Chile. March 19, 2020. What follows is an email by Evade Chile, introducing their final communiqué and an article by Raoul Vaneigem: coronavirus.
After 5 months of progress and resistance, our community of struggle faces a new challenge today. The arrival of the global pandemic to Chilean territory announces the closing of one stage and the beginning of another for the ongoing insurrection.
The world crisis is worsening, and along with it the possibilities of getting rid once and for all of the burdens that have dragged us into this abyss. We know that the solidarity found in the heat of the insurrection will bear fruit again.
We will dissolve again into the insurrected mass from which we sprang and we will sprout again.
Until then: Love and struggle!
Evade Chile 2020
The pandemic will not stop the revolt: it will be the revolt that will end the pandemic that the states of the world are administering.
This pandemic has several names: patriarchy, capitalism, money, wage labor, including power, political economy, enlightenment, religion, emotional plague, stupidity, etc. It is the disease that divides and separates humanity into classes, races, nations, layers, privileged and unfortunate, noble rich and poor devils, left and right, etc.
States, which had gone out of fashion in recent decades, are now making a triumphant reappearance.Only their political and military structures can guarantee that the losses will not be total for the officials of capital. But this time the bubble burst in their faces.
From one moment to the next, as if by magic, the governments of the first world nationalize companies, suspend payment of basic service bills, ensure a minimum universal income for the proletarians, and are freed from the need to send their children to school or work, etc. In the third world it is the big bosses of the banks who go out to cancel debts, while some unions arrange a 50% reduction of their members’ salaries and the managers sacrifice 25% of theirs. All this is to overcome this crisis.
The measures seem to coincide with the level of media and political terrorism that presents this as the worst catastrophe of the last centuries despite the fact that the world has seen much worse situations, such as the death of 50 million people from “Spanish flu” after the First World War or the 20 million Yemenis currently dying from starvation. Is the West afraid of losing its hegemony?
The unit they call, as always, is a fake. It works only while they manage the “social isolation” that brings so many costs but at the same time is so convenient for them in the face of a population that is fundamentally defenseless after centuries of precarization and impoverishment.
Given that we are forced to come together to produce commodities, even though we are called upon by decree to isolate ourselves, politicians are trying to ensure that now, and once and for all, the definitive mediation of abstraction by the Internet is established: teleworking, tele-education, tele-assistance. The capitalist pandemic, today disguised as a “health crisis”, opens up the possibility of running the gauntlet of domination of everyday life, making it even tighter and restricting it to the digital field.
But this world crisis did not bring the people who inhabit the territory occupied by the Chilean state to their knees or unprepared. It caught them on their feet: we know perfectly well that this crisis is not the product of a new type of flu ( To avoid misunderstandings: The Corona virus is not a type of Flu, Enough 14), but rather that the new type of flu is the result of their death-producing industries.
Experts are rushing to judgment and blame the spread of the virus on globalization, on public hospitals without a budget, on a “trail of savagery” of the Chinese who eat “rare things” and traffic in exotic species, on the increase in population that supposedly demands the destruction of global ecosystems, which in turn pushes animals, vectors of viruses that can kill us, closer to humans, etc. The neurotic is blind to the obvious.
The material conditions generated by industrial production, which make everyone vulnerable to catastrophe, are at the root of this crisis. In these latitudes, they exploit glaciers and desertify entire regions; they sell water and transform housing into an existential problem; they annihilate all life on the seabed and manage health like a cartel; they make education to a bad joke; they plunder the entire territory and blow out eyes, kill or imprison anyone who wants to rebel against this misery. The whole territory is a “sacrifice zone,” including its supposedly privileged sectors who live in a state of money-grabbing.
The plot thickens even more. Power must prevent the pandemic from blowing up its infrastructure and, at the same time, it must use the time out to put on its show of normality again. But this time there is no guarantee that it will be able to do so: the global situation prevents any certainty regarding the state of health of the dying beast. We are witnessing one of its last shocks, and with it our whole life is changing faster than ever. It seems that all it takes is a big laugh to bring it down.
Thus, while the world’s stock markets are collapsing and big business is rushing to plunder the State to keep its money flowing, paralyzed by the reduction of buying and selling actions, this crisis has done something that the entire political lobby could never have achieved: the dramatic reduction, here and now, of greenhouse gas emissions. In China alone, the slowdown in economic activity in recent months led to a reduction equivalent to 6% of global emissions. The morally confused experts say: “it seems that this long-term health crisis will manage to save more lives than it is taking”.
They want to make us swallow the emergency pill – which for us is the norm -, they try to separate us, inject us with the fear of the individualist who preferred to drown his sorrows in offers. It will be the networks of mutual support that will be able to respond to this crisis in a way that will eradicate forever the power and legitimacy of the political and economic administrators of the market, ending the mode of social reproduction that makes them necessary.
Now that the rubble of economics and politics is growing up to the sky in front of our eyes, now that the decor of everyday life has fallen down and we are forcibly landing in our existence to contemplate, no longer able to be distracted, the state that has been thrown the inertia of money to us, a unique opportunity is presented to us: either we allow ourselves to be crushed by the rubbish of a ruined civilisation or we allow ourselves to be carried away by the life that freely and profusely springs up where the existential conditions of impoverishment borne in silence are denaturalized in acts.
The struggle for liberation draws its power not from the vision of the future, but from the vision of the past. And that past in front of us stinks. Its pestilence desensitized our senses for a long time. Wouldn’t it be absurd to expect the zombies who threw us into this state of corruption to throw us a lifeline?
Everything is to be done. We can build on the back of the ruins a life guided by the immediate satisfaction of human needs and, in doing so, recreate our environments sacrificed to the blind accumulation of abstract wealth.
The awakening of October has been the struggle of a people revived every day to get out of this trance, out of the nightmare of what is happening and has happened:
We’re not going back to normality, because normality was the problem.
Evade Chile, March 19, 2020.
Challenging the danger posed by the coronavirus is surely absurd. But, on the other hand, isn’t it just as absurd that a disturbance in the habitual course of illnesses has become the object of such intense emotional exploitation and mobilizes the same arrogant incompetence that years ago kicked the cloud from Chernobyl out of France? Certainly, we know the facility with which the specter of the apocalypse comes out of it box to seize upon the latest catastrophe, patch together the imagery of a universal deluge and plunge the plowshare of guilt into the sterile soil of Sodom and Gomorrah.
The divine curse served to help power. At least it did until the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, when the Marquis de Pombal, a friend of Voltaire, took advantage of the event to massacre the Jesuits, reconstruct the city according to his conceptions and gleefully liquidate his political rivals through “proto-Stalinist” show trials. Odious though he was, Pombal shouldn’t be insulted by comparing his dictatorial feat  with the impoverished measures that democratic totalitarianism is applying globally to the coronavirus epidemic.
It is cynical to impute the deplorable insufficiency of the medical means being used to the propagation of the scourge!  For decades the public welfare has been compromised, the hospital sector has paid the costs of a policy that favors financial interests at the expense of the health of the citizens. There is always more money for the banks and fewer and fewer beds and caregivers for the hospitals. What acts of buffoonery can continue to hide the fact that the catastrophic management of catastrophe is inherent in globally dominant financial capitalism, which today is combated globally in the names of life, the planet and the species to be saved?
Without falling into any rehashing of divine punishment (the idea that nature is ridding herself of humanity as if it were an unwelcome and harmful pest), it isn’t useless to recall that for millennia the exploitation of human and terrestrial nature has imposed the dogma of antiphysis,  of anti-nature. Eric Postaire’s book, Les épidémie du XXIe siècle, published in 1997,  confirms the disastrous effects of persistent denaturation, which is something that I’ve denounced for decades. Evoking the drama of the “mad cow”  (foreseen by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s),  Postaire recalls that scientific progress, in addition to disarming us against certain illnesses, can also cause decades of them. In his plea for a responsible approach to epidemics and their treatment, he incriminates what Claude Gudin calls “cash register philosophy” in his preface to the book. He asks, “doesn’t subordinating the health of the population to the laws of profit, to the point of transforming herbivore animals into carnivores, risk causing catastrophes that will be fatal to Nature and Humanity?” We know well that the rulers have already responded with a unanimous YES. But what importance does this have when the NO of the financial interests continues to triumph cynically?
Was the coronavirus really necessary to demonstrate to the most narrow-minded among us that denaturation in the service of profitability has disastrous consequences for universal health, which is managed without distress by a World Organization whose precious statistics compensate for the disappearance of public hospitals? There’s an obvious correlation between the coronavirus and the collapse of global capitalism. It is no less evident that what the coronavirus epidemic covers over and submerges is emotional plague, hysterical fear, panic that both hides the deficiencies of the treatment and perpetuates the evil by frightening the patient. During the great epidemics of the past, the population did penitence and proclaimed their guilt by flagellating themselves.  Don’t the managers of global dehumanization have an interest in persuading the people that there is no escape from the miserable lot that is made for them? That all they have is the flagellation of voluntary servitude? The formidable media machine can only rehash the old lie of the heavenly decree, impenetrable, unavoidable, in which crazy money has supplanted the bloody and capricious Gods of the past.
The unleashing of police barbarism upon peaceful demonstrators has amply shown that military law is the only thing that functions efficiently. Today it quarantines women, men and children. Outside: the coffin. Inside: the television, an open window on a closed world! This is a practice that is liable to aggravate existential anxiety because it gambles on the emotions that have been flayed by anguish and exacerbates the blindness of impotent anger.
But even the lie gives way to general collapse. Governmental and populist cretinization has reached its limits. It cannot deny that an experiment in is progress. Civil disobedience grows and dreams of societies that are radically new because they are radically human. Solidarity frees from their individualist sheepskins those individuals who no longer fear thinking for themselves.
The coronavirus has revealed the bankruptcy of the State. Well, there’s a subject for reflection (at least) by the victims of enforced confinement. At the time of the publication of my Modestes propositions aux grévistes,  friends once again showed me the difficulty of following my suggestion for the collective refusal to pay duties, taxes and levies. But then the recognized bankruptcy of the swindler-State attested to an economic and social deterioration that renders absolutely insolvent small- and middle-sized companies, local commerce, those with modest incomes, family-owned farms and even the so-called liberal professions. The collapse of Leviathan has succeeded in convincing people more rapidly than our resolutions to bring it down.
The coronavirus has done even better than that. The cessation of production-caused pollutants has lessened global pollution; millions of people have been spared a programmed death; nature is able to breathe; the dolphins have returned to frolicking in Sardinia; the canals in Venice, purified of mass tourism, now once again contain clear water; the stock market is collapsing. Spain is resolved to nationalize private hospitals, as if it has rediscovered social security, as if the [Spanish] State has recalled the welfare state that it destroyed.
Nothing is assured, everything begins.  Utopia still crawls on all fours. Let’s abandon to their heavenly inanity the billions of banknotes  and hollow ideas that spin round above our heads. The important thing is to “take care of our affairs ourselves” by letting the wheeler-dealer financial bubble burst and implode. Let us not lack boldness and confidence in ourselves!
Our present isn’t the confinement that survival imposes on us; it is the opening to all possibilities. It is due to panic that the oligarchic State is forced to adopt measures that even yesterday it decreed were impossible. It is to the call of life and the earth to be restored that we want to respond. Quarantine is good for reflection. Confinement doesn’t abolish the presence of the street; it reinvents it. Cum grano salis,  let me think that the insurrection of everyday life has unexpected therapeutic virtues.
 Dated 17 March 2020. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! 20 March 2020. All footnotes by the translator. A few corrections made on 21 March 2020 (thanks D.A.).
 On 26 April 1986, one of the reactors at Chernobyl in the Ukraine exploded and caused a radioactive cloud to spread all over Europe. Some TV weather forecasters in France suggested that the cloud would stop at the German border and “miraculously” spare France.
 The French here, coup d’éclat, might be a pun on coup d’etat (seizure of the State). See for example François Hollande’s criticism of Nicolas Sarkozy circa 2007: https://www.nouvelobs.com/politique/20070723.OBS7855/le-coup-d-eclat-permanent-desarkozy-denonce-par-hollande.html.
 The French here, fléau, also means curse and plague.
 In the works of Rabelais, Physis is joyful and unashamed and Antiphysis is hateful and destructive.
 Not yet translated into English.
 Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a neurodegenerative disease that affects cattle. Caused by the consumption of meat-and-bone meal, “mad cow disease” broke into public consciousness in 1990s.
 Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) was an Austrian philosopher and social reformer. Vaneigem is alluding to Steiner’s conception of biodynamic agriculture.
 Cf. Raoul Vaneigem, “The Flagellants,” Resistance to Christianity (1993): http://www.notbored.org/resistance-34.html.
 Published by Vericales in 2004, not yet translated into English.
 An echo of Rien n’est fini, tout commence, a collection of interviews with Vaneigem published in French in 2014 and translated into English by NOT BORED! as Self-Portraits and Caricatures of the Situationist International (2015).
 English in original. 13 “With a grain of salt” (Latin in original)
taken from here