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(en) Philippines: Against a quarantine with the opportunism of martial law by Simoun Magsalin (with input from the Bandilang Itim Collective) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 28 Apr 2021 08:36:36 +0300


In March 2020, people in the archipelago known as the Philippines are alerted to the rate of local transmission of the disease known as COVID-19. On March 12, police and military forces mobilized to impose a community quarantine on the entire city of Manila, which was scheduled to begin at midnight on March 15. This quarantine was later generalized to the entire island of Luzon, with a population of approximately 53 million souls. The mobilization of the state violence mechanism was more noticeable than the mobilization of medical and social resources highlighting the government's priorities. ---- There is a regime of violence. Soldiers with machine gunssetting up checkpoints (someone disputes the need for machine guns against the coronavirus) - do these people intend to shoot? At these checkpoints, some women report being sexually harassed. Local police officers and Barangay officials have undertaken to try creative persuasive measures, such as incarcerating those who allegedly broke the rules in a small cage. One policeman was videotaped threatening to shoot residents for breaking the isolation while another was beating residents with a stick in a Muslim community in Quiapo. A homeless man was violently arrested because he was out during curfew hours - essentially he was arrested because he was homeless! Homes are still being demolished at a time when people urgently need homes to stay. A teacher and her son in General Santos were arrested without warrants for their Facebook posts. A group of people looking for basic necessities in Barangay Bagong Pagasa were arrested. The National Secretariat for Research monitors people for "illegal statements" on social media. President Duterte warns of exhausting lawsuits against "disobedience" and in a subsequent speech threatens to shoot people who leave their homes. In fact, someone was injured by the police at a checkpoint in Bulacan, the police wiped their hands as they did with the "drug war". A teacher and her son in General Santos were arrested without warrants for their Facebook posts. A group of people looking for basic necessities in Barangay Bagong Pagasa were arrested. The National Secretariat for Research monitors people for "illegal statements" on social media. President Duterte warns of exhausting lawsuits against "disobedience" and in a subsequent speech threatens to shoot people who leave their homes. In fact, someone was injured by the police at a checkpoint in Bulacan, the police wiped their hands as they did with the "drug war". A teacher and her son in General Santos were arrested without warrants for their Facebook posts. A group of people looking for basic necessities in Barangay Bagong Pagasa were arrested. The National Secretariat for Research monitors people for "illegal statements" on social media. President Duterte warns of exhausting lawsuits against "disobedience" and in a subsequent speech threatens to shoot people who leave their homes. In fact, someone was injured by the police at a checkpoint in Bulacan, the police wiped their hands as they did with the "drug war". A group of people looking for basic necessities in Barangay Bagong Pagasa were arrested. The National Secretariat for Research monitors people for "illegal statements" on social media. President Duterte warns of exhausting lawsuits against "disobedience" and in a subsequent speech threatens to shoot people who leave their homes. In fact, someone was injured by the police at a checkpoint in Bulacan, the police wiped their hands as they did with the "drug war". A group of people looking for basic necessities in Barangay Bagong Pagasa were arrested. The National Secretariat for Research monitors people for "illegal statements" on social media. President Duterte warns of exhausting lawsuits against "disobedience" and in a subsequent speech threatens to shoot people who leave their homes. In fact, someone was injured by the police at a checkpoint in Bulacan, the police wiped their hands as they did with the "drug war".

In this situation, it is no exaggeration to say that the Philippine government has in fact imposedmartial law, even if it has not been formally declared. In a time of crisis, the state's instinctive action was to mobilize and develop its mechanism of violence. The development of medical resources is secondary to the machine guns that appear everywhere. Instead of developing increased medical resources, we have forces in uniform aimlessly and disorientingly on the outskirts of the city with no other purpose than to establish themselves as fake figures of the peace order of the state. It ispeace and orderand notpublic healththat is a priority of the state.

This martial law isillegal, not that legality matters to anarchists in the archipelago. Activists of all tendencies understand that the state mechanism of violence is not limited by what is defined by law. State violence has always been legal and it does not make sense that legitimacy is a pointless discrimination when the balance of power favors the state. Legitimacy does not make sense when what is violent can only be legitimized by a congressional act or municipal decree - which is the case withBayanihan as Practice Therapy.

The development of the mechanism of violence to literally combat a medical condition betrays a certain opportunism by the state. The state occasionally uses the crisis to expand its police power. While the purpose of the blockade is quarantine to protect the population, it is also a godsend opportunity for police and military fascists as an excuse to quell any dissent. And what are the new laws that have now come into force? What guarantee do we have that the extreme measures taken by the state today will not become the new normal after the end of the COVID-19 crisis?

We have seen an unprecedented expansion of the surveillance situation with aircraft and engines designed to closely monitor public spaces. Instead of using their resources to feed people, they use this crisis as an opportunity to expand their surveillance capacity!

In a special session, CongressturnedtheBayanihan to Heal as One Act by the contested provisions on the granting of special powers to the Office of the President and the dramatic increase in prison and the terrible punishment As for dissent. 1 This is the use of the doctrine of shock, or the opportunistic use of the crisis to pass controversial or questionable laws. First described by Naomi Klein, the doctrine of shock is used specifically in crises such as ours to take advantage of the difficulty of building resistance to these policies because of crises. The state uses this crisis as an opportunity to expand its power. This is not an isolated phenomenon in the Philippines. Hungary is now practically a dictatorship after Prime Minister Viktor Orban used the crisis to expand his powers to practical dictatorial levels and now rules by decree.

We anarchists are skeptical of power itself. We do not believe that those in power have our interests at the center. We believe that they are there only to reproduce and expand their own power. Once the crisis is over, the state of emergency will be lifted, but new powers and new oversight will remain.

Medical Solutions, ? indyMilitary!
We anarchists in the archipelago do not question the need for quarantine. After all, quarantine and social distancing are required to protect the most vulnerable among us, such as the immunosuppressed, people living with HIV, and the elderly.

That being said, a quarantine imposed by violence and guns is clearly the wrong way to apply a quarantine. It does more harm than good. The checkpoints are made up of large groups of men with weapons with almost no medical equipment, not to mention the repeatedly reported lack of trained medical staff. Reports of protocol ambiguity, sexual harassment, and sometimes robbery and frustration with police and military personnel are posted by people who pass the test to deal with them. What is even more worrying is the possibility that checkpoint officers will become carriers for the diseases themselves by checkpoint reports without face masks or police and soldiers in close contact with the people checking in. Checkpoints also risk becoming a place where people are forced to gather, creating potential carriers for virus transmission. After all, soldiers and police are trained in violence, not sympathy or care. So when faced with homelessness, these people respond with violence - arresting the homeless instead of giving them a home, as happened with lola Dorothy Espejo. creating potential vectors for virus transmission. After all, soldiers and police are trained in violence, not sympathy or care. So when faced with homelessness, these people respond with violence - arresting the homeless instead of giving them a home, as happened with lola Dorothy Espejo. creating potential vectors for virus transmission. After all, soldiers and police are trained in violence, not sympathy or care. So when faced with homelessness, these people respond with violence - arresting the homeless instead of giving them a home, as happened with lola Dorothy Espejo.

The serious discrepancy between the resources devoted to military policing versus medical needs is made even more apparent by this trend of "VIPs". Politicians, oligarchs and elites are able to jump off the line and prioritize access to the COVID-19 test, while people shun critical treatment for lack of testing.

On April 1, the regime's elitism was evident when people gathered on a highway in Barangay Bagong Pagasa when they heard rumors that food packages would be distributed there. They faced mass arrests, probably because they broke the quarantine. Instead of covering needs, the state chooses to arrest them all. Meanwhile, Senator Koko Pimentel, who deliberately broke the quarantine protocol knowing he was a patient under investigation, is still free with no influence other than public outrage. Pimentel scandalously endangered critical medical personnel when it was later revealed to be positive for COVID-19. One also remembers that the convicted cartoonist and widow of former dictator Imelda Marcos is still a free woman,

We also see the divergence in the sad provision of relief packages. Endless emergency funds are activated, but aid is meager. These ugly relief goods contrast with the images of the Corderians' agricultural traders destroying and discarding vegetables simply because they cannot sell them. Vegetables are thrown away while people are arrested for protesting their hunger. In these times of crisis, the need for an economy that meets needs instead of profits is increasingly urgent. One wonders why with all these crisis funds activated by the crisis, government agencies can not just buy all these products before they are hit.

Against a military quarantine, the people of the archipelago demand with one voice:Solusyon Medikal, Hindi Militar! -Medical solutions, not military! Against the elitist privilege of accessing COVID-19 test kits, activists are shouting:free mass tests now ! Against the meager supply of goods, the people organize mutual aid and bayanihan networks that seek to meet the needs.

Quarantine and capitalism are incompatible .
During this time of crisis, it is clear that quarantine and capitalism are incompatible. A quarantine requires people to stay home, restrict outings and exercise social distance. But how can people stay at home if they are precarious workers under a no-pay schemewithout a job?How can people stay at home if their needs depend on their wages? If workers are fired, how will they buy food and pay rent while in quarantine?

A quarantine must meet the needs of the people as an irreversible minimum for the reproduction of daily life, that is, for everyone to have access to food, water, medicine and other things needed to stay alive. But production under capitalism does not revolve around meeting needs, it revolves around profits and the pursuit of profit. So when an emergency shuts down the engines of profit, so does the wage engine shut down, and with that the needs remain unfulfilled.

Against the contradictions between capitalism and quarantine we need a system that meets needs and not profits. We need a quarantine to ensure that people do not starve. Without work and against the requirement of rents and profits, our demands should be the distribution according to needs, the cancellation of the rent and the cancellation of the household bills. And after the crisis, to remain inactive. .

For a civilized, self-managed quarantine
In the face of a martial law dressed in medical gowns, what can we count on? One to the other.

Ordinary people, people like you and me, canoeing nwhatever they can to make sure that not only survive but also to ensure the welfare of those around them. We see people practicing mutual help, or as it is known in the Philippines,bayanihan . We see people making masks and medical tools, not for speculation, but because there is a need for it. Mothers in Los Angeles occupy abandoned homes in search of quarantine, as Kadamay did in Bulacan. Neighborhoods around the world help each other, share the least they have and like the politically opposed Jesus who divides and distributes bread and bread, is able to meet the needs of others with the most limited supplies. These are seeds for a future post-capitalist economy based on needs, not profits.

It is clear that we can not expect any salvation from the state or capital. Against quarantine with martial law features, it is urgent to promote a liberating alternative based on solidarity and mutual aid instead of militarism and impunity. It is possible to have a self-administered quarantine that is not imposed with rifles. For example, residents of urban poor communities in Manila have taken the initiative to set up their own self-managed checkpoints, replacing rifles and knives. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, quarantines are not imposed by force, but by the collective responsibility of all. A quarantine without coercion and violence is possible if we can see that

Indeed,abetter world is possible if we are to see it.

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Against the co-option of bayanihan by the state to label its expansive powers, anarchists in the archipelago forward a genuine bayanihan in its original meaning of mutual aid.[?]

https://bandilangitim.noblogs.org/2021/04/14/against-a-quarantine-with-martial-law-characteristics-gr/
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