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(en) Epidemic? State slaughter - The comrades of the Anarchist Federation of Turin, gathered in assembly on March 15, 2020 (ca, fr, it, pt)

Date Wed, 25 Mar 2020 07:42:17 +0200

The hearse are lined up in front of the cemetery in Bergamo. This image, more than many others, shows us reality in all its rawness. You can't even leave a flower. Their relatives couldn't even accompany them towards the end. They died alone, lucid, slowly drowning. ---- From the windows, at set times, people shout, sing, knock the dishes and gather in a nationalist spirit evoked by politicians and the media. "Everything will be all right. We will make it." -- The government with edicts that followed one another at a frenetic pace has suspended the debate, even the feeble democratic confrontation, even the exhausted rite of representative democracy and has enlisted us all. Whose does not obey is a plague spreader, a criminal, a madman. ---- Let us understand each other. Each of us is responsible for our own actions. We anarchists know it well: for us, individual responsibility for our actions is the pivot of a society of freedom* and equality.
Taking care of the weakest, of the elderly, of those who, more than others, risk their lives, is a duty that we feel with great strength. Always. Today more than ever.
An equally strong duty is to tell the truth. The truth that closed in houses in front of the TV never comes. The truth that staying closed in houses in front of the TV we never see. But the truth is, for the most part, in front of everyone's eyes.
Those who seek a hidden truth, an obscure conspiracy warped by their favourite villain, close their eyes to reality, because those who open them fight to change an unjust, violent, liberating, murderous organization of society.

Every day, even today, while people get sick and die, the Italian government wastes 70 million euros in military spending. With the 70 million spent in just one of the 366 days of this leap year, six new hospitals could be built and equipped and there would be some money left over for masks, analysis laboratories and swabs for real screening. A respirator costs 4000 euros, so you could buy 17500 respirators a day: many more than you need now.
In recent years, all successive governments have constantly cut spending on health care, prevention and the life of all of us. Last year, according to statistics, life expectancy was reduced for the first time. Many people don't have the money to pay for medicines, visiting fees and specialist services, because they have to pay rent, food and transport.
They have closed the small hospitals, reduced the number of doctors and nurses, cut beds, forced health workers to work overtime, because there it lacks medical staff.
Today, with the epidemic, there are no more queues at the desk, no more waiting lists of months and years for a diagnostic investigation: they have cancelled visits and examinations. We will do them when the epidemic will be finish. How many people will get sick and die of diagnosable and treatable cancers, how many people will see their illnesses worsen, because the state have quarantined what was left of public health? Meanwhile, private clinics are making a few publicity moves and multiplying business, because the rich never go without treatment.

That's why the government wants us on the balconies to sing "We are ready to die. Italy called". They want us to be silent and obedient like good soldiers, meat for slaughter, expendable. Afterwards, those who stay will be immune and stronger. Until the next pandemic.

That's why from our balconies, on the city walls, in the shopping queues, let's say, out loud despite the mask, that we are facing a state slaughter. How many deaths could have been avoided if the governments of these years had made choices to protect our health?
It was not a mistake but a criminal choice.

Infectivologists over the years have warned of the risk we were running, that a serious pandemic was possible. Voices in the desert.
The logic of profit does not allow to cede. When the epidemic is over, pharmaceutical companies that don't invest in prevention will do business. They will profit from the medicines discovered by the many researchers working for the community and not to enrich those who are already rich.
We were accustomed to believe that we are immune to the plagues that afflict the poor, those who have no means to defend themselves, those who do not even have access to drinking water. Dengue, Ebola, malaria, tuberculosis were the diseases of the poor, of "backward", "underdeveloped" populations.
Then, one day, the virus embarked on business class and reached the economic heart of Italy. And nothing was like before.
But at first the media, experts, the government told us that the disease only kills the elderly, the sick, those who also have other diseases. Nothing new. It's a normal fact: you don't need a medical degree to know that.
So everyone else thought the worst would be an extra flu for this year. This criminal information has filled the squares, the aperitifs, the parties. This does not mean that individual responsibility is lost, which also passes from the ability to inform and understand, but it takes away a pinch of that aura of sanctity that the government is trying to wear, to come out unscathed from the crisis. And who knows? Maybe even stronger.

They tell us our home is the only safe place. That's not true. The workers who have to go out every day to go to the factory, without any real protection, in spite of the little treats offered by Confindustria[Organization of industrial employers in Italy]to the "state" unions[the bigger unions that everytime make the interests of the bosses], return home every day. There are elderly relatives, children, weak people there.
Only a small part of those who go out to shop or get some air have protection: masks, gloves, disinfectants are not even available in hospitals.
The government claims that protection is not necessary if you are healthy: that is a lie. What they tell us about the spread of the virus clearly denies it. The truth is another: two months after the beginning of the epidemic in Italy, the government has not purchased and distributed the necessary protection to stop the spread of the disease.
They cost too much. In Piedmont region, family doctors talk on the phone to people with fever, cough, sore throat, inviting them to take antipyretics and stay at home for five days. If they get worse, they go to the hospital. No one gets swabbed. Those who live with these sick people find themselves trapped: they cannot leave alone those who suffer and need assistance, but risk becoming infected in turn if the respiratory disease was due to coronavirus. How many have become infected without knowing it and then spread the disease to others, leaving without protection?
House arrest and curfews won't save us from the epidemic. They can help slow the spread of the virus, not stop it.

The epidemic becomes an opportunity to impose working conditions that allow companies to spend less and earn more. Conte's[Chief of the Government]edicts have provided for smart working wherever possible. Companies are taking advantage of this to impose it on their employees. You stay at home and work via the Internet. Teleworking is regulated by a law of 2017 that provides that companies can offer it but not impose it on their employees. It should therefore be subject to an agreement that gives workers guarantees on working hours, forms of control, right to cover connection costs, coverage in case of accident. Today, after the decree issued by the Conte government to deal with the Covid 19 epidemic, companies can force smart working without agreements or guarantees for workers, who must also be grateful for the opportunity to stay at home. The epidemic thus becomes a pretext for imposing new forms of exploitation without resistance.
For regulated workers there are social security cushions, redundancy funds and supplementary funds, for precarious workers, VAT numbers[indipendent contractors]and parasubordinates there will be almost no cover. Those who do not work have no income.

Whoever dares to criticize, whoever dares to tell uncomfortable truths, is threatened, repressed, silenced.
No mainstream media has taken up the complaint of the lawyers of the nurses' association, an institution that has nothing subversive. Nurses are described as heroes, as long as they get sick and die in silence, without telling what happens in hospitals. Nurses who tell the truth are threatened with dismissal. Those who are infected are not recognised as having an accident, so that the hospital company is not obliged to pay compensation to those who find themselves working every day without protection or with totally inadequate protection.

Women's autonomy is being attacked by government management of the Covid 19 epidemic.
The care of children who stay at home because schools are closed, the elderly at risk, the disabled fall on the shoulders of women, already heavily invested by the precariousness of work.
In the meantime, in the houses transformed into compulsory homes, feminicides are multiplying.

In the thunderous silence of most, during the prison revolt, 15 prisoners died. Nothing has transpired about their deaths except the police's propaganda. Some, already in serious condition, were not taken to hospital but loaded onto police vans and taken to die in prisons hundreds of kilometres away. A slaughter, a state slaughter.
The others were deported elsewhere. Prisons are overflowing, health and dignity of prisoners is not guaranteed even in "normal" conditions, provided that it is normal to lock people behind bars. To safeguard them, the government has found nothing better than to suspend talks with relatives, while every day the guards can come and go. The revolt of the prisoners has broken out in front of the real risk of the spread of contagion in places where overcrowding is the norm. Those who supported the struggles of the prisoners have been attacked and reported on criminal charges by the police. The repression, with the help of the measures contained in the government's edicts, has been extremely harsh. In Turin they also prevented a simple gathering of relatives of the prisoners and activits at the entrance of the prison, deploying troops at every access to the streets surrounding the Vallette prison[Prison of Turin].

The workers who went on spontaneous strikes against the risk of contagion, were in turn denounced for violating the government's edicts, because they were demonstrating in the streets for their health.
Nothing should stop production, even if it is production that could be stopped without any consequences for the lives of us all. The logic of profit and production comes first.
The government fears that, after the prison revolt, other fronts of social struggle may be opened up. Hence the obsessive police control, the use of the army, to which, for the first time, public order functions are attributed, and not merely support the various police forces. The military becomes policemen: the process of osmosis begun a few decades ago comes to an end. The war does not stop. Military missions, military drills, weapons testings go at full speed. It's the war on the poor at the time of Covid 19.

The government has banned all forms of public demonstrations and political meetings.
Risking life for the master is a social duty, culture and political action are considered criminal activities.
It is an attempt, not even too veiled, to prevent any form of confrontation, discussion, struggle, construction of networks of solidarity that really allow to give support to those who are most in trouble.

Democracy has feet of clay. In front of epidemic the democratic illusion has melted like snow in the sun. The measures of the president of the council are accepted enthusiastically: no debate, no passage from the Parliament, the temple of representative democracy, but simple edict. Whoever does not respect these edicts is an plague spreader, a murderer, a criminal and deserves no mercy.
In this way, the real culprits, those who cut health care and multiply military spending, those who do not even guarantee masks to the nurses, those who militarize everything but do not do swabs because "each one costs 100 euros" sign absolution with the praise of the prisoners of fear.

Fear is human. We should not be ashamed of it, but neither should we allow the political entrepreneurs of fear to use it to gain consent to criminal policies.

We have fought to prevent them from closing small hospitals, from wiping out health care facilities that are valuable to everyone. We were in the square alongside the workers of the Valdese, Oftalmico, Maria Adelaide[public hospitals that have been closed in last years], the hospital in Susa and many other corners of our province.

In November, we were in the streets to contest the aerospace industry war exhibition. We fight against militarism and war expenses every day. We are on the paths of the No Tav[movement against high speed train]struggle, because with one meter of Tav[of the new railway project]you pay 1000 hours of intensive care.

Today we are on the side of those who do not want to die in jail, of the workers attacked and reported on criminal charges by the police, because they protest against the lack of protection against the spread of the virus, with nurses and nurses who work without being protected and risk their jobs because they tell what happens in hospitals.

Today, so many political and social opposition movements are silent, unable to react, crushed by moral pressure, which criminalizes those who do not accept without discussing the situation of increasing danger triggered by the government choices of yesterday and today.
Limiting movement and contacts is reasonable, but it is even more reasonable to fight for safety. We must find places and ways to fight against the violence of those who imprison us, because they do not know and do not want to protect us.
As anarchists we know that freedom, solidarity, equality in our thousand diversities is achieved through struggle, it is not delegated to anyone, let alone to a government, whose only ethic is to keep our seats.

No. We're not "ready to die."[famous verse of the Italian national anthem]We don't want to die and we don't want anyone to get sick and die. We're not enlisting in the infantry destined for silent slaughter. We're deserters, rebels, partisans.
We demand that prisons be emptied, that those who have no home be given one, that war expenses be cancelled, that everyone be guaranteed clinical examinations, that everyone have the means to protect themselves and others from the epidemic.

We don't want only the strongest to survive, we want those who have lived so long to be able to continue to do so.
We want those who are sick to be able to have someone close to them who loves them and can comfort them: with two fewer F35 fighter bombers we will be able to have all the protection necessary so that no one dies alone anymore.

Will everything go well? Will we make it? It depends on each of us.

The comrades of the Anarchist Federation of Turin, gathered in assembly on March 15, 2020

We dedicate this writing to the memory of Ennio Carbone, an anarchist, a doctor who dedicated his life to scientific research, trying to take it away from the voracious hands of the industry that finances only what makes profit.
Ennio, in unsuspicious times, told us about the risk of a pandemic like the one we are living today.
We miss his voice and his experience in these difficult days.
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