*Brecce [opening gaps] is an anarchist mural paper fly-posted on the walls of Lecce (southern Italy) ‘to question things, disrupt, pluck out, open up gaps. Above all in our minds and hearts, and then in the place where we live. An ambitious project, a simple instrument. And in using both we are speaking to anyone who can understand the anger we carry inside, and the dream constantly in our thoughts.’ (From the editorial of Brecce no. 1)
The heart of Mohammed, a 47-year-old Sudanese man, made an extreme and final protest when it stopped beating, exhausted by fatigue, dust and heat. A few days of outrage, a little grief and pietism by the good souls of society, then back to normality. No need to be surprised because this man’s death is totally part of the normality of this world, the normality of the exploitation of poor devils carried out by the bosses backed by Governments and local administrations (both left and right-wing), and by non-profit associations that have allowed the situation to remain unchanged while coming out with so many fine words.
This death in the tomato fields is not something extraordinary due to conditions of slave labour, but is a normal consequence of capitalist exploitation. Mohammed was not one of the many invisible ones without papers, but a man who was more or less legal with a stay permit, who perhaps couldn’t have a work contract owing to his status as a stateless person due to the judicial limbo one finds oneself in when claiming asylum, where it is impossible to get a contract. The fact that this particular boss had already been arrested for exploitation in the fields shows his lack of astuteness, at best, but doesn’t change anything of the appalling normality of this kind of death.
What is the difference, in fact, between an exploiter of Africans in Nardò [Lecce] and an exploiter of Chinese workers in the infamous Foxconn in Shenzhen, a dormitory-factory where I-phones are produced and dozens of people have committed suicide in the space of a few years? The difference lies in the geographical distance that separates the exploiters from the exploited, because Steve Jobs (and his heirs) are located on the other side of the world from those they kill in order to extract profit. It’s a bit like war: Isis fighters who slaughter people close up and get stained with blood are terrorists, armies that bomb from afar are bearers of democracy. In reality, minus the nuances, there’s no difference.
The difference is also in the sociological – so to speak – distance that separates a tomato from a telephone; the harvesting of the former is linked to the soil and implies hard and retrograde work conditions, while the production of the latter is synonymous with progress and civilization. None of those who are going faster and faster with their little finger on the screen are wondering how many dead the new amazing app that they boast about to their friends has left behind. In this world of commodities made of production and consumerism, and its Republics based on work, there are no bosses with tender hearts or cruel slave traders, but always the insuperable class division between bosses and servants, exploiters and exploited.
In the midst of all this the only possible protest seems that of a heart that stops beating, because now many don’t have hearts any longer; or rather, as the poet said, their hearts are shaped like moneyboxes.