Against the Quarantine of Passions, the Social Epidemic
In these days a new nightmare is spreading: the contagion from the so-called Coronavirus. Ten villages in the Lodi area, considered as the outbreak of the infection, and one village in the Veneto region, where the first death from the virus occurred, have been placed under quarantine. This means no possibility for people to move around and leave their homes. Throughout Lombardy, power forces people to limit their social mobility. From the closure of the meeting places to the curfew, the step is short. Prisoners of themselves and something imperceptible to the human eye, the pastoral government has even ordered through a flash decree to close the streets and reinforced the garrison of police and army, intimating that if someone does not comply with state orders they could also face arrest. A social epidemic, power can only respond with repression and surveillance. The hunt for the anointer has begun.
A new spectre looms around us and its strength is its presumed medical truthfulness and the power to erase in a flash all other spectres invisible to the human eye. Bizarrely, when we talk about fast death, the social epidemic becomes urgent. When death settles into life, everything returns to the world of catastrophe. Isn’t there an emergency when the places where we live become unbreathable from industrialization and from the machine-world?
No emergency when GMO necro-cultures devastate the air we breathe and the food we eat? No emergency even when we are still eating from radioactive soil contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986? And Fukushima, where nuclear technicians in that area announce that the only way to stop the radioactivity in progress is by dumping the waste into the ocean?
With this epidemic, it seems that the certainties of the experts have collapsed in 24 hours. And when certainties fall, chaos is around the corner.
Aphorisms about disaster
This is the first globalized epidemic. Not global mind you, but globalized. There have always been epidemics that have crossed continents, spread like wildfire, caused death and pain.
This, however, is the first viral epidemic that crosses a world in which individuals are increasingly similar to each other, living conditions increasingly standardized, consumption habits standardized.
What is the ecological role of the disease? In this era of experts, where the main place is reserved for supposed medical science, little is being done about this issue. Where COP21 has failed, 2019n-CoV could succeed. Disease, and the death resulting from it, are escaped only in a world that has made mythology of the perpetuation of itself. Once cannot think that in places where millions of people live amassed, abusing antibiotics and junk food, these phenomena do not occur. The ecological question also finds a solution in the quantitative decrease of human beings, as well as on the necessary qualitative transformation of their lives.
After all, how do we differ from Pinne nobilis? These amiable relatives of the mussels lived happily in the immense underwater prairies of Posidonia ocenanica. The human being destroyed the prairies where they lived, fished them for souveniers and opened new ways of communication across the seas (Suez Canal). Now a bacterium is exterminating the few remaining individuals.
Or are we like Irish potatoes, all the same, grown in intensive monoculture? Hectares of potatoes, clones of other potatoes, with the same characteristics, the same weak points. All it takes is a parasite to wipe them out.
The geneticist Lewontin wonders in his book Biology as Ideology: was it a bacterium that caused the explosion of tuberculosis in the nineteenth century or was it the living conditions in the factories?
They tell us not to leave home, not to embrace the people we love, which borders or roads we cannot go beyond. They tell us that we risk our lives. But what life? Maybe the non-life that we had previously endured, in which the quarantine was the cabin of our minivan stopped on the ring road? Or was it the isolation in the apartment, the very cell of a huge concrete hive?
When it is possible only telework and socializing passes entirely through the internet, the antennas and what feeds them becomes a necessary condition for maintaining social order in the face of the disorder of dreams.
Eduardo De Fillipo, in Millionaire Naples, wrote that to recover from the war it was necessary to survive after the war. Adda passà a nuttata, she sighed, referring to her sick daughter. We too live in the midst of a disease, a tumor growth that affects relations between human beings and the environment around them. State, Capital, Technical System. Fever is the body’s reaction to an external invasion. Can a possibility for liberation pass from fever?
When you hear the bleating wolf, if you are a sheep, worry. Power does not care about our happiness, it cares that we continue to produce, to live within the patterns of exploitation and survival. When the state asks for cooperation that you find desertion wonderful.
Many civilizations have been destroyed by disease. The more complex a civilization is and imposes discipline in order to survive the more fragile it is. While the army and the police guard the sick, the nerves remain uncovered. To block this society, to interrupt its supply lines is a very understandable and desirable gesture: in the face of the abyss of ecological disaster and daily annihilation, the possibilities remain desires that we can finally find a way to express. And block our social role of not being able to do anything about it.
What remains when the state fails? What remains when trust in the state is lost? What remains when the state has to shoot its subjects who don’t want to be locked up in quarantine areas? What happens when the state proves unable to govern and protect? The possibility. Caracremada ran alone in the Pyrenees chasing the possibility of the overthrow of Franco’s dictatorship, we could one day find ourselves locked up with other individuals to face the disease on one side and the state on the other.
The language that can no longer express itself is still understandable. It interrupts oblivion. Faced with the most discouraging of deserts, the forest of knowledge and perspective. Each construction is a simulacrum of debris and its form is nothing new. For this reason the forms must be destroyed.
Launtréamont said that poetry could be made by all, not by one. Science, instead, can only be the bulwark of experts. That’s why poetry is the absolute rejection of science. And this is a fundamental step to go in search of the gold of the time against the commodification of survival in quarantine, restoring its spontaneity to thought. Beyond the horror, everything is imaginable.
To quote Breton:
Choose life with its conspiratorial sheets
Its scars from escapes
Choose life choose that rose window on my tomb
The life of being here nothing but being here
Where one voice says Are you there where another answers Are you there
I’m hardly here at all alas
And even when we might be making fun of what we kill
from the areas of the virus and beyond, some survivors of the breaking waves
(via Round Robin, translated into English by Anarchists Worldwide)