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After

What follows is a translation of “Après” (After), which was published by Paris-Luttes on March 21. We have added the introduction of the German version, which was written by Sebastian Lotzer.

Originally published by Paris-Luttes. Introduction by Sebastian Lotzer on Non Copyriot. Translated by Enough 14.

Introduction

We’ll manage it. We’ll stay home. We all have to take responsibility. The “we” has conjunctions these days, in times of a rampant pandemic totalitarianism. A large part of the left is sublimating under this we.

“I don’t know any parties anymore, I only know Germans”. One remembers the SPD’s (German social-democrats, Enough 14) approval of the war credits in 1914 with only 2 (!) abstentions in the first reading in the Reichstag. The time of the “truce” in Germany during the first imperialist world war. All trade unions, including the social-democratic ones, suspended any form of support to the struggles of the working class. In France, the truce was called “Union sacrée”. So now, truce is to reign again. Now it is no longer a question of saving nature, there is no friday for future anymore, but only a diffuse we. That has to be saved. Whatever the cost may be. Even if it means a life on Death Star.

We are at war. It sounds from France to the US. In war there are innocent victims, in new German they are called collateral damage. The depressives, now isolated, standing on the balcony and not knowing whether to smoke another cigarette or jump. Hundreds of homeless people who are crammed together in shelters, when suspected (of being infected, Enough 14) against their will. Indefinitely.

The refugees in the refugee “homes” (what a euphemism), to whom one sometimes sends a few hundred cops if necessary, martially wrapped in white full body overalls. On top of that the SEK (anti-terrorism squad of German police, Enough 14) with a water cannon and an armored bulldozer. A few youths are said to have rebelled, they had to be separated. (A good old German tradition).

After that, teams were sent to the lager (or home, in Germany it doesn’t make a big difference) to enlighten the uneducated refugees. “Surveillance and Punishment”, Foucault. The state government under the veteran antifascist Ramelow then also asked the German Armed Forces if they could help out in Suhl.

The Berlin CDU did not let this go and a few days later demanded that the Bundeswehr (German army, Enough 14) should also be deployed in the capital to enforce the overdue curfew. While one of the now well-known virologists, who only a few days ago had declared that he himself was continuing to go to his pub, but only drinking bottled beer there, yesterday announced that it was not even known what effect the closure of the schools would have on the course of the pandemic. But since the whole affair consists to a large extent of work hypotheses and highly media-effective curve discussions anyway, the Empire cannot be stopped by that. Finally, leadership and subjects are merging into a collective again. Curfew !! it roars in the social networks, left-wing and left-wing radicals post unpixilated pictures of people enjoying the first spring sun outside. In former times they called them Volksschädlinge.

Fear eats souls

Yes, there are people dying. That’s a terrible truth. This society, in its aseptic delusion, has driven disease and death from its conscious awareness. This seems to be something that only happens to others. In order to maintain this neurotic state, the elderly are deported to homes and the terminally ill to hospices. The real drama of the fact that so many old people are dying in Italy now is that this is happening because they are not yet as isolated from family, friends and society as they are in this country.

Fear not only eats the soul, fear is usually a poor advisor as well. The almost complete, voluntary subjugation of the remnants of a radical social opposition to the dictates of an unleashed state of emergency is generated from pure panic, even a thrill of fear. The assertion that it is an altruistic attempt to protect the old and weak is only a evasive defense. Exactly those people vegetate and die in loneliness and desperation every day and this has never been a topic on the radical left agenda in recent years.

Because in the voluntary renunciation of any oppositional action (how should this be possible, if one completely renounces to gather, unless one really believes to be able to wring something from the Empire with online petitions) it is already fixed that one has no influence on the present development, it is perhaps worthwhile to direct our attention to the future. Because people will die one way or another, and economic factors will decide on their number, as the chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, Lars Feld, of the so-called “Wirtschaftweisen”, made clear today: “We will not be able to keep this up for more than 3 months”.

Translated for those who are still slow on the uptake: If this system should come to the conclusion that the economic costs become too high, that the system is in danger of collapsing, then there will be no more social distancing, no matter what the mortality rates will be. And just as one can now isolate and imprison people with the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), one can practically force them to work and serve the state and its institutions with exactly the same law.

Because these days the autumn of the revolts is passing away in the winter of the omnipresent state of emergency, the question remains what will follow, what will be when we see the sun again. The most comprehensive uprisings and revolutions of modernity did not happen without reason on the evening of the First World War. Tired of all the horror and suffering, enough courage was found to finally follow the resolution of the Communards of Paris and to turn around the cannons. They decided that from now on they would fear bad life more than death. A translation from France.

Sebastian Lotzer

After

From total confinement to general desertion.

“To really find common ground. We meet everywhere and start all over again. To ask each other about our future together, to make proposals on how we can manage them. Do not delegate any further steps. No longer leave power in the hands of a few. Questioning everything. Discuss everything, the expendable and the essential. No more renewing the lines of separation imposed on us, throwing away the identities that imprison us, organizing the largest possible meeting of all. No border has stopped the epidemic, no state is sealed off hermetically, these abstractions were in our heads. Consider work for what it is, as a tiresome duty in order to eat.”

Never before have we been so free as under house arrest. The nasty Parisians, who take advantage of this to have fun in the country despite instructions. The workers who finally go on strike. The managers who only make phone calls. The kids who cheer. Parents who discover the exhausting vitality of their children. Animals who confuse themselves with an arrogance they no longer expected. What a paradoxical recovery under the most obsessive conditions and under the terrible danger of suffocation. Every Frenchman who received the same dietary treatment as these terrible yellow vests was fined 135 euros for each of his public Sunday trips. Moralists who preach. These are the words of the agents of the ruling ideology who suddenly reveal all about the dispensable and essential. Working to eat, eating to get to work, voting, to drive back. The billions available to save goods, the raw material without which we will die.

But this moment is in absence of gravity. People die by the hundreds, you know? Caretakers fight, cashiers and truck drivers, and cops, even cops, make sacrifices. Being responsible, being together, that’s what we need until we get back to normal. This so much hoped-for return to normality. We will get out of this tragedy. Until the next general catastrophe, everything will be back to the way it was before. Begins again, always begins again. For the nation, for the economy, for GDP. To return as quickly as possible to this absurdity, to the senselessness, to the futility of meaning. Until death will divide us, but as late as possible and each human for himself. In order to finally find our separate destinies, placed in responsible hands that will not fail to correct the course, we will make the appropriate adjustments. Let us trust them again, one last time, let us have no doubts. Everything is only a few months behind schedule, just like Roland Garros. (1)

Or bring everything to a standstill after the end of the epidemic. Extend the respite. Do not resume anything, on the contrary, continue the pause. Afterwards we continue our diet plan in bars, restaurants and shopping. Now that we know that we have experienced relief from this asceticism. Not to work again, not to pay for anything. To witness with joy the collapse of the CAC40 (2). Losing everything to win everything.

Really finding common ground. People everywhere are gathering and starting all over again. To ask together for our future, to propose ourselves to determine it. Just don’t delegate anymore. No longer leaving power in the hands of a few. To question everything. Discuss everything, the dispensable and the essential. No longer renewing the divisions imposed on us, throwing the identities that imprison us in the trash, organizing the widest possible meeting of all. No border has stopped the epidemic, no state is hermetically sealed off, these abstractions were in our heads. Look at work for what it is, as an annoying duty to get something to eat. To produce our own imagination outside of the cultural commodity. Outside the cinema, outside the TV shows, outside the museums, outside the theatre! Finally, the eternal return of the same, from the Cannes Film Festival to the Tour de France, from the Olympic Games to the World Cup. The decision for the irreversible and unknown before the catastrophe will do that for us.

We have lived in resignation for too long, thinking that nothing is possible except the offer made to everyone on the great menu of the mutilated life. With the machine at a standstill we are already experiencing the opposite. Its cyclical program is interrupted, and with it the infernal rhythm that has always accompanied us. The veil falls. What else did we wish for in all their distraction, which, as these fetishists now admit, was only a pretext for the sole circulation of money, the only wealth in this world? Let us burn the menu written by others, let us remove the tablecloth and turn the table upside down. All we have to lose is the poverty of our daily life, even our everyday life. For the condemned, there is nothing more ridiculous than losing one’s job. We are no longer free to be that way, and no infinity will come to comfort us.

But what are they doing across the street when most of us are under house arrest? The army tanks are already there. The head of state and his lackeys are pushing us to work. The police are patrolling. The members of parliament are on the emergency committee. The experts are stuttering. The bankers are sweating, not because of the fever. The journalists are dying. Their biggest concern is the next step. The war they’re fighting is not new, their enemy is not a virus. They are preparing the next stage, as you know, and none of this will resemble the sweet and dull hopes of “L’An 01” (3). The yellow vests, the rioters in Chile and Haiti, the insurgents in Iran and Iraq, the Lebanese demonstrators, the Algerian Hirak demonstrators, the frontliners in Hong Kong, the striking workers in Bogotá had told us: whoever flees from war will always lose it.

Will we be ready?

See you soon, on a more beautiful reunion outside

Notes

1) French Open, tennis, visit (German): https://www.spiegel.de/sport/tennis/tennis-wie-die-french-open-einen-machtkampf-ausgeloest-haben-a-cf4f5eb0-bf6b-4dd5-8d4f-d84b8f1bb439

2) CAC 40 is a leading French index of the 40 leading French stock corporations

3) L’An 01 is a comic strip published as a series from 1971 to 1974, first in Politique Hebdo, then in Charlie Mensuel and finally Charlie Hebdo. It originated from Gébé (Georges Blondeaux), later episodes were shaped by the suggestions of the readership. “With L’An 01 the libertarian and utopian movement of May 68 took shape”.


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