Bruno Italy. March 13, 2020. The Bruno Social Centre is a common and participatory space that grows daily thanks to the political and social commitment of dozens and dozens of people.
Originally published by Global Project.
At this difficult time, we too are faced with the need to counter the advance of the Coronavirus epidemic (SARS-CoV-2). Our responsibility as individuals who become communities therefore requires us to rethink our activities in order to safeguard collective health: some may continue to be carried out safely, others will have to be remodelled, others will have to be suspended.
On the contrary, our questions cannot cease, we cannot help but reflect the world around us and the situation we are experiencing, breaking it down and bringing our magnifying glass to aspects that are sometimes submerged but at the same time crucial.
The Coronavirus epidemic is spreading regardless whether rich or poor, black and white, atheist and believer, selfishness, borders, walls and all those artificial constructs that our imperfect society has erected to separate the powerful from the poor. Our thoughts, of course, go to those who have become ill, with particular attention to the elderly and those with previous illnesses that complicate the course of the disease.
However, if it is true that the contagion is “democratic”, the same cannot be said about the socio-economic repercussions of the epidemic and other present and future consequences.
The government intervened in the management of the emergency with restrictive measures on mobility, social and economic life of people. However, we would like to stress that the so-called “I stay at home” decree inevitably and a priori excludes those who do not have a home, those who do but are facing eviction orders, those who are in prison or detention facilities for migrants in heavy overcrowding and in hygienic-sanitary conditions that during an epidemic look like dustbins ready to explode (in the last few days fourteen detainees have died during the riots that followed the hold on family visits).
But the housing issue is not the only factor of precariousness: entertainment workers, self-employed, freelancers, workers employed in activities that have found closure are paying a very high price because in their case that “I stay at home” is equivalent to an inevitable “I stay without pay”.
Finally, let’s think about the ongoing claims and strikes of those who can’t afford to say “I stay at home” because the production (and the show) must go on even if it means working without guarantees and some precautions.
For the umpteenth time a crisis situation is being paid for above all by the last: the poor, the exploited, the precarious, the migrant, the homeless, those who risk no longer being able to access even low-threshold services, and being deprived, as a result, of the only meal or the only warm and safe place from which they could benefit.
Question of priority
The result of decades of cutbacks in public health is clearly visible for everybody. In the twenty-year period 1997-2017 the number of beds in public health facilities was reduced by 100,000, and the rationalization of spending has also gone from reaching a target of filling 80-90% of intensive care beds: only 10-20% of the beds are actually available in case of emergency.
And while sacrifices and new indebtedness are being announced to patch up the gaps left, NATO is preparing for a military exercise of continental proportions. As an exception to the mobility restrictions imposed to contain the epidemic, tens of thousands of military personnel will cross Europe from north to south. The European Commission has budgeted 30 billion euros for changes to “those infrastructures that are unable to accommodate the weight and bulk of military vehicles”.
Even on a local scale ambiguity reigns supreme. While the schools all over Trentino were closed, the ski resorts were open and at full capacity, all of which was advantaged and permitted by the weak position of the Leghista Fugattiana junta, which tried to guarantee the opening as much as possible, even trying to minimize the risks and the actual turnout (easily contradicted by the photographs taken). The government was forced to announce its closure, but also in this case, trying to dilate the time until Fugatti found himself overtaken even by the central government, which anticipated its closure, reiterating that this operation could not wait any longer.
We have seen that it is possible to block an entire nation, impose a curfew, prevent movement, close schools, offices and public facilities, use the army to control city borders. Let us not consider the legitimacy or legallity of the restrictive measures put in place these days, justified by the current situation, but they cannot and must not become the basis for a new “normality”.
In the recent past, specific emergency measures have been completely metabolized and internalized in political, legal and social terms in our country over the years. The so-called urban daspo, initially designed and applied to combat stadium violence, is now widely used as a repressive weapon against movements, the poor and ordinary people who jeopardize the phantom “decorum”. In the same way, Article 41-bis, although it provided the possibility of suspending the normal rules for the treatment of prisoners only “in serious emergency situations”, has in fact been the handhold to increase the escalation of repression and limitation of freedom for prisoners.
Given the precedents, it is necessary to state that in the long term public health is not defended by the army, the police and prohibitions, but by guaranteeing access to essential public services and income for everybody and by adequately funding public health and research. It is social justice, not the restriction of freedoms and the society of control, on which the “return to normality” will have to be built.
#BrunoNonsiCaccia and not even close
The concepts of solidarity and self-organization are inherent in our DNA, so no one can and should be left behind. We will, in fact, continue to pursue our practices even if they are remodelled or reinvented as may be the case.
The power that characterizes us and characterizes our entire community is also contagious and will certainly not perish.
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Bruno Social Centre , March 13, 2020.
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