Naples. Italy. The general crisis – health, economic, institutional–continues to tighten its grip. We are just at the start. And the stench of the spectre of semi-lockdown, which will be worse than the first, is starting to be felt.
WHY A HALF LOCKDOWN IS WORSE THAN A WHOLE ONE
The newspapers are now saying it for certain: maximum 7-10 days. It should be noted that every prediction, in recent weeks, has been “revised” in advance of the facts. But what will semi-lockdown be? It will still be the old mass quarantine, like last spring, with the difference that we will keep going to work.
In this permanent dystopia reality will continue to surpass the most perverse fantasy of science fiction writers: not just a virus that reduces humanity to house arrest, we are now facing a society in which people only leave their domestic cells to go to be exploited. As written in the latest issue of “Vetriolo”, just out, “the energies of the exploited in our time are frozen, in many senses, only to be thawed at the moment of production” (Cf. “Vetriolo”, n. 5 , Stato di pandemia [Pandemic state]). A post-consumerist capitalism, in which the old produce-consume-drop-dead, has been reduced to the binary process: produce-drop-dead. In this system women and men of flesh and blood are only useful if they are able to work.
Will the exploited allow themselves to be locked in the freezer?
The media of the regime squawks that the Coronavirus and the politics facing it are accentuating social inequalities even further. Put that way it seems an objective dynamic; politics, at best, seem guilty of failing to intervene effectively. But is this really the case? The truth is that inequality is necessary for capitalism and the State, if anything, it intervenes to accentuate it.
There has been a great uproar in conspiracy circles about the State secret, applied to the documents of the technical-scientific committee (cts) by the President of the Council of Ministers. Too bad that no one was interested in the content of these documents of the highest technical body on the Covid-19 pandemic once they were declassified a few weeks ago. It emerged plainly, but no one has mentioned it, that the technical-scientific committee never asked for the national lockdown! The committee of top dogs only wanted Lombardy and the 17 provinces of the north-east to be closed down! To ask for the national shut-down was – wait for it – Confindustria – the very ones who hadn’t wanted to close Bergamo and Brescia a few weeks earlier – supported by the blackmail of Matteo Renzi’s party.
Why? But because the bosses need inequalities! If the North had shut down, the South would have recuperated their age-old disadvantage. This could not be allowed to happen. So, first, while there was still time, a lobbying operation was carried out to keep Bergamo and Brescia open, then the whole country was shut down after the horse had bolted.
A shutdown which, in truth, was not even in the field of production: how many from March, especially in the northern regions, know it well. In times of full epidemic and home segregation, they still had to work to keep up the bosses’ profits and interests, even in sectors not actually included as indispensable to the economy, to capital.
Today, while the contagion is flaring up in the South, the opposite path is being taken: Naples is closed down, starving an already poor area even more. And if there has not been total shut-down, for now, it is only thanks to the revolt of the other night.
When Mattarella, in his presidential regality, talks of the need to reduce social inequalities he should wash his mouth out: the inequalities were programmed by the State.
SEE NAPLES AND DIE
If the first wave was handled in a climate of gloomy social peace (with the exception of the strikes in March), it seems that the second wave will not do as well for these gentlemen. From the first night of the curfew, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Naples, overturning garbage containers, starting fires and clashing with the police. Obviously the leftists, playing the same score as that staged in Piedmont since 1948 against the partisans who did not want to hand over their weapons: talking of fascists and provocateurs. But whoever was in the streets on Friday night wrote it everywhere: there were no fascists there, there is a protest that has been building up for some time, with committees that have been meeting up for at least a couple of weeks.
The images of the revolt speak to us of fairly good insurrectional organizational capability. Scooter relays, barricades when needed, intelligent retreats (only 2 arrests). Someone says: only the Camorra is able do these things. Well, and what have we been doing, what have we been talking about in our papers and in our spaces over the last few years?
It is necessary to look at the class composition of this revolt. It was composed of two main social groups: shopkeepers and the Neapolitan underclass. In the excited hours before the revolt it seems there was a tug-of-war between these two souls and that the second upset the applecart of the first.
The report of an opportunist electoral group like Potere al Popolo [Power to the People], can, for once, be useful to unravel the problem:”In reality, there has been an underground clash in this mobilization for days. Those who have something to lose, such as the largest traders or some demagogue aiming for political promotion, are against violence and want to enter into negotiations, are willing to applaud the police, etc.
More excluded segments, on the other hand, who also frequent the stadium environment and have a propensity for organized clashes with the police, have more interest in playing a game on that level, for various reasons, from pure nihilism to acquisition of personal or gang prestige” (from the claims Facebook page).
Obviously the PaP reformists speak of “nihilism” and “gang prestige”. But this report is certainly crystal clear. There was an internal class clash in the protest in Naples which, to use the categories of the old French Revolution, saw shopkeepers and sans-culottes opposing each other. The sans-culottes ruined the parade for the shopkeepers. Fine.
The respectable left complain of gangs and the world of ultras, complaining about those who can do the job of the revolutionary better than they can. Get ready then, instead of complaining.
WAR IN THE MOUNTAINS
Turning our gaze to the more placid Umbrian scenario, this week was characterized by the struggle of the Spoleto people against the closure of the hospital to turn it into a centre for Covid patients alone. The closure of the departments, including accident and emergency, resulted in spontaneous demonstrations by about 500 people in the city, road blocks quickly removed with the mediation of the politician on duty. Even these small episodes qualify as “programming of inequalities”. It is no coincidence that those most affected by the closure of the emergency services will be the residents of Valnerina, who will have to drive an hour and a half to get to the nearest hospital. Populations already hit by the 2016 earthquake, against whom the State (in this specific case the Region), is coming down on even more. The poorly concealed goal is the death of a territory, the desertification of the Apennines, which would also facilitate major works such as the Snam gas pipeline.In Spoleto, unlike in Naples, it was not possible to break the interclassist unity towards this “common” goal. With the result that the Region won and the hospital was closed.
The paradox is that, if this pandemic was caused by globalization and excessive urbanization, the system can only respond through a further aggravation of the causes: more war on the mountains, more inconvenience for those who do not live in the city; more urbanization, more new crises.
BREAK THE FRONT
What to do in this chaos? The first thing to do is undoubtedly break the Front. They tell us we are all in the same boat. That’s not so. Those who want to keep on producing in Bergamo, those who want to starve Naples, those who close the hospitals, are not in our boat. But the traders are not in our boat either, those who want to continue doing business while people die.
Breaking the united front is possible, it happened in Naples. We hope it opens the way for new episodes against the authoritarian laws that are coming. But we also need to be capable of strategic thinking, we need to look “two moves ahead”.
If the first wave of repressive measures eventually passes – and we hope to make them pay the highest possible price – we must be quick to move on to the second, more gluttonous goal. Stop the economy. Unmask the neo-slavery nature of the semi-lockdown. You say it is so dangerous to go out of the house? Well then let’s not go to work either. All this at a time when complicated issues such as the renewal of the logistics and metalworking CCNL [National labour collective agreement] are intertwined. Take back the baton of the March strikes, stop everything. Really.
Finally, if there is really something that scares the shopkeepers and on which the Front really breaks it is the question of prisons. There we see how many shopkeepers are really prepared to continue the revolt. Because as an old Russian comrade taught us, there is no freedom as long as one man or one woman remains a prisoner.
Keep the Enough 14 blog and the Enough 14 Info-Café going. You can do that with a donation here, or by ordering stickers, posters, t-shirts , hoodies or one of the other items here or click at the image below.