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Con­cern­ing the coro­n­avirus, and as an intro­duc­tion, I set down a few sen­tences here, in no par­tic­u­lar order, in a game of pick-up-sticks that may last for a long time.

1• The coronavirus also serves as a social revealer

We go bar­relling through open doors (and yet, they are closed dur­ing a peri­od of con­fine­ment that will become almost world-wide) by say­ing, as with each human cat­a­stro­phe: “Noth­ing will be the same as it was.”

In advance, and with­out wait­ing for the inver­sion of the curve, as a Godot of a Pres­i­dent did once in France, we can pre­dict quite the con­trary: “every­thing will stay the same as it was.” Of course, a num­ber of real­i­ties lived through dur­ing this peri­od could lead to aware­ness becom­ing vec­tors of change, or even of “rev­o­lu­tions”. But the implo­sion of cap­i­tal­ism is not sched­uled for tomor­row morn­ing and even less so with­out humans to con­tribute to its downfall.

Faced with the dom­i­nant neo-lib­er­al ide­ol­o­gy of “there is no alter­na­tive” that does­n’t only com­ment on cap­i­tal­ist devel­op­ment but orga­nizes it and sets in “in motion” today, one could point out all the con­tra­dic­tions and struc­tur­al weak­ness­es of this finan­cial and world wide cap­i­tal­ism trans­form­ing the world on a dai­ly basis. But not­ing con­tra­dic­tions and col­laps­es do not rev­o­lu­tions make.

A virus is caus­ing the crash­ing of world trade mar­kets and cre­at­ing pan­ic over short­ages in a sys­tem where preda­to­ry approach­es to resources reign while, at the same time, over­pro­duc­tion and waste are part of the sys­tem. The lack of one iPhone and the world becomes a desert. So what?

On a small scale, any human cat­a­stro­phy stu­pe­fies the affect­ed pop­u­la­tions and throws them into sur­vival mode and exile, when war is involved. The same holds true with lit­tle over­all notice for all the regions in the world expe­ri­enc­ing the full force of the first con­se­quences of cli­mate change, or who suf­fer from the pre­da­tion and destruc­tion of their life envi­ron­ments. The aware­ness of those con­cerned is then not­ed else­where, very rarely local­ly, and is lost in the over­abun­dance of dai­ly news, before even being shared.

The proxy wars in the Mid­dle East and else­where, in Africa, have more con­se­quences on the strenghen­ing of bor­ders than on world-wide aware­ness of their caus­es, their trig­gers and their con­ti­nu­ity. Yet they cause sieges, con­fine­ments, pro­ces­sions of deaths of women, men and chil­dren, exo­dus. In com­par­i­son, the coro­n­avirus is a small play­er in terms of num­bers of vic­tims. But, here again, out­side human­ist empa­thy, the link between the cap­i­tal­ist eco­nom­ic sys­tem that pre­vails and these heavy human tolls does not con­cern the rest of human­i­ty. We make beau­ti­ful geo-polit­i­cal analy­ses out of them…

Rapid­ly evolv­ing means of fast com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the net­works and the cir­cu­la­tion of data have caused an envi­ron­men­tal aware­ness in these “glob­al­ized” years, even if, in Africa, in Chi­na or in Europe the tan­gi­ble real­i­ty of this cli­mat­ic cri­sis presents large­ly vari­able devel­op­ments. The econo­log­i­cal virus spreads and ques­tions human systems…However, with­out point­ing out cap­i­tal­ism as the cul­prit too rad­i­cal­ly, as we know full well.

Of course, there is no point in look­ing, you will not find in Marx or Bakunin an out­line of the con­se­quences of a crowned virus on the good func­tion­ing of cap­i­tal­ism and its con­tra­dic­tions, through which there could occur a surge of rev­o­lu­tion­ary awareness…

Yet, at the glob­al scale, bla­tant con­tra­dic­tions are being shared in a panic…

Books, nov­els, “my day under con­fine­ment” or “me and the coro­n­avirus” will emerge from this san­i­tary cri­sis and even no doubt, film scripts.

We are at war, goddamnit!”

And this “war” against the coro­n­avirus arrives at a time when the sense of the com­mon good, of the col­lec­tive, has been sub­ject­ed to the steam roller of neolib­er­al­ism even in the far­thest reach­es of the earth. And this, under vary­ing State arrange­ments, grouped under the label of “democ­ra­cy”. TV philoso­phers and authors of fast food books, those who “don’t do pol­i­tics” will blame ego­tism, indi­vid­u­al­ism and oth­er inher­ent fail­ing in humans and reach the con­clu­sion: “under these con­di­tions, it was to be expect­ed, it’s only human” – between two ads from a strange­ly dis­tort­ed universe.

And so we greet with a sim­ple “not nice!” man­i­fes­ta­tions of uncon­scious­ness, of pan­ic, of use­less exo­dus or of com­pul­sive buy­ing. What does moral­i­ty have to do with it? Are these not pre­cise­ly man­i­fes­ta­tions of the fact that the lessons of lib­er­al­ism have been well learned, in school as in the zones of consumption?

In and of itself, the full shop­ping cart is political.

Read the fol­low­ing article

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Daniel Fleury
Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…