overlap is so considerable with the USA’s to begin with.
I will hazard to guess that some coverage or video from “Defeat the Mandates” was seen by a large portion of those who joined the Freedom Convoy movement in the coming week.
Hail to you, Canadians who embraced destiny, who donned helmet and sword to do battle with the evil Corona-Moloch, to release its tight hold on Canada, to defy the Corona puppet or collaborationist regime in Ottawa.
“Defeat the Mandates” as viewed by History
The Anti-Panic/anti-Lockdown/anti-Mandate side seemed destined to win all along.
So they might say. What’s certain is the Anti-Panic coalition was outmaneuvered and pretty badly beaten on most fronts in 2020 and much of 2021, and two years of disruptions have hurt us all, in ways we don’t understand.
Will the Panic-regime backers, would-be social-engineers, and Permanent Panic-aligned Expertocracy create conditions for either a permanent, “institutionalized” Virus Panic? Or a permanent situation by which we are “granted” freedom most of the time but the authorities can reimpose Corona-Panic-like events whenever they want? (Can the core actors behind the various Pro-Panic coalitions of the world really maintain an off-again-on-again moral-panic fervor? It must be exhausting.)
These are open questions, hard to really answer. We can create different scenarios, but I won’t waste time here with that, as my focus still must be on the “Defeat the Mandates” event. (Or I might say, “the first Defeat the Mandates event,” for I have seen more are planned, the next in California, where the Corona-regime looks still strong but wavering, and a good shove in the rotten wooden door might cause the whole edifice to cave in.)
We can make headway onto this interesting question of how History will judge “Defeat the Mandates” in a few ways. One is embed it in the question of how History will view the Corona-Panic itself. Another way is to compare “Defeat the Mandates” to similar events in the past and how they are remembered and contextualized by History.
With the weakness of the Pro-Panic coalition (Panickers, Panic-enforcers, Panic-clingers, and the many demagogues and personal-advantage opportunists who have seek, and still seek, to use the awesome-seeming power of the Corona-Panic for their own ends), we might start to see some of them “flip,” which should have happened in mid-2020 but never did, but may now. Some already have.
“Defeat the Mandates” fits in this timeline of the collapse of the Corona Cult, but the story is yet to be written, and my predictions of imminent collapse of the cult have been repeatedly wrong..
a retelling of the story in a generation or two might have it that as the Pro-Panic coalition began to fade off its impressive size of 2020—and into a smaller, leaner, bitter, but still-dangerous remnant—opponents of the Panic finally take to the field and push the attack. These counter-attacks (like “Defeat the Mandates”) are pressure to speed up the defeat of the Panickers and their systems. A strong element of the Anti-Panickers wants a crusade against the Corona-Panic ringleaders, to find them and crush them, even to put the most dishonest of the Panic-pusher figures on trial for crimes.
Another sort of imagery here is the downfall of the communist-bloc regimes in 1989, which conveniently occurred just over thirty years before the Corona-Panic’s origin-phase began.
We might ask how History sees the events of 1989 in central and eastern Europe and apply the same parameters to the Anti-CoronaPanic movement in macrocosm and to the “Defeat the Mandates” rally in Washington in microcosm.
So how do people remember the Fall of the Berlin Wall? Folk-memory ends up with loose scenes symbolizing a complex event, less reliant on specifics than on imagery, as with any set of memories.
An extreme example of this tendency was a mediocre Hollywood spy movie of the late 2010s. Set in 1989 Berlin in the first ten days of November, it has surges of angry and violent protestors on the streets of East Berlin putting major pressure on the hapless government as spies fight it out in pointlessly violent scenes (to say the movie has a weak plot is generous). Then it has refugees storming a foreign embassy to get passage out of East Germany. Finally it has protestors storming the Wall. Pretty much each part of the characterization, almost thirty years after the Berlin Wall events, was flat-out wrong (there were protests in major cities but none in East Berlin, which was more heavily composed of regime loyalists; the storming of a West German embassy occurred months earlier and was only very loosely related to the later fall of the Wall; the wall didn’t fall directly to angry mobs of protestors, but because of a misinterpreted and mistakenly translated press item causing people to wander in unawares–it all happened by accident).
It’s unclear how much the details matter to most people. To aficionados (“history buffs”) or scholars they do, but to the average person narratives get simplified, like the erosion process on rock. I suspect it will be the same with the “Defeat the Mandates” rally.
One difference between the Corona protests of the 2020s and the ousting of the communist regimes in 1989-90 (except for Romania) is that in the early 2020s there was no enormous Anti-Panic ideological bloc waiting to support Anti-Panic uprisings and hoping the Pro-Panic regimes would get toppled without a fight. There was a capitalist [NATO] bloc waiting for such in 1989, vis-a-vis the communist regimes. I don’t know how this might affect how it is remembered to History. Nor how the anti-regime protests would have worked absent a NATO bloc looking on.
This points to another factor about 1989, the key role played by Gorbachev in the years prior and during 1989 itself. The analog to our time is Donald Trump. Imagine that instead of the social-democrat Gorbachev there had been some bitter, old-line hardliner in place. The protest movements would’ve looked much different; and then there is always the China Option of “Tiananmen Square”-ing dissidents of protestors, which they of course did that very year (1989). (A lesson of statecraft: Never reflexively ape China’s methods. On this the West failed in the early 2020s.)
We remember Gorbachev for “ending the Cold War” with very little bloodshed and no general war. To me makes him a great statesman. We cannot say the same of the leading figure in the USA at the time, Trump, who flipped and flopped but ultimately allowed himself to be puppetized by the Panic-pushers, the Lockdowners, the Vaccine Thugs, and the rest of it.
There is an element of failure of leadership which I think will be remembered for decades to come. It’s also notable, I think, that not one major U.S. political figure was on hand for “Defeat the Mandates.” And then there is the order from quasi-political actor Fox News to minimize coverage of “Defeat the Mandates.”
To summarize how “Defeat the Mandates” may look thirty years out, it will be remembered in a way much like one of the Leipzig protest marches in East Germany in September or October 1989 have been remembered.
The analogy I intend is not the the biggest nor the smallest of the anti-communist marches in Leipzig in fall 1989, but to a mid-size one. A decent showing-of-force and defiance by regime-opponents, by people longer intimidated, or disorganized, or passive. In other words, as an important flashpoint in a social movement that ended up successful. This seems a likely status for “Defeat the Mandates” as remembers in the 2040s or 2050s. Let’s check back then to see if I’m right.
Now for the harder and more speculative work:
It’s hard to guess what the world will look like in year 2122. While I cannot guess how appealing the imagery of our time may or may not be to people of the future, I’m going to stay on the optimistic side. By this I mean that I shall assume the Corona-Panic will be remembered as a mega-mistake, even a brief a catastrophe, a moment of madness, and perhaps even understood to have been induced by the poorly understood effects of technology, which allowed the breakthrough of the Corona-Panic and the semi-institutionalization of the Corona-Moloch Cult.
If this be the narrative of our era, as viewed by our successor a century from today (and not limited to the Corona-Panic alone, but explaining much about our era), the act of showing up amounts to the most genuine kind of rebellion. Not against this or that government, not even just against the Corona-Panic and Corona-regime, but tantamount to rebellion against the excesses of a technology-filtered reality, against our Interneticized and digitized culture (circa 2010s-20s). There are other social and political factors at play, too, but none are now independent of this technological-dystopian influence. (Heidegger spoke of these things almost a century ago, as the great challenge of the coming century.)
“Defeat the Mandates” itself will almost certainly be entirely forgotten in the year 2122 except to a small handful of historians or enthusiasts. Those enthusiasts and period-specialists might know of it in the way some Americans know names and dates and things related to U.S. Civil War battles including the lesser-known ones. But, it will form an implicit part of background knowledge of the time, as that of the distant and faded memory of a childhood friend serves to buttress one’s memory of one’s own childhood.
Five centuries: What of the the year 2520? Is there any point to this thought-exercise? Since I’ve already proposed it, I might as well try.
We are on shakier ground here but we might try for some extrapolations based on what we already know of how things get remembered, working backwards five centuries from our present.
There is no guarantee that the Corona-Panic of our time will be remembered at all in 2520. If it is remembered, even in some small way, any of the passions of the time will be long dulled, like trying to get people excited over obscure wars or social movements of the 15th, 16th, or 17th centuries. Some great events (by great I mean ‘momentous,’ not necessarily ‘good’) get remembered as distant tragedies, and people can understand both sides. A lot of detail will get lost, and I imagine any knowledge of the “Defeat the Mandates” event may be either lost entirely or obscure enough to count as lost forever. Hic transit gloria.
All depends what kind of information flows down to the people in that distant future. If there is some major civilizational discontinuity and information-loss, the tale of Corona could end up mutating back into its ‘religion’ form, as a narrative of a virus disaster. On the other hand, it could just as well be remembered as one the peaks of techno-narcissism of the distant past, which would put the “Anti-Panic” opposition in the protagonists’ seat.
Concluding Thoughts: the Anti-Panic side finding itself and facing the world head-on
The Corona-Panic phenomenon of the early 2020s was deeply tied to power from the start. Opponents were all in ‘opposition’ almost everywhere. This process created its own kind of logic. Anti-Panickers had all the power of reality on their side, but alas were hobbled from the start. It is intimidating to be a dissident. And with all the pressure-release vales out there, it is easy to fade into inaction, complaining but unable or unwilling to mobilize.
The Anti-Panic side “found itself” by creating for itself, and rallying toward, a kind of positive vision. Even if it is often couched in negative or oppositionist language, the vision became positive. That is a lesson of “Defeat the Mandates,” and is an interesting narrative-through-thread of two years of the Corona-Panic phenomenon.
Rather than wanting to somehow uphold the world of 2019 and opposing any kind of change out of some kind numbskulled, reactionary (or “anti-Science”) attitude—as the Pro-Panic people might wish to believe—the hardline opponents of the Panic eventually emerged with a kind of positive vision of their own.
For whatever reason, a certain segment of society had preexisting immunity to the seductive siren-call of the Corona-Moloch. Others snapped out of it within weeks or months. A portion of these two groups grappled with the issue and coalesced onto the Anti-Panic coalition, refusing to go along with the New Normal.
A year-and-a-half to two years of soul-searching followed the initial shock that a medieval-style Corona-Panic-like event could actually occur in the supposedly so-sophisticated West. It led to re-evaluation of lives, re-appraisal of their places in the world. This might not apply to every “Anti-Panicker,” but it applies to enough that I think it can be called a base of the movement. And it is with this vigor that people are demonstrating in force throughout the world, perhaps most dramatically of late in Canada. The “Defeat the Mandates” rally of January 23, 2022, deserves its place as one of the outcomes of this process.
Given how much oppositional language the Anti-Panic side uses, it was easy to miss it, but this positive spirit of renewed purpose defined the Defeat the Mandates. This spirit seems not about to soon disappear. It is bound to endure in some form, and will not rest until all the Corona-Moloch and all his minions are cast back to the dark place whence they came.