In the 630 days (2020/01-2021/10) that have passed since the world became aware of the existence of a certain dangerous virus, there has been a curious absence of parliamentary debate, in all of the vaunted liberal democracies, regarding any of the pandemic countermeasures, no matter how extreme they became over time. The loyal opposition went silent, afraid of making a misstep that would invite accusations of recklessness and cruelty during the supposedly unprecedented danger to the social fabric. Only recently have signs appeared that parliamentary debate is alive and that those in power now have something to fear the next time their mandate is questioned in a popular vote.

In October 2021, two speeches in European parliaments hit hard against the pandemic decrees that have been increasingly draconian and illogical. While much of the populace has been sleepwalking with the government down this gradual slope, others have been waking up. Massive protests have been occurring in France and Italy. They are ignored by the establishment media, but some elected representatives have paid attention and spoken up for this constituency of protesters as crucial legislation came up for a vote.

Senator Laurence Muller-Bronn made a notable speech in the French Senate on October 13th, 2021, and philosopher Giorgio Agamben did likewise in a speech he made to the Commission on Constitutional Affairs of the Italian Senate on October 7th, 2021. The English translations of their speeches follow below.

Background, from a report in France Soir:

The senate rejects obligatory vaccination following a remarkable speech by Laurence Muller-Bronn

Bernard Jomier, rapporteur, highlighted the limitations of the health pass, the possible extension of which was decided earlier in the day during the Council of Ministers… Senators have therefore thought it wise to avoid the alternative of general obligation to vaccinate. But as the government is set to stop paying for coronavirus testing, unless medical exemption or vaccination status is up to date, the health pass is likely to be extended. The senators who are opposed to it have not failed to emphasize that preventing its extension remains the fight that needs to be fought.

1. Senator Laurence Muller-Bronn, October 13, 2021 (original French transcript at the end of this post)

Madam President, Mr. Minister, Madam Chair of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen, according to the “proponents of mandatory vaccination”, massively vaccinating populations appears to be a simple decision, a decision of progress that will let us eliminate the virus, and those who dare to doubt, reflect, and finally make another choice must be obscure conspiracy theorists. Yet among them there are very serious institutions such as the Academy of Medicine—which has declared itself against a generalized third vaccine dose—and people such as Professor Alain Fischer, “Mr. Vaccine” for the government, who has spoken out against compulsory vaccination because it is not justified in the current context—a view shared by the European Union in its resolution of January 27th, 2021. The council stated that vaccination should not be mandatory, and that no one should be subjected to political or social pressure, or any kind of pressure, to be vaccinated.

Senator Laurence Muller-Bronn, French Senate, 2021/10/13

Recently four countries, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark banned the Moderna vaccine for young men because of the risks involved. Many collectives, researchers and scientists have explained their rejection of mandatory vaccination. In addition, France has enshrined the precautionary principle in its constitution. It is legally impossible to impose, without free and informed consent, a vaccine that is still an experimental product. I remind you that messenger RNA treatments are still in the phase three experimental stage until the year 2023. They have only temporary authorization.

Colleagues, in addition these institutions, we are all recipients of other well sourced information and quality publications and studies, both from France and international sources. In the documents sent to us, we are alerted about the insufficient evidence concerning the safety of the vaccines and their effectiveness, insufficient evidence on the safety of injections, on the transmission of the virus, and on the risks of vaccination for young people, children, pregnant women, and persons suffering serious pathologies. We are also alerted to the psychological damage of health mandates. There is therefore no scientific consensus around mandatory and mass vaccination. There are divergent views and orientations on the part of health professionals. Among these views, some say vaccinate those at risk, focus on fragile populations and rehabilitate the notion of natural immunity. Recent studies have confirmed the intensity, wide coverage and durability that makes it far superior to the protection of vaccines.

Let us return to doctors the right to treat and let us recognize the importance of early treatment. Doctors are the ones who know best the state of health of their patients. Make scientific and statistical data available to pharmacovigilance specialists, academics, virologists, geneticists, and immunologists.

In view of all these elements, we parliamentarians, colleagues, what legitimacy would we have to remain deaf to other arguments about ensuring the health of our citizens? How could we be satisfied with a single doctrine in this situation? What legitimacy would we have to authoritatively introduce mandatory vaccination and a third dose when doctors, researchers, and caregivers—who have skills and experience of the virus—doubt it to the point of giving up the practice of their profession and renouncing their means of earning a living?

Colleagues, we need an adversarial debate from which balanced laws can be drafted and respected. We need to open this debate and nurture it with transparent and independent information. If the government is convinced and sure of itself on all these subjects, let’s open up the dialogue. We are not here to rubber stamp whatever the Scientific Council wants, and today it is our duty as elected representatives of the republic representing France—all French people—to restore common law and public freedoms because our faith in them is at stake. At this moment when we are experiencing a lull in the epidemic, when the vaccination rate of the French population has reached high levels, it is time to forget about mandatory vaccination. It is time to forget about the third dose. It is time to stop reducing the number of hospital beds. On the contrary, it is time to take stock and consider everything rationally, to put aside the “vaccination above all else” approach and governing by fear and control. We must act with calm and reason. You have understood by now, my dear colleagues, that I will vote against this bill.

2. Philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s speech on the green pass to the Commission on Constitutional Affairs of the Italian Senate, October 7, 2021

(translation provided by Lena Bloch, edited slightly in the text below)

I will focus only on two points that I would like to bring to the attention of the parliamentarians who will have to vote on the conversion of the Decree into law. The first is the evident—I stress the word evident—contradiction in the Decree in question. You know that the Government with a special Decree Law, number 44 of 2021, called the criminal shield, now converted into law, has exempted itself from any liability for damage caused by the vaccine. And how serious these damages can be is shown by the fact that Article 3 of the Decree in question explicitly mentions Articles 589 and 590 of the Criminal Code which refer to manslaughter and negligent injury.

As authoritative jurists have noted, this means that the State does not feel responsible for a vaccine that has not completed its testing phase and yet, at the same time, tries to force citizens to vaccinate themselves by any means, otherwise excluding them from social life and now, with the new Decree that you are called to vote on, even depriving them of the possibility of working. Is it possible to imagine a situation legally and morally more abnormal? How can the state accuse of irresponsibility those who choose not to vaccinate when it is the same state that first formally disclaims any responsibility for the possible serious consequences (remember the articles 589 590) of death and injury from the vaccine? Here I would like the parliamentarians to reflect on this contradiction that in my opinion configures a real legal monstrosity.

The second point on which I would like to draw your attention does not concern the medical problem of the vaccine but the political one of the green pass which should not be confused with the first. We have used so many other vaccines without forcing citizens to show a certificate. It has been said by scientists and doctors that the green pass has no medical meaning in itself but serves to force people to get vaccinated. I believe instead that we can and should say the opposite, namely that the vaccine is a means to force people to have a green pass—that is a device that allows control and tracking of people’s movements. It is a measure that has no precedent. Political scientists have known for some time that our societies have long since moved from the model once called societies of discipline to the model of societies of control, societies founded on virtually unlimited digital control of individual behaviors that thus become quantifiable in an algorithm. We are now becoming accustomed to these control devices, but I wonder how far we are willing to let this go? Is it possible that citizens and a society that claims to be democratic, find themselves in a worse situation than the citizens of the Soviet Union under Stalin?

You may know that Soviet citizens were obliged to show a pass of confirmation of their address for every movement from one city or town to another, but we are obliged to show a green pass even to go to a restaurant, even to go to a museum, even to go to the cinema—and now, what is even more serious, with the decree that is being converted into law, even every time we go to work. Furthermore, how is it possible to accept that for the first time in the history of Italy, after the fascist laws of 1938 on non-Aryans, second class citizens are created who are subject to restrictions that, from a strictly legal point of view—obviously the two phenomena have nothing to do with each other—I am speaking only of legal analogy—are subject to restrictions that are identical to those suffered by non-Aryans. In other words, everything suggests that the Decree-Laws should be framed in a process of transformation of the institutions and paradigms of government of the society in which we find ourselves, a transformation that is all the more insidious because, as was the case with fascism, they take place without there being a change in the text of the Constitution. They take place surreptitiously. The model that is thus eroded and cancelled is that of parliamentary democracies—with their rights and their constitutional guarantees—and in their place is a paradigm of government in which, in the name of biosecurity and control, individual liberties are destined to suffer increasing limitations. The exclusive concentration of attention on health and contagion seems to me to prevent us from perceiving what the meaning of this great transformation is and from realizing how governments themselves never tire of reminding us that security and emergencies are not transitory phenomena but constitute the new form of governance. I believe that in this perspective it is urgent that parliamentarians consider the political transformation underway with extreme attention, and that they do not dwell only on health. In the long run, this is destined to empty Parliament of its powers, reducing it, as is happening now, to simply approving, in the name of biosecurity, decrees issued by organizations and people that have little to do with Parliament.

FRANCAIS

Sénatrice Laurence Muller-Bronn : Proposition de loi sur la vaccination obligatoire, 2021/10/13

Madame la présidente, monsieur le ministre, madame la présidente de la commission, mes chers collègues ; à entendre les « partisans de la vaccination obligatoire », vacciner massivement les populations apparaît comme une décision simple, une décision de progrès qui s’imposerait à tous pour faire reculer le virus, et ceux qui osent douter, réfléchir, et finalement faire un autre choix serait d’obscurs complotistes. Pourtant parmi eux on trouve des institutions très sérieuse comme l’académie de médecine qui s’est prononcé contre une troisième dose généralisée, comme le professeur Alain Fischer, « monsieur vaccin » du gouvernement, qui se prononce contre la vaccination obligatoire, le contexte actuel ne le justifiant pas, comme le conseil de l’Europe dans sa résolution du 27 janvier 2021, qui demande que la vaccination ne soit pas obligatoire et qui affirme que personne ne doit subir de pressions politiques, sociales, ou autres pour se faire vacciner. Récemment quatre pays, la Finlande, la Suède, la Norvège, et le Danemark, interdisent le vaccin moderna pour les hommes jeunes en raison des risques courus—ou encore les nombreux collectifs de chercheurs et de scientifiques qui expliquent leur refus du vaccin obligatoire. Enfin la France a inscrit le principe de précaution dans sa constitution. Il est impossible légalement d’imposer un vaccin avec des produits expérimentaux qui nécessitent un consentement libre et éclairé. Je rappelle que les injections ARN messagers sont toujours en phase iii expérimental, et ceux jusqu’en 2023. C’est une autorisation de mise sur le marché temporaire. Chers collègues, au delà des institutions, nous sommes tous destinataires d’information sourcé et de publications de qualité, d’études, et de rapports français et internationaux. Dans les documents qui nous sont transmis, on nous alerte sur l’insuffisance des preuves concernant l’innocuité et l’efficacité des vaccins, sur la sécurité des injections, sur la transmission du virus, ou encore sur les risques qui pèsent sur la vaccination des jeunes, des enfants, sur les sujets souffrants de pathologies graves, ou sur les femmes enceintes. On nous alerte aussi sur les dégâts psychiques des injonctions sanitaires. Il n’y a donc pas de consensus scientifique autour de la vaccination obligatoire et de masse. Il y a des vues et des orientations divergentes de la part des professionnels de santé. Parmi elles, adapter la vaccination au risque, et renforcer le ciblage des populations fragiles, réhabiliter l’immunité naturelle dont des études récentes ont confirmé l’intensité, la globalité, la durabilité qui la rendent bien supérieure à celle des vaccins. Rendre aux médecins le droit de soigner à l’aide des traitements précoces reconnus. Ce sont eux qui connaissent le mieux l’état de santé de leurs patients. Mettre à disposition les données scientifiques et statistiques aux spécialistes de la pharmacovigilance, les universitaires, les virologues les généticiens, où les immunologistes. Au vu de tous ces éléments, nous parlementaires, chers collègues, quelle légitimité aurions-nous à rester sourd à d’autres arguments pour garantir la santé de nos citoyens. Comment pourrions-nous nous contenter d’une seule doctrine sur la situation. Quelle légitimité aurions-nous pour instaurer de manière autoritaire une vaccination obligatoire et une troisième dose alors que des médecins, des chercheurs, des soignants qui ont des compétences et l’expérience du virus doutent au point de renoncer pour certains d’ailleurs à exercer leur métier et de renoncer à leurs revenus. Chers collègues, nous avons besoin d’un débat contradictoire d’où pourront naître des lois équilibrés et respectés. Il nous faut ouvrir ce débat et le nourrir d’une information loyale, transparente et indépendante. Si le gouvernement est convaincu et sûr de lui sur tous ces sujets, alors ouvrons le dialogue. Nous ne sommes pas la chambre d’enregistrement du conseil scientifique, et aujourd’hui il est de notre devoir en tant qu’élus de la république représentant les français—tous les français—de restaurer le droit commun et les libertés publiques car il y va de leur confiance. A cet instant où l’épidémie nous offre une accalmie où le taux de vaccination de la population française a atteint des niveaux élevés, il est temps de renoncer à la vaccination obligatoire. Il est temps de renoncer à la troisième dose. Il est temps d’arrêter de supprimer des lits dans les hôpitaux. Bien au contraire il est temps de faire un bilan et d’envisager de façon rationnelle la suite en sortant de la doctrine tout-vaccinal plutôt que de gouverner par la peur et par le contrôle, il serait bon d’agir avec calme et raison. Vous l’aurez compris mes chers collègues. Je voterai contre cette proposition de loi.