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Chronicles of the psycho-deflation #7

 

Ben venga maggio
e ‘l gonfalon selvaggio!
Ben venga primavera,
che vuol l’uom s’innamori:
e voi, donzelle, a schiera 
con li vostri amadori,
che di rose e di fiori,
vi fate belle il maggio
—Poliziano

 

May 11th

Ever since my mother died in May 2015, after a year of suffering and agony, death has been a dominant theme in my reflection.

In a way, I courted death, and challenged her to come visit me, possibly at night, silently.

The idea of ​​a long suffering dull old age, the idea of a ​​sudden collapse that could deprive me of  consciousness, terrified me. Frankly, I never believed that longevity is an intelligent strategy from the point of view of good life, and all the thrusts on old people who age well, exercising and so on have never convinced me. Let’s say that longevity does not suit me, the others can do what they want.

In mid-2019 I had started writing a book with a title I was very fond of. Becoming nothing. Nice title right?

I wrote a hundred pages, but many subjects remained in a draft state, and I had no particular rush. I also thought that perhaps a book called Becoming Nothing should fade slightly with its daring author, and remain unfinished on the brink of eternity.

In the past two years, then, after the damn trip to Houston, after three days in the most horrendous place I have ever been, the desire to travel was also fading away a little. Every time I went somewhere (I kept doing it until late February) it felt like I was under unnecessary stress, as public speaking had become tiring. The last public conference I held in Lisbon on February 20th, I remember it as a nightmare. I was talking in the social center in a kind of large and long garage packed with a noisy colorful crowd. If I remember correctly the vaguely jettatory theme was the ironic apocalypse, or perhaps apocalyptic irony. It doesn’t matter much, the fact is that I was playing with fire.

That day I was not feeling well: my ear ached, my head throbbed, I was breathing with difficulty, and at a certain point, while I was talking to that absorbed crowd, the piercing scream of a siren came from outside. Maybe an ambulance, maybe a police car, I don’t know. That infernal noise hissed in the large room, made me lose my balance, calm, and above all, the thread of the speech. The panic wave lasted for about ten seconds in a restless silence, then I got back to normal, and resumed my speech by joking on my state of mental confusion. I said that I was attuning to the psycho-sphere panic, and that the howling siren was part of the performance, and I ended my intervention by wishing merry uprisings as usual. Two days later, as I was returning to Italy, upon arrival at the Bologna airport a thermometer pistol was pointed at my head and I got the proof that the world was entering a new era.

In the following months everything changed, I mean, not really everything but quite much. First of all, the trip to Lisbon was the last, at least for now, and I can’t exclude that it might have been the last for good. We’ll see.

From that moment the curiosity around the future has become such a strong fascination in my mental space, that I asked the grim reaper I was impudently courting to hold on a second, first I’d like to see how it ends. I know, I know it doesn’t end anywhere—nothing ever ends. But at least, I’d like to understand how the history of the world will unfold, if I may.

I hate the embarrassment or sometimes even the shock around death, as if it was an indelicate topic. A few years ago a renowned philosopher said to me—listen, since you speak so often about death, why don’t you commit suicide? Then he added that according to Spinoza life is the only subject the philosopher can deal with. Thus I convinced myself that the highly respected philosopher is just a presumptuous one. A philosopher who does not deal with death, may Spinoza forgive me, is more a chocolatier than a philosopher.

In the United States, the number of deaths officially reached eighty thousand, which means that the amount must be at least double. Anyhow, this does not bother the president too much, who sent mischievous and combative messages until a few days ago, and now has stopped with press conferences and medical advices. He seems a bit concerned. The semester ahead the elections might not be that easy for him. Unfortunately, three people who work in the White House were tested positive to coronavirus: Pence’s spokeswoman, a butler and a consultant who attends the highly secured West Wing of the presidential building. It could not be worse for our mammasantissima: if even in the most protected place on earth, three people have caught the virus, it becomes hard to keep on asking people to get back to work.

The unemployed are now around twenty-five million and are expected to become thirty-five within next month. Since those who have no money can’t be cured, the poor African Americans and Latins die by the thousands every single day.

A glimpse of hope—what if, one of these days Trump dies like a dog between a tweet and another? Maybe he wouldn’t mind leaving now. He could show up to St. Peter’s and tell him—hi, I’m the President of the United States, let me in—but I think St. Peter would tell him to go fuck himself. At least the douchebag could avoid making a fool of himself for being defeated by the lame horse that is Joe Biden, while forty million unemployed people rumble out there.

While thinking of the President of the United States, Manzoni’s work came to mind, I don’t know how, but I’ll let you imagine. Last night I thought of that scene in which Don Roderick wakes up at night discovering that he has “a hideous tumour of a livid purple.” You might remember it: “Don Roderick saw that he was lost. The fear of death took possession of him, and with it came the apprehension, stronger perhaps than the dread of death itself, of becoming the prey of the monatti, and of being thrown into the lazaretto.”

So what is the terrified leader of the wicked, Lucia’s kidnapper doing? Calling the vice president? More or less: “Seizing the bell, he shook it violently. Griso, who was on the watch, appeared immediately; stopping at a distance from the bed, he looked attentively at his master, and became certain of that which he had only conjectured the night before. ‘Griso,’ said Don Roderick, with difficulty raising himself in his bed, ‘you have always been my favourite.’— ‘Yes, my lord.’— ‘I have always done well by you.’ — ‘The consequence of your goodness.’ — ‘I can trust you, I think. I am ill, Griso.’ — ‘I perceived that you were.’ — ‘If I am cured, I will do still more for you than I have ever yet done.’ Griso made no answer, waiting to see to what this preamble would lead. ‘I would not trust anyone but you, resumed Don Roderick; do me a favour.’ — ‘Command me.’ — ‘Do you know where the surgeon Chiodo lives?’ — ‘I do.’” that’s how Anthony Fauci must have been called back then…

Don Roderick begs Griso to go look for the surgeon and come back with him, but predictably Griso betrays him, as my twenty-five readers might certainly remember.

Instead of going to Fauci, he goes to the monatti, warns them that his master got the coronavirus, takes them to the house of the poor Don Roderick who, realizing the betrayal, gets really upset.

“The monatti deposited him on a hand-barrow which had been left in the outer room; one of them returned for the booty, then raising their miserable burden, they carried him off.” 

 

May 12th 

At the beginning of May my book, the one I love most, was finally scheduled for release. Just for the fact that I have worked on it for more than twenty years and is never ending, so much so that it is titled “E” (in Italian “and”), as for eroticism, aesthetics, epidermis, extinction, and so on.

It’s called E because it starts by quoting Rhizome where our two buddies say (remember?) that the history of Western philosophy is made up of disjunctions such as either… or… and I say that instead now we have to make a philosophy of conjunctions with both… and… as well as…

Right.

I talked to the publisher (same website you’re reading now 👋) and we decided to postpone it since it is a timeless book, and to replace it with another booklet that will be called Phenomenology of the End. Communism or Extinction.

Otherwise maybe Phenomenology of the End. But what are we talking about?Or who knows…

 

May 13th 

I have no illusions that the pandemic collapse will have immediate socially positive effects. On the contrary, as Arundathi Roy writes: “In very much the same way as the coronavirus has entered human bodies and amplified existing illnesses, it has entered countries and societies and amplified their structural infirmities and illnesses. It has amplified injustice, sectarianism, racism, casteism and above all class inequality.” According to Arundathi the virus has stopped the machine, and now it is a matter of stopping the engine, to make any profit-oriented economy definitively inoperative, at all costs.

The accumulation cycle will not resume, because the joints are unhinged: the sanitary one, the psychic one, the productive one, the distributive one… everything got screwed up.

During the past decades, the precariousness of work has made society fragile and weakened its resistance. Covid19 was the final blow. Society was disrupted by compulsory confinement and fear, and it is not possible to resist with action at the moment. As paradoxical as this may sound, it is precisely this passivity that will defeat capitalism to death by asphyxiation. The most subversive form of passivity is insolvency, which consists in blowing everything up by doing nothing, and more precisely by simply refusing to pay, for the simple reason that we can’t afford it.

Insolvency does not need to be propagated, preached, nor acclaimed. It will happen by itself as a natural consequence of the economic collapse. Insolvency is nobody’s fault, but a universal necessity. Society will have to start experimenting with local and autonomous forms of production and distribution aimed at survival and pleasure.

In August last year, I got a call by Marco Bertoni. He’s a musician I had perhaps known in the eighties, when he was part of the Confusional Quartet, which  had a particular influence on the Bolognese music scene of those years. In those years the punk-no wave wind had arrived in Bologna and mingled with the last gust of the 1977 insurrectional storm. The music scene was rich and passionate: the spectacular Skiantos, the radical-punk Gaz Nevada, the experimental Stupid Set, among others.

The Confusional were the most cultured, refined, more towards contemporary music than pop, more cold jazz than hot punk-rock. Forty years later, in August 2019, Marco phoned me to tell me that he had wanted to make a new work he knew only the title of. For some reason, he wanted to do that with me. The title electrocuted me, because it electrically synthesized many of the lines passing through this time, such as the great migration, the great rejection, the abstract techno-financial violence and the concrete violence of the returning Nazism.

When he told me the title he had in mind we immediately agreed: Wrong Ninna Nanna (Wrong Lullaby).

I imagined a young Honduran mother who reached the border between Tijuana and San Diego, where she found armed guards, so she no longer knows where to go nor what to do and she is there, sitting on the ground, cradling her baby. But it could also be a young Nigerian or Tunisian woman in a rubber boat heading toward the Sicilian coast.

Marco and I have tried to imagine how a mother must feel, after having given birth to a sensitive vulnerable being, without perhaps reflecting enough on the world the newcomer is destined to inhabit.

Is there any reason for reproduction?

In the film Capernaum, the Lebanese director Nadine Labakis tells the story of a 12-year-old Syrian boy in a hellish refugee camp in Beirut, who denounces his parents to the judiciary for having brought him into the world. For me, Labakis’ film was the main inspiration for the texts I wrote for Wrong Ninna Nanna. They are crumpled poems in the anguish of an era without hope. 

We started working on it in September, then the fall of the convulsion came, the gigantic and angry riots from Hong Kong to Santiago, from Beirut to Paris, and Barcelona.

Marco began composing with all the musical instruments gifted to him by mother nature: leaves, wind, crows, sparrows, flowing water, along his furiously ringing piano and also a choir of mysterious angelic voices.

Then we asked a performer friend, whom I remember meeting in New York when I used to as a work as a music journalist and she sang in the punk clubs of the Lower East Side, whom Marco had followed throughout his artistic career. Her name is Lydia Lunch, one of the greatest performers of our time. She said yes, recorded some tracks in her studio, then sent us the recordings, so the long editing endeavour could start. Then I wrote to Bobby Gillespie, the magnificent skinny frontman of the Primal Scream, you certainly all know—Would you like to put your acting/singing/whatever else voice on these words and these sounds? He said yes.

Then came the coronavirus, the pandemic, the lockdown, and at that point the curse seemed perfectly fulfilled, as we created an introductory track called Earth and World, a song for a non-human abstract voice.

A record company has made us an interesting proposal. Sure, but when? When will the production of records, books, films be resumed? Well, sooner or later… In the meantime however, while we wait for the vinyl to come out, we would like to promote this work online, as the apocalypse’s soundtrack.

We talked to our friends Cuoghi&Corsello, Bolognese artists I have known since some of their tags filled the Bologna suburbs walls in the 80s, and we proposed them to collaborate in the video production.

We met just the day before the lockdown started, and in the creative solitude of these two months C&C have made some videos for some of the songs. With the help of his son, Marco Bertoni made some others. So, stay tuned.

 

May 14th 

Armed militant demonstrators help reopen businesses in Texas. According to the newspaper La Folha de Sao Paulo, Bolsonarist militias will not accept defeat and are arming themselves.

A global civil war glooms on the horizon.

According to Lorenzo Marsili we shouldn’t expect much from the end of the world. “Forget the country’s dreams of deceleration. Just reflect on this paradox: the swirling acceleration of the world and the time around us occurs through a crisis that forces us to slow down. There seems to be a strange mechanism whereby the more we stop the more reality is transformed by our being at home. Far from slowing down the world, Covid-19 has greatly accelerated personal, political and economic transformation processes already underway.

A fray rather than a collapse.

Not even Covid-19 will blow up the world. But it can certainly lead to its further degeneration: craft shops will be able to close more and more rapidly for the benefit of organized large-scale distribution; there may be a tightening of austerity measures to expiate the guilt of the necessary indebtedness; the tendency of the richest to prepare escape routes can be strengthened, accelerating the process of detachment of the elites from their national community. The point is that the crisis is no longer an interruption of normalcy. Normality is a crisis. The crisis is no longer a decisive moment, no longer a watershed, no longer a heroic moment. Therefore it is no longer a useful concept. If we were to make a list of the things we missed most in this quarantine—a useful exercise, if only to realize how little importance a certain consumerism played in our lives—human relationships would certainly be at the top. We miss our friends. But all of them? Here is a simple example of what it means to overcome the binary choice between growth and decrease. Fewer friends, more friendship.”

 

May 15th

Quoting a comment on Giap, the Wu Ming write, sitting on the river bank: “It is a sort of uncertainty principle in the Heisenbergian sense, between the virus and the emergency. You cannot look and keep your gaze steady on both, but either underestimate one or the other. Anyway you’d underestimate, in the eyes of the other. That is: for those who see the virus well (or believe they see it well) the emergency is only a contingency that will pass when the virus passes; for those who see the emergency well (or believe they see it well), the virus, however serious and dangerous, will be less and less lethal than the consequences that emergency policies are causing. Every discussion has this instability within it and it can only be good to bring it up again and again.”

As it happens often after reading Wu Ming, I realize I have learned something. Now, I stop for a moment and meditate on it.

Here on the terrace there is a celestial light fading slowly, wistfully. We manage to do half an hour of yoga and a very long mantra before the sun goes completely down.

Seven comrades of the “Il Tribolo” anarchist circle were arrested in Bologna, on the abnormal charge of association for the purpose of terrorism or subversion of the democratic order.

These are comrades who have distinguished themselves in solidarity and support for detainees, fully internal to the transversal anticarcerary movement that has started to express itself again in recent months, in the garrisons under the Dozza prison, along with various initiatives in town.

The whole operation against them takes on exceptional characteristics: from stalking with drones (because, as the hunt for joggers is coming to an end, better to invest them for something better), to house raids by police squads in riot gear, with helmets and shields. They were immediately transferred to the high security sections in Piacenza, Alessandria, Ferrara, Vigevano. Why?

The only specific alleged offense is the damage caused to a repeater room, whose attribution is obviously to be demonstrated, but which sadly recalls other fabrications used in Val Susa.

The press release of the public prosecutor’s office is a political document: it affirms the preventive nature of the intervention “aimed at avoiding any further social tension, arising from the described particular emergency situation, any other occasion for a more general ‘antistate campaign to take place’ in line with the directive issued by the minister Lamorgese to the prefects to prevent any ‘manifestation or outbreak of extremist expression.’”

In this climate of fear and isolation favored by the lockdown, we must expect a new wave of preventive repression.

 

May 16th

I personally dislike Guido Viale, since he published in July 1970, in the newspaper Lotta Continua, a long slashing of my first book called Contro il lavoro (against work). I’ve never forgiven him, but I admit that lately he’s always writing some relevant things. Today, he published an article in which he talks about “enhanced” normality.

“…enhanced to make up for a lost time. Not that of Proust, but that of GDP: more production, more exploitation, more precariousness—that is to say a lack of perspectives and future—for everyone, more debt, more inequalities between the rich and the poor, more marginalization for those who are left behind, more rejections towards those we do not want to see among us (just to be able to exploit them better), more indifference towards ‘disposable lives.’ For a long time, ‘equal dignity’ and adequate remuneration have been demanded for reproduction or care workers—whose essential yet long concealed role in the functioning of society has been brought to light by feminist movements—in order to be recognized inasmuch as productive labour. In other words, it was a matter of pushing the struggle towards the absorption of care labour into the sphere of productive labour. Today, however, it is clear that the movement that ought to be promoted is exactly the opposite: it is necessary to fight to transform all productive labour into a work of care towards the Earth and the living, in favor of human coexistence and the reproduction of life. It is the care that must attract, welcome and transfer within its sphere of meaning and revaluation the so-called ‘productive’ labour, and within this transformation, assure a rebalance between genres and roles, that was never known or achieved by the ‘development of the productive forces’: quite a reversal of fields. In this perspective the demand for unconditional income can lose its remunerative character—‘pay me in exchange for something’—to assume the connotations of a consubstantial claim to a shared belonging to the very same human race.”

 

May 17th

After meditating on Wu Ming’s words, I’ll now touch a sensitive button, and I hope nobody will misunderstand.

I am certainly not a fanatic of productivity, nor am I idolizing freedom as an abstract value. I’m an anarchist, but I don’t think it’s fair to fuck others up in the name of your own freedom. Actually, I really believe that the myth of freedom (for some) has often been used to impose slavery on the majority.

When in March I heard about the enforcing of home confinement, when I saw the commercials with the celebrities inviting us to do like them and stay home—as if we all had a swimming pool, a terrace and a butler—I immediately thought something was wrong in there. And even worse was the opposite call to resume working on the assembly line, at all costs. Indeed, Confindustria is way worse than Fiorello.

Some other stories: in order to prevent the virus from spreading and killing millions of people, the right thing to do was to stop everything. But now, two months later, we have to go and see the data related to the virus lethality to discover that they are very low, more or less like those of a normal seasonal flu.

If we take the official data for good (and we shouldn’t, but for now we have only that), we see that the virus has globally killed only 0.17% of the infected. By disaggregating the data we see that where there are incompetent scoundrels in the government the percentage of deaths is higher: 0.50 in the USA and 0.80 in Lombardy. Elsewhere it drops to 0.1.

The figure relating to the average age of the dead is also interesting. 80 years old in Austria, 80 in Great Britain, 84 in France, 81 in Italy, 84 in Switzerland, and 80 in the United States. Since I’m seventy years old, I don’t think it’s fair to let the old people die without caring too much. But to cut short… perhaps we have to recognize that the dangerousness of the virus has been somewhat overstated. In these cases it is better to overestimate than underestimate, there is no doubt. What needs to be explained is why the most agonizing information storm of all time has broken out.

I repeat, I am a strong fan of the lockdown and I hate the “libertarians” who want to make people work with contempt for danger. Nonetheless, without any polemical intent towards preventive measures, I ask myself, why?

My answer is complex, yet simple.

In the spring of 2020, we witnessed a global panic crisis the cause of which was only occasionally linked to the pandemic, and more deeply depended on the psychic stress of a society forced to work in competitive miserable precarious conditions, as well as the physical stress of an organism weakened both by air and language pollution.

If no confinement measures had been imposed, the virus would have hit harder, so long live the lockdown!

What needs to be contained and eradicated is not only the virus that triggers reactions in some extremely painful and sometimes lethal cases. What needs to be eradicated is also the environment’s systematic pollution, the stress of economic competition and electronic hyper-stimulation. This will not be achieved by doctors, nor by a vaccine. The only way to go is the class struggle. Warren Buffett was right when he said the class struggle is not over, simply it was won by the jackals. This was yesterday, and now it’s already tomorrow. The class struggle resumes, and this time the jackals are confused at least as much as we are.

 

May 18th 

An article by a liberal, moderately progressive, highly educated journalist—maybe my favorite American journalist—Roger Cohen, was published in the New York Times. The title The Masked versus the Unmasked promises to be rather mysterious, but the text is very clear, from the very first lines: “…a neighbor in Colorado would tell me it was time for liberals to ‘gun up.’ The other side was armed, he argued, and would stop at nothing. What would we tell our grandchildren when Ivanka Trump took office as the 46th president of the United States in 2025 and term limits were abolished? That we tried words, all manner of them, he scoffed, but they had the rifles.”

Obviously, Cohen immediately adds that he disagrees with his neighbor and that American democracy has nothing to do with Hungarian democracy.

Still I’m interested in the substance, more than in the good intentions of the enlightened liberal Cohen. I’d like to know whether the future of America is a civil war, or a psychopathic victory for the supremacists. Because what is coming up in America is also coming up in Brazil, and in many other countries in the world, and a civil war seems to be the most realistic prospect. Do we have to arm ourselves too? I don’t think so, if it ends up in shootings, no doubt we’ll lose. Yet we should know what awaits us, and quit with rhetorical bullshit about democracy, because that is already dead and buried, so we ought to invent a resistance against the storm that is coming.

I must make an embarrassing confession: in recent times I have changed, my personality is distorted, in short I don’t recognize myself anymore. Not as a result of the pandemic or the lockdown, mind you, that would be forgivable. No, it happened because of Netflix.

Let me explain. For about fifteen years Billi and I have agreed on one thing: enough with television. For years every evening we had ruined our dinner with those ass faces and the shit avalanches that came out of it. Enough was enough.

The television screen was first submerged by climbing plants, cactuses and rhododendrons, then ended up in the garbage dump. For fifteen years I have never seen a TV again, except for a few seconds in some infamous bars.

I thus became a social geek. In the discussions with acquaintances half of the references eluded me, very well-known characters were completely unknown to me. All the better for me if I didn’t know who Massimo Giletti was.

Then came the lockdown and do you know what I did? I didn’t go to buy another TV, let’s not go that far—but I signed up for Netflix. I paid my 9€ and had a list of stuff to see I didn’t even know existed. More or less by chance we chose to see something called Casa de Papel, we thought for a while that it was the translation of that House of cards we had heard so much about. But no, it has nothing to do with it. It is a Spanish production that tells of a giant robbery at the national mint. Not really a robbery, more like a squatting of the building where the money gets printed: the aim is to print about 2.4 billion euros with the hostages’ help. Among the hostages is the daughter of the British ambassador in Spain, and the robbery heroes each have the name of a city: Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin, Nairobi, Rio, Denver, Helsinki and Oslo.

Well, I’m not going to tell you everything now, but I will tell you one thing. Casa de Papel is beautiful, overwhelming, better than Dostojevski, better than Stendhal, better than the whole history of universal literature. Of course, some things may seem far-fetched such as the liberation of Tokyo by four bearded Serbs. But when you read the Odyssey how can you believe that Ulysses swam across the Mediterranean? You do just because Homer said it.

I confess that I have always had a penchant for robberies, ever since in the San Giovanni in Monte prison, where I was detained for petty political crimes I met Horst Fantazzini, who had robbed a dozen Emilian banks without even holding a firearm ever. Yes, he went to the counters simply saying (with the exercise of what linguists call “performative linguistic act”): this is a robbery. The cashiers gave him everything they had in hand and he went away smiling joyfully. Once in Piacenza a cashier told him to leave—or I call the police—and Horst (who was a refined gentleman, spoke excellent French, and in prison used to wear an amaranth velvet chamber jacket) replied—sorry, I’ll come back another time. Unfortunately, I am a cagasotto (coward) and I have never dared to rob anyone, I have limited myself to conceiving improbable insurrections against the state, and I currently live with a modest teacher pension which will probably disappear in the coming years along with the Italian state and the rest.

But in short, up to ten days ago I was well informed, I read the Financial Times, The New York Times, Le Monde, Il Manifesto, L’avvenire, El pais, plus three-four weeklies and large books on history and philosophy every day. Now I know almost nothing any longer, I am thinking of nothing but Casa de Papel, the friendly professor, the beautiful Tokyo and the enigmatic disturbing Berlin.

My hatred for banks and for money and for those who accumulate it is expressed as such at the moment, but I still hope that in the coming months as capitalism continues to collapse like a rotten castle, expropriation will become more popular.

Maybe this personality shift is also due to the fact that drugs are over. I have read that supply routes have run out, more or less, and in any case I haven’t seen the boys I used to buy from since we got apart because of the cursed virus. Abstinence does not hurt me, don’t worry. In fact, without my usual three daily spliffs, my brain gets excessively excited, and I conceive thoughts I shouldn’t be talking so enthusiastically about. I say this to you, my dear friends, but please not a word. Nobody should ever know.

However, this 7th seal is the last of my long chronicles of this psycho-deflation.

I leave you, I do not know what I will do now, but as you know a nice game does not last for long and this has been going on for three months already.

Today, by law we finally return to normal life—sort of.

As Andrea Grop suggested in a message I immediately shared, the watchword is: “to restart.” 

Ripartire in Italian means both “to restart” and “to share”. So we want to start over too, of course! We want to restart by sharing the wealth that has been privatized, we want to share the vacant buildings owned by financial institutions, we want to share the money accumulated through the exploitation of work. 

The watchwords are: distribution, expropriation, socialization of the means of production, guaranteed income for all without distinction of sex, religious belief and geographical origin.

You will see that in a year, almost everyone will understand that if the expropriators are not expropriated, the majority of people like me and like you will end up in dim misery and die badly. It is better to die well, than to dying badly.

Someone wondered whether we would get better or worse once we get out of confinement. It depends on what it means—fear, distancing, economic blackmail won’t certainly make us more supportive, at least for a while. The bosses will use unemployment to blackmail, as FIAT owners already blackmail the state, asking for billions of euros for their filthy company, which after exploiting the workers and sucking for decades the contributions from the Italian state, now (does not) pays taxes in the Netherlands while firing workers in Turin and Pomigliano.

It will happen, and we will have to endure. We will suffer quite a lot in the coming months, we will suffer from the racist violence against migrants, we will suffer from the arrogance of the bosses and that of the fascists. But we will not suffer forever because power will not consolidate, the economic machine will not restart, as it is irreversibly undermined.

Everything will be unstable, like a group of drunks on a boat in the middle of the stormy sea. We must prepare for a long period of instability and resistance, and we must do that immediately. Resistance will mean the creation of safe spaces for survival, for the production of the indispensable, for affection, solidarity, and self-defense.

There are at least eighty-five out of a hundred odds, or perhaps ninety, and I even believe that ninety-one that social life will worsen, as social defenses crumble, that forms of techno-totalitarian control will jam in the sick body of society, that warmongering nationalism will prevail. It is very very probable. Maybe inevitable.

If on New Year’s Eve I had met you on the street and told you that in three months there would have been thirty million unemployed in America, that the price of oil would have dropped to zero dollars a barrel, that air transportation would have stopped all over the world, that 9/11 was a joke in comparison, you would have sent me straight to a neurological clinic.

Still, here we are. Do you know why? Well, I already told you, who knows how many times—because the inevitable usually does not happen, it is rather the unpredictable that always prevails.

 

Franco “Bifo” Berardi is a writer, philosopher and cultural agitator. His book Futurability was published in Italian by NERO in 2018.