By Fabrika Yfanet, April 2020
Instead of a prologue
Nights and days seem to linger on, while time is speeding up. Every day we come across dozens of new announcements, reviews, and translations. We read – as much as we can – and think, trying to figure out what the hell is going on. So, why another text? What sense would it make, to publish a text during this condition of intense social isolation and physical distancing, that we won’t be able to distribute in real-time (at least for now)? In reality, this piece of writing was, for us, a reason to meet and discuss, partly a bit abstractly and partly somewhat specifically, on what we have been experiencing lately. We concluded that capturing this discussion is useful in finding new communication pathways to reach out to those who also wonder what is going on, and are not just satisfied with the “stay home” prompt, but instead look for possibilities to exist within it, to transcend it, and to return once more to public space. In any case, this is time for redefining of actions, methods, goals, and practices.
The exception is the rule
Undoubtedly, this is an unprecedented occurrence. The worldwide spread of the virus, the infected and the dead, the bans and the documents required to be outside, the police checkpoints all around, the lockdown, and the abrupt arrest of a great part of the production are something most of us have never experienced before. Admittedly, however, the state rhetoric about a state of exception being in place is not at all new. It has been a resilient component of the way they have been governing for several years and it insists that the present is an exception from which we will emerge in the near future and return back to a supposedly ‘magical’ normality. But as this regime spreads over time, the boundaries that distinguish it from the normality which bore it, begin to blur. Needless to say, normality itself is a condition that has never seemed ‘magical’ to us.
Therefore, it is in this light that we need to look at the current situation, with COVID-19 being another asymmetric threat today, according to state officials. Our viewpoint does not consider this an exception, an unpleasant intermission, but a part of the restructuring that aims to change permanently our social relationships. Undeniably, the epidemic and its management will indeed be a turning point in state policies, as well as in our lives. What we want to stress, however, is that regardless of whether the state moves at a rapid pace from one way of management to another, the relationship between capital and its restructuring has maintained a historical continuity. Time cannot reverse.
That is to say, that measures and prohibitions that are currently imposed may, to a certain extent, be lifted in the long run, but the social alterations that are being carried out are here to stay. ‘Nothing will be as it once was’ actually means ‘all will be the same, just worse’, even if one hesitates to admit it.
The situation in Greece just before the first coronavirus cases were reported is of equal importance. All this talk about threat, destabilization, invasion, and other evils, was ongoing rhetoric. The threat at the time culminated in immigrants. Yet, another state of exception, another emergency that authorities called on the citizens to mobilize against the common enemy. The army, the police, and Greek patriots willingly took over guarding the borders, shooting, spraying, stripping immigrants off their clothes, and generally abusing them. Meanwhile, at the islands, pogroms against immigrants and against people who show solidarity to them as well as against NGO employees at the camps were launched. The rest applauded the ‘heroic efforts’ of the security forces at Evros and sent food, masks, and tire ups to the ‘children of Greece.
The state of exception that surrounds immigrants, not only remains unchanged, but it’s also murderously confirmed (validated). Because what else is confinement in detention centers, stacked tightly by thousands in tents and containers on the muddy ground without immediate access to a doctor or hospital amidst a raging pandemic, but a murderous practice? A premeditated killing, as in the meantime, there has been some proposition, in Mytilene and elsewhere, for immigrants to cover vacancies in the agricultural sector due to the closure of the Greek-Albanian border. Consequently, it becomes clear that the public health protective measures concern only a certain Greek national formation (belonging to it obviously comes with many exceptions and considerations). As, for those who don’t, they will either be imprisoned, or become ridiculously cheap (even free of charge) labor force that will back up the imminent economic recovery, or will be left to shrivel up and die in miserable conditions. Certainly, something like this is bound to happen in detention centers now that the epidemic is threatening them (lockdowns at the Ritsona and Malakasa camps after confirmed cases), as it is also guaranteed that the Greek state, who is responsible for this condition, will use it as an excuse to (re)construct the image of an immigrant picturing it as a health bomb and as a social threat.
The capitalist mode of production as a viral condition
By following the same thread of argument, we choose to see the virus itself as something that comes within a historic context rather than a arbitrary natural disaster. The existence, transmission, and danger of viruses that emerge every few years are in immediate relation with the way we live, produce, and reproduce. Such virulent strains spring from the core of the capitalist mode of production. Their emergence and method of confrontation are inextricably linked to human intervention in natural habitats that have already been altered. The prevalent over-intensive conditions of production in the capitalist agricultural sector dramatically favor the creation and spread of viruses such as COVID-19 – not to mention the possibilities of transition to humans and rapid spread thereafter 1. We have no illusions that the dominant scientific and governmental discourse around the epidemic is a neutrally descriptive account of an objective reality. At this point, the following assumption is important: ‘the knowledge produced is far from being politically neutral. Instead, what exists are political promotion and selection strategies, or planning for marginalization and exclusion 2. This is why we are not stopped dead in our tracks. Obviously, there are hidden political stakes around the mystification of responsibility surrounding the production and spread of viruses. On the other hand, there is the attempt to socially legitimize the state and create a sense of national solidarity against the contingent threat and, on the other hand, the normalization of capitalist relations and their reproduction amid a paused production and an imminent economic collapse.
The State Guarantee
What seems to be a top priority at the present is to strengthen the image of the state as the sole guarantor of public health and safety. Most states have chosen to freeze a great part of their production, closed many businesses, and imposed restrictions on traffic. Given that, the arrival of the crisis that has been already underway will be further accelerated. Such choice may seem disastrous in economic terms but their strategy hopes it will pay off in the long run. An uncontained spread of the virus and a large death toll (as it happened in Italy) would lead to an evident worldwide immediate deregulation of the state as a guarantor and regulator of social life and the impact of political destabilization would be enormous. No government would want to be blamed for a million dead as a result; as it would have a direct impact on elections. This poses a danger not only for politicians and government officials (who may change eventually) but also for the whole state (as an institution). It will render them to be incapable of protecting and reproducing the lives of its citizens.
The goal, then, is to present the state as a benevolent paternal figure who knows better, acts in our favor, and we must follow its instructions. Those states that manage to reduce the death toll will then come to celebrate their choices compared to those who will have been most affected. Of course, not all of this is happening to save the state prestige, let alone in the midst of a crisis. The stronger the state emerges through this process and the more consensus it manages to extract, the more advantageous it will be in the days to come to impose the transition of the crisis on our backs. Then, the required ideologies won’t have to be invented from scratch. On the contrary, wide social acceptance would already have been tested and would already emerge as being self-evident: the crisis as a natural phenomenon and a natural disaster, individual responsibility as a personal sacrifice in the name of the general interest, the infested (alien) bodies posing as a risk to the healthy (local) ones, the ruffianism and the stigma for those who are not dutiful and disciplined.
We never had a knack for divination and we will stop making more wild guesses. Clearly, it is unthinkable that a mathematical equation exists guaranteeing that the direct material effects of the coronavirus crisis on people’s lives will inevitably lead to a social uprising. We choose to highlight the aforementioned ideological state mediations, namely the way it chooses to mystify capitalist relations, in order to be able to plan our own future interventions and imagine what kind of communities we will need to form.
Rescuing the capital
From the first instant when the epidemic came into our lives, the state and the media have been trying to portray it as a natural disaster, merely another unexpected event that put the economic recovery on hold. For us, COVID-19 is not a coincidental, external factor that disrupted the normal course of events. As we argued above, the health crisis we live in is structurally linked to the capitalist mode of production and is an internal process within the system. Meanwhile, the virus acts as a magnifying glass through which we can see the inequalities within the capitalist relations as these become sharply visible through violent state management.
The imposition of the quarantine creates a rapid slowdown in the production and mobility of goods. It is limiting consumption to the necessities of life, banning aimless movement and closing down the largest part of the market, something which causes high costs for the capital. At the same instant, capital as a social relation must be in motion in order to be able to reproduce itself. It cannot function under stagnant conditions; nor can it be reconfigured to the levels it was before the spread of COVID-19 in the flick of a switch. In order to overcome this crisis, it must continue to restructure relations of production in the same direction it has been doing so in recent years. Some of the measures –as we have said before– may be suspended after a while; however, the way in which the pandemic is handled by the states gives us a hint of the changes at our doorstep. It is therefore important to discern the direction that capital restructuring is currently heading so that we can effectively organize our resistance.
Internationally, capital is unified as never before. Production chains are expanding into remote areas, goods are traveling around the world to be consumed, national economies are much more dependent on international trade, both in order to operate and to serve people’s needs. Nevertheless, we are witnessing an inwards turn on the part of national states in order to cope with the virus, which puts their commercial connections in second rate. Countries that previously supplied basic goods have stopped doing so or have posed limits on their exports, while others are blocking products at their borders. So, what is left to find out is whether this inwards turn will affect in the long run the distribution of the productive process, but also the prices and the stock in products in the short run.
Closed borders, a ban on traveling and movement, and general home isolation are a direct obstacle to labor migration. On the one hand, labor force mobility is what capital essentially needs to fill in vacancies that are not profitable to be filled in by locals. The precariousness of working conditions has contributed to the creation of a cheap labor force, which is flexible to constantly change place of residence. On the other hand, labor mobility helps people to find work on better terms and to improve their living conditions. Immigrants coming to Europe may be treated as a problem, as they are now a surplus labor force 3, but a corresponding – critical movement for the capital – is taking place within the borders of the European Union. Specialized workers from the Mediterranean migrate to central European countries to find work in their sector. Seasonal workers travel from country to country to work in the fields. Employees from the Balkans come to Greece every year for a season in the tourist industry. These stagnant times will obviously affect all this mobility resulting in gaps in necessary parts of production. Therefore, it remains to be seen how the capital will try to cover seasonal jobs, but also how it will maintain the labor force upon which it depended.
So, we reached a critical junction. Globally, the capitalist mode of production seems to be shaken by its structural crises 4, causing problems to the smooth reproduction of capitalist labor relations. Previous crises have taught us that capitalism has the potential to emerge even stronger and more legitimate from them. The mass destruction of capital (destruction of both means of production and labor) has more often than not led historically too high rates of growth and strengthening the system 5. Capital has to restructure itself to cope successfully in even more aggressive terms. The precariousness of working conditions and the exclusion from the labor force seems to be a permanent situation for even more proletarians. Meanwhile, the reduction of the labor cost is once again the only way out of the crisis.
In short, the general political direction regarding labor, is that wages are increasingly being converted into benefits while acquiring the benefit is increasingly becoming a matter of reciprocity. Through the tightening of the criteria, the beneficiaries are required to prove constantly that they deserve to get it. Of course, this is not something new; we caught the first glimpse of it when the counter-unemployment programs were launched. From public benefit schemes to vouchers 6, people worked as much as they were supposed to, only to receive eventually a little more money than an unemployment benefit. So, even today, in the Greek example, New Democracy (the ruling center-right party), seems to be returning to the subsidy policy that they used to object to when they were the opposition to SYRIZA (the governing party between 2015-2019 with an initially left-wing agenda). In much more violent terms, of course. The 800 euros benefit (for a month and a half), after all, comes to replace the salary of thousands of employees, and in effect throwing it below the amount of the basic salary.
Simultaneously, workers in the fields whose operation was considered necessary during the crisis, are emerging as heroes (in uniform), both by the state itself and by many companies 7. The transformation of those who continue to work into national heroes however, doesn’t come without a price. That is, to turn them into those who will risk more than everybody else (but still on the line of duty) so that the homeland and the capital relationship both survive. In this heroism, there is no room for protesting against increased working hours or meager wages, let alone strikes or updates on the inadequacy of the health system. After all, national heroes have always been constructed to be thrown in front of the cannons of the capital.
The state and the capital are already prepared to deal with the economic consequences and the corresponding reactions by taking measures ‘against the pandemic’. The Ministry of Labor legislated that for the next few months, businesses could reduce wages in parallel with working hours by 50% with the obligation to maintain the same number of employees 8. The government is trying to keep us reassured by announcing the suspension of layoffs for one month, but the reality of the job market shows the opposite. The Eleftherios Venizelos Airport may have taken advantage of the 50% legislation; however, it announced to 400 of its employees, by sending them an SMS, that it won’t renew their fixed-term contracts. Regardless of the name given to the redundancies in the end the outcome is the same. Thousands of people will lose their jobs in the coming months. In the food and tourist sectors, which will be quarantined for the next few months, many businesses will not manage to stay afloat, condemning workers to unemployment and an absence of income. The excuse will be again that it is difficult to make ends meet and so all of us should all back the authorities. However, we haven’t seen any salary increases or recruitment in companies where workers continue to work non-stop by running the risk of getting infected by COVID-19. Nor have we heard of a corresponding increase in salary for the employees in the supermarkets, whose turnover has increased by 80%. No room for surprises there either. Nevertheless, it is crystal clear that all of us won’t pay the same price for the crisis, that the national solidarity and unity that we are called to show disguises an even greater chance for intense exploitation.
The fatherly embrace of the state is not for everybody (and never was)
With the state gaining social legitimacy as the sole and most capable entity to guarantee public health and safety, the prevention of the virus from spreading is presented merely as a matter of social distancing. The more we limit our social contacts, remain inside and isolated following the ‘stay home’ directive, the more chances we have to contain the infection and more lives will be spared. In this context, the state aims to convince us that to be able to manage the current crisis effectively, we must respect the successive measures that are presented as inevitable in dealing with the pandemic.
We want to avoid a debate on the effectiveness of ‘social distancing’, but its promotion to the highest (marginal and unique) measure against the spread of the epidemic touches on a variety of issues. The main one – according to our viewpoint – being the increasingly intense militarization of public health. This conclusion is not merely drawn from the state rhetoric that refers to the virus as an ‘invader’ and the daily reminders that ‘we are at war’. Increasingly, provision for public health, from being a matter of living conditions, is becoming a matter of discipline. Subsequently, the new doctor is being rediscovered in the face of the police, who through strict controls, fines, and plenty of intimidation, are summoned to keep citizens at bay and isolated. At the same time, certainly, it obscures the chronic under-investment and the multiple cuts that the Greek National Health System has been enduring: in ICUs, in staff, in hospital equipment, and so on. It also hides the fact that the mortality as a direct effect of the virus itself and the mortality rate in general, are directly related to the possibility of access to a decent treatment or the refusal to it altogether.
Therefore, easily one can come to the conclusion that the solution to the dead-end of an inadequate healthcare system is to increase funding. More ICUs, more medical personnel, more equipment, less F-16s 9. What is the meaning of this? Obviously, an improved chance of dealing with the cases and therefore fewer deaths. This is not insignificant. Yet, no matter how much money out of the state budget (which surely is not unlimited) is earmarked for public health improvement in the midst of an epidemic that we are not yet aware of how detrimental it can be, the inadequacy will remain. No matter how privileged, how social-democratic the management of health becomes, it will remain basically very expensive and surely a commodity that bends under the law of supply and demand. Criticism targeting the government in relation to health management is therefore legitimate, but as long as it doesn’t go beyond that level it is doomed to become entangled in just a death count. By no means do we want to convey that we should ever give up pressing towards the improvement of health facilities and towards a more inclusive healthcare system. On the contrary, it is imperative to remember that it is not just a matter of improving statistics, but what matters most is reversing them.
In a world teeming with commodities, capitalism remains a contingent threat.
Capitalism itself is also a major aggravating factor in a patient’s health in terms of the epidemic – affecting how badly a person will suffer once contacting it. According to official announcements, there are references only to age, weak immune system, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. But there is not a word out there, on how the various diseases are produced, resulting in them being regarded as natural. We could have said a lot at this point, refer to the pressure-induced by intensifying labor, to the stress of not knowing for sure whether you will get paid at the end of the month. But we want to examine a more tangible and concrete example. Northern Italy is the most heavily polluted area in Europe (and it also occupies a high place is this department worldwide). This is because a large percentage of the neighboring country’s heavy industry is located in this area. Due to air pollution, a great percentage of people suffering from respiratory implications in Europe live there. This fact in conjunction with a virus that causes pneumonia played a cardinal role in the development of patients infected with COVID-19. Thus, the relation between air pollution and viral mortality should not be omitted from the equation.
It is obviously the capitalist mode of production itself that is to blame for creating the appropriate conditions for the virus to thrive on the one hand, and on the other, for burdening humans physically, making them more vulnerable (susceptible to viruses, one would say). At the same time, there are strong contradictions in state administration regarding the virus. More specifically, while directives and state representatives who preach them speak of a ‘quarantine’ and restricting the movement of people, while, at the same time, they leave factories and businesses, which have nothing to do whatsoever with catering for the so-called basic needs of people, to function as normal, forcing hundreds of thousands of employees to be exposed to the virus through their daily contact with others not adequately protected. People continue to work every day under difficult conditions as if nothing has changed, and some of them are forced to be in direct contact with hundreds of others. The examples of Bergamo and Brescia in Italy are indicative of the risk of transmission because the industrial production failed to cease. In both these cities, the cases and the deaths far exceeded any other place in Italy 10.
All that was said above forces us to dwell a bit longer on the concept of vulnerability. The capitalist mode of production pushes parts of the population into vulnerability by creating exclusions that are never revealed as such. In other words, there are sections of the population that are at risk, but not because they are older or because they suffer from respiratory problems. The cause is that they are deprived of the prospect to have basic standard living conditions, not to mention healthcare, which turns them into high-risk groups. Behind the creation of vulnerability, the state tends to hide these endangered people, by defining their reduced resistance to infection as an inherent attribute rather than the result of lack of healthcare and policies. In the same context, the ‘eugenic’ management of the vulnerable also remains hidden. Obviously, if there has to be a choice between those who are ill when the provision for protection is limited, the state will opt for the wellbeing of the most productive, which is usually the younger 11. Once again, we are called to support this fragmented national healthcare system so that the state steers clear from exposing itself to all its brutality.
‘Individual responsibility’ and the body as a threat
By treating this condition as natural, we are led to the conclusion that, as individuals, we are the ones who bear the overall burden of responsibility, therefore we are being careful, obedient, and self-disciplined to stop the virus from spreading rapidly. Thus, slowly began the necessity for quarantine, it proceeded to people being instructed not to gather together in public spaces and ended up with a curfew. The protection of vulnerable groups aiming to delay the transmission of the virus, in order to prolong over time the collapse of the national healthcare system, becomes our duty through social distancing, isolation, security measures and is reflected in the liberal/individualistic slogan ‘stay home’, which does nothing but emphasize our individual responsibility. Appealing to it, and over-stressing its importance, is not a surprise, as in capitalism every being is responsible for themselves and their personal well-being, usually in a competitive relationship with others. Subsequently, the demands we are called upon to address now are in concordance with how capitalist societies are formed to function, leaving a future legacy within a culture that inspires individualism, ruffianism, (self) discipline, (self) repression and tighter social control. What the eyes of the cops fail to see, the eyes of the conscientious neighbor will capture.
Additionally, the discourse on individual responsibility towards society and to those we hold dear is forced to emerge through a context related to the body and individual hygiene. Greek prime minister has already advised us to behave as ‘contagious’ people, who are aware of the threat they pose, must take care of vulnerable groups and our personal contacts, in general. The issue that rises here, after identifying the subjects of this political and national body as potential ‘health bombs’, is the redefinition of the relationship with our bodies and with social contact. In essence, this physical distance, which emerges between us, affects both our social and political relationships in the present as well as their future dynamics. Are we going to allow ourselves to be touched again, to take risks, to come (very) close, realizing that our social interaction is potentially in conflict with a wider fragmented body nursed in this condition of the pandemic?
Quarantine is not one thing, not even a viable solution for everybody
By bringing up the matter of the quarantine, we believe that it is worth shedding light on the various qualities that outline it. Being quarantined is a different individual experience. The subjectivity of it is obviously shaped by the general living conditions and social choices that one has made in their lives. Having a home is by itself a class issue, forcing individuals to experience self-isolation at home, which is a completely volatile condition depending on how many square feet your house is or whether you share it or not. Meanwhile, home isolation is by no means a secure condition for everybody. Being stopped from going to work every morning does not mean a de facto freeze of bills, rent, or any expenses for social reproduction. For some of us, home means more violence and/or restriction inside the tight embrace of family control. Home doesn’t necessarily mean warmth and coziness for everybody. In many cases, it is a cage for stress, brutality and inability to change your life. Needless to say, the very possibility to be quarantined for safety purposes, remains impossible for groups of people who are permanently excluded from the healthcare system, from welfare benefits or any other help that other citizens are entitled to. The homeless, anyway, do not have a place to return to, the drug users condition will be heavily aggravated, the Roma people are instructed, under the special care of the municipality their camp belongs, to stay locked up in their dwellings 12, the immigrants will continue to be stacked in close detention centers without access to health care and basic hygiene, inmates in psychiatric hospitals and prisons will experience a worsened condition under restraining due to the ban on visits.
And now what? Time for weighing what has happened.
Let’s not forget that above all, capital is a social relation, dialectically shaped by class struggle. Therefore, in capitalism, crises may be structurally determined, but surely whether a crisis will lead to further devaluation or new pathways for action is an open bet. Avant-garde elite won’t decide the outcome behind closed doors, nor of course, any prospective devaluation will automatically generate a future movement. It is unlikely that it will be determined by which direction people choose to move to. If we will bear the cost for this crisis is a consequence of the social competition and the struggles that will take place in the near future. This won’t take place once this condition of isolation is lifted but even now while in quarantine. After all, the best-case scenario is that restrictive measures may last for several months while the worst-case scenario is that they might be a recurring event with a much longer duration. In any case, our needs cannot wait that long.
The bet, among other things, is to find our footing on this thin line between a sterile reaction to the protective measures and a state policy that considers people’s bodies to be possible clusters of infection, the very threat of contamination. How this will play out is not for us exactly to say. We are sailing in uncharted waters. We must try to find ways to fight back in the production fields that remain active, as well as in every filed which is connected to social reproduction. Maybe to some extent, we are also restrained at home, but no way are we to remain idle about the absence of medical treatment for immigrants, but also about those who are forced to face serious health problems at home. Our mobility may have been severely curtailed, but we cannot sit still in the face of the state’s deadly policies that pack immigrants into camps during a raging pandemic. We cannot remain silent in front of overcrowded prisons and the deprivation of visiting rights. Some of us cannot stand up against our bosses, because they force us to work indefinitely, in terrible working conditions, exposed to health risks while not being entitled to any benefits. Some of us cannot stand being at home, because it has never been a safe place, and some never even had one. And certainly, none can bear the thought of getting used to living like this. So, we need to come up with ways to keep our communities together, but also to build new ones. To hinder our continuing devaluation, we have to shift the focus on increasing our indirect wages, since we can’t afford and refuse to pay the rent and the bills. We should experiment with new communication networks and channel our words at our meeting points. At the supermarket, where we wander aimlessly and when we are inside, find connections to reach out to people who are unable to cope. To shed light and establish links with current newborn struggles amidst the quarantine, from those at the student dormitories and those in prisons and hospitals to those in detention centers. To invent ways to create meeting points with all those who are already fighting against the crisis that the state tries to blame on us. To explore the terms and the ways in which we will find ourselves in public space again and how we can reclaim that presence. So, because we have current needs because restructuring is affecting us now and state policies are presently deadly, it may be too late to postpone the struggle for the day after.
1 The transmission of the virus from animals to humans is not just a matter of dietary habits, but as the Chuang collective (China) says ‘This leap from one species to another is conditioned by things like proximity and the regularity of contact, all of which construct the environment in which the disease is forced to evolve. When this interface between humans and animals changes, it also changes the conditions within which such disease evolves’. The vast industrial zones of the planet, in addition to destroying and contaminating the natural habitat, are an ideal environment for the birth, evolution, and transmission of such epidemics to humans. This happens due to the capitalist accelerated agricultural procedures and urbanization which both spread widely even deeper into the ecosystems resulting in drastically affecting them and thus bringing to surface such infections. Simultaneously, the global mobility of goods and the way our lives are organized; stacked in urban centers, and in several parts of the world in unhealthy conditions have been conducive to the spread of the virus. In particular, in the proletarian neighborhoods of these industrial centers, poor hygiene, and care, high levels of malnutrition, and overcrowding prevail. Conditions such are these are neither culturally dictated, nor a mere choice. They are the product of the exploitative process enforced on populations by capitalist production. For further reading see: ‘Social Contagion – Microbiological Class War in China’ chuangcn.org/2020/02/social-contagion/
2 Emily Martin, ‘Towards an Anthropology of Immunology: The Body as a Nation-State’, 1990
3 Immigrants from the Middle East and Africa haven’t always been a surplus workforce, so different state management regarding them is more than evident. In 2015, a large part of the migration flow was absorbed by Europe’s most developed economies, as they were a useful cheap but skilled labor force in the service of the capital. Even after the EU-Turkey agreement, the situation didn’t change much, as by tightening border controls and streamlining the asylum-seeking process is primarily aimed at filtering migrants as useful or useless. Thus, how accessible Europe is, is to some extent related to how useful a worker may be. The rest will be imprisoned in concentration camps in host countries or die at the border. Of course, the treatment of migrants is mutually dependent on other factors, such as the inability of states to manage such large migration flows people themselves tearing down barriers, the development of a solidarity movement, etc.
4 When we refer to a structural way of creating crises in capitalism we do so always considering class struggle itself as a part of it.
5 A typical example is the decades after World War II when the greatest development of capitalism and the emergence of the welfare state took shape.
6 See ‘Workfare politics: unemployment & class struggles in Greece’by Assembly for the Circulation of Struggles (S.KY.A). https://skya.espiv.net/2015/06/08/workfare-politics/
7 See the prime minister’s statements on March, 19 regarding the Easter time benefit and the heroes in green and white uniforms, as well as the ads by supermarket companies (such as Lidl).
8 One considers that the minister himself has made it clear that as long as the crisis lasts controls conducted on businesses will stop, it becomes evident that many bosses are going to implement the 50% regulation as far as the salary is concerned. We doubt whether the hours will be reduced accordingly. In any case, surely, the question of how workers will make ends meet with half their salary remains unanswered.
9 The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft that is mainly used by the Greek Air Force. Every year the evaluation of the fighting force of Greece, at the level of public discourse, is depending on the number of F-16 aircraft that were purchased.
10 In an interview about the coronavirus epidemic, the city mayor did not put it mildly: “the spread and the toxicity of the infection, the high number of deaths, it’s a real massacre in the Brescia area, and it is due to the ‘bosses of the industries’. The two provinces of Bergamo and Brescia alone, account for a quarter of all cases and almost thirty percent of deaths across the country. The explanation is simple. These two are the most industrially developed provinces in Italy, by asking people to stay indoors but leaving the factories open is zero intervention towards protection, as nothing is closed and crowds of tens of thousands are forced to stay together working in closed spaces for hours on end.”
11 We stumble on a state contradiction. At the time that the state is desperately asking the young to stay home, to preserve the safety of our ‘grandparents’, the eugenic management that is going to take place in hospitals due to shortages (which is already happening elsewhere) will lead to ‘sacrifice’ these same people so that the welfare system will be relieved. In any case, insurance funds are gone and the elderly are not as productive as others are.
12 In the same context for managing the Roma population, are the initiatives of the Halandri municipality aiming to remove families from the camp in order to disinfect it and having as an ultimate goal their ‘integration’ into the urbanscape. www.chalandri.gr/uncategorized/60344. There are two sides to this approach. As long as no measures have been taken to assimilate and integrate Roma populations into a national body (via education, relocation, etc.), their ghettoization is reproduced.