In Italy, the ball is on, at least among the unvaccinated, who we will call healthy for now, as the term unvaccinated is in itself offensive and discriminatory. The protesters are not receiving any support from any left-wing or rights associations, which the police are dispersing with increasingly brutal means. And the left-wing rights organisations, which are renowned for their left-wing stance, seem to have simply ceased to exist in recent times. No news, no ashes. They are now left-wing in name only, defenders of rights in name only, leaving behind these labels invented by history and applied to certain institutions, and they pretend to play their role, but are essentially subservient to the will of a global world elite at all levels. Today, indeed, nothing is what it seems, while appearances are still very important, but the rot beneath the surface is not the least important. The Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, is being tried and condemned by some for allegedly being responsible for the deaths of scores of people through the moderate or total non-application of covert terror, while the really dangerous mass murderers are being bowed to and kissed on the lips by all the existing prime ministers, even the Queen of England. But who will protect the workers of Trieste from the tyranny of the green card?
The workers’ strike and demonstration in Trieste already foreshadows what can be done to people under the guise of a health emergency. There is still no significant left-wing force to back them. Although in this country the Constitutional Court has already ruled that it is not discrimination to deny services on the basis of immunity cards, in Italy the system has already moved up a level. On 15 October, Mario Draghi’s government issued a decree that, from 15 October, only those who can prove with a European green card that they have been vaccinated or have had the infection in the last six months, or who can keep buying supplies for a negative test at a heavy price, will be able to work anywhere in Italy. All this has put hundreds of thousands of workers in impossible situations and a growing wave of outrage is sweeping the country. There is Trieste, for example, where peaceful protests against this dystopian discrimination against the unvaccinated have been going on since Saturday. The dockers in the huge port city, for example, are also, for the most part, black and grey-collar guest workers who find it very difficult to get their Green Passes in order. Not to mention that if they would rather have PCR tests to prove they are not infected – as they have to pay for them everywhere in the country – it is calculated that this would cost the average worker a hundred and fifty euros a month. In addition to peaceful protests, dock workers have therefore gone on strike, but the demonstrators are being brutally dispersed by police with water cannons in the central squares. All this is typical: from the comfort of a bourgeois or an office worker’s chair, there is nothing more important than the sense of security created by vaccinations, just as they, in particular, have endured quarantine very well, while couriers, ship’s dockers, meat factory workers, bakers, hauliers, hospital workers have had to face the risk of infection every day and have to do their jobs, otherwise everyone simply starves to death. If we look at Károly Polányi’s immortal Great Transformation, it is clear from his theory analysing 1929 that what we are experiencing today is precisely one of the new integrating movements of international big capital, optimising exploitation and subjugation, which immediately triggers a counter-movement.
In the twentieth century, counter-movements were exploited alternately by the extreme right and the communist-social democratic left. Today, the left is not even producing the aftershocks of a counter-movement, and not only at home: In Italy, just such an anti-grass roots decree is now being promoted only by the centre-left Democratic Party in its name. If we consider that, despite their name, they have previously proposed that only vaccinated people should be allowed to stand for election in Italy, the situation is even more desperate. It is a sad degradation. Today, these striking people are hardly represented at the institutional level in Western Europe, least of all by the alienated ‘left’, which is giving them moral lessons: they can expect help and understanding from institutional politics, even more so from the Italian far right, but only because of the principle of radical individual freedom. More important, however, is the social solidarity that goes beyond the ‘institutions’, as used in the Italian sense, such as parties and social organisations, trade unions, and which is leading more and more Italians to look to Trieste, or even to go there. For what is happening there today clearly goes beyond even the demonstrations against the green card, and in fact reveals the cynicism of the ruling class, which is making even an epidemic into an important task for it, only to strengthen the caste system and the pharmaceutical and private hospital business. Even if one might have laughed carelessly at Giorgio Agamben’s lockdown-critical writings at the beginning of 2020 (he has just analysed the situation here), one would not be advised to do so today, since the dystopia one feared is already within touching distance.
There will be a shortage of goods soon. A shortage of goods, which the British blamed on brexit. But Italy has not left the EU. Soon you’ll see empty shelves everywhere. There will be no loader, no driver, no manual worker. Then, when the negative experience comes, the masses will realise what the situation really is. True, anyone who has had their eyes open over the past decades will not be too surprised that neither the left nor the unions represent the workers – at least in Europe. What is sadder is how many people who call themselves spiritual do not stand up against tyranny. It’s OK for the Pope to wink and say that you need a QR code to get into the Vatican and heaven, but how many religious people, ethical vegans, pro-life activists, yoga teachers and so on don’t even speak out against vaccine terror is something quite astonishing. So their entire life’s work was just a PR ploy? But in fact, the forces of the left should not even be on their side. Common sense is enough not to impose on anyone something that would not harm others if it were not done.