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The largest pandemic: Colonialism

We witnessed how the discourses and strategies outlined during the pandemic swept generations of struggle for cultural autonomy. Re-calling the historical colonial notion of bringing civilisation and solutions to the global-south.

Originally published by Antikoloniale Aktion.

We have seen and heard much analysis of this pandemic from different -and from time to time- too specific points of view. This time we would like to offer a discussion of a macro level. Try to understand what are the political intentions supporting this 2020 worldwide pandemic policy.

The pandemic is real and so is the virus. In these lines, we intend to discuss how such a worldwide scenery has been used on behalf of capitalist and colonial interest. In our view, it is not an isolated consequence that this pandemic function as a means for attacking anti-colonial movements with re-establishing dominance upon global south peoples.

Through promoting a single notion of “caring and protection” ideated in the global-north, most cultures on the planet are left out and so were their political subjectivities and life realities. Once again, the positioning of Western-science as a universal standard assisted a technocratic focus on the virus. Imposing an “objective” viewpoint on the pandemic and not taking into account peoples daily life for considering these an individual issue.

The problem lies in the uneven understanding of what objective means. What we understand in Western societies as objective and neutral, it is part of a clear political agenda. In this regard, and convinced that the political agenda triggered by the German Government is a racist and classist one, we see objective being costumed as Christian, as white, as male, and of course as bourgeoise.

Such an objective notion of caring perpetuates procedures and interests that are tailored for the powerful ones, the hegemonic bodies. Leading others to deaths or extreme marginalization through police violence, hunger, impoverishment, evictions and deportations, or illegalization.

By obscuring the political agenda, but spreading a sense of fear and insecurity neoliberals and capitalist interests are allowed to invade our-most private and social life. It is the interest of private capitals that are preserved by the government want us at home, locked down, not playing resistance.

It is in its nature that the nation-state when facing this pandemic that is also a crisis of capital and reproduction of its power will become more repressive and reinforce

The state exists as a means for reproducing the power of the ruling classes. This is a crucial fact if we are willing to truly understand the decisions made by the German state in the face of the pandemic. Because the state is not willing to protect its people but to self-care as the one and only holding political agency. If not why instead of investing in its health care system the German state choose to invest in repression and control? Instead of providing the people the information and the tools to take care of themselves and their communities, it forced us to really on a centralized and ineffective bureaucracy? It is because centralization is the only way of maintaining a system in which a small elite’s pleasures and will can rest upon millions of lives. It is because repression seeks to soak any flame of communal counter-strategies, that could in time of crisis signified alternatives to the vintaged model of the National-state. We don’t need repression to be safe, neither a state to take care of ourselves.

We already discussed the aspect of the national state and its clear political agenda. But unfortunately, this is not the only reason why we keep on reproducing structural oppression. To blame the state is the easy way out because when blaming we are expecting a punishment. And we are not expecting to punish the state we are convinced we need to abolish it. But for abolishing the state, we need to create alternatives free of oppression.

For us, communal is an alternative and decentralized way of living based on autonomies. During the pandemic, we saw a reproduction of colonial oppression in our social manners. The arrogance of being able to elucidate “a one fits all approach” is perhaps the most painful aspect of the structurally racist take on the pandemic. A take that was almost naturally supported by western left-wing peoples too, when expecting all of us to invest our hopes in technological solutions made in/for the white-men to carry on with his privileged and globalized life. Ignoring any possibility of solutions from/for the global south, while subordinating millions of peoples to hygienic standards that only fit in westernized social conceptions.

We witnessed how the discourses and strategies outlined during the pandemic swept generations of struggle for cultural autonomy. Re-calling the historical colonial notion of bringing civilization and solutions to the global south. Showing how European societies remain as intact fertile soils for the reproduction of paternalism in the form of humanitarian aid.

We understand this paternalist relation as a continuation of the colonial matrix. Which with extraordinary adaptability- just like capitalism- infiltrated even European left-wing and libertarian atmospheres. In which privileged peoples find their duty as to think for others, instead of breaking division by fighting along with.

Such a matrix of dependency does not give anything to the peoples involved. It only reproduces a sense of political superiority in white -privileged dominant groups. Who divert the focus of their political action, ignoring their local and temporal responsibility towards the matrix of the dominance of which they are a constitutive part. In other words: it is easier to take to the streets in Berlin to criticize a government of the global-south than to confront the elephant in the room, namely the german imperialist state and the extracted wealth that finances the managed democracy and therefor even the radical left]. It is easier to talk about poverty in historically impoverished territories than to accept that the poverty surrounding us feeds our well-being.

Should we direct our critique only to the injustices outside this Nation-state borders? Or should we finally start facing the social problems that surround us? Neglecting social inequality, gendered and sexualized violence and structural racism in “developed” countries has been perhaps the strongest social mechanism that colonialism has been using for ages for re-directing political attention towards other geographies. Numbing the local populations, who define themselves culturally as “privileged”. Inducing them to a “nightmare of solidarity”, based on the idea that structural- marginalization and cultural domination can choose which passport to hold. In other words, making them think these are problems that belong to other countries.

For us, the division between developed and underdeveloped nations is a straight out lie. For the Nation-state as a political project, can only exist if a big part of its society suffers from violence and marginalization, no matter the geography. Gender and class inequality are at the very core of its paroles which Evoque an ever more mono-cultural and universal image of the citizen.

But what better then perceived privilege to pacify western societies and make their workers fear the potentiality of their empire losing it’s grip on the world as if they had a stake in it?

We invite you now to think in terms of globalization. It is not a coincidence that in a Country like Germany we are constantly hearing from the poor societies in the global south. That we are culturally pushed to support developing-programs and policies in the global south. That we, like in 1492, are bringing “espejitos de colores” to those we want to steal from. Amazingly we are still surprised when welcomed with resistance!

After one year of the pandemic we ask ourselves and now ask you as well, why can’t we as leftist and libertarians think of strategies outside the values of the nation-state. Which are the intentions shrinking our political creativity? Which baton is striking down on our revolution?

Only if we are able to tear down the walls of internalized oppression will we be able to sustain an interconnected system of communal autonomies. For interconnection means being asked for help not imposing it. For communal means respect towards different forms of relations and natures. For autonomy can never find a one-single expression, but will be there where our lives do not oppress the lives of another. For autonomy will only find true way(s) in the form of revolutionary commitments and never in isolation.

“Difference must be not merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic. Only then does the necessity for interdependency become unthreatening. Only within that interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways of being in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters”

Audre Lorde

Abya yala libre!


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