The WSWS is continuing to receive statements supporting Dr. David Berger, an Australian physician and dedicated Zero-COVID advocate, who has been ordered by the Australia Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to undertake a special “education program” or be deregistered over his social media criticism of governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the publication of our first article, which calls on scientists, health workers and other workers to speak out in defence of Dr. Berger, the WSWS has published nine articles compilingstatements of support.
As part of this campaign, the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), has designed graphics and published videos for social media, which highlight the support for Dr. Berger and encourage others to get involved in the campaign for his defence.
In response to its latest video, which draws attention to official attacks on four individuals who have been singled out for their free speech activities, including Dr. David Berger, Twitter yesterday locked the account of the SEP, rendering it unable to post content, issue replies or send messages. For the account to be unlocked, the message declared that the SEP “must delete” the video.
We appeal to all WSWS readers and defenders of democratic to oppose this blatant act of censorship, and write to @TwitterSupport on Twitter, to demand an immediate reversal of the lock and a full explanation of why it was imposed.
We urge readers to continue to speak out in Dr. Berger’s defence and email statements of support here. Please indicate in the email how you would like to be identified in our next article, and if you want to include a photo, please attach one to the email.
Grace, a mother of two and science student at Western Sydney University, Australia:
As a young mother, I thought there was mixed messaging at the start of the pandemic. Health experts warned of the unnecessary mass death and life-long health complications caused by COVID-19. But on the other hand, the tourism industry called on governments to reopen the border by comparing the likelihood of catching COVID from flights to essential shopping. The entertainment and hospitality industry pressured through claims about “how great it would be for life to get back to normal.”
Social media shared harmful viral videos of anti-mask, anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown which ultimately harmed the public.
In 2020, there were lockdowns, and the advice of health experts was heard and mandated. As a result, there were fewer COVID deaths and cases. However, this is not the case in 2022. Health experts such as Dr David Berger are being ignored, silenced and threatened with deregistration, while mortalities have increased.
Dr Berger is an Emergency GP who promotes health and well-being by speaking the truth on COVID-19. He repeatedly wrote to the government urging them to recognise COVID for its airborne transmissibility, as the disease was falsely classified as being spread through droplets. This meant inadequate PPE was supplied to healthcare workers. The Australian government ignored Dr Berger’s advice. The lie that the virus was not airborne deceived the population, and they could not protect themselves adequately from this lethal disease.
Over 10,000 Australians have died from COVID; some of those people were healthy adults with no underlying health conditions. The majority of those deaths have occurred since the reopening in December 2021. This is precisely what Dr Berger warned would happen!
The ending of COVID restrictions shows a remarkable disregard for the disabled, the elderly, the immune-compromised, pregnant women, and all children under three. Their deaths have skyrocketed. The indifference to the vulnerable dying is modern-day eugenics.
Reopening society has meant mass exposure. To do this, the Australian government launched a fear-mongered campaign to mislead and deceive. Many claims were made regarding domestic violence and the psychological impact of remote learning on children. However, the children affected by this won’t be helped by letting them catch COVID and potentially die or suffer lifelong health impacts.
When health experts are ignored, controlled, and punished, it is a message that human life does not matter.
Currently the social media platform Twitter has censored the campaign in defence of Dr Berger by locking down the @SEP_Australia page. This is a corporate attack on democratic rights, public health, and political advocacy. I join the chorus of others in demanding the account be reinstated. I also oppose the anti-democratic attack on Dr Berger and call on others to come his defence. Healthcare professionals must have a voice.
Catharine Clements, a retired social worker from New Zealand:
I am glad of the chance to state my unqualified support for Dr Berger’s efforts, and those of the practitioners of so many disciplines, for the hundreds of thousands of hours of lab work, academic discussion and best practice to help people everywhere protect our health and our very lives. Their efforts and persistence serve only to clarify the socially murderous politics that deliberately misrepresents the threat to life of COVID, while the numbers of untimely deaths continue to climb.
While the pandemic is allowed to rage on, new trillions are allocated to ramping up war and climate change continues unabated, urgently organizing to meet social need, not profit, is a matter of human survival.
Eric Zatarack, a retiree from Pennsylvania, USA:
It’s outrageous what they’re doing to Dr Berger. I support him completely. The attacks against him are absolutely wrong and immoral. I want these incredible conditions removed from him and his life restored as before. I would also like to see respect for COVID-19 and safeguards reinstalled (i.e., masks, etc).
I can’t believe what’s happening in this world: what they’re doing to Julian Assange (attacking him falsely to divert attention from government crimes); they’re diving straight into the hell of WWIII and trying to drag the rest of us with them; a total disrespect for workers; an insane trashing of the environment; massive spying on everyone as if we’re their enemies; police brutalities; the silencing of anyone who disagrees.
Wow! I hope this changes soon!
Dmitri, a professional staff member at the University of Adelaide:
As a worker, I am increasingly outraged by the actions of capitalist governments and their governing agencies in stifling a scientifically based, sensible response to COVID-19.
Dr David Berger’s democratic rights, and even ability to practice in medicine, have been the target of AHPRA. His only ‘crime’ was pointing out government failings, as well as providing evidence-based approaches and responses to COVID. He has been tarred and feathered for bogus (and anonymous) accusations by a government agency that has proven only complacent in the prolongation of the pandemic. Dr Berger must be supported by a working-class intervention, since the very fabric of any functioning society, which includes fundamental democratic rights and public health principles, have been jeopardised.
Capitalism and its privatisation of the health care system, which is currently under immense stress, has proven ineffective in dealing with COVID. The reckless and destructive attacks on health care workers and professionals show this internal contradiction of capitalism: increase profit for the capitalists and decrease the possibility of any livelihood for the workers (whose productive power keeps this rickety boat afloat).
Where the mass of people wishes for leadership, the capitalist parties have instead given them lies about “returning to normal,” “living with COVID,” or “herd immunity,” if not also espousing outright propaganda or reactionary conspiracy theories about “lab leaks” and “bioweapons,” among other hokum. Every worker’s life has been affected by this irresponsibility, amounting to hundreds of millions of infections and millions of deaths.
The Socialist Equality Party’s support for Berger and others who speak up against the system’s use of censorship, including Julian Assange, David O’Sullivan, and Lisa Diaz, has now been met with even further censorship. Through the guise of community guidelines (but which are in fact corporate red tape), Twitter has taken down a video in support of all four activists from the Socialist Equality Party (Australia)’s account, which was subsequently locked and rendered essentially disabled with no ability to properly appeal.
Whether this was merely an automated form of Orwellian censorship, or something more direct and sinister, does not change the fact that the internet space has become more and more a place for the corporate elite to propagate the most dangerous of conspiracy theories or outright capitalist propaganda. Elon Musk, promising to fix Twitter’s censorial aspects, has instead steered it closer to what the billionaire elite must desire for their class interests: free speech, but only for themselves. Instead of using technology for the betterment of humankind, the capitalists have instead sought to use it as a form of control and weapon to indoctrinate the masses, going to ridiculous lengths to silence any truly Marxist perspective.