Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
(This piece is from April 22. I submit it because I think that it is some of the compelling anarchist writing that I have found that captures the feeling of the great confusion of 2020. I think that this piece has tremendous literary value and I would love to see it translated into French.)
This flyer was distributed in different neighborhoods of Athens. Published April 22 on actforfree.nostate.org
It all happened without anyone really realizing it. And now we find ourselves locked up in our houses, waiting for next day’s news which we all know will contain more and more restrictions. Society is in crisis, they say, because of a virus spreading. The government is pressing that it is of most importance that we all do exactly what it says, and that by this we take our responsibility and act in solidarity. It stresses that the state of emergency is of course temporary, but necessary to win the war against what is seriously threatening our well being.But wait a minute…
Which virus? Actually, we cannot know. All the information, numbers and statistics that are at the base of the imposed confinement are in the hands of the government and the specialists that work for them. It is not a matter of denying the actual existence of a virus going around, but to realize that the knowledge of its characteristics, how it spreads, how it can be tackled, but also the data concerning its impact, is in the hands of scientists around the globe, which often don’t agree even among themselves about how to interpret them or which practical conclusions they would entail. The conclusion of the authorities on the other hand is simple; they know, we don’t. And because of this we owe them complete obedience. The mass media is playing its classic role of servant of the system magnificently. Deciding what exists by only showing and endlessly repeating the story by the authorities, not giving a millimeter of space to deviant voices of any kind. Their job consists of fully preparing the grounds for the next even more totalitarian decisions.And isn’t a virus the perfect enemy? Invisible and possibly everywhere, with everyone not complying to whatever rule is invented becoming an accomplice of that enemy. Justified to be oppressed with fines and prison sentences. A perfect context is created in which the state can shine as the ultimate savior.
And so we cannot open a newspaper or put on television without being told we should ‘take our responsibility’. But what does this mean then?They are asking us to blindly follow the orders of some politicians. But aren’t they the same bureaucrats we were distrusting before? Didn’t they prove so many times to be greedy and corrupt because they are driven much more by personal interest than by care for others? Didn’t it show again and again that their hunger for power is bigger than any sense of justice or reason? And now again, maybe the thousands of euros making sure helicopters are in the air controlling if we are staying in our houses could better be used in mmm… health care for example? These are the kind of people that are asking us to trust them, no questions asked, and call it ‘taking our responsibility’. Would we not be doing the opposite then? What we are really asked to do is to give up any conscience, critical thought, and autonomy, to welcome extreme government control in every aspect of our lives.
Our dIgnIty In quarantIne?
The misleading spectacle continues. We should obey the extreme measures being taken out of a sense of ‘solidarity’. Isn’t it cynical to hear these words from the mouths of the representatives of a system that is based on the exact opposite of solidarity? The whole year through we should run around like chicken without heads to keep up with the constant game of competition, to be exploited, to be hunted by cops for whatever reason they feel like that day, and be robbed by statesmen which made their profession out of it, and now they come to us and dare to speak about solidarity?
They dare to act as if they care about our well-being? What about the millions of people living in poverty so people like those in the government can be rich? What about all the people dying at their crappy jobs feeding the relentless economical machine? What about those being tortured in the police stations by the uniformed executioners of the state? What about the thousands of migrants dying at the borders every year? Where is the government with its big speeches about solidarity then?
While they are trying to feed us their hypocrite tales about solidarity in reality we see that the lockdown is locking loads of people up in unbearable circumstances. Children in their homes under the uninterrupted rule of violent parents for example. Or partners, husbands and wives stuck in abusive relationships. Thousands of migrants being trapped in camps, in even worse conditions than usual. In prisons all visits stopped, as did all access of prisoners to material, food and clothes coming from the outside. Empty spaces in prisons are being used to isolate prisoners with symptoms of the corona-virus, these spaces being empty in most cases because they are in not fit to host prisoners.
One can only imagine the effect this will have on the health of the prisoners being dumped there… In the prisons in Italy massive revolts broke out after general restrictions on all levels were introduced. Probably the only way for the prisoners to save their dignity seeing the conditions they are forced in. Also in Spain and France prisoners are standing up and fighting back, as other prisoners around the world.The state doesn’t know what solidarity means and has never been concerned about our well-being. As always, it will be up to us to take care of each other, and make sure that those that need it get support. When the government uses the word solidarity, it is only to give a feeling of guilt to those who don’t obey their orders, and to push people to internalize its authority.
So they tell us we are in crisis. Maybe somebody can tell us when the moment comes that we are not in crisis? From the financial crisis to the climate crisis, through the migrant crisis to the corona crisis. It seems the system has a lot of different names for what always turn out to be periods which are used to restructure its power, to enlarge and intensify its oppression. In this case, especially in this case, it will not be different. The idea of a condition of crisis has always been used to contextualize a further totalitarian evolution of power. The rhythm on which this evolution is forced is not always the same of course. The bigger and more urgent they can make the crisis look like, the bigger and faster the change can be. It goes without saying that the current ‘crisis’ is giving the government (all the governments) the perfect context in which to take giant steps in the development of their mechanisms of control and oppression.
Which exceptional state of emergency?
It is always repeated that whatever steps that are taken are ‘temporary’, but this is a lie. Many occasions in the past showed us that at least a part of the measures from ‘states of emergency’ were kept afterward and were embedded in laws never to be taken back. From big examples like 9/11 that changed forever the abilities of states to track, trace and record everyone, to more recent times in which terrorist attacks were used as a pretext to introduce many new ways to bring to court whoever disagrees with the state, to get the army (in a lot of places permanently) on the streets, to boost the general collection of data etc. And here, didn’t the new government launch a general state of emergency in the capital aimed at the total repression of the unwanted (homeless, anarchists, drug users, squatters etc.) since last year? We all know they are working non-stop on creating an image of ‘crisis’ (in this case some kind of ‘security crisis’) to justify its absolute thirst for power, implying that its fascist behavior and totalitarian policies would be of ‘necessary but temporary’ nature… And now, what is massively happening? People turn toward the internet for their needs, for all their needs.From communicating to consuming, from working to relaxing. In the blink of an eye a big part of life has deliberately been transferred to cyberspace. By this it becomes even more easy for the state to follow, register and surveil the daily activity of whoever. But especially, it is our own will and creativity to ‘solve’ a lot of the problems being caused by our mass imprisonment, that help normalizing it and finally push its acceptance. The managing of the current situation will bring forth an unimaginable set of experiences, tools and know-how that can and will continue to be used whenever estimated necessary by those in power.
But all objections or criticisms are undesirable or even dangerous, because after all ‘we are at war’. At war against a biological event, against nature actually. Isn’t this indicative for these modern times? We forget more and more how to live with or in nature, but multiply and intensify our wars against it. Our whole way of living is built on the exploitation of nature and, if this reality is not overthrown soon, its total destruction. Maybe it is the western arrogance culturally believing we are above all things, and so always extending our ways to control them. Always looking at nature in terms of its practical value to ‘civilized’ society. And when we are confronted with something that causes discomfort everything will be put in place to tame it, to manipulate or eradicate it. So a constant war is being waged, against nature, against life and against death. It became an unimaginable thought that we would not own nature but be a part of it, and by this can be subjected to some of its conditions…Of course nobody wants to die, or see its loved ones die or suffer. We want to live! But is merely surviving at a certain point the same as living? Is it possible to live in a cage, or can we at best survive in one? Are we ready to take away all risk of living to have a better chance of survival? One could say these are philosophical questions, good to pass the time but nothing to do with real life. Well, at this very moment all life is being taken away from us because we are told that this is the only way to survive. Every day in isolation is an attack on our autonomy, on our ability to think and act for ourselves, to live, love and fight.
The quarantine has to be refused, because our dignity cannot survive in it!
The lockdown has to be broken, because our desire for freedom will not!