We are all worried about the local and global spread of the corona virus. We are all involved in some way: as potential victims or, above all, as main actors/ protagonists of (self) care and caution.
The uncertainty and hesitation of the government in office have not helped until now. Added to the countless media news, often contradictory, anxious, inaccurate, incomprehensible and sometimes even disconcerting due to their imprecision and lack of transparency. We accept, with the due wisdom, the recent measures taken by the government in the sense of responsible behavior in everyday life. As far as we are concerned, it is what we had already suggested to our comrades and friends. However, we can’t deny the bewilderment and aversion created by other measures taken, the propaganda and the manner in which they can be applied, without mentioning governmental cutbacks and damages to the public health service. We think about the interests of the common people and act accordingly, so that they can better unite in a consciously chosen and verified solidarity mindset, to defend each and everyone’s health. We do not accept diktats or “sacred unity” lessons on behalf of political parties who argue daily and quarrel in order to solely privilege their own interests while ignoring and exploiting the needs of the common people. On one hand, we cannot tolerate that huge sums of funding are given to the industry/manufacturing sector once again and not to the workers themselves. What’s even worse, is that adequate health and safety measures are not put in place for workers while they carry out their duties, nor is the need to circumstantially interrupt production taken seriously into consideration in the most affected zones. Hence, we fully support the unrest, the mobilization and the strikes which are taking place in different parts of the country based on these claims.
On the other hand, we are wondering -with some concern- how certain decisions and measures can be interpreted and applied to everyday life. The decree ambiguously states that it “advises against” going out, precisely because banning it would be a violation of the Constitution and rule of law. There are some examples that lead us to believe that there are repressive and authoritarian attitudes when enforcing the new norms. Whether this is due to possible “informal” guidelines from above or due to unworthy of praise “spontaneous” initiatives on behalf of those who should maintain order.
Let’s think about what is happening to the detriment of the detainees in some jails. It is not a coincidence that all right wing parties, from the Lega, to Forza Italia and Fratelli d’Italia, are continuing to push for stricter measures and the government is following this advice. After weeks of having allowed an irresponsible exodus from and within the most affected areas, now a lady gets blamed for walking her dog or whoever goes food-shopping is addressed with a menacing attitude, not to mention what could happen against our immigrant brothers and sisters. If this continues, there could be a dangerous tendency that could lead to aggravating the repression towards the weakest, thus making decadent democracy even more pyramidal and authoritarian. This tendency should be immediately denounced and fought against on behalf of all forces who have at heart the common good: from immigrant associations to solidarity groups, from the volunteering sector to the trade unions, from the left political wing to those who simply want to preserve the remnants of democracy.
Above all, it is not a given that this is the most efficient way to manage this crisis, not at all. A careful, caring and respectful commonality does not contemplate the annihilation of people’s consciousness, which can be fueled by Hobbes’ “fear as an evolutionary resource” fairy tale making people misconceive one’s own health as well as that of others. Panicking is just as dangerous as underestimating the real threat of the situation: in both cases our cognitive, reflective/intuitive, preventive, reactive and proactive abilities are conditioned or reduced. It is natural that we all experience dismay when facing this immediate new situation. All the more reason why we need a responsible, practical and coherent attitude which can come from the right approach and mentality towards the needs at hand. Doctors, nurses and all medical personnel – who are carrying out fundamental, valid and generous tasks – should be listened to and helped, as well as those who are closest to us. This is why, our consciousness need to be shaken, they need to be attentive and active as opposed to numb and passive as the powers above would have it.
The very campaign promoted by the oppressive powers with the slogan “I’m staying home”, while originating from a real need, contains risks that are not only psychological as well as a significant dose of cynicism. All this is evident in the fact that, at the same time they make people leave home to go to work without any guarantee at the moment. If this insistent appeal is taken literally it can have numerous negative side effects. Starting from the danger of isolation, with its phobias and depressive tendencies, to the lack of necessary physical activity that everyone should do -with extreme caution under these circumstances – for their own health, as any good doctor keeps reminding us! On the other hand it is useful, fair and beneficial to leave home if it is to help someone in need. Thus, let’s go out when it is useful and necessary while maintaining a high level of attention and rigorously following all the preventive measures indicated by the health authorities.
Being coherent with these measures requires active conscientiousness, reciprocity and respect, as opposed to mechanical, solitary, individualistic and careless passivity.
How we relate to one another, how self aware and how together we feel, are more important now than ever; we can talk about it, speaking on the phone if seeing each other is not possible, and always respecting safety measures, with relatives, loved ones, friends and comrades; we can tell them how we feel physically and psychologically so that we can activate our abilities and our attention. Moreover, we can describe our symptoms to our own doctor. Therefore, we need a special and renewed commitment, a new psycho-physical concentration, a delicate and intense discovery of the composite subjectivity which we are integral part of. This is what we propose and commit ourselves to doing. Conversely, those who are in charge of this country, only want and respect a subordinate commitment, only favoring and encouraging mobilizations (currently forbidden) such as those in football stadiums and night-life which bring along economic profit and social intoxication.
To think against the virus today, means mobilizing our minds and bodies with affection; reconquering a deeper, more comprehensive idea of our love for life in all its forms, for the Earth, for our species and mostly for the people we love especially in this (hopefully brief) moment, during which we are not allowed to caress them. Overcoming this emergency as well as healing, may allow us to be better together as women and men who reflect and feel possible happiness in a deeper way.
March 13, 2020
The Humanist Socialist Current – La Comune