Capitalism in Crisis—Rising Totalitarianism—Strategies of Resistance
The pandemic is not going to pass in the next few weeks. Even if strict confinement measures succeed in cutting the number of infections down to what it was a month ago, the virus could begin spreading exponentially again as soon as the measures are suspended. The current situation is likely to continue for months—sudden curfews, inconsistent quarantines, increasingly desperate conditions—though it will almost certainly shift form at some point when the tensions within it boil over. To prepare for that moment, let’s protect ourselves and each other from the threat posed by the virus, think through the questions about risk and safety that the pandemic poses, and confront the disastrous consequences of a social order that was never designed to preserve our well-being in the first place.
This text offers medical advice for dealing with the virus; this one addresses the importance of mutual aid. You can find a list of mutual aid initiatives in the US here and in Germany here.
Surviving the Virus
Longstanding anarchist forms of organization and security have a lot to offer when it comes to surviving the pandemic and the panic it is causing.
Form an Affinity Group
The prospect of quarantine tells us a lot about how we were already living. Those who live in close-knit families or joyous collective houses are in a much better situation than those in broken marriages and those who have big empty houses all to themselves. This is a good reminder of what really matters in life. Despite the models of safety that are represented by the bourgeois dream of nuclear family home ownership and the US foreign policy that reflects it, togetherness and care are much more important than the kind of security that depends on fencing out the whole world.
“Social distancing” must not mean total isolation. We won’t be safer if our society is reduced to a bunch of atomized individuals. That would neither protect us from the virus nor from the stress of this situation nor from the power grabs that capitalists and state authorities are preparing to carry out. As much as the elderly are at risk from the virus, for example, older people are already dangerously isolated in this society; cutting them off from all contact with others will not preserve their physical or mental health. All of us need to be embedded in tight-knit groups in a way that maximizes both our safety and our collective capacity to enjoy life and take action.