Trento (Italy) – Chronicles from the State of emergency 1

23 march 2020

Virus don’t come from other planets

Disease always reflects a societies lifestyle (how and what it produces, food quality, ways of transports, etc.) A medical science that doesn’t consider this as a matter of fact – and that would imply a debate on the whole industrial system – can only slap a bandaid on the effects of diseases, ignoring their causes.
As chance would have it, first Coronavirus nidus spread starting from a big urban concentration area in China, heavily polluted by industries. It so happens that, first focus in Italy started from the most industrialized and polluted zone of the country. Until
toxicities, and the consequent environmental devastations , aren’t suppressed, healt emergencies will repeat.

Healt care

Medical staff making overalls out of rubbish bags and masks out of sheets; the constant alert on the limited materials for intensive care. What has led to this? That’s what you won’t find written in the daily fear chronicles of media, which hush up responsabilities.
Since 1978 on, Healtcare has been subjected to cuts in expenditure and privatizations by both left and right- winged governments. The progressive transformation of Healtcare into a an enterprise has cut off profitless structures, staff, departments and therapy, especially decimating what concerns preventive medicine. That’s the reason why sleeping places in hospitals are halved and the emergency ones are reduced to less than half. While medical and political allusions are clearly more and more military (virus is the aggressor, body is under siege, society is at war, government marshals army), what’s the true enemy of
individual and collective health disappears: logic of profit.

Containing virus means to free everyone

Since saturday 7 march and during the following week, protests rise up in fourty italian jails. Into at least thirty of them, proper revolts break out. Over 6’000 prisoners take part to rebellions; prison sections destroyed and set on fire, penitentiary cars burnt, prisoners on the roofs, massive jailbreak, jailers taken hostage and the prison in Modena shut down thanks to damages. The State shows its muscles: riot police and special penitentiary police detachment intervene, jailers surround prisons with guns drawn, in Puglia (south italian region, translator’s note) troops are put on streets to block the escaped, in Modena relatives of prisoners refer to have clearly heard shots coming from the jail. And then the beating-up and the massive transfers. The result is definitively heavy: 15 dead prisoners. Their deaths are quickly covered up, they talk about deceases mostly due to psycotropic
drugs and methadone overdose (mostly; and the others…?).
The spark that caused riots is the interruption of meetings between relatives and prisoners as a ridicolous control measure for contagion (relatives may be potentially infected….and jailers aren’t?) linked to the awareness to be like a rat in a trap in case of epidemic (there are already cases in Brescia, Milano, Voghera, Pavia, Lecce, Modena e Bologna). But the ticking bomb was formed by inhuman life conditions: the endemic overcrowding, the jailers violence, the impossibility to access to alternative measures. Amnesty and pardon: the prisoners demands are now nothing more than a public healt precaution, in order to limit the contaminating effects in overcrowded places (up to 8 prisoners per cell). While in Iran, in order to contain infection, 70’000 detainees with penalty under 5 years have been released from prison, in Italy, after protests, riots and a proper «State massacre», there has been given the possibility for house arrest to the ones who have penalties under six months, and house arrest with electronic bracelet for penalties under 18 months. Actually, the situation got worse instead of better ( the current law provides house arrest, by authority received, for whom has penalty under 3 years and without electronic bracelet). Not to mention, the 34,5% of prisoners in Italy who are awaiting trial, they have no sentence to serve. Anyway, not even these weak provisions would have come true without a decisive and brave test of strength from prisoners, aware that reality leaves no escape: either detention and death, either riot and life.

General strike!

Although institutions proclaimed that all the unnecessary activities must stop, several factories are still open, including those with high a concentration of workers, in close proximity during the production and in the canteen too. (Meanwhile, law enforcement are
searching cycle lanes, parks and woods, hunting for «plague-spreaders». Meanwhile, mobiles companies create mass cataloguing, in order to «track» individuals moving). Nationwide, many strikes in several factories have been reported (Dana, Pama, Fly, Siemens44, Mariani, Sapes, Tecnoclima, Ebara…), added to the many workers who decided to stay home even in abscence of strikes. It’s not only about an understandable reaction of fear for the virus, but also an aid for the healt of everyone.
These strikes need to be supported and axpanded to all the not-strictly-necessary productions.
If health doesn’t permit profit, too bad for profit.

We are all on the same boat?

These days, we are witness to the massive injection of the rhetoric of patriotism on all medias: «All together against the common enemy». In this tricoloured tale, magically disappears the material life conditions that are NOT the same for everyone (to stay
home, i need to have one and be able to keep it…) If it’s impossible to clearly foresee what will happen next, one thing it’s sure. The economical effects of this «sanitary crisis» will
have a different weight for any of us. Millions of people will have practical problems to make a living. Loans from European Central Bank won’t be for free at all, but new austerithy measures will be established, hitting the poorest first. It’s going to be
who is already half under water to push the boat on. Remember this, when the notes from the Mameli anthem will be gone …