Crisis and Control

Crisis and Control

From Inhabit

COVID-19 is the culmination of a decade of contagion movies, the beginning of the worst. Every little anxiety baked into the liberal order is now being expressed with PSAs reminding us we are all vectors responsible for the spread of the economy’s epochal pandemic. Governments the world over scramble to impose restrictive measures, some ham-fisted, some half-baked, others just horrifying.

What was left of public spaces and social life has been forcefully retracted. Appeals to embrace “social distancing” replicate the deadly isolation we were already living. Brute repression now seems to carry its own justification. Millions on lockdown, public assembly banned, borders closed and flights grounded. 14 days of hell for anyone who might have come into contact with the virus.

No less frightening than the carabinieri guarding the highways are the new measures of technological governance being openly deployed. Facial recognition to identify anyone breaking quarantine. Dronestalking villagers with the nerve to leave their homes. Private communications monitored, locations tracked, access to public spaces determined by mysterious algorithms. Such are the ambitions of all those who rule and the inescapable logic of these technologies.

If planetary quarantine has been normalized in the span of two months, what horrors might we expect of the coming years? We take no pleasure in predicting, as others have, that the novel coronavirus is a preview of pandemics ushered in by a new climatic regime. A slew of strange illnesses unleashed by thawing permafrost and the displacements of humans and non-humans alike, forced out of drowned cities and fragmented habitats. When activists demand a “climate state of emergency” or wartime mobilization, what’s happening now should be taken as the likely shape of their hopeful futures.

More than sudden illness, what has been shocking is the speed with which power sheds the polite fictions of a stable democratic order. The logic of crisis always serves to excuse the deepening of control. The terrible irony is that a virus – a scientific quandary, questionably neither dead nor alive – has become the occasion for managing life itself.

But life cannot be contained or managed so easily. For each new technological ploy, there are the kids who defeat it. For each new zone of abandonment, there are those in revolt. For each measure of distance imposed, there are new forms of conviviality. Not to mention all those everyday acts of courage and compassion, as communities around the world care for themselves amid failing healthcare systems. Ensuring that the elderly are checked up on, that people have enough to eat, that there is still a communal fabric even as governments seek to tear it further – these are the small triumphs of decaying circumstances.

Power’s hold over us is equally demonstrated by emergent forms of social control and by the utter disregard with which they cast aside our lives. Our inability to survive outside their broken system is rapidly being confronted by our dwindling chances of surviving within it. To resist their control has become inseparable from the urgent need to care for one another. How to treat illness, how to care for the vulnerable, how to overcome isolation, how to reinvent presence, how to live with dignity and perhaps how to die with it. These are among the revolutionary questions of our times.

As a counterpoint to global paralysis and despair, this month’s issue of Territories features two clear-sighted accounts of those getting organized against the end of the world.

First we have a reflection on the ongoing blockades in Canada from Frances Nguyen, extending the call to shut the system down and halt the destruction of colonization and extraction.

Next we feature an overview of DeepMay, one of the most exciting projects around technology happening anywhere today – a collaborative experiment in severing tech from the paradigm of governance.

We’re also pleased to share a newly translated analysis of the coronavirus situation from Frédéric Neyrat. And for more on the pandemic, check out the Reading List we compiled at the end of this issue.

There are 43 Comments

Excuse me, anarchists, have you heard about or Lord and Savior, Inhabit? Do you have a moment to talk about the Orange Book? Find out more by becoming a monthly subscriber!

What is this Maoish, hippie, communo-religious dogshit doing on my beloved Anews?

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Another anarcho front jumping on the Coronavirus news and offering some useless drivel. Can’t miss your opportunity to use a crisis to pander to your fans. This piece says literally nothing.

No one here yet has managed to explain me why the supermarkets are as open and unrestricted as usual to some of the dumbest, riskiest consumer practices imaginable; all the while the local food banks, day camps and other community resources (including public libraries and pools, and any other place like schools where you can have a shower for free) are entirely shut for *at least* two weeks in my region.

I can't even fucking see a close family member at the day care anymore, yet how many hundred of thousands of fucking morons managed to raid the big convenience stores to stockpiles on useless shit?

These fucktards are going to pay for this.

Huh? Are you suggesting supermarkets should close too?

Weird take. Food is more essential than school? Not that deep.

Your reading comprehension of anon 20:52 is also weird. I don't care too much that schools are closed. But that equally public services that allow for information, cultural activity, sports and more importantly HYGIENE being shut down along with it, that's a huge deal.

That along your total avoidance of the theory that countless hordes of idiots have contributed to the spread of the virus over the past week through a shopping panic, more than most schools and campuses would have.

Maybe positing social isolation and quarantine as the problem is a tad short sighted? Fuck the gov slow public health response but this may well kill all your elders. Not sure the quarantine is exactly the issue... its people trying to consider others before them by not spreading illness. Anarchy at its best?

And if the government had shut everything down two or three weeks ago, geniuses like you would be screaming 'fascism' at the top of your lungs. Hindsight is 2020. You fucking Monday morning quarterbacks are hilarious to read.

14 day isolation and quarantine does make sense. I ain't saying it's cool.

The problem is the overt two-faced capitalist hypocrisy in how it is being enforced. That important FREE services such as public showers and nonprofit community services are being shut down "til further notice", while the virus is still *freely allowed to spread, without any restriction* in grocery stores, restaurants, fast food chains and cafés.

If you can't see the hardcore neoliberalism right there... then I wonder where you're really from.

don't really need any more isolationism. Now that the data on COVID-19 is completely out in the open, it is the flu. It's deadly to the immuno-compromised and elderly. If you know people with the virus i assume that you will continue to help them and wash your hands as is thoughtful and considerate. Let's be compassionate as people call in sick to work. That's something i've been very concerned about for a long time.

Fuck, i just feel like the fact that i rely on the internet to calm myself down is really kicking me in the ass. I don't even know what to do anymore. Anyone want to help me weed my garden bed?

IT IS NOT THE FLU !!!! no! NO NO NO keep this edgelord idiocy on infowars where it belongs.

first: symptoms are flu-like, but this is the tip of the iceberg. in short, it is both deadlier and MUCH harder to control for a variety of reasons, and it seems to be significantly more lethal than the flu (at about 10x); there is no vaccine, there are not enough tests, there are not enough respirators and other supplies for hospitals to take care of the amount of people who will be critically ill. so...not the fucking flu. at all. (and it's not true that it "only" kills the elderly and disabled, and btw...are you really saying old and immunocompromised people are just like, human waste and you dont care what happens to them? ALSO, 'just' the flu killed 50-100 million in 1918, and also, the flu is not fucking canceled this year, and neither are car crashes, heart disease or anything else that could land people in need of medical help which is over stressed.

and anyway- it's not just the direct toll in human suffering but the fucking economy is imploding in case you haven't noticed. if you're spending all day on the internet, fucking learn something instead of wallowing in conspiracist garbage that would be well at home on #maga twitter. it looks "not that bad" right now because the first big wave was in a country that has very strong centralized control over its citizens, health and manufacturing sectors, etc. meanwhile we are, well i am anyway, in a country with the most ineffective healthcare system in the world where the president has been calling it a hoax and the roughly 1/3 of the country who worships him has been running around licking door handles to own the libs, and a lot of those libs are still going out to bars. the spread is increasingly seen to be largely driven by asymptomatic carriers, ie the young and healthy who a few weeks ago in italy were still out and about, just like in our biggest cities this past weeked, where hospitals could be entirely overwhelmed soon. i strongly suspect that although president is certainly a fucking idiot who loves performing for a fundamentalist base who hate 'science', the management of this situation was to some extent deliberately tanked under the assumption it would kill more people in cities, prisons, 'blue' states...and the dems were still encouraging people to go vote today.

it's not a time for clever anarcho hot takes about "can't quarantine our passions" or whatever. inhabit (and im not a big fan) is right to try to analyze the stepping up of control. but if typhoid mary is your idea of being an anarchist i don't really know what to tell you.

it's time for mutual aid, or at least, for bunkering down and doing egoist shit, or whatever you're into. at any rate, a time for conscientious harm reduction, not a time to fuck around and find out. to be smart and not just a smartass. to get prepared and/or organized. this is seismic, historic. things are about to get a lot worse. i hope i'm wrong too but i don't think the normal human bias towards expecting things to keep being, well, normal, is an informed attitude at this point or befitting of so-called radical social critics. at any rate, we'll find out pretty soon.

there is another possibility to consider here: the emergency measures which are already happening or potentially imminent - the suspension of evictions and arrests, release of prisoners, dispensation cash aid and free medical care to the populace, etc etc - all make very obvious and very public exactly how shaky so-called normalcy always was; if all these things that 'just happen' all the time 'because they have to' suddenly don't have to happen, if existing political logics are turned upside down, is a sign they weren't necessary or natural to begin with, and as they say once entitlements are granted they tend to be hard to take away. the bubonic plague in 14th century europe is widely considered to have been a watershed event in the end of serfdom. of course the c19 death toll is not projected to be anywhere similar but the way it's already halfway destroyed the economy is certainly impressive, and suggestive.

it's a really instructive 'all-in-this-together' moment.

i've read many accounts saying that it's basically the flu, with sometimes effects of pneumonia. It kills 3x the amount of people the normal flu does, geez.

and whatever, never said anyone was human waste. Please, calm the fuck down.

There's no edgelord shit going on with me, i'm just trying to learn about it, and it being a different version of the flu is the one i keep hearing.

and where are you hearing that? facebook? i listed off half a dozen reasons it's much more serious than the flu. for one, again, it doesn't kill 3x the amount of people the flu does, it kills around 3% of the infected - around 10x what the flu does. oh another thing i didn't mention, the flu - which is a totally different *type* of virus from sars-cov2, different phylum, that's six taxonomic levels up, so again, no it's completely not the fucking flu - has been around for 1000s of years so herd immunity is a thing... here there is no immunity, no vaccine, no testing, and generally, no control on the whole situation. this country is a pile of tinder that's about to go up. there are a ton of well-sourced, scientifically literate articles out there that explain in detail why "its just flu" is completely wrong. honestly im not going to sit here typing this out over and over, educate yourself. and not from r/the_donald or Christian Moms Against Vaccines

just fucking read some news about italy maybe???

it's crazy, due to their elderly population it has killed more than 700 people, which is very high for COVID-19. The flu kills about 1% of those infected according to the mainstream news meadia (not fox news...), a third of covid-19.

Nobody who's talking about the coronavirus is doubting that it's a flu variant. Also, people aren't repeating over and over again that it mostly just kills the elderly NOT because they are seen as disposable, but that it's relevant information. More specifically the immuno-compromised are threatened by the virus, they are also threatened by other flu strains.

To me it's odd that people are freaking out about this one in particular, when other viruses and types of flu have killed tens of thousands worldwide THIS SEASON:

Like i've been warning people about on here, stress compromises the immune system, so working, panicking about COVID-19, is threatening to everyone. I remember when i was in college my weed smoking and stress together triggered trench mouth. It was terrible, probably about as bad or even a little worse than the coronavirus for people with average immune systems. Luckily i got oral surgery pretty quickly so i didn't die from it like people in WWI, but yeah, the modern medical system is pretty impressive, and also immiserating. To me the fact that health care workers are often sleep deprived is a case against it.

Outside of conspiracy theories, the only explanation I can guess about the brutal response to the virus in many countries/regions is that medical authorities are facing an unknown newcomer, not some virus they've been studying for months or years. They know the basics of how long the virus can incubate when it finds a host, and what parts of the population are the weakest to it. But what happens to it in the following weeks or months... nobody knows. It's happening nearly in real time, with China acting as the (problematic) guinea pig for developed Western countries, with only a few weeks of delay.

As far as we know... the virus has low fatality rate. Yet in Italy it has reached about 7%.

We're still far from insane virii like Ebola or smallpox that can kill a vast portion of the population while turning them into monstrosities.

i was looking into what is known about coronavirsus scientifically, genetically it's not a flu variation but a common cold variation. I've heard conflicting accounts about which symptoms are the most common, for most people i think it's just like getting sick, then a certain percentage of people get pneumonia. The internet and people have told me different accounts of how common it is to get pneumonia.

is that this is a time to be attentive to each other or hide from the disease if you are particularly worried, both good options.

You also missed the mark in saying that i'm a conspiracy theorist, no, i've been paying attention to the news. It is very much like flu. Stop waving your hands and yelling at me, that's not mutual aid.

i also want to point out that a lot of the measures the chinese government has been taking are just posturing, that the disease is still spreading within the country.

If it kills a lot more people, it has more to do with the fact that it's a pretty new disease.

the symptoms are flu-like but IT IS NOT THE FLU. there are all sorts of symptoms and syndromes that can present nearly the same but be caused by totally different sources. that is incredibly superficial comparison to make. yes, as you point out, it's very new and different. different from the flu by the second-biggest taxonomic level group that viruses can belong to. the difference is both qualitative and quantitative. a 10x more lethal flu season, where it really gets everywhere because there is no herd immunity, vaccine or even widespread testing, on top of everything else, with a shitty system like ours, is potentially a big enough wave to capsize the u.s. healthcare system which more than any other, really, revolves around extracting profit from individual patients more than attending the health of the collective body. and a lot of very powerful people have been trying to wave it off as no big deal, both political parties, until the past few days - so it's disappointing to see so called radicals saying the same bullshit and thinking they're so clever for it. all medical advice said to postpone the primaries, but no...

and no, the chinese measures have not been mere posturing. where do you even get an idea like that?? they strictly quarantined 60 million people, banned travel, built new hospitals, started manufacturing protective gear, started taking people's temperature know, shit that a centralized, socialist govt can do. and yes, EVEN SO, the virus is still spreading there but slower - there have been more deaths in italy at this point... but how do you think it will go here where nothing remotely of the sort has been done? the virus is spreading faster in the u.s. and accelerating. a huge proportion of the population is not taking it seriously at all. this is exactly where italy was 1-2 weeks ago and now the whole country is locked down. we are very likely next.

this is not a drill. this is not a time to play clever anarcho theory games that make you feel smarter than all the dummies around you. this is really happening. i hope you will all make good choices.

coronavirus is bad. are against coronavirus.
coronavirus is 'plan a'.

[the opposite of coronavirus] is good. are for [the opposite of coronavirus].
[the opposite of coronavirus] is 'plan b'.

This is my problem with Anarchist media about this crisis. It offers nothing and comes off as disingenuous. Nothing more than showing anarchists have their finger on the fading pulse of world events. I don’t expect anarchists to have solutions to problems this large and complex. I honestly don’t expect anyone really to be able to. I just wish we didn’t take every opportunity to soap box and virtue signal on the internet. These are miserable times. The ideologues of the anarchist left have nothing but their margarine words.

"solutions to problems this large and complex."

But who else has? The WHO, literally? The best they did was information and recommendations on dealing with the virus, and that is the nature of their body.

My solution as a non-ideologue of what's called post-Left anarchy is pretty straightforward and can be applied by anyone:

just keep enjoy life outside and keep the shop open, as much as you can.

The sheeps -or chumps- are those that accept to self-isolate in the State-induced fear of the others. That, for a virus with a relatively low fatality rate. Also it's not making people's rot and peel off like with Ebola or something. The scare is mostly hyped up, and this shows to be working quite well with all those that fell to social media hype

"Also it's not making people's rot and peel off like with Ebola or something"

no, instead it slowly fills people's lungs with liquid, and they stop being able to breath. have you ever seen anyone dying from emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis? i have. i wouldn't wish that on anyone i care about.

if you think everything is already known about this virus and its impacts, i urge you to immediately fly to italy and sing off a balcony in milan.

Are too complex to be boiled down to some single narrative about what it will do to us. It exists, it can be really bad, sounds kinda like another species we've been neglecting to understand through moralization and reliance on bureaucracy?

So basically it's drowning to death, just outside of water.

As I said, it's not dying by turning into a living zombie. So yea not the worst death ever.

Fuck the Italian State's response, also. I know the place, and it was already one of the most orwellian States on the planet. The internet was already censored over there for a decade, and the reason why the virus got so big is due to a huge elderly population.

...varying from 50% to 90%

Smallpox was from 30% to 50% roughly.

Malaria,that is closer to Covic-19, has caused at least a million deaths worldwide a year, and 405,000 deaths just in 2018.

While this is a global pandemic, governments are clearly overreacting.

Now I don't mind less traffic, less stress and less pollution. If that was part of a secret plan to reduce and rationalize economies, then great. Or maybe not that great.. since this could mean a wave of aggressive reconquista of the countryside by desperate urbanites as the summer approaches, hence a bigger burden on the wildlife.

Good ol' pneumonic plague killed 90-95% , THAT'S THE LAST CHANCE THIS PLANET HAS. That would defeat ALL ideologies, cultural constructs and TOILET PAPER HOARDING!!
Long live mother nature's miniature army of brave warriors. BRING ON THE LEGIONS ÒF PARATROOPING VIRUS BATTALIONS !!

"It offers nothing and comes off as disingenuous"

can you better explain this point? To me the disingenuous part is the choices that @news makes in deleting comments yet intentionally doesn't explain their real reasons for removing the ones they do. I actually got a lot of information about the spread of the virus on here because i can't be expected to find every single aspect of the problem through my search engine fluency alone.

Being genuine is a pretty enormous challenge, i don't really blame people for having a problem with this, but i guess the place to start is to just blurt out the garbage that floats around in your head.

> To me the disingenuous part is the choices that @news makes in deleting comments yet intentionally doesn't explain their real reasons for removing the ones they do

Why do people go on and on about this as if there's an army of mods going through every thread in real time deleting every other comment? There are a handful of mods, tops. Comments are almost never deleted, and when they are it takes a day, sometimes more, for mods to get round to it. On the a! obituary thread there were some fucking horrible comments about a! that stayed up for a day at least. Some of the worst ones are still up on the thread now.

About people complaining about the lack of interest in better explaining comment removal? Wow, just typical lazy hypocrisy yet again. Complaining about complaining, it would stand to reason that you would stop complaining, but no just takes a little too much restraint for you. I think the national emergence might teach you a thing or two, but probably not! Leave up to Americans to assert their expectations.

comment section is shining like a polished turd I see.

the police state dropping its mask during the crisis is pretty damned interesting imo but that doesn't alter the reality of a pandemic either? perhaps the longer view leads to more interesting discussion? how long will the majority of the public tolerate the state of crisis? how many economic dominos and after shocks?

2020 hindsight analysis in a few months will be way more interesting to me than all the conjecture, anxiety and hostility from the early stages of panic.


"just keep enjoy life outside and keep the shop open, as much as you can. "

best anarchist response (to anything): maintain the status quo!

yeah i was about to post a very similar comment, that line really threw me.... post-left anarchy means... anarcho-capitalism now i guess?

what i find interesting to ponder is: what happens when the state says it is "too dangerous" to hold elections this year?

i wonder what all the advocates of democracy - and especially all the antifas - think of the possibilities there. if i was a democrat looking for any way to defeat trump, i'd be getting concerned right about now.

agree; i always kind of assumed he'd create some excuse to cancel the general, probably by attacking iran or some for the first time a crisis NOT of his own making rears its head & truly all bets are off. it's not like for the past 3.5 years anyone has had any reason to dismiss almost any dystopian possibilities as 'too sci fi'/'defeatist fearmongering' etc

anyway, primary elections were held in several states today, and they *should* have been canceled, so, i guess we'll find out soon about how that plays out....

see yall at the post-pandemic insurrection i guess

Many of them would not be on the verge of voting for an old senile retard as the dem nominee. I think Biden is who Trump wanted and while I don't think he'll Mondale ratio his ass I do think Trump will win in an all fair election probably by a bigger margin then his Hilar(ity) victory. I actually think that 4 more years of Trump will actually be better for the farther prog left. If Bush had been defeated by Kerry for instance you would not have gotten Obama who represented the more underdog Howard Dean voter. I think 2024 will be ripe for some prog justice dem provided someone rises to the stage and has a fuck you attitude to establishment dems right from the outset the way Trump went after republican establishment figures. 2024 could see the return the repressed the same way Trump represented forces in the republican party who had been held back for years. Continually depressed millenials and Zoomers will see to this but in the meantime it would probably be better if Biden lost.

I don't think the Trump presidency will become something out of an Alan Moore graphic novel.

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