News from the state of emergency (Issue 3) 6th of April 2020
Nothing will be as it was before
That is what they are telling us. As industrial society can’t be put in question – an industrial society whose constant headlong rush will produce increasingly lethal and frequent epidemics –, we will have to push the accelerator of technological solutions even more. As deforestation, the frenetic extraction of raw materials, the poisoning of the air and water, intensive agriculture and breeding, artificial food production and the devitalization of human beings can’t be stopped, we will have to get used to cohabiting with pandemics. 75% of the new infectious diseases are transmitted to humans by wild animals whose natural habitat has been destroyed, then the role of “contagion carriers” is performed by the fine dust produced by pollution (as recently written by a member of the Società italiana di medicina dell’ambiente [Italian society of environmental medicine]). So? Shall we give back their space to what’s left of the wild fauna and stop this demented race? No. Full speed ahead, under digital command!
Nothing must be as it was before
That’s what we say. Let’s open up places for discussion and organization from below. In cities, neighbourhoods, towns. And let’s face everything that concerns our lives together, from basic material needs to medicine, from the economic reorganization that will be fierce, to the direction we want to give to society. Don’t let them tell us that we will have to pay for it, yet again. Don’t let them talk to us about Great works to relaunch their economy, about automatization of production, 5G and other rubbish. The virus is not the cause but the consequence of the industrial disease. And that is where we have to start off from, finally.
International rent strike
This is a proposal that has been spreading in several countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden Chile, Spain…) since 1st April. For example, in their appeal “to the entire working class and tenants to support a general strike and rent strike indefinitely”, the Sindacato Inquilini [Tenants Union] of Gran Canaria write: «The current situation couldn’t be more alarming, not only on a health level but also on an economic and social level. The measures adopted by the government after a state of emergency was declared in response to Covid-19, are openly anti-working class, are completely superficial (limited moratorium on mortgages), and don’t care about basic needs: thousands of families living from day to day, surviving on badly-paid jobs, people who have been sacked illegally, families left with no income due to confinement; everybody has to face the impossibility of paying rent». Moreover, they propose: «Abandoned homes in the hands of trusts, financial companies and banks (particularly those that have been saved with public money) must be socialized and made available to thousands of people and families who are currently homeless».
Words and barriers
“A tyrant has upset our lives, and it’s called coronavirus”. Hospitals have become “trenches”, while the dead are transported in military vehicles. In this way, war scenarios come to mind with all their symbolic and emotional content. Because metaphors evoke images and expressions concepts. Language is anything but neutral: it shapes opinions, enunciates relations that develop throughout the course of time. Words make the world. They act on each one of us and lead us to act, in one way or another.
Treating a disease as if it were a war makes people obedient, docile and, in perspective, designated victims.
The choice of one word or another is not a question of language, but of a political decision. Politicians: you are the advocates of fear and hatred against each other. In the virus you have found yet another occasion to mark out boundaries and erect barriers.
Now that we are the potentially infected
For weeks the shipping containers that the Austrian State had installed at Brenner in an anti-migrant function have been used for anti-Coronavirus control on those coming from Italy. The current “exceptional measures” should make us reflect on what has always been happening to the feeblest, the undocumented, that part of humankind worth exploiting for as long as is necessary then left to die or be deported. Beyond the privileges we no longer realize we are living from, are those who are sadly accustomed to a daily life of distances, controls, visas, “who knows when we will meet again”. While goods are speeding around and thousands of human beings are trapped on the borders of Europe, perhaps we will be able to see that the virus of borders is not due to disappear in the near future.
Beyond borders, the struggles in the prisons
Concerning the uprisings that broke out in the jails on 7th March, newspapers and television channels hastened to talk about actions dictated by “organized crime”. (Not by chance, the same script was later used to criminalize those who tried to leave supermarkets without paying for their shopping). Someone instead talked about a “organized plan” of some unspecified “anarchist hand”. It’s unthinkable for the State to consider that these are spontaneous revolts that can communicate quickly with one another, that have developed in the captivity of places of torture, years of beatings, endemic overcrowding, repellent hygienic conditions; otherwise it would have been told differently and more extensively. As a matter of fact revolts are also breaking out in Spain, France, Brazil, USA, Belgium, Venezuela, Iran, Peru, Sri Lanka, Colombia (where, in the prison of Bogota alone, twenty-three prisoners have died)… Now they are forced to talk about it. Even States such as Iran and Turkey have released 110 thousand and 90 thousand prisoners respectively. Even the UN secretary is calling on governments to take urgent measures against the spread of contagion in prisons worldwide, where 12 million and a half people are locked up. It is precisely the prisoners who first suggested to us that the huge state of emergency we are the prisoners of today can and must bring with it the occasion to free ourselves and others, looking beyond our own boundaries.
Translated by act for freedom now!