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Chronicles from the state of emergency No. 1 – wall paper from #Trentino

Conrades from Trentino (Italian territory) published a wall paper about the current state of emergency which is now being pasted in several cities.

Originally published by Il Rovescio. Translated by Enough 14.

Orignal Wall paper (Italian) as PDF file:

Viruses don’t come from another planet

Illness always reflects the way of life (of producing, eating, moving, etc.) of a society. A medicine that does not start from this fact – which today presupposes a clear questioning of the industrial society – can only buffer the effects of diseases, without going back to their causes. It is no coincidence that the first outbreak of Coronavirus developed in an area of China of great urban concentration and heavy industrial pollution. It is not by chance that the first outbreaks in Italy developed in the most industrialized and polluted areas. If the harmfulness and environmental upheavals they cause are not removed, health emergencies will be repeated.


Healthcare workers who make protective suits out of garbage bags and use sheets to make masks; continuous alarm on limited resources for intensive care. How could this happen? This is what is not said in the daily chronicles of fear, so that there is no mention of responsibility. From 1978 onwards, between right-wing and left-wing governments, Healthcare has been subjected to the combined effects of cuts and privatizations. The progressive transformation of Healthcare into a Company has cut structures, personnel, departments and unprofitable therapies, cutting in particular all that was related to preventive medicine. For this reason, hospital beds have been reduced by half and emergency beds by less than half. While medical and political metaphors are increasingly explicitly military (the virus is the aggressor, the body is under siege, society is at war, the government deploys the army), the real enemy of individual and collective health disappears: the logic of profit.

Stopping the virus means liberating everybody

Beginning on Saturday, March 7 and for the entire following week, there were protests in around forty prisons throughout Italy. In at least thirty of these there were real riots. More than six thousand prisoners took part in the riots, with sections destroyed and set on fire, fire to prison cars, prisoners on the roofs, mass escapes, guards taken hostage and the Modena prison closed “de facto” thanks to the damage. The State shows its muscles: the rapid response and the special units of the penitentiary intervene, the guards surround the prisons with weapons in their hands, in Puglia the army is deployed to block the escaped prisoners, in Modena relatives report that they clearly heard shots. And then mass beatings and transfers. The result is very heavy: 15 prisoners dead. Their deaths are quickly covered up, there is talk of deaths caused “for the most part”… from overdosing on psychotropic drugs and methadone.

The spark that started the fire is the suspension of receiving visitors as a ridiculous measure to contain the contagion (relatives would be potentially infected… not the guards?) together with the awareness of being like mice in a trap in the face of the risk of an epidemic (there have already been cases in Brescia, Milan, Voghera, Pavia, Lecce, Modena and Bologna), but the powder keg is made up of inhumane living conditions: endemic overcrowding, violence by the guards, impossibility of access to alternative measures. Amnesty and pardon: the requests of the prisoners would at this time be nothing more than a public health measure, to limit the damage of the spread of contagion in overcrowded environments (up to 8 prisoners per cell). While in Iran, in order to stem the contagion, 70,000 prisoners with sentences under five years have been released from prison, in Italy, after protests, riots and a real massacre by the state, they have been given the possibility to go to home detention centres (house arrest, Enough 14) for those with sentences under six months, and to home detention centres with electronic bracelets for those who have to serve sentences under eighteen months. In reality, the situation is worsening rather than improving (the law in force already provides the possibility of house arrest) of going home for those with sentences of less than three years and without an electronic bracelet, subject to the approval of the supervisory magistrate. Not to mention that 34.5% of prisoners in Italy are awaiting trial and have no sentence to serve. These weak measures would not have been obtained without a decisive and courageous test of power by the prisoners, aware that reality leaves them no escape: either imprisonment and death, or revolt and live.

General strike!

Although it is proclaimed at institutional level that all non-essential activities must stop, many factories are still open: even those with a very high concentration of workers, in close contact both during production and in the canteen. (And in the meantime, the forces of law and order patrol with sirens, deployed on bicycle paths, parks and woods in search of the “quacksalvers”. And in the meantime, mobile phone companies produce mass filings to “track” movements of individuals). Also in Trentino, as in the rest of Italy, strikes have been reported in several factories (Dana, Pama, Fly, Siemens44, Mariani, Sapes, Tecnoclima, Ebara…), to which are added the many workers who have decided to stay at home even in the absence of strike. This is not only an understandable reaction of fear in the face of the virus, but a contribution to everyone’s health. These strikes must be supported and extended to all production sectrors that are not strictly necessary. If health is not compatible with profit, let it be bad for profit.

All in the same boat?

We are witnessing a massive injection of unified networks of nationalist rhetoric these days: “All together against the common enemy”. In this tricolor (The Italian national flag has 3 colours, Enough 14) narrative the material conditions of life that are not at all the same for everyone disappear by magic (to stay at home, I have to have a home and be able to maintain it…). But let’s look a little further on. If it is impossible to make precise predictions about what happens afterwards, one thing is certain. The economic effects of this “health crisis” will have a well differentiated weight in society. Millions of people will face the practical problem of having something to live from. The same loans from the European Central Bank will not be free of charge at all, but will impose new austerity measures that will affect particularly the poorest. The boat will be pushed by those who are already half under water. Let us remember this when the music of the Mameli hymn disappears.

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