May 1st in Rovereto
On May 1st, about twenty companions took to the streets for about an hour in the working-class district of Fucine with a series of amplified interventions at the Itea buildings (Istituto Trentino Edilizia Agevolata). Like what happened on April 25th at Brione, it was an opportunity to talk about both the structural causes of the epidemic – all linked to the capitalist way of plundering and exploiting nature – and how Confindustria and the government dealt with it, causing a massacre. During this initiative the inhabitants of Itea, who are in economic difficulties (the managers of the Provincial Authority announced a moratorium on rents for shopkeepers, but not for tenants), were invited to organize themselves in order not to pay the rent. It was stressed that the ban – which will continue after May 4 – on meeting more people in the open air is intended to keep us isolated and passive in the face of what they are preparing for us: the loans that the government is going to ask the European institutions and domestic creditors (banks, insurance companies, investment funds) will be repaid by increasing the exploitation of workers and the poorest sections of society, an aspect on which “pro-Europeans” and “sovereigns” all agree. To resist this – and the introduction of 5G – it is necessary to responsibly violate social containment measures. Some inhabitants – especially young people – have approached the initiative. Two police patrols, on the other hand, have kept their distance.
“If we can work, we can strike.”
Under this slogan blockades and strikes were organised in most logistics chains between April 30 and May 1. In Bologna, in Casoria, in the province of Naples, in Turin, in Campi Bisenzio, in Calenzano, in Modena (where the protests had already started at the beginning of the week). And then Genoa, Milan, Brescia, Bergamo, Piacenza, Florence, Rome, Caserta… Once again the carriers – mostly immigrants – confirmed themselves as the most combative sector of the wage class. The riders from Turin and the transport cleaners from Naples also went on strike and on April 30th they blocked the subway.
In the belly of the beast
While the Italian media only give space to the protests of Trump’s supporters, who want the resumption of economic activity without ifs and buts (the same position adopted by the League and ridden by the fascists, who try to disguise themselves behind the “tricolor masks”), on May 1st in the United States there were massive strikes against giants like Amazon, Whole Food, Walmart, Target. The demands are the closure of the sites where there have been contagions, no restrictions in testing for potentially infected workers, remuneration for dangerous work, interruption of the delivery of non-essential goods and the end of retaliation against workers who demand more safety at work. Nurses took to the streets in front of 130 hospitals in 13 states to recruit new staff, against the lack of protective equipment and attempts to silence the protestors. Common denominator of these and many other demonstrations, the opposition to spending and military intervention by the stars and stripes. Since March, at least 140 wild strikes have been documented throughout the United States. Meanwhile, in California, New York State, Missouri and several major cities, the rent strike is spreading.
Asking ourselves what practical purpose the rules imposed on us for more than a month have for containing the contagion has so far proved to be a fundamental exercise of critical spirit. From May 4, the date of the infamous “phase 2”, restrictions on our freedoms (especially those of association and demonstration) will not change, but it will be possible to visit… who? In the first version it was the relatives. Protests. You misunderstood, we meant stable relations. This ballet once again reveals that certain measures have very little to do with health. What practical use does it have compared to the containment of contagion to be able to meet only relatives? Do family ties protect us from being infected? Is there some kind of flock immunity linked to the surname? The answer seems obvious to us.
In the next few days many activities will re-start (leaving aside those, certainly not essential, that never closed , such as companies that produce arms); we will return to produce and consume almost at full capacity. We will not, however, return to our significant social ties, our friendships, our accomplices: those, on paper, are worth less than a certificate of kinship. Patience for those who do not have a family or who have broken off relations with it because they have found affection, understanding, reciprocity elsewhere.
Work, home, family: that’s the main thing!
But if we want to put an end to the social organisation that creates pandemics, we must also loudly claim the importance of all our ties, especially the most unselfish and authentic ones – which often have nothing to do with families.
To capture all expressions of human life through Law is a totalitarian utopia. Totalitarian, because its realization would make human beings similar to machines; utopia, because the state can never control everything we do. However, it can approach, and quite a lot, taking advantage of the most propitious opportunities. What do the Decrees issued in the name of the Coronavirus emergency have in common with the countless liberticide laws that have studded the history of this country? Not only and not so much the mass extension of the restrictions, but the fact that – by overturning the foundations of liberal ideology – these Decrees define as allowed not what is not expressly forbidden, but what is expressly allowed. Well, where is only place where activities are divided between those expressly permitted and those expressly prohibited? Prison.
While not yet collecting the necessary consensus to introduce the “Immune” application for the digital tracking of social contacts, the state has started to require some semi-free prisoners to have a smartphone for geolocation. As a replacement for what? Electronic wristbands, the construction of which is entrusted to one of the cell phone companies (Fastweb).
The advance of digital technology allows what the totalitarian regimes of the past did not even dare to dream of.