A text by Tomás Ibáñez. Social activist and author of and author of Anarchism is Movement.
Just as governments are learning from this situation, we must also learn. We need to prioritise learning over carrying on with the same compulsive and repetitive behaviour. It is obvious that this pandemic will pass, but it is also clear that many others will come in the future. it is reasonable to think that biological risk constitutes a greater threat to the survival of humanity than, without being negligible, the much
discussed ecological risk.
At the moment, this virus is serving as a great test for the massive control of populations that characterize a new type of state-control that is gradually coming upon us. Thus, in addition to the biological risk that threatens the physical survival of humanity, there is a totalitarian risk which threatens the survival of the practices of freedom that we are still capable of exercising as human beings.
This testbed is showing that, as Byun-Chul Han says in an article that is essential to read:
“epidemics are not only fought by virologists and epidemiologists, but above all also by computer scientists and macro data specialists…”.
The effectiveness with which the epidemic of COVID-19 has been tackled in China is sending a message to all the governments of the world
promoting the establishment of a new type of population control.
“In China there are 200 million surveillance cameras, many of them equipped with a very efficient facial recognition technique. These cameras equipped with artificial intelligence can observe and evaluate all citizens in public spaces, in stores, on the streets, in stations and in airports. When someone leaves the station in Beĳing, they are automatically captured by a camera that measures their body temperature. If the temperature is not normal, everyone sitting in the same car receives a notification on their mobile phones. Not surprisingly, the system knows who was sitting where on the train.
Thousands of digital investigation teams have been formed in Wuhan to search for potential infected individuals based on technical data alone. By the use of macro-data analysis, they find out who are potentially infected, who must continue to be observed and eventually be quarantined. The State knows where I am, who I am with, what I do, what I am looking for, what I think, what do I eat, what do I buy, where do I go. It is possible that in the future the State will also control body temperature, weight, blood sugar level, etc. A digital biopolitics
that accompanies the digital psychopolitics that actively controls people.”
The new totalitarianism that is being installed and to which events such as that of COVID-19 give wings, is an enemy that we need to be aware/very wary of. We do not want to be definitively disarmed in the face of governmental devices of domination and oppression.
If COVID-19 helps us to become aware before it is too late (there is little time left) of this new type of totalitarianism; and enables us to put pressure on our governments to give back the freedom that they took from us, then we will have learned something from this experience.
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