The Post-Sovereign Era of Bio-Power
In the post-sovereign era of bio-power, a reconfiguration of social-political power has been in process for some time, and is now rapidly emerging as part of a medical-political-economic institutional complex. I will refer to this as bio-power. What was required for this redefinition in the monopoly of power was a ‘trigger’ that would allow a radical alteration in the legal narratives of claiming control over the categorizations of life and death. With the ‘pandemic landscape’ now being formed we are witness to a post-sovereign world arising where biopolitics is giving legitimacy to a network of socializing regimes from bio-capitalism to biosecurity. The post-sovereign era of bio-power amidst current lockdowns and quarantine travel measures, are only a foretaste of what is to come once the new regimes of bio-power become fully institutionalized. Bio-power is now knocking on our doors and gaining entry and dominion over a whole new domain of personal sovereignty.
The authors of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) The Great Reset have stated that these ‘COVID times’ are ‘our defining moment’ and that ‘we will be dealing with its fallout for years, and many things will change forever.’ In the pages of their publication The Great Reset the authors brazenly declare of the coming ‘economic disruption of monumental proportions, creating a dangerous and volatile period on multiple fronts – politically, socially, geopolitically – raising deep concerns about the environment and also extending the reach of technology into our lives.’ We are told that life for many of us is ‘unravelling at alarming speed.’ Yet what, we may wonder, will be constructed to ‘re-space’ where this unravelling has taken hold? This is where I contend that we shall see newly defined, and pervasively employed, forms of bio-power in the age of this ‘Great Reset.’
The French philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault is well-known for bringing forth the debate on bio-power and biopolitics in his work in the mid-to-late 1970s. Initially, Foucault framed his argument in the form of ‘disciplinary societies’ which he defined as an array of ‘corrective institutions’ spread across the social field – asylums, factories, schools, hospitals, universities, etc. – with each serving to inculcate and condition a mode of conduct and consciousness. These institutions he placed within the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Above these socializing institutions traditionally stood the sovereign, which later became the State that exercised sovereign power. One of the ‘privileges’ of early sovereign power was the right to decide life and death – the right of a ruler to seize things, bodies, and ultimately the life of subjects. It was the model of power that was codified in classical politics, and one that has remained essentially unaltered during the transition from sovereign to State. The early birth of bio-power in modernity marked the point when the biological life of individuals became the ‘political subject’ that belonged to State rule. Foucault’s description of disciplinary societies was based around power exercised within institutions; more recently, institutional power has seeped out from the spaces of enclosure into what is now a pervasive, fluid, almost free-floating, administration of power that represents the control societies of the new era. We are entering into a world where continuous control will reshape the post-sovereign era of bio-power.
Bio-power & Biopolitics
Once biological life is registered within the framework of the modern state, then it can be included within its governance of power, which then gets interpreted as bio-power. And to declare bio-power as a form of governance, the State must seek to transform its citizens into docile bodies (the ‘masses’). The globalist agenda unfolding across the world is incorporating various State authorities under its umbrella. And this globalist perspective, so far as it can be determined, is directing its newfound bio-power against both the individual body and the ‘mass body’ as a biopolitical target. In the post-sovereign era of bio-power, the modern human condition is such that the individual is not the object but rather the subject of bio-power. The State is being perversely reformed to represent itself as a new style of bio-power-driven authority.
1. i) Bio-power
Within the context of a biological threat, the subsequent ‘pandemic’ is establishing a social-political construct that is re-constituting the ‘normalizing’ of human society. This so-called, and overly hyped, ‘normalizing’ of society is being enacted by a series of ‘power seizures’ which has given authority to a newly conceived bio-power that claims jurisdiction over the individual and the collective body. This bio-power has given itself the ‘right’ to decide over how to administer life or even death. In short, bio-power is concerned with exercising control over the administration of life.
In terms of the individual, this enactment of bio-power over the human body gives the State the legality to put individual bodies under surveillance and, if need be, punished by incarceration, using biosecurity jurisdiction (see later). We have seen this in numerous cases recently, as in the 28-year-old Perth woman who broke the Western Australian quarantine rules and was handed a 6-month prison sentence. The form of bio-power that is being exercised under the pandemic ‘state of emergency’ is concerned with a new mapping of life – social, political, and economic. The management of human existence is undergoing profound redefinition and transition.
Part of this redefinition designates a new narrative that is currently being used to underpin State responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is utilizing a language of ‘health risks’ for intervention and intrusion into our private lives. This includes the jurisdiction to enter into a person’s house without permission to forcibly remove people either considered a health risk or insufficiently ‘obeying’ quarantine measures. The former was stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 30th 2020 when Dr. Michael Ryan (Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program) gave a statement saying that authorities may have to enter people’s homes to remove suspected family members to an ‘isolated designated facility.’ These measures have now been enacted into law. For example, under the New Zealand state of emergency, police officers now have the power to enter homes to enforce self-isolation rules. In a similar move, the Australian state of Victoria has deployed 2,000 military personnel to enforce what they refer to as ‘virus-control measures.’ In an ironic twist, those citizens opposing such draconian measures are being negatively labelled as ‘sovereign citizens’ where originally the term sovereign individual meant the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of their own body and life. Here we see a deliberate twisting of language to now support and enforce the regimes of bio-power. Just as the modern economic system creates money ‘out of thin air,’ so too does this apply to the new bio-power laws being put into effect across the world. Legality is not required to create new laws – only the power to create laws is necessary.
Bio-power refers to a range of strategies backed by ‘specialized medical knowledge’ and adopted by the State along with a supporting network of institutions, agencies, and non-state actors. The disturbing trend here is that the State is empowering private military actors as well as ‘service officers’ and giving them power as authorized officers to enforce the new public health directions. All such ‘authorized officers’ are given comparative police state powers to enforce State directives – such as searching homes and cars without a warrant – although there is no guarantee that they will be held fully accountable. This has already led to many reports of overreach and overzealous policing. Continuous localized lockdowns, trace-and-trace surveillance methods, drone surveillance, the loss of right to protest, and other such measures, are now becoming established as the ‘new normal’ regimes of bio-power as exercised within individual States and nation territories. These forms of control and regulation are without precedent and serve to increasingly affect the psychological well-being of sovereign citizens.
Bio-power is now arising as an insidious and dangerous form of global domination. It is a form of power that seeks to regulate social life not only from without (mask-wearing, social distancing, etc.), but also from within (the consciousness of the population). The concept of bio-power seeks to gain dominion over the vital aspects of human existence. Within the field of bio-power, the term ‘biopolitics’ refers to the specific sector that is responsible for creating the strategic policies and practices of intervention into individual, public, and collective life.
1. ii) Bio-politics
Earlier biopolitical strategies concerned the administration and management of illness and health. Now a newly reconfigured field for biopolitics has been created that binds the individual and the collective into a strengthening mix of the technological, the political, the legal, and the financial. Modern biopolitics is clearly tied into the global ‘Great Reset’ of the restructuring of power and the new regimes that have been rendered into existence by the recent states of pandemic emergency.
In our post-sovereign era of bio-power, biological life is now at the center of state power – and this will dictate all future agendas. All forms of biopolitical authority are now acting as agents of the State, whether they are governmental or non-governmental bodies, which aligns with a twenty-first century medical totalitarianism. Bio-power and biopolitics, along with bio-capital and biosecurity, are combining to create a totalized and singular form of power. In terms of collective humanity, this involves the bio-politicizing of the human race in order to develop new forms of management which have as their goal making populations live in ‘productive ways’ as well as insuring against random and/or planned revolt. To be clear on this, the globalist biopolitical agenda is the formation of control societies and the rendering of human life as ‘docile bodies’ that have no resistance against State intervention. To frame human life under a regime of total biopolitical power, the State authorities must also render conscious life under its rule. That is, what we ‘think’ is a part of what we physically ‘are’ and, as such, is also under their jurisdiction. By literally being born, the State automatically assumes the power to dictate human conscious thinking. From this perspective, we can see why current censorship – internet censorship and the curtailing of free speech – has been so dominant and heavy-handed. After all, total power requires total domination. This means not only external control over an individual’s body but also to interiorize this control – both mentally (conditioning, programming) and biologically (health treatment, vaccination).
The bio-political agenda also incorporates non-state bodies to enact their strategies – most notably philanthropic organizations, social pressure groups, NGOs, and assorted globalist organizations. The biopolitical field has been extended from annual health check-ups, health insurance, and preventive medicine to now incorporate the Covid-19 pandemic measures of random testing, forced isolation, and the coming vaccination plans. All human life has now been ‘bio-politicized’ in the attempt to eradicate not our health risks but all the once neutral, or safe, zones of life. There is no refuge from the reach of biopolitics when both the exterior and interior life fall under the jurisdiction of total State control. In this post-sovereign era of bio-power, a person’s body, health, and happiness – even a person’s right to their ‘individual sovereign self’ – is now regarded as within the realm of authoritarian bio-power. In the post-sovereign era of bio-power, bio-power and biopolitics are a dangerous mix of narratives based upon a monopoly of so-called ‘scientific knowledge.’ In our current times, biopolitical strategies are clearly linked to a new form of high-tech bio-capitalism.
The Post-Sovereign Era of Bio-Power: The New Bio-capitalism
Non-state bodies have played a key role in the biopolitical agenda, especially since the rise of the pharmaceutical industry, global healthcare strategies, and tech giants. The field of bio-capitalism involves attempts to develop and maximize targets for pharmaceutical markets and other healthcare interventions. The administration of bio-capital policies upon the majority of the world’s population is now technologically possible in a way that was not available before. Not only is it technologically feasible, with the COVID-19 pandemic there is now also a reason for its implementation. This should give every thinking person adequate cause for concern. I would put forth that it is now imperative that we develop the conceptual tools for the critical analysis of the ways in which biopolitics plays out in relation to bio-capital. This is the merger where health (and health economics) combines with the data of surveillance capitalism.
Bio-capitalism has aligned itself with the accelerating expansion of datasets, data tracing and tracking, and the burgeoning rise of surveillance capitalism. The contact-tracing applications developed by the likes of Google and Apple are likely to gather a huge amount of new data that will only add to their escalating data supply chains. Healthcare and biomedical data collection is doubling every 12-14 months and back in 2012 a Ponemon Institute study found that 30% of all the digital data storage in the world was occupied by the healthcare industry. It can only be imagined how much that figure has increased in the intervening years. The move to digital has been rapid over the past decade – for example, Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) adoption rates for U.S. hospitals have gone from 10 to 90 % in that time. The range of medical wearables on the market are now extensive, and growing. It is now possible to monitor most aspects of an individual’s health. It is estimated that remote patient monitoring and health trackers will generate $20 billion annually by 2023. Analysis of digital healthcare data and its use for predictive analytics is profoundly changing the way patients are managed as health wearables becomes part of patients’ treatment plans. Patient health data will, without doubt, influence the business models of the bio-capital market. And this data will only increase from the ‘track & trace’ apps most governments are desperately pushing upon their populations. Bio-capitalism is firmly embedded within the portfolio expansion of the tech giants. Even a cursory glance at the list of projects owned or invested in by the FAMGA (Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple) tech giants will show an unsettling array of healthcare projects. Such projects involve medical patient databases, hospital research data, pharmacy retail collaborations, AI research facilities, and insurance. In the autumn of 2018, Google’s parent company Alphabet invested $375 million in Oscar Health, a ‘next-generation’ health insurance company. According to their CEO, Oscar Health aims to manage people’s health care from a reinvented and rebuilt technological perspective.
To say that bio-capitalism is divorced from biopolitics would be greatly naïve. In the UK the government’s Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, signed an agreement in March 2020 that provides legal backing for the National Health Service (NHS) to set aside its duty of confidentiality in data-sharing arrangements. Named as the ‘Covid-19 Purpose,’ the new data-sharing agreement means NHS organizations and general medical practitioners (GPs) can share all patient data with any organization they choose, as long as it’s for the purpose of ‘fighting the coronavirus outbreak.’
The post-sovereign era of bio-power squarely positions the tech giants and the pharmaceutical industry clearly at the forefront of bio-capitalism. Big Pharma is going to make huge profits from the current pandemic situation. And the topic that is currently highest on their agenda is that of vaccinations. The response from many Big Pharma CEOs is that they are calling on society to help finance their research investments. Pharma chief executives have warned governments that they’ll need to provide substantial upfront funding if vaccines and testing are to be rolled out faster. It looks like their ‘warning call’ has been heeded. Most Big Pharma Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing costs are expected to be offset by government funding. And the potential outreach is staggering. As just one example, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has reached an agreement with Europe’s Inclusive Vaccines Alliance (IVA) to supply up to 400 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, with deliveries starting by the end of 2020. AstraZeneca also recently completed similar agreements with the UK, US, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance for 700 million doses. Furthermore, AstraZeneca has agreed a license with the Serum Institute of India for the supply of an additional one billion doses. Current total manufacturing capacity stands at two billion doses for a vaccine that has not yet been proven to be ‘effective.’ And this is just one company out of many. And this too may be just the first vaccine out of many more to come.
In a recent report (published August 2020), public ‘health expert’ Tony Fauci and epidemiologist David Morens stated that humanity has ‘entered a pandemic era.’ Their report states that the current pandemic is only the first of many more to come and that we are likely to see an accelerating rate of future outbreaks in the years ahead. What this means is that the future of vaccine rollouts is secured, alongside a continuation of emergency powers. A further consequence of the continuation of emergency powers is the huge economic bombshell for struggling companies. The majority of companies, especially middle-to-small scale, are already on the cusp of collapse, or have already folded. Some of the larger players are likely to seek State financial intervention. What this means is that an increasing array of major corporate enterprises will come under the jurisdiction of State control, almost as if through the backdoor. This less visible form of bio-capitalism forces a shift toward a strengthened State/Governmental control of the social-cultural sphere through such instruments of commercial influence. The private sector once again comes under the umbrella of a globalist agenda through the intermediary of the nation State. This is a trajectory that comes worrying close to the Chinese model of State intervention into the commercial sector.
Bio-capitalism is clearly a force of reckoning that is deeply tied to biopolitics and an agenda of bio-power. A global regime is emerging through the ‘Great Reset’ that is constructed from an assemblage of institutions, procedures, orthodox ‘knowledge narratives’ and enforced by authoritarian measures that are instigated through the police/military complex. The changing biopolitical arena of the 21st century, with its economic bio-capitalist agenda, simultaneously implies a rising state of biosecurity.
A State of Biosecurity in The Post-Sovereign Era of Bio-Power
The bio-power politics of ‘control over life’ backed by technologies of bio-capitalism gives rise to draconian measures of State biosecurity. There is no biopolitics which is not simultaneously also a security apparatus. Similarly, there is no biosecurity which is not a systemic form of regulation. State bio-power is exercising a corruptive potential to hold human life hostage. This includes the potential of utilizing biosecurity measures to expose and restrain those individuals who make a choice to resist the forces of bio-power over their lives.
State institutions the world over are attempting to define themselves as a sole monopoly over the use of force to ensure biosecurity over the population. Non-state actors are also being brought in as institutionalized, and thus sanctioned, players and actors in this monopoly. On 18th March 2020, the Governor-General of Australia declared that a ‘human biosecurity emergency’ exists. This declaration gave the Minister for Health unprecedented power to issue any requirement or direction under the Biosecurity Act 2015. For example, during the human biosecurity emergency period the Health Minister may issue any direction to any person and determine any requirement the State considers is necessary to prevent or control the spread of Covid-19 in Australia. Each and all individuals must comply with the emergency requirements. Any person found engaging in conduct that ‘contravenes a requirement or a direction’ can face a maximum penalty of imprisonment for five years and/or a fine of 300 penalty units ($63,000). Similar measures are now in place, or being put in place, in other countries where people found engaging in ‘contravening behavior’ are liable for immediate fines and prison sentences.
In the post-sovereign era of bio-power and amidst the new biosecurity regime, no one is granted liberty unless they succumb to the new rules of ‘immunity jurisdiction.’ These jurisdictions are likely to soon include the need for a type of ‘immunity passport.’ The anticipated immunity passport will create totally reconfigured spaces of mobility and access where travel, public and social events, and state services may be closed to those who, without verified bio-secure immunity, are persona non grata. Travel within nation states and across international boundaries may only become possible through a highly regulated architecture of surveillance and on-body tracking. If a person does not submit their live bio-data, then mobility will be disallowed or highly curtailed. The early signs of this exercise of biosecurity is already emerging in States such as Singapore where the tagging of citizens is the first wave of bio-surveillance.
Biosecurity will continue to engage in its newfound power to restructure the totality of social life, and to intrude upon the bodies of the human population as well as upon human consciousness. The danger here is that such draconian strategies go towards enforcing a ‘mute life’ upon individuals, disallowing them the basic rights of testimony and protest. Such biosecurity measures are nothing less than the power of authoritarian dictatorship operating through the false façade of health and safety. Human biological life is being merged with the physical-digital structures of State bio-power to reconfigure the most important question of all – what is a human life?
The Post-Sovereign Era of Bio-Power: What is a Human Life?
We are moving perilously toward a recombinant future where, in the words of one CEO, ‘Humans are biohazards, machines are not.’ The citizen is now subjected to an external authority in ways that never before could be achieved. Bio-power is reconstituting how humans are being targeted as objects – or ‘units’ – to be controlled, with our bodies as well as our minds, as the new colonies to be conquered. The danger facing us is a future without a core humanity – only units under a regime of a digitally-managed bio-power.
Does this mean that the only way to be exempt from this is to renounce one’s citizenship – to be a ‘non-citizen’? Could such a stateless place exist in the contemporary world? Will this trigger the rise of new people’s republics? In the light of recent events we are compelled to ask ourselves – what is an authentic human? Is it possible to live authentically when subjected to the external power regimes of authority that deny a person their individual sovereignty?
We should recognize also that there exists the ‘bio-power’ of the human collective that stands in opposition to top-down State intervention. As individuals, we also have a very real human power. The politics of life are fast being used against us to develop the docile bodies that the globalist ‘Great Reset’ agenda seeks in order to roll out its technocratic future. It is no overstatement to say that the future of humanity is on the table. How the next years unfold will determine not only the direction of our human future but also, importantly, how human our future will be. As a human family it seems some have forgotten the Hippocratic oath that states: ‘Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course.’ The very politics of life (and death) are being usurped for an agenda that shows little, if no, human compassion and fellowship. State bio-power is concerned with power over life rather than life itself. And it is this that makes it profoundly disturbing and of great danger to a human-based future. The ‘Great Reset’ may speak of renewal and recalibration yet it speaks of an age that is void of the very core qualities of being human in a living, organic world. In this post-sovereign era of bio-power, each one of us is now being asked to face this central question: What does being human mean to me? Hopefully from the answer to this question we can each find our own source of power and inner strength.
This essay was first published in New Dawn magazine as Biopower in the Age of the Great Reset
(Reprinted here with permission)
 See my essay – Post-Pandemic Landscapes
 Schwab, Klaus; Malleret, Thierry – COVID-19: The Great Reset
 See – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-25/woman-who-snuck-into-wa-on-truck-handed-six-month-jail-sentence/12592832
 See – https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120577868/coronavirus-police-can-now-enter-homes-to-look-for-people-gathering
 See – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/04/australian-state-impose-hefty-fines-compel-covid-19-isolation/
 For a detailed description see The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff.
 Oscar Health was founded in 2012 by Joshua Kushner, who just happens to be the brother of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law.
 See my previous essay – Post-Pandemic Landscapes