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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Entryism, Antivaxxers, and COVID

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread Trump has helped spread misinformation.

 Antivax groups engage in "entryism."  From The New Statesman: "The founding example of entryism was provided by Leon Trotsky and the “French turn”. In 1934, the Russian revolutionary persuaded his supporters to dissolve the Communist League into the Socialist Party in order to maximise their influence. The term has since been applied to any group that enters a larger organisation with the intention of subverting its policies and objectives."

Anita Chabria at LAT:

As California and the nation begin rolling out coronavirus vaccines, anti-vaccine campaigners are aligning with small-business owners and far-right groups, an effort that some experts fear could supercharge mistrust of government at a crucial moment for public health.

In California, the movement toward businesses is being led by a group calling itself Freedom Angels 2.0. Originally founded by three women in response to a 2019 state bill tightening vaccine requirements for attendance in schools, the organization was best known for its protests at the state Capitol against that measure and other vaccine legislation, often filling hallways and disrupting hearings with children in tow.

But as the coronavirus has spread, so has its message — encompassing a more mainstream, values-driven ideology that centers on government overreach. That broader approach has helped the organization interest a new audience in the business community, along with others worried about schools, the economy and the social toll of isolation for seniors.

“There is this strategic mission creep into other groups that might feel disaffected,” said Richard Carpiano, a professor of public policy and sociology at UC Riverside, who has followed the anti-vaccine movement.


Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), the only doctor in the state Senate who has also been targeted for harassment by the Freedom Angels and other anti-vaccine groups, said he believes the anti-vaccine contingent remains a “loud minority,” but concedes it could have an oversized effect.,” Pan said. “They are just large enough to ruin it for all of us, and that is the big problem.”