Community mobilizations for mutual aid and medical solidarity have formed in as many spaces as the new coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread.
From continent to continent, people have innovated and navigated through information suppression, governmental inadequacy and unpreparedness as
well as supply shortages in panic-economies with global financial markets plummeting.
The global pandemic is a disaster enveloping all of the intersections where climate catastrophes typically surge, storm-batter and strand impacted regions, but when every community is a different version of ground zero, sourcing from within, in as much as possible, becomes a critical component.
Piecing together carefully constructed information on defending our communities, building bridges over access and info gaps for folks with differing vulnerabilities and sharing comprehensive information on harm reduction, DIY resource building and responding with best practices is the radical solidarity being generated by folks across the world. …….
Autonomous Groups Are Mobilizing Mutual Aid Initiatives to Combat the Coronavirus
In the span of just a few weeks, the coronavirus has completely changed life as we know it, while also exposing the vast array of contradictions firmly entrenched within capitalist society.
America has been laid bare as to what it always has been, a settler-colonial project that is the sole property of those who own it, as John Jay, one of the ‘Foun ding Fathers’ once argued. In the face of this disaster, Trump has predictably doubled down on painting the pandemic with a xenophobic brush as his supporters use it as yet another excuse to push half-baked conspiracy theories in order to defend the dumpster fire that is his administration.
Meanwhile, outside of the gaze of neoliberal TV pundits who now pander to studios with empty audiences, across the so-called United States, autonomous groups are mobilizing to provide mutual aid to their neighbors and those hit the hardest by the exploding virus.
From Pandemic to Class War
For millions of poor and working people, life in this country is going to change – and change very quickly. Already, many companies are starting to lay off workers as the economy slows and things begin to shut down. Low wage workers, many already living just on the edge of eviction and homelessness, now find themselves with even less money coming in and with young children, recently forced out of school, to watch and feed.
In many ways, the coronavirus has accelerated all of the trajectories of modern capitalism that have hurdled us towards our current position: rapidly gentrifying cities, automation and the gig economy displacing workers into precarious forms of employment, the rising cost of living, and lack of access to affordable healthcare, education, and daycare for children. To make matters worse, soon the US will be rocked by a flood of very sick people attempting to access a broken health care system that is unprepared to handle a wide-scale pandemic.
Already there are signs of growing anger. Students in Ohio rioted after police attempted to push them off the streets following a 24-hour eviction notice at their campus in Dayton and students at MIT protested when they were forced to leave as well; some with no idea as to where they would go. Fiat auto workers in Canada walked off the job over coronavirus concerns and fast food workers across the US have picketed and demanded paid sick-leave.
In the face of this growing class anger which threatens to boil over into a potentially insurrectionary wave, elites have already begun to loosen a few chains out of fear. From talks of a stimulus package, to a moratorium on paying interest on student loans, police suspending arrests for minor offenses and scaling back patrols in general, the push to release non-violent offenders, AT&T ending the cap on data, the suspension of evictions in many cities, and Detroit turning water back on to residents who have unpaid bills. In short, poor and working people everywhere should recognize that those in power – are afraid.
Seize the Time
In this moment, everyday people have to seize the initiative and get organized; before a new normal takes hold and the State can re-solidify its authority. The Trump administration will try and do this through blunt violence and police orders, as already the national guard is streaming into various cities. Democrats and the neoliberal media on the other hand will push for the country to “come together” behind Joe Biden – assuming that the November 2020 elections even are held.
If poor and working people see within the coronavirus not only a pandemic that will possibly leave in its wake a massive death count, but also the very real crisis that is modern industrial capitalism, then we must mobilize for our own interests, push back, and actually fight. This means demanding not only bread and butter: free housing, access to food, an end to evictions, and clean water: but also building new human relationships, new forms of actual life. This means creating ways of meeting our needs, making decisions, and organizing ourselves and solving problems outside of the State structure and the capitalist system.
Towards this end, we are encouraged by the explosion of grassroots and autonomous mutual aid projects that are springing up across the US. Not since the early stages of the Occupy Movement have we seen this growth of spontaneous mobilization in the face of a crisis. These efforts must continue to organize themselves, grow, network, and deepen their connections within working-class and poor neighborhoods.
What follows is both a collection of resources and links, as well as a list of active mutual aid projects that are currently mobilizing in the face of the coronavirus. We are also including a short reading list, and information on how to participate in phone-zap campaigns in support of prisoners and migrant detainees.
To have your group or mutual aid project listed, email us at: info [at] itsgoingdown [dot] org
Prisoner and Migrant Detention Phone-Zaps
- Macomb Correctional (MI) Phone-Zap
- Washington State Prisons Phone-Zap
- Northwest Detention Center Phone-Zap
Organizing and DIY Resources
- Compromised People in Need
- Willing to Help Compromised People in Need
- COVID-19 Resources for Students
- How to Form Your own Mutual Aid Group
- Collective Care is our Best Weapon Against Covid-19
- COVID-19 Financial Solidarity
- Mutual Aid: How to Build a Network in Your Neighborhood
- Coronavirus Resource Kit
- Student Mutual Aid Network
- Puget Sound COV-19 Mutual Aid: Seattle based collective well-being through class solidarity, disability justice, anti-racism, abolition. Resource guide here. Donate here. Instagram.
- Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective: Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective works in solidarity with Tacoma communities to support resource, knowledge, and skill sharing across our neighborhoods. Currently organizing free food programs for kids hit by school closures and beyond. Support via PayPal. Grocery program sign-up form.
- Olympia Mutual Aid: We are coordinating food and supply drop offs to people’s front doors. Please use this form if you would like to help make deliveries. Facebook.
- Common Stash: Mutual Aid in So-Called Olympia: We are not afraid of sickness—many of us are already sick, and those of us who are not yet sick will one day become unwell. But we are afraid of not getting cared for, of not getting what we need and of those we love not getting what they need, so we are coming together, collecting and redistributing herbal remedies, over the counter cough medication, and other supplies to our friends and neighbors. Instagram.
- Portland-area COVID-19 “Offer Support”: We are an all-volunteer grassroots group operating in the territories of the many tribes who have made their homes near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, including Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla. Instagram and Facebook.
- Portland Coronavirus Mutual Aid Fund: We are currently forming a coalition of groups to coordinate grassroots response to the coronavirus.
- South Willamette Valley Mutual Aid Network: As things get harder, we show up for our neighbors. We advocate collective liberation through class solidarity, disability justice, anti-racism, abolition, and horizontal mutual aid as we reside on stolen Kalapuya land. We are trying to build a network of many neighborhood pods across Lane County. Instagram.
- West Oakland Punks With Lunch: Oakland based nonprofit, non religious, DIY organization that hands out lunches, harm reduction supplies, and more to our neighbors in West Oakland. Works largely with houseless community. Instagram.
- South Bay Area Mutual Aid: We are coordinating food and supply drop offs to people’s front doors during the COVID-19 quarantine.
- SF Bay Area: The idea behind this is to crowd source some mutual aid for folks in the SF Bay Area, who are affected by Covid-19 or the current situation.
- East Bay Disabled Folks: Are you a disabled person (especially prioritizing BIPOC) in the East Bay needing extra support re COVID19?
- Berkeley Mutual Aid Network: Board for people needing help and those in need.
- Los Angeles Mutual Aid: Ground Game LA is an all-volunteer grassroots group operating in Los Angeles, connected with multiple coalition partners throughout LA. Mutual aid resources and links.
- Mutual Aid Los Angeles Fundraiser: Mutual Aid Action Los Angeles (M.A.A.L.A.) would like your support to continue our work and keep growing. We are committed to providing a wide range of services and support to anyone who comes through our doors and beyond. We practice Mutual Aid to live our solidarity.
- Las Vegas Mutual Aid: Please fill out this form if you are in the Las Vegas area and are interested in offering support to people impacted by COVID-19 *OR* are requesting support for yourself/a family member.
- Albuquerque Mutual Aid: In Response to COVID-19, we’re organizing mutual aid to respond to those that are often not included in conversations about public health.
- Lincoln/Omaha Mutual Aid: This group is intended to be a forum for people to request and offer help specific to needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic in our area.
- Front Range Mutual Aid: Front Range Mutual Aid Network is setting up a distribution network to get supplies to people who need them during the COVID-19 crisis.
- San Antonio Mutual Aid: Scary times require us to better support one another. Resources for San Antonio residents.
- Cleveland Pandemic Response: CPR aims to provide mutual aid & community support in the NEO area during the COVID-19 crisis. Intake form. Facebook.
- Mutual Aid Central Ohio: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Central Ohio. Facebook.
- Mutual Aid Dayton/Miami Valley: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Dayton and the Miami Valley. Facebook.
- Mutual Aid Southeast Ohio: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Southeast Ohio. Facebook.
- Chicago Mutual Aid Volunteers: This list is being compiled to share with groups that are doing mutual aid work around COVID-19 in Chicago.
- Bloomington Mutual Aid: Are you homebound and in need of help getting access to groceries and other supplies? For your friends and neighbors who are homebound and quarantined, are you willing to help make grocery deliveries and supply runs?
- Rockford Mutual Aid Volunteers Rockford: This for members of the Rockford community to offer skills, resources, supplies, space and time to community members who are affected by COVID – 19 and those most vulnerable among us.
- Kalamazoo: This list is being compiled by Kzoo Covid-19 Mutual Aid to share with groups that are doing mutual aid work around COVID-19 in Kalamazoo.
- Grand Rapids Mutual Aid: Grand Rapids Area Mutual Aid Network is a hub for folks to share resources to keep each other safe and healthy. Facebook.
- Huron Valley Mutual Aid: This group is for the purposes of sharing resources, needs, and info about mutual aid work that people are doing at this time.
- The Mutual Aid Network of Ypsilanti: We believe that as a community we are stronger when we work together to help each other out. Our purpose is to help facilitate as much cooperation and aid as possible. Particularly focusing on the most impacted and marginalized members of our community.
- Twin Cities Queer and Trans Mutual Aid: The idea behind this is to crowd source some mutual aid for queer/trans/nonbinary folks in the Twin Cities area, who are affected by Covid-19 or the current situation.
- Twin Cities Mutual Aid: Add yourself to a list of people willing to help each other in case of quarantine or self isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information will be used to reach out of interested individuals willing to provide assistance if needed.
- Milwaukee Mutual Aid: This form will help us provide support to each other!
- Madison Mutual Aid: We are using the model of mutual aid practices- basically that we can help each other in times of crisis. Facebook.
- St. Louis Mutual Aid: Communities are safer and stronger when its members check in on one another and pitch in in whatever ways they can. This concept is called mutual aid.
- Nashville Anarchist Black Cross: Direct mutual aid in the Nashville, Tennessee area.
- First Aid Collective of Knoxville: We are an autonomous first-aid/wound collective based in Knoxville, TN. Our practices mainly focus around harm reduction, but we also supply street medicing for actions and practice mutual aid. Instagram.
- Asheville Survival Program: In any kind of crisis we are always strongest when we work together. We can overcome our fears and the urge to isolate and hoard, to instead be part of a meaningful community wide response. Information sharing is a critical first step, from there we can work together as neighbors and friends to ensure everyone has what we need.
We’re all set up at Volunteer Ministry Center with wound care supplies, emergency contraceptive, fentanyl test strips and other resources. @chnharmreduction providing HIV & Hep C testing, syringe exchange and many more resources. Set up till 3pm. Come see us or send someone our way! #harmreduction
A post shared by FACK (@firstaidcollectiveknox) on Feb 20, 2020 at 10:26am PST
- Food 4 Life: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are operating a grocery delivery program in Atlanta, Georgia to ensure that those impacted by the virus will not be forced to choose between decent food and their health. Food is a human right, we must help each other! Donate here. Website.
- Atlanta Mutual Aid: Students at Emory, Morehouse, Spelman, and Georgia State are facing removal and even eviction from their dorms in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many students, such as international, LGBTQIA+, and out-of-state students do not have an immediate place to move to or store their belongings. Tens of thousands of students are being displaced and are in immediate need of resources and support.
- Takoma DC Community Care and Mutual Aid: Times that are potentially scary require us to better support one another. In the same way that we bring casseroles to grieving families and baby clothes to celebrate newborns, we can come together as a community to help each other through this difficult time.
- Birmingham Mutual Aid: In these fast moving and uncertain times, it’s important to show up for each other and remember that we are not alone. Mutual aid is a powerful way to build strong connections – we all have something to offer and we all have something we need.
- Lexington Mutual Aid: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Lexington, Kentucky.
- Louisville Mutual Aid: We are building a network of people who can support their neighbors through mutual aid in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Kentucky Mutual Aid: With the current uncertainty, it’s important that no one falls through the cracks. Facebook.
- Free Store Pantry in Fayetteville, Arkansas: A working food bank at 647 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville AR. as the ongoing COVID-19 crisis continues. All donations will be to help those who do not have the means or access to food.
- Tampa Mutual Aid: In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, Tampa Dream Defenders and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief are partnering to support the most vulnerable in our community.
- Mutual Aid and Emergency Relief Fund: Food, Clothing & Resistance Collective – Maroon Movement is doing a mutual aid & emergency relief fundraising drive, and pop-up distributions, for anyone who may need some “extra assistance” to stock up food, toiletries and medical supplies in Baltimore during this still very early stage of an emerging pandemic (Covid-19), in the middle of another pandemic (Influenza). Twitter.
- Baltimore Mutual Aid: Spreadsheet hub for mutual aid in Baltimore, Maryland.
- Pitt Mutual Aid: We‘re a team of student leaders dedicated to providing up-to-date information and resources for the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our resource guide here.
- Neighbors Helping Neighbors: We are simply neighbors helping neighbors. The aid provided comes from community support and solidarity thus we cannot guarantee to meet each request but we will be trying our best to do so . We are not funded, we are not a government or medical agency, we are simply neighbors connecting neighbors to neighbors who can help (and we happen to be organizers). Facebook.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Philadelphia
- Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville: In these fast moving and uncertain times, it’s important that we show up for each other and remember that we are not alone. Facebook.
- Charles River Mutual Aid: We will be pooling funds in a Mutual Aid Fund to purchase food, medical supplies, and other necessities, and organizing to provide these resources to the community.
- Tufts Mutual Aid: Tufts is closing due to COVID-19, and are compiling resources for students who need it. Fill out the form if you have resources to give, and reach out to those who have resources you need!
- Providence Mutual Aid: Project LETS is working to support the Providence, RI community during times of increased fear, isolation, and need.
- Mutual Aid Jamaica Plain & Roxbury Network: Mutual aid is a powerful way to build strong connections – we all have something to offer and we all have something we need.
- Central New Jersey: This form originally was asking for volunteers too, but we have enough for now! We’ll ask for more as requests come in.
- Friends of Westcott Mutual Aid Group: Many of us in Westcott (Syracuse, NY) are looking for ways to help those in our neighborhood who may be affected by Covid-19. Some people in our community may have health risks. Others may be financially affected due to social distancing. This includes employees at the several businesses in our neighborhood that rely on people going out to eat and drink.
- NYC United Against the Coronavirus: Massive collection of mutual aid projects and resources throughout the New York area. Includes many localized mutual aid groups.
- NYC Mutual Aid Network: Mutual aid is a powerful way to build strong connections – we all have something to offer and we all have something we need.
- Mutual Aid Hubs in Vermont: These Mutual Aid links each consist of a spreadsheet with multiple tabs for different categories of need (food, transportation, housing, emotional support, etc) and are specific to different regions of Vermont.
- Seacoast Mutual Aid: Spreadsheet of information on needs and volunteers.
- Manchester Mutual Aid: Spreadsheet of information on needs and volunteers.
- Against Quarantine, The New Inquiry
- Against the Coronavirus and the Opportunism of the State, CrimethInc.
- One Way Or Another, One Day We’ll All Wear Masks, CrimethInc.
- Social Contagion: Microbiological Class War in China, Chuang
- The Threat of Contagion, Ill Will Editions
- When Every Community is Ground Zero: Pulling Each Other Through a Pandemic, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief
Written By: It’s Going Down
It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.
Against the Coronavirus and the Opportunism of the State
Anarchists in Italy Report on the Spread of the Virus and the Quarantine
From one side, our lives are threatened by a new virus; from the other side, our freedom is menaced by nationalists and authoritarians intent on using this opportunity to set new precedents for state intervention and control. If we accept this dichotomy—between life and freedom—we will continue paying the
price long after this particular pandemic has passed. In fact, each is bound up in the other, dependent upon the other. In the following report, our comrades in Italy describe the conditions prevailing there, the causes of the escalating crisis, and the ways that the Italian government has taken advantage of the situation to consolidate power in ways that will only exacerbate future crises.
At this point, the strategy of the authorities is not aimed at protecting people from the virus so much as controlling the pace at which it spreads so that it doesn’t overwhelm their infrastructure. As in so many other aspects of our lives, crisis management is the order of the day. Our rulers don’t intend to preserve the lives of everyone affected by the virus—they already wrote off concern for the destitute long before this crisis began. Rather, they are determined to preserve the current structure of society and their perceived legitimacy within it.
In this context, we have to be able to distinguish between two different disasters: the disaster of the virus itself and the disaster wrought by the ways that the existing order responds—and does not respond—to the pandemic. It will be a grave mistake to throw ourselves at the mercy of the existing power structures, blindly trusting that they exist to save us. On the contrary, when our rulers say “health,” they mean the health of the economy much more so than the health of our bodies. Case in point: the Federal Reserve just allocated $1.5 trillion to prop up the stock market—$500 billion for the banks—but most US citizens still can’t get tested for coronavirus.
Let’s be clear: though Trump and other nationalists worldwide intend to use this opportunity to impose new controls on our movements, this pandemic is not a consequence of globalization. Pandemics have always been global. The bubonic plague spread worldwide several hundred years ago. In introducing a ban on travel from Europe while continuing to try to preserve the health of the United States economy—rather than directing resources towards preserving the health of human beings within the US—Trump is giving us an explicit lesson in the ways that capitalism is fundamentally hazardous to our health.
Viruses don’t respect the invented borders of the state. This one is already inside the US, where health care is much less widely and evenly distributed than it is in most of Europe. All this time, as the virus spread, service industry workers have been forced to continue putting themselves at risk in order to pay their bills. To eliminate the pressures that coerce people into such dangerous decisions, we would have to do away with the system that creates such drastic inequality in the first place.
The poor, the homeless, and others who live in unsanitary conditions or without access to decent health care are always the worst hit by any crisis—and the impact on them puts everyone else at greater risk, spreading the contagion further and faster. Not even the wealthiest of the wealthy can isolate themselves completely from a virus like this, as illustrated by the circulation of the virus in the upper echelons of the Republican Party. In short—the prevailing order is not in anyone’s best interest, not even those who benefit from it most.
This is the problem with what Michel Foucault called biopower, in which the same structures that sustain our lives also constrain them. When these systems cease to sustain us, we find ourselves trapped, dependent on the very thing that is endangering us. On a global scale, industrially produced climate change has already made this situation very familiar. Some have even hypothesized that, by reducing pollution and workplace accidents, the industrial slowdown that the virus has brought about in China is saving lives as well as taking them.
Liberals and leftists are responding by criticizing the failures of Trump’s government, effectively demanding more government intervention and centralized control—which Trump, or his successors, will surely wield for their own benefit, not only in response to pandemics, but also in response to everything else they perceive as a threat.
Fundamentally, the problem is that we lack a discourse about health that is not premised on centralized control. Across the political spectrum, every metaphor we have for safety and health is predicated on the exclusion of difference (for example, borders, segregation, isolation, protection) rather than the aim of developing a positive relationship with difference (for example, extending health-care resources to all, including those outside the borders of the US).
We need a way of conceiving of well-being that understands bodily health, social ties, human dignity, and freedom as all being interconnected. We need a way of responding to crisis based in mutual aid—that doesn’t grant even more power and legitimacy to tyrants.
Rather than placing blind faith in the state, we must focus on what we can do with our own agency, looking back to previous precedents for guidance. Let no one charge that anarchistic organizing is not “disciplined” or “coordinated” enough to address an issue like this. We have seen over and over that capitalist and state structures are at their most “disciplined” and “coordinated” precisely in the ways that they impose unnecessary crises on us—poverty, climate change, the prison-industrial complex.
Anarchism, as we see it, is not a hypothetical blueprint for an alternate world, but the immediate necessity of acting outside and against the dictates of profit and authority in order to counteract their consequences. While the current models of “addressing the pandemic” that states are carrying out are based on top-down control that nevertheless fail to protect the most vulnerable, an anarchist approach would focus chiefly on shifting resources such as medical care toward all who require them, while empowering individuals and communities to be able to limit the amount of risk they choose to expose themselves to without tremendous negative consequences.
There are precedents for this. We recall Malatesta returning to Naples in 1884, despite a three-year prison term over his head, to treat a cholera epidemic in his hometown. Surely our antecedents have theorized about this and taken actions that we could learn from today. Just a few years ago, some anarchists set themselves the challenge of analyzing how to respond to the ebola outbreak from an anarchist perspective.
We entreat you to think and write and talk about how to generate a discourse about health that distinguishes it from state control—and what sort of actions we can take together to help each other survive this situation while preserving our autonomy.
In the meantime, we present the following report from our comrades in northern Italy who have been living through this crisis a few weeks longer than we in the United States have.
Pandemic Diary, Milan: Love in the Time of Corona
1918-1920: Already shaken by the First World War, the world faced a more insidious foe: Spanish flu, a catastrophic pandemic that infected 500 million people, killing as many as 50 million or more—twice the number of casualties as in the War.
2020: COVID-19, a new pandemic infection, is spreading all over the world. As of this writing, according to the World Health Organization, over 125,000 cases have been confirmed, with over 4,600 deaths. In Italy, there are 12,000 infections, with at least 827 deaths.
Here, we’ll focus on Italy, asking a couple of questions about how to face COVID-19. The first step is to refuse to take the corporate media narrative for granted and—above all—not to give in to the prescriptions and impositions from above, all of which are getting more and more oppressive.
We begin from the most obvious facts. This outbreak highlights the need for international solidarity and cooperation so that people can join forces to cope with the difficulties and achieve common goals. But in the current system—in which every nation takes advantage of others’ tragedies and every “crisis” paves the way for profiteering—that’s not possible.
However we approach the question, we arrive at the same conclusion: capitalism and imperialism point out the need for a radical shift from the current state of things.
But let’s step back and concentrate on Lombardy, going back to the day that the Italian government signed the first Decree attempting to control the spread of the infection.
Lombardy, February 16
On this day, the Italian government signed the first decree attempting to control the spread of the infection.
Milan, 7 pm: The worry that all schools and gathering places will be closed spreads quickly, along with a panic that takes hold among people, creating pseudo-apocalyptic moments. Supermarkets are stormed as if we were on the brink of war, people buy huge quantities of breathing masks and hand sanitizer (thin paper masks have become a totem representing safety), we hear screams, we see people weeping, we experience mass panic.
Following the rumors about restrictions, Milan, the great Milan, the city that never stops, was paralyzed with fear. But it only took a few hours to return to liveliness. In fact, the morning after the announcement, what was stirring all over the city wasn’t fear of the virus but fear of not being able to live the “Milano da bere.” Bars and pubs were closed from 6 pm to 6 am—clearly, the viruses clock in to work at night like proletarians on graveyard shift. Restaurants were not—apparently, you get ill if you drink, but if you eat, the virus, on the contrary, respects you. At the same time, we saw the closure of all schools, universities, and other gathering places.
A week passes and Milan, this provincial wannabe New York, doesn’t stop. Likewise, the virus advances, causing further panic. There are more infections, more deaths—even if, granted, the victims include many older people suffering from existing cardiovascular diseases. Once again, everything is locked down—schools, cinemas, theaters, kissing and hugging—but not bars, restaurants, malls, or public transit. Meanwhile, Beppe Sala, the city mayor, tries to give strength to the poor Milanese afflicted by this appalling virus that preys by night and only if you meet for drinks. Employing his beloved social networks, he posts a video with the hashtag #MilanoNonSiFerma (Milano Doesn’t Stop).
Technically, the video is flawless—bird’s-eye shots with bright colors, catchy tunes—yet it’s as phony as a three dollar bill. No doubt about it, it has been promoted by the Unione dei Brand della Ristorazione Italiana (Union of Italian Catering Brands).
Milan doesn’t stop. But in this video, we don’t really see Milan, the real Milan—the Milan I love not because it is the center of movida but because it is traversed by revolutionary shivers, even though they tried to bring her down through fascism and xenophobia, even though it has fallen asleep politically over the last twenty years. The video presented by Sala seems to step out of the 1980s when the advertisement for a very popular liqueur was broadcast: Amaro Ramazzoti, the liqueur of the “Milano da bere.”
#milanononsiferma, #milanodoesntstop, corporate video by Mayor Sala, because Milan doesn’t stop: “We are millions of people. We do great things every day. We work hard every day. We achieve the impossible every day. We are fearless every day. We can do it. We won’t stop.”
The real Milan isn’t depicted in those images. The real Milan is the one expressed crudely but sincerely by Collective Zam in a video parroting the one of a Mayor that—within days—backs out of the statement he has asserted, resorting to a false narrative on the media; a false narrative where xenophobic class rhetoric is constantly and continuously served up, making this city living off precarious workers and outsiders that every day has to struggle against racism, patriarchy, gentrification, neglected suburbs and capitalism.
The virus isn’t the heart of the emergency. The real emergency, patient zero of this “cosmopolitan” city, is the economic precarity that inflicts despair upon the workers who are forced to fight against the rising cost of living and exploitation that, in the last weeks, has occurred in the new form of “smart working,” never used before in Italy and that, surely, will become next year’s trend to further enslave through subcontracts and outsourcing. Many employers in Northern Italy’s red zones are forcing their employees to take sick or administrative leave without taking into account that this will further destabilize an already precarious state system and, above all, hit all those precarious workers who have to fight every day to put food on the table, who keep their heads above water by taking low-paid jobs, who endure awful work schedules in worksites without any sort of security measures. Just to give you an idea, from January 1 to February 6 this year, there have been 46 workplace deaths…..