Joint analysis by Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB) (Brazil), Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU), Federación Anarquista Rosario – FAR (Argentina), Organización Anarquista de Córdoba – OAC (Argentina), Federación Anarquista Santiago – FAS (Chile), Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Colombia), Union Communiste Libertaire (France), Embat – Organización Anarquista (Catalonia), Alternativa Libertaria / Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici – AL/fdca (Italy), Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet – DAF (Turkey) and Organization Socialiste Libertaire – OSL (Switzerland). April 2020
2020 has started with some changes at region level, and especially with the continuity of the huge and incredible mobilization of the Chilean people. That popular revolt which has been through more than 100 days, has changed social and political situation of that country, and also has impacted the entire region. New scenery appeared and, as we said in preceding analysis, comes within the framework of the huge wave of popular mobilizations that’s been deployed for Latin Americans communities (Haiti, Ecuador, and other countries with less intensity). As we can see, it’s time for the people on the streets, these are fighting times.
At the same time, it’s starting all over the world a new economic crisis that’s being increasing with Coronavirus and its impact on international markets. The issue of Oil and its effects on peripheral economies from Latin America also can impact the cost of living and the ultra-liberal technocracy’s legitimacy, which continues being part of this new phase all over our continent. But also, the coronavirus’s pandemic brought with it a series of changes in this new phase, which is difficult and premature to judge its impact. Nevertheless, its impact compels us to discuss a new situation, a global phase that is changing with masses control policies and increasing repressive measures, and there’s where the three decades of neoliberalism’s ravages becomes evident with the breakdown of public health and social safe measures.
We divided this analysis into two sections: a first one addressing Chilean mobilization and social and political changes over the continent; and a second one with a primary analysis about the new situation that has been triggered since Covid-19‘s expansion.
Originally published by Anarkismo.
CHILE: Popular revolution means the beginning of a new era
“(…) a constituent assembly is the primary means used for privileged classes, when a dictatorship is not possible, either to prevent a social revolution, or, when a social revolution has already erupted, to stop its progress with the excuse of legalizing, and avoid lots of the possible achievements that the people have won during the insurrectional period.” (E. Malatesta, 1930)
Chilean people are being part of a six month long social revolution and occupying streets. Throughout the country were developed protests since 18th October, a day in which Santiago collapsed. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the increasement of Metro tickets, and it was the student movement who started and leaded the rebellion. Turnstiles were evaded by thousands of youths ahead of Carabineros’s helplessness faces. Rapidly the students protest won important sympathy from popular sectors to such an extent that other sectors has been progressively integrated to it and the protest jumped from metro stations to the streets. State repression was undertaken immediately: state of siege was decreed on Santiago and metropolitan region. But the rebellion extended quickly and the following days the entire country was raised up in rebellion and the state of siege and curfew was expanded all over the Chilean region.
Millions of people on the streets all long these last six months – as it was evidenced last 8th March in Santiago -, also thousands of barricades, territorial assemblies, social movements out on the streets, labor unions in struggle – specially the Federación Portuaria (Dockers union) – and an increasing development of activities and daily struggle measures, including the occupation of Plaza Italia, which from now on is called Plaza Dignidad. Chilean people said enough to three decades of neoliberalism, dictatorship inheritance. That way fear was broken and people went out massively to the streets for the entire reclaim, not only for a sectorial demand, as we could see on important student struggles, forestry struggles, miners, etc., on previous years.
So this crisis of the Chilean neoliberalism experiment could be characterized as the answer from popular sectors to a radicalization of precariousness levels at works and life or a crisis on the reproduction of life pursued by prevailing, and which, since decades ago from now, has particular consequences over our bodies and territories.
High levels of debt, the losing of social rights, overexploitation, labor flexibilization, the poor levels of social safe, the theft of natural resources as water and land, the alarming increase of femicides, didn’t do more than making explode this “pressure cooker” from decades of abuses and injustices. Dominating class answer didn’t wait, in both repressive and political-institutional level included. Immediately after rebellion started, the repressive and authoritarian character of the State was deepened disguised as democracy. There are quite familiar the perverse figures that the state terrorism have left on the region: on Human Rights National Institute (Instituto Nacional de Derechos Humanos) to February, were 3.765 injuries, 10.365 detainees, around 2.500 political prisoners, 411 people with eye injuries, 34 with vision lost or an eye ruptured, 1.541 violations on human rights reported, from which 192 correspond to sexual- politic violence and around forty deaths. In addition, in these last pair of weeks of March, there already are three people killed by state agents, who also continue torturing, maiming and imprisoning people.
Government and right parties looked after a way out of the crisis that not only tried to save the neoliberal model, also could save the capitalist system in Chile, and thought a way out through a constitutional reform. Chilean bourgeoisie were willing to “sacrifice” a part of the 1990’s Constitution, inheritance of Pinochet’s dictatorship. But they are only willing to disguise that Constitution at a Constituent Assembly. Unfortunately, that proposal launched from above was taken on diverse left organizations that started to play on the land that the system wanted and needed.
That way, the signature of the agreement “for peace and a new constitution” from 15th November, flags an item unitary of the political parties from the order (conservantives, liberals and progressists, from UDI to Frente Amplio) in defense of keeping the state of law, the institutionalism inherited by the dictatorship and the warning of a possible going out the streets from the militaries, but this time with impunity guaranteed in front of the massive protest and the deepening of direct actions within the framework of a call to a general strike at the beginning of March.
The facts that until today the social mobilizations continues in spite of the well-known opportunists, who have seated beside the bourgeoisie’s small table making pacts over our lives, marks an important element of this revolt and provide us orientations to be considered for what’s coming on the following months. Despite the tries from the dominant force for decrease the unrest situation and the continuing callings from a big part of the left movements to canalize the discontent over the process constituent started from above, the depth of the social crisis expressed on high level poverty and precariousness of the people and social discontent as an answer to it, will hardly be controlled or reduced by any package of laws or resources for some priority area (health, education, welfare system). In our view, one of the biggest themes that sustain the mobilization and sympathy to it is the complete absence of social rights, in addition to the looting of water and the destruction of ecosystems.
These are times for creativity and audacity; the conflict will keep on open and surely there will be deepened the measures that keep reunited, united positions and that aims to construct strong communities; the streets will continuing being full of people, huge part of the oppressed have learned that mobilization and organization are the key aspects for the recovery of their lives, it’s time to generate organic alternatives pointing towards getting popular protagonism strength, organization and direct actions and not, by contrast, constitutional shortcuts that will oxygen the domination on Chilean region.
We already know that, what at the beginning seemed to be impulse spontaneously, in where none organization could designate itself as speaker of the movement, it has been converted into a new period special for the politicization of the territories, for the irruption of new organizations and diverse expressions of fighting for diverse troubles of social life (special attention deserves the rising of territorial assembly everywhere), in where, furthermore it has been legitimizing the self-defense, direct actions and mobilizations as struggling weapons. Because of everything that was marked previously we say that we see the “constituent process” as a “restituent process”, which one comes only to offer an institutional way out to the conflict that, by the way, will operate only according to the interests of the dominant class. This process arrives to reconstruct the power of the State and its institutions which have been putting into in a total discredit after the rebellion explode, so this process is much more a necessity from the bourgeoisie than oppressed ones.
Therefore, bet on this constitutional process in light of this social revolt is not more than to give in the destiny of this movement to the ones who oppress us. A new constitution won’t change the power relations on Chilean region; neither is guaranty of social rights and a better and dignified life.
The question that we do is: should we strengthen the institutional process from above or should we put all our strength into the construction of popular power from below? Logically, we choose the second option, always. The dispute is not on the institutions land but in what the people could be able to develop to break down the capitalist system and keep on go on building a new society.
This stage is open and the revolts and popular mobilizations that had shaken good part of America Latina (beside Chile, also Ecuador, Haiti, Colombia) will surely continue in a short time. The only thing that has no future is continuing believing, as part of the left does, in the system game. They only claim for bourgeois democracy and capitalism and vote for repressive laws, as it happened in Chile by a big part of that left which pretends to transform something with that tools that only serve up to perpetuate an privileges order.
The only way out is to strengthen the people and its organizations, open channels of popular struggles and build a Oppressed Classes Front which gather that expressions and postulate itself the rupture of this unfair system.
In the face of the capitalist pandemic, mutual support and solidarity from below
We are living times that seems to build an historical hinge, a new phase of a flu virus, the SARS- CoV2, that commotions the entire world, closing borders, striking strongly the global economy and causing thousands of deaths. We think it’s very important, from Organized Anarchy, keep on elaborating – even in a preliminary way – some analysis and action lines around the effects that is having and that could have this crisis in social-political area.
The appearance and propagation of the virus have left exposed, once more, the resounding failure by the capitalist system, showing its most cruel, inhuman and dangerous faces for de oppressed classes. In the first place puts into highlight that the technological advances over health area couldn’t prevent or counter this phenomenon, demonstrating that the billionaire social resources that pharmaceutical and health companies manage aren’t in accordance with trying to improve the quality of life of habitants and prevent diseases but rather to maximize profits; here’s nothing more than capitalist common sense but it has his effects on the health crisis that the entire world is living.
This pandemic is not a “divine punishment” or a “test for the humanity”, it’s an expression of the civilizing-ecological crisis that is battering our earth. The sustaining of the capitalists profits generates that entire ecosystems are devastated. The optimization generates that “non- productive” genomes are eliminated and the commercial exploitation of bodies and territories makes that the possibility of a deadly virus eliminating a percentage of global population is an assumed risk in pursuit of maintaining world economy.
We’re about a breaking point, where the humanity is debating between the continuity of the capitalist domination system or life.
Furthermore, it’s not a minor fact that the coronavirus has devastating effects over the most bruised people over the last years, older people. This both in health, since lack of vaccines, the increase of medications price and the neglect from an important part of treatments, but also at the provisional system which has been the most historically punished area, having as an immediate reference the anti-popular pension reform from Macri in 2017 and its modification during actual government, for Argentine case, and the complete privatization in Chile following the north American model, the reductions of the Public Health System (SUS) in Brazil, etc.
The popular camp should, in this sense, search that some of the more recently reforms are judge as criminals, as the elimination of the Health Minister by the previous Argentine government is seen as a crime against public health, and had as an immediate consequence a regrow of measles, a sickness that was already extinct in Latin America.
It seems that our older people are the “surplus” population of a social system that is coming collapsed. With all that is exposed here, it’s clear that life and health are a business more than a right.
Over Latin-American region, working class most precarious and impoverished will be without doubt the principal victim of the situation generated by the pandemic. That way will be affected lots of people who don’t have sewage or drinking water, watching themselves unable to attend to lots of necessary hygiene measures, families overcrowded in rooms and rented places can’t attend the preventive isolation, tens of thousands of people living on the streets and don’t count with a home to find shelter, independent workers who earns their daily livelihood can’t attend the isolating calling or persons deprived of their liberty that suffers overcrowding, cruel treatment and planned disprotection.
In line with this idea, the history has shown us that in more than one opportunity diseases and control over our bodies have been used by different states as a weapon in function with capitalist and imperialist interests. In addition to the known experiments from Nazism, in our region we had emblematic cases as the inoculation of syphilis on Guatemalan people by the United States army. These aberrations are only possible round a capitalist social order, and make some people doubt about the particular origin of this virus, in the heart of one the imperialist powers that have been disputing world order. Various theories have been circulated – even from important academics and intellectuals – which go on this way and gets naked the cruelty from the system and its imperial policies.
The answer from above: State of emergency.
Along with the sanitary crisis that we are living now, it’s important to stress the mechanisms that have been using the various states to contain the pandemic. For Organized Anarchism this is a key element over the political projections that we can assume in the short-and-long term. Panic, fear and confusion have consolidated the totalitarian speech for the sanitarian crisis. In this sense, more restrictive and repressive measures gets usual at the state level as the most effective to contain a virus that is dissipated over thousands of persons every day, developing a patriotic and war speech and which ignore social classes.
In the same way, countries with the capacity of centralize the economy and restrict severely population’s freedom, just as China’s case, strengthen a capital model of state management, in front of a neoliberalism that is decaying in Europe, United States and Latin America, where the impossibility to stop the economy makes harmless any try to contain the virus. In consequence, we assist to a dispute inside the dominant class, where the neoliberal and centralistic management model fight a duel to the death to decide who will lead a new phase in the history of capitalist system.
Oppressed classes should be alert; the permanent state of emergency gets strength and interchangeably the States all over the world takes their militaries to the streets, bringing them the power of operate, planning and action in this crisis. A clear example of it is the actual curfew installed over Chilean region, which goes since 10 pm until 05 am, and which only function is controlling the streets, repress and have presence again over populations and avenues where since social revolt from 18th October, haven’t had more operative capacity. Until today there are more than 300 detainees because of the curfew, which with no doubt aren’t from high neighborhoods but from popular and working class districts. Something similar occurred in Argentina where the detainees are more than 3200 and also in other countries as Peru and Paraguay. Militaries on the streets don’t contribute anything to the virus control; they are just the guarantee of containment of an oppressed class tired of government and its genocide polities.
Social consequences and more repression
Social and economic impact of the fast coronavirus propagation is becoming evident. On one way we know that the world economy brake will be paid by the people from below. Already in countries where the virus is more dispersed, dismissals and reductions in salaries occurred and not to mention the devastating effects over the unoccupied and exploited working sectors. In Uruguay, first days, from more than 21 thousand of unemployment insurance sent, more than 3500 were fired, it means a 15%. At the moment of this writing, unemployment insurances sent totalize more than 60 thousand. In Argentina, to the fragility produced by the public debt and the intention from the government of paying it at popular sectors expense, will join the damage that this pandemic will generate, it express the weakness of an economic order which has almost 50% of the population sunk in poverty and a high rate of worker in a precariousness situation and who are affected by the insulation because they see themselves restricted their surviving resources. In the same way, the private labour sector evidences the figures of dismissals that crisis will bring in order to save the management profits as it is noticeable in the attempt of firings of 1500 workers of the multinational Techint in Argentina.”
Meanwhile the virus is expanded, the rich people goes to private clinics with the latest and best technology offered for a highly price, but on the other hand our class must get treatment in public hospitals with poor medical supplies, lack of personal and resources. While our class addresses with fear the public transport system full of people, rich people will stay all quarantine on their summer houses on the most exclusive beaches. While the economic uncertainly roam our homes, the oligarchy grabs most food and hygiene products. Even in Chile entire communities aren’t able to get water for hygiene as it happens in Petorca, while over that same territory landowners and transnational corporations accumulate water for their extractivism projects of production and commercialization of avocado. It’s important to point in Chilean case that Covid-19 tests are paid, affording 30 dollars approximately, being Chile the only country in Latin America where test is being paid and which obviously only rich sectors have access.
On the other hand, politic rights restriction and more aggressive social control mechanisms are advancing, winning social consensus as the only way to guarantee a stopping for the pandemic. All of this inside an apparent democracy that quickly adapts and turns to emergency states, imitating the control techniques from that so questioned dictatorship from the Communist Party of China.
Let’s see the Argentinian case as example: with the quarantine and obligatory insulation decree that Alberto Fernandez sanctioned the 19th of March, becomes evident the repressive character of the containment strategy for the pandemic. It was announced that all repressive forces will be occupying the streets, even the national army. Configuring (for now, because it could be established soon) a virtual state of siege, leaving the people abandoned and suffering the daily violence of the repressive instrument of the state with the excuse of stopping the virus progress. We know that these social control devices will be full of resources and experience, and that we should see if they are disabled once the pandemic is over. We estimate that unless other solidarity ways of action from below are launched to contain the dispersion of the virus, control and repression will serve as a mechanism to “contain” also the possible discontent that this crisis effects will generate and that will persist once it ends. Meanwhile the deployment of the repressive forces all over the territory has left helpless most part of popular sector’s organizations.
In the facts, there already was advancement with the repression unleashed by Rodríguez Larreta’s government against artisans which result was the death of a street vendor called Beatriz Mechato and the following detention of Juan Grabois and 12 other activists from CTEP. In that way, Alberto Fernandez decided to express the decision of the general quarantine in a public conference, not just with Rodriguez Larreta, but also with the governor Gerardo Morales, responsible of the imprisonment of Milagro Sala. In an act full of symbolism which is searching for unity of the entire political class on the way to defend and reassert the state authority in these circumstances, leaving any difference aside that may exist about human or political rights. It’s not also casual the fascist speech from Berni to Buenos Aires’s police, with nothing to envy to the questionable management of the repressor Patricia Bullrich.
In Argentina, already in this first days of quarantine are added thousands of detentions because of circulate, which demonstrate the disposal of the provincial and national governments to overgrow police stations and jails which already are operating with high levels of overcrowding taking high chances of contagion, as it was seen over riots starred by prisoners of Bower jail in Cordoba. Few days before a new anniversary from the civic-ecclesiastical-military coup, there are depth the attacks against Human Rights and which are part of the rhetoric of Kirchnerismo. About this we should emphasize that the same Gendarmerie that is patrolling the streets is the one who recently killed Santiago Maldonado, that the prefecture that is controlling is the same one who shot Rafael Nahuel from behind and that provincial police are responsible of thousands of cases of easy-trigger far and wide the country.
Female workers on the front line
Continuing working or being at home, women are on the front line in the struggle against the pandemic but they are also the first victims too.
The crisis underlines the esential role of some sectors of activity (healthcare, education, early childhood, care, food industry and distribution, cleaning, social work, transports and delivery …).
Yet, it is women, most often with poorly paid and in precarious situation, who work mainly in most of these sectors.
With this crisis the population rediscover the socialy useful professions, those we can’t do without and meet the esential needs for all of us.In all of these working sectors, the female workers face to a doble difficulty. They must not only continue working, at the risk of being infected and infecting their family and the users and the customers, due to the lack of adapted protection and clear hygiene measures. But they have also a hard time to handle the custody of their own children because they have atypical schedules, even more when they are the only parent.
The unequal distribution of tasks wil not be solved because of confinement. We recall women ensure a big majority of domestics chores and children care, including they are in a relationship. In the event that both parents telework, we easily imagine how the domestic work is distributed in the couples where the tasks are already supported by women the rest of the time ! A lot of teachers feedbacks are formal : it is mainly mothers who contact them, who ask them questions and follow-up the homeworks. In addition, as they handle the household chores, there is not a lot time left to telework, for those who are eligible !
The widespread containment is an additionnal risk for those who suffer violence in their couple The specialized associations supporting women victims of violence blew the whistle from the annoucement of the containment. The lack of the outside working hours of the victims and/or of the agressors, that were moments of reprieve, and the continuously cohabitation will increase mathematically the number of acts of psychological, physical or sexual violence. In the frame of the total containment, whose keyword is not going outside (certainly not with the children), without being able to hide out in order to call associations or toll-free numbers, the vigilance and the intervention from the neighbourhood are crucial. More than ever the eviction of the violent spouse must be the rule to protect women but also children, who are no longer considered as witnesses today in France but as covictims too.
If containment is necessary to slow down the spread of the epidemic, it can not be implemented without specific measures for the attention of women victims of patriarcal violence. Everywhere where it is possible, let’s be vigilant and let’s stand together so that this containment period will not be unbearable for those who are already oppressed and suffer violence.
We can say it right now : there’s no way the female workers will pay this crisis. Neither by a mass return of women to their home, nor by weakening the laboral code. Our collective struggles will have to measure up this backlash of patriarchy !
Brazil: political crisis about to blow up in the middle of the pandemic
In Brazil, Bolsonaro’s government continues with his ultra-liberal, bourgeois, irrational and anti-scientific speeches in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Bolsonaro, increasingly isolated, oppose to the social quarantine and faces resistance inside his own government. When the crisis started, Bolsonaro’s government started threatens of state coups, mobilizing his reactionary and military bases in defense of his ultra-liberal policies and authoritarian against the corrupt Brazilian congress. He also talked about a state of siege to shake his military bases in the middle of the pandemic and receiving political support. He continues this model of doing politic that uses the mobilization of his social base of extreme-right to conquer his reactionary objectives and that in the middle of a pandemic reproduce irrational and conspiracy theories about the virus being only a communication media’s hysteria. There was a big wear of his government, with the way of management of the recent coronavirus pandemic and his opposition to the OMS measures (World Health Organization).
The Brazilian economy already before the pandemic was experimenting a low growth and an arising living cost. The total disability from the Brazilian neoliberalism for mitigate the crisis effects, develops better conditions for the people to oppose to the neoliberal project of Paulo Guedes and Bolsonaro on the mid-term, because the official speech from the government and the medias support promised that with cuts and rights looting from humble people, the Brazilian economy must grow substantially. Same as the wear of neoliberal solution, Bolsonaro’s government was unable to propose solutions out of his economic pamphlet and is still supporting that working class pay for the pandemic. Worst, Bolsonaro and his fanatic supporters, together with the bourgeoisie sectors, started a campaign against social isolation, with a demagogic speech in defense of jobs and the economy. Although they don’t develop any economic alternative for popular and poorer sectors, executive power continues with the tension of oppose the medical resolutions and ending quarantine. The campaign “Brazil can’t stop” was launched by Bolsonaro’s family and the extreme-right by the massive diffusion of “fake news” in the communication software and continues with the logic that poor people pays the crisis with their life, with hunger or with their salaries. On the Medias, the impeachment idea starts to be shown in the diaries and the dominant class and the bourgeoisie discusses silently options to update the domination system, obviously, with working class losing as always. Emphasize the crisis of the federative pact and the dispute between right-hand sectors with Brazilian politicians from different states making a defense to the insulation in opposition to Bolsonaro’s position with electoral objectives.
On the opposition camp from below, the oil strike and the manifestations from women at the 8M started the fights from 2020, but Coronavirus’s situation has cancelled protests in memory (and justice) of Marielle and education struggle, which could have strengthen a wave of social protests against neoliberal adjustment and its brutal budgetary cuts. Protests against the government continue almost every day and dissatisfaction has produced a victory with the increase of economic support for unemployed people, which is still about to be voted. Popular pressure is growing in defense of the public health system, abandoned even more by Bolsonaro and that now has to receive budget and resources because of the health emergency.
The intense job insecurity, with most vulnerable sectors working with no labor rights is a catastrophe where the pandemic brings the threat of hunger for the ones from below. Women are the most affected ones because of the unemployment since representing more than half of unemployment. And in favelas/slums and occupations risks for workers health are larger but there’re expanding mutual support actions and solidarity between people from below, as an popular alternative for an anti-popular government. There also started popular direct actions measures as looting supermarkets and Bolsonaro’s government faces his final destiny within the crisis and pandemic advance.
Europe: actual pandemic’s center
On the other hand, as we can see in Europe, where health systems has also been attacked with neoliberal measures and where haven’t been taken the necessary precautions previous the Covid-19 arriving, the pandemic cause havoc. More than 10 thousand deaths in Italy and more than 5700 in Spain are numbers that keeps on increasing. They have applied systems of populations control on a larger scale: 15 million people detained at the north of Italy, France also in the same situation and with a restricted circulation, it shows that states are utilizing the situation to implement mechanism of population’s management on crisis situations, militarizing social life, extreme repression, etc. They make us remember other times, but with a very important improvement of the mechanisms.
Meanwhile, it’s been developing with no problem in Europe the biggest troop’s movement in one operation and also military training over Russia’s borders, where there are participating 20 thousand American soldiers and 10 thousand from the rest countries from OTAN. There seems to be no contagion risk. It’s a design of a hyper-controlled world ’till extreme and militarizing with the purpose of contain protests and social revolts to prove their “mechanisms”.
To complete this characterization, a cultural level is also expressing effects, with individualism reinforcement, the danger of “the other” and an “every man for himself” culture; and there’s also looking for making every “citizen” a potential vigilant. In this point, there’s no surprise on the population’s tendency, which has economic capacity, to accumulate food and supplies. Ultimately, the virus is demonstrating the class struggle: public health overflowing, social services unattended, workers in a precarious situation maintaining basic services while directive charges are protected at their homes, temporal regulation job’s files in charge of public funds in millionaire companies, lack of diagnostic tests and self-protection facilities for popular classes and repression to working class forcing them to stay at home, or police abuses and from all the repressive forces, endorsed by Generalitat’s government in Cataluña’s case and by Spanish state in general. Meanwhile, soft treatment with the leaks to second residences, also with companies that are not of primary necessity and forces their workers to attend their job, putting into risk their health, upper class and political class with private sanitary measures at their hands, renting hotels as hospitals and other obscenities.
The expropriation of the infrastructure is an evident necessity and a responsibility of the class and human.
State of Emergencies in Middleeast
“State of emergency” is the first method used for the states in the Middle East, which has become the open geography of war for many years. The policies, which are shaped according to the needs of the states and capitalists rather than the needs of the people, continue in the Covid- 19 process.
It is not important for the states the ones who died in the epidemic. Taking precautions for the future of the dismissed population is a waste of time and money for states. The main problem of states and companies today is what will be the economic effects of the epidemic and how to prevent a social rebellion. The precautions and measures taken are entirely for this; travel bans, all kinds of activities and organization bans, curfews, inspection tightening.
It is obvious that with authoritarian and militaristic measures, the first sections targeted by the inspection and control mechanisms will be those who are expelled or will be expelled, immigrants, women, the unemployed ones, the homeless.
People living in different geographies in the Middle East testify to a process in which states become more militarized and more authoritarian.
Health systems after 30 years of neoliberalism
Public health has been an objective of reiterated attacks and neoliberal reforms, cutting its resources and dismantling it. Let’s take Chile as example, neoliberalism lab. There, public health has been dismantled during Pinochet’s dictatorship and gets strengthen its marketability during transnational pact. The transfer from clinics to municipalities, the franchise of hospitals, the transfer (looting) of resources to private clinics, budget cuts, elimination of community health, breakage of nexus between neighbors and health facilities has generated the actual health crisis where we know that it doesn’t exist neither conditions nor means to face this crisis. Even if we don’t get to the worst stage, there are limited medical and security commodities, also personal, there are not enough beds or respirators, thereby oppressed classes will be strongly beaten by pandemic because of not being able to pay treatment and an appropriate care in front of the virus.
In an important part of Europe sanitary privatization from last 10 years, which ironically is also fruit of another crisis (from 2008, in case we forgot) has left a detrimental picture in health area. Lots of hospitals with closed areas, lack of personal and worst labor conditions, as a beginning. It evidence that the actual privatization model is not just a mistake and a fraud; it’s also exposing us and makes us even more vulnerable as society.
Now what? The state divert sick people to private centers because of lack of resources in all public centers instead of nationalize them and the bills will be paid by all of us. Meanwhile they are clapping professionals, which have been condemned with cuts since 2008, as much Spanish state as Generalitat’s government in Cataluña and in other countries over the continent and the world.
All this is not casual, by the way, but it is part of dominant class planning, where commercial exploitation of social rights has snatched us even a sickness treatment, moreover, knowing if we are infected depends on the purchase power of each one. These necro-policies of massive murder of poor people are the real face of domination system.
The effects of an ecocide and genocide system
Capitalism is a social system with despises human life and we’re living that these days. But it’s been that way all along the history: wars, genocide, repressive policies, hunger, are just a few of those bestial policies that the system carries out with their institutions and personal in charge of the “dirty job”.
In addition to the already mentioned, the policies of plundering resources and planet devastation. The imperial politic that has been developing since America’s conquer from Europe and then, when the same continent razed with Africa and Asia mainly, hoarding resources for developing monopoly capitalism and its guarantor states.
Today we’re living a phase increasingly more concentrator of capital and with more technological specialized in looting. Today 2153 billionaires are richer than 4600 millions of people, it means, 60% of humanity. There’re constant migrations to Europe from millions of people suffering the cruelest harassment on the way to the coast and then receiving more persecution trying to cross Mediterranean, if they can pass. Or living in truly concentration camps – which refugee’s camps has been converted – in Turkey, while that dictatorial state utilizes migrant people as a pressing weapon against Europe expecting them to finance dozens of thousands of millions euros. That way, the Erdogan’s Turkey has fresh funds to combat Kurds, make their own population under constant a state of siege and overrunning Syria and now Libya.
With wars, invasions or just investments, multinational capital is devastating the planet. They don’t show respect for the ecosystems as they exist, neither water reserves nor woods. It’s enough to point what has occurred in Amazonia with the “fires season” developed by the Brazilian rural bourgeoisie with all the support from Bolsonaro and other countries of the region. Capitalism not just kills people, it kills nature and logically with it, difficult more and more human life. Capitalism just knows how to sow panic and death. It’s the complete opposite of life.
Initial draft of a new phase which is opening in a planet scale
In previous materials we have been analyzing a change of period, particularly since the important mobilizations that are developing in Latin America and other parts of the world, a change that’s still open.
Now, with no doubt, Covid-19 pandemic let the capitalist system an important restructure to modernize even more its control, looting and domination over entire populations. Controls over populations implemented, not letting movements and controlling people displacements. Militarizing entire countries, a police state developed in general, technologies applied in security area now deployed with a “pandemic and infected ones control” excuse. The proliferation of racist speeches and watching “the other” not just like and enemy, but as a “contagion vector”. The massive borders closing and consolidation by the way of big blocks and economic zones. At the same time that states are reclaiming a new sovereignty which they were willing to surrender until short time ago to transnational or multilateral organisms, the changes of working methods, implementing teleworking or house working on big scale, the losing of social rights and impoverishment even more aggressive of a huge coating of world population. The chance for capitalists and its agencies as the International Monetary Fund and others to apply their reforms and continuing looting our rights are just a few lines that seems to route the design of the oncoming phase: a hyper-monitored and looted society.
This pandemic is perfect for dominant classes from each country and from the entire world to adopt measures which are named as “necessary” to contain social protests developed in different places of the world. With the pretext of the pandemic they takes the Army and all the police forces out to repress, when in facts what is needed are public health measures and resources, not resources on repression.
But it also opens a new phase where popular fights will take more importance: there won’t stop mobilizations in Chile, France, Colombia or different places. The people are on the streets, the pandemic will get its maximum level and then will be returning gradually to some “normality”, which won’t be an identical situation as previously but where people will slowly coming back to work, normal activities will return and people will conquer streets and fields again.
Resistance expressions0 have been appearing. In Europe have been expressed protests in the mark of quarantine and strikes in sectors where job’s continuity is imposed above working class health, including big factories and with powerful unions. In Argentina already have expressed mercantile workers, claiming for shopping closing, as in other labor areas are discussing health protection measures. In Uruguay, construction union conquered a special license agreement, which at the first moment the Economy Ministry tried to sabotage. In the same way, Uruguayan government is planning increases for rates and IVA since 1st April and the measures for those sectors that don’t have social security are none by the moment. Here’re also protests and has been developing infinity of popular pots at the neighborhoods and also from unions.
We think that for what’s coming it’s important to consider some lines of action, as the struggle against dismissals, suspensions and salary reductions, reclaiming economic subsidies for more vulnerable sectors and unemployed people, the guarantee of food and first necessity products access, defense of public health system demanding more budget for poor sectors and better labor conditions of workers, guarantee that private health system is at popular needs service, without profit, and appeal to solidarity between popular sectors to contain the expansion of the virus, avoiding social control advance. We can say the same for social security, it should be a public service and not being on privates hands as AFP in Chile or AFAP in Uruguay, also they should increase employer contribution so the capital owners are the ones who pay for this crisis costs.
Pandemic and its effects don’t surge from nature but a particular system that makes possible this crisis at the expense of health and most world population’s welfare, it’s urgent to resist in this situation from a revolutionary perspective, articulating today’s fight with the society we dream of.
It’s clear that in this situation of extreme seriousness popular sectors are still fighting based on their means available: protests, popular pots, different ways of solidarity from below that has been developing, all that water the best traditions of fighting and organizing from below ones. We have the complete belief that solidarity and mutual support are our best weapons as a class and organized geographically, they permit us build future. Sanitary brigades are organized everywhere, where they take over of supplying older people and people with disabilities; it’s important to generate and sustain this support networks – same as popular pots -, same as other efforts that allows us facing this crisis the best way possible, including support networks of women and children who suffers patriarchal violence, a problem that increases because of isolation.
That way protests for life are increasing, small rural communities and from Chilean littoral breaks the way with barricades to avoid that high class gets to his estates and summer houses. Workers stop their production making manifestations that require closing from locals and suspending their labor activities in Europe and Latin America. All this will should turn into a general strike, which should be effective and with no contemplations.
This pandemic and its effects open an important possibility for people: on one hand, allows us an implacable critic to neoliberal model and its measures applied since ‘70s, planning with more strengthen the defense of public health and social security and all rights and social services, reinforcing struggles on their defense and against their privatization or precarisation, the same referenced to work and life conditions. It allows us a strong criticism to capitalist system: a critic to private propriety, a critic to the state, to security policies, the profit eagerness, etc. And throughout, it allows us raise or almost outline the new social relationships that we want, the new life. In a partial or a global way, allows us to reaffirm increasingly our project of a socialist and libertarian society.
To put a limit to social damage
The pandemic may has been the trigger of the financial crisis provided since long time ago by all serious economists. After 2008 crisis, the states took huge amounts of public funds to save operators and private banks, which after all didn’t change any of their practices. So once more, the casino-economy will be broken and it will be in worst proportions tan in 2008.
With dismissals and underemployment, this crisis will bite in the first place to popular classes who will face an increase of unemployment, of half time jobs, of precarious work and reduction of salaries.
To restrict damage it’s needed, on one side to strengthen social protection, to cushion the shock, and on the other hand making the capital pay. This supposes:
– Revocation of employment insurance‘s reform and not just its suspension
– Revocation of the destruction of pensions and not just its suspension.
– Extension of deadlines to abort until confinement ends, to relieve hospitals and anticipate predictable consequences of insulation
– Gratuity of public transport to reduce agglomerations and contagion vectors
– Prohibition of layoffs during the insulation period, sustaining salaries of particular contractors, interim workers, with temporal contract and undercover employees (workers hired by Uber for example)
– Confiscation of empty rooms, Airbnb rents and similar, hotel rooms, to protect decent sanitary insulation’s conditions to homeless families, migrants which are surviving in wild camps or enclosed in detention centers, illegal workers sometimes stacked in unhealthy houses or squatters
– For lower incoming a moratorium on the rents and energy, water, telephone and internet bills, prohibition of evictions and a basic rent for those people who are in poverty situation.
It’s also important to develop social control of all health system, with full provision and financing of caring institutions, guarantee and protection of rights from health, commerce, sanitary industry, logistic and transport workers, public services and farm population.
It is essential foment a culture of life and solidarity, of self-protection and collective care that allows us to overcome the actual panic and “every man for himself” sense, the key to advance is to overcome the actual situation.
To stop the pandemic it’s also needed urgent measures, maybe much more punctual than ones we pointed previously, and included:
1. Stopping measures which are not classes measures, as opposed to what’s happening today. The insulation can’t depend on social hierarchy. Therefore, it must be closed all companies and non-essential services, with integral maintenance of income for workers on technical unemployment, included those in precarious status (temporal employee, sub-contracted, self-employed, etc.). That the crisis is paid by the rich people: all economic activity which is not basic stops, that all companies facilitate all means to guarantee telework if it’s necessary and that any worker lose their salary during insulation. In the case of big companies, these salaries mustn’t come from public funds. And, if big fortunes and companies are obligated to pay more taxes?
2. Only vital sectors jobs should continue as medical attention, supply and information of the population. We think specially in health system, food and agriculture sector, transports, food and sanitary distribution, audiovisual and internet means to disseminate consigns. Workers of those sectors are in the first line: saving people befalls over their shoulders. We have to honor them, help them, support them, starting for guarantee the safety of their children with prevention and protection measures.
3. At the same time, both effectiveness reasons and to prevent the filthy earnings from the beneficiaries of the crisis, we must to intervene private companies of those sectors and integrate them into the public service, putting their operation under working class control. It’s them, in effect, those who are better trained to reorganize the production chain to protect themselves from the virus, with adapted prevention protocols.
4. Even more, it’s must be reorganized the entire set of production and services urgently. Industry and services must be entirely turned into production of sanitary and protection material and the guarantee of livelihood means for all. If state and employers don’t want it, so it’s turn of the workers to impose.
5. This crisis shows us that health can’t be on private hands. Nationalization of private and concerted hospitals and old people residences with no public money compensation.
6. Centers of immigrant’s internment that has been closed during this crisis in Europe, which evidences their racist farce, don’t open anymore.
Governments have been taken for surprise for this situation. We can impose things but only if social movement and unions tries to face the problems with no hesitation. It’s crucial that all determined and aware workers appropriate union tools to group their colleagues over solidary and combative bases.
Society has to change deeply
Being clear: these urgent measures are fragmented. They respond to the necessity of stop the pandemic and restrict social damage. But they won’t stop the economic crisis that will take place, because that is the result of capitalism and market economy. The virus will be only the trigger.
In front of this unprecedented situation, capitalism has demonstrated his fail but state will be looking for maintain all means of actual economic system, even taking control over the conjunction of economic activities, leading authoritatively the organization of production by requisitions or other mechanisms. For government, that will be the only alternative to a chaos driven by the “everyone on his way”. For us, anarchist and communists libertarian from America and Europe, the urgency measures that we propose as the responsibilities that will impose, take and exercise workers nowadays draws all a new alternative. We have a project to defend: a project based in mutual support and equality, with strict and planned organization of production and distribution of essential goods but under control of workers.
We think that it’s time to think integrally the operation of society searching for satisfying the necessities of all. We could find ways and mechanism of care and protection of nature to guarantee life. We can eradicate this system, putting all production and distribution means on working class hands, replacing the market economy for a socializing economy and self- sustaining, and the state for a federalist system self-sustained.
It’s imperative to advance in the middle of this crisis on this way weaving solidary links from below, getting strength popular organizations and building in fact a truly Oppressed Classes Front that could be articulator of fights from today and from tomorrow in search of a libertarian society, federalist and with direct democracy.
TODAY MORE THAN EVER, SOLIDARITY INSIDE THE WORKING CLASS
ALLOVER THE WORLD!!FOR SOCIALISM AND LIBERTY!UP THOSE WHO FIGHT!!
Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB) (Brazil)
Federación Anarquista Uruguaya (FAU)
Federación Anarquista Rosario – FAR (Argentina)
Organización Anarquista de Córdoba – OAC (Argentina)
Federación Anarquista Santiago – FAS (Chile)
Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Colombia)
Union Communiste Libertaire (France)
Embat – Organización Anarquista (Catalonia)
Alternativa Libertaria / Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici – AL/fdca (Italy)
Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet – DAF (Turkey)
Organization Socialiste Libertaire – OSL (Switzerland)
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