We’re in Lockdown. Stay at home, we’re commanded. Only that which is most necessary for economic survival is permitted, but it is never stated of whose survival they speak. Even then we’re greeted by processions of police riot vans – lights flashing, show of force – informing us that we have to go home. Going about the minimum of daily activities is a danger to public health. It’s already been said in Italy that it’s amazing how quickly we forget: what it’s like to speak to a stranger, to touch someone, to encounter an unexpected moment amid the concrete drizzle of capital. The workhouses and temples of consumption are open but the shelves are almost bare. We have a social responsibility, they say. The healthcare system cannot cope and it is us that has to save it. Did someone say something about funding?
An invisible enemy. The stuff of apocalyptic films. The cause is not important, it’s just the flu after all, but the response is crucial. We are not measuring the number of deaths but the capacities of power. Swine flu and SARS failed to take the world by storm but they’ve nailed it this time. Everything that came before was a mere prototype for the finished product: a perfectly intangible terror that demands our complete subservience. It’s as though The Handmaid’s Tale, in all its controversial success, was a warm-up before the main act.
The supposed reach and severity of the Corona Virus is almost a mute subject. What’s important is who is going to take benefit, how, and who pays the price. The capitalist economic system is built on investment, but this time it’s starving itself ready for a rampage. When this is allover, when our glorious benefactors have saved us from near ruin and we welcome back with open arms a depleted economy that was fucking us before ‘the pandemic’, we have to think where we will be.
Waves of migrants washing upon even more hostile European shores. Solitary confinement becoming the prisoners’ permanent state. G4S quietly clean up after the morning matinee as we’re distracted by the charade in the main hall. Physical human interaction reduced to an Orwellian suspicion whilst the spectrum of human emotion is expressed through Whatsapp’s preset sticker selection. Facebook’s laughing as Instantgram’s rewriting history with all our rebellious quotes.