Saturday, 14 March 2020

State Of Emergency?

       At the risk of information overload, here are some more thoughts on the coronavirus, the state's response and the state of emergency. I still maintain that it is up to the communities to organise and protect themselves in a rational and humane manner, rather than wait for the state's instructions and to quietly follow. Yi pays yir money an yi takes yir pick.

 This from Anarchist News:
Anarchists in Italy Report on the Spread of the Virus and the Quarantine        From one side, our lives are threatened by a new virus; from the other side, our freedom is menaced by nationalists and authoritarians intent on using this opportunity to set new precedents for state intervention and control. If we accept this dichotomy—between life and freedom—we will continue paying the price long after this particular pandemic has passed. In fact, each is bound up in the other, dependent upon the other. In the following report, our comrades in Italy describe the conditions prevailing there, the causes of the escalating crisis, and the ways that the Italian government has taken advantage of the situation to consolidate power in ways that will only exacerbate future crises.
       At this point, the strategy of the authorities is not aimed at protecting people from the virus so much as controlling the pace at which it spreads so that it doesn’t overwhelm their infrastructure. Crisis management is the order of the day, as in so many other aspects of our lives. Our rulers don’t intend to preserve the lives of everyone—they already wrote off concern for the destitute long before this crisis began. Rather, they are determined to preserve the current structure of society and their perceived legitimacy.
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     INTERRUPTIONS …         There is nothing new about social life taking place at a distance. For a long time now people have been persuaded that the best way to communicate and relate is through the use of a device. Prostheses of the human being, the smartphone and its like, have transformed the way of being together, of being informed, learning, communicating, writing and reading.
      The next step is the robotization of living, technique pervading every place, every aspect of daily life. An overcoming of nature and the natural in favour of artificial beings and places. Such a scenario needs no social life, it does not need relationships, feelings, thoughts, it only needs order, discipline, regulation, machines. Maybe Dominion is trying to take a step forward and use a health problem, the spread of a virus, to reach generalized regimentation at least, the rest will then take care of itself. Science fiction comes to mind, but States have centuries old instruments to draw on without having to resort to the unknown.
       The social distancing imposed by laws prohibiting kisses and hugs and the suppression of most social activities, recalls states of emergency in which the rules of social life are imposed and must be obeyed so as not to run up against getting charged or being arrested. And indeed the establishment of red zones and checkpoints, limitation of freedom of circulation, obligation of home isolation for those coming from areas considered infected controlled by police, but above all the ban on gatherings, i.e. public meetings, is the police management of a health problem. Not surprisingly it is foreseen in the ten rules recommended by the Italian State to avoid the spread of the virus that in case of fever the carabinieri must the first to be contacted. But states of emergency are also the measures provided for in situations of conflict or insurrection, as happened recently in Chile.

Coronavirus, Agribusiness and the State of Emergency’ by Silvia Ribeiro
       Much is said about the Covid-19 coronavirus, and yet very little. There are fundamental aspects that remain in the shadows. I want to name some of these, different but complementary.
      The first refers to the perverse mechanisms of capitalism to hide the true causes of the problem so as not to do anything about them, because it affects their interests, but it does deal with the apparent cure for the symptoms. Meanwhile, the State spends enormous public resources on prevention, containment and treatment measures, which do not act on the causes either, so this way of facing problems becomes a captive business for transnational companies, for example, with vaccines and medicines.
      The dominant reference to viruses and bacteria is as if they were exclusively harmful organisms that must be eliminated. A war-like approach prevails, as in so many other aspects of capitalism’s relationship with nature. However, due to the ability of viruses to jump between species, viruses and bacteria are a fundamental part of the coevolution and adaptation of living beings, as well as their balance with the environment and their health, including humans.
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