Covid-19 Pandemic and government measures: I.O.D. on false controversies about the “Green Pass”
As many European governments see themselves forced to take emergency measures to counter the effects of a renewed upsurge of the pandemic, and prevent ailing health care systems from collapsing, a certain populist resistance against measures like the extension of the “green pass” (or whatever the official proof of
health vaccination status is called) has taken a new upsurge as well. This has translated in demonstrations in a number of countries (f.i. in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria), more often than not escalating in rioting and deliberate confrontations with the police. As the following statement published by the Istituto Onorato Damen argues at the hand of the situation in Italy, this wave of upheaval passes completely besides the real issues at stake.
With or without green pass, what really matters for capital is to squeeze profit from everything and every living being for the exclusive benefit of the bourgeoisie.
The pandemic, further worsening the crisis in which the capitalist mode of production has been in for several decades, has exposed all its contradictions and its being now in irreconcilable conflict, not only with the proletariat and in general with the vast majority of the working class, but with the very life of men and the planet. There is now not a single moment of life that is not subjected to that authentic dictatorship that subordinates every human activity to the realization of profit; everything must be profitable and when it is not, it is considered as scrap, on a par with cumbersome waste. The virus raged and claimed victims, as in a war and worse still, and the watchword of the ruling class was to play down its severity in order not to interrupt or only to slow down the process of extraction of surplus value. Governments have decreed the suspension of some productive activities (in Italy, for example, even the production of arms for export was not suspended) only when it became a concrete risk that the pandemic, when spreading further, could cause total paralysis of any activity and therefore also of the process of accumulation of capital. (1)
The dictatorship of profit
The same search for a vaccine that could at least slow down the spread of the virus, has taken off only when the States had abundantly financed it and under conditions that ensure stratospheric profits to the pharmaceutical industry. (2) Public health care soon went haywire because in the past decades, in obedience to the dictatorship of profit, health care was knowingly commodified and privatized to the detriment of public health care and in particular of primary and community care. And so, failing the latter, soon the First Aid wards, those for reanimation and for infectious diseases have gone literally on tilt and many infected have died awaiting admission and in some cases even before being seen.
Faced with such a pervasive dictatorship of profit, it is easy to understand that the doubt that vaccines are not so safe and effective – as claimed by the official information system – snake in large sections of the population. And it would therefore be sacrosanct to fight to free the health system – from research to treatment – from the dictatorship of profit so that its purpose is only the welfare and protection of the community and not the further enrichment of a handful of billionaires.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Apart from the “No Vax”-by-principle movement, which constitutes a galaxy of its own, more or less like the “flat-earthers”, and some blatant political exploitation, (3) many are protesting not to challenge the dictatorship of profit, but rather the obligation of the so-called “green pass” to access certain public places and/or workplaces, as it is considered a diabolical instrument of social control or a limitation of the individual right to decide, always and in any case, about one’s own health (freedom of care). (4) And so, while arguing and wrangling for or against a completely formal right, what this pandemic has amply demonstrated falls into oblivion, namely that, given the capitalist mode of production, the commodification for profit of every human activity and function, starting with work and the protection of collective health, prevails over any other instance of human life. With or without a green pass, what really counts for capital is to squeeze profit out of everything and every living being, to the exclusive advantage of the bourgeoisie that owns and controls it.
So it happens, as an old Chinese proverb says: “while the wise man points to the moon, the fool looks at the finger”. Where, in this case, the wise man stands for reality as it emerged from the pandemic itself, the moon for the dictatorship of profit and the fool stands for both the enemies and the all-out defenders of the green pass, i.e. the finger. And so, just to give an example, the Draghi government marches completely undisturbed in the direction of further privatization of public services and, in the specific case of health care, even “facilitates access to accreditation of private health facilities and introduces dynamic criteria for the periodic verification of private contracted facilities.” (5) And in the same direction goes the budget maneuver. In fact, [the latter] allocates to companies, under various forms (reduction of taxes charged to them, non-repayable contributions, etc.), the largest slice of the funds of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (6) while, among other things, by lengthening the retirement age – as requested by Confindustria – it transforms all of the workers’ life time into time of and for capital: “As a result, – the young Marx would say –therefore, man (the worker) only feels himself freely active in his animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating […] ; and in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.” (7) Shouting at the top of one’s lungs against and for the green pass and keeping completely silent on this reduction of the lives of most of humanity to a pure object.
Only foolishness? Certainly foolishness – as Ferraris would say – is a serious matter and is not lacking in human action. But here we can also grasp, if not above all, another fact, namely that after the collapse of Russian state capitalism, cleverly passed off as the collapse of “communism”, the idea that the capitalist mode of production is not a historically determined mode of production – but would be “eternal”, and that therefore any alternative to it would be impossible, if not unthinkable, not to speak of its overcoming – has become deeply rooted in the collective consciousness. So, as Mark Fisher already observed in his 2009 essay Capitalist Realism: “It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”. (8)
From here comes a lesson of the utmost relevance: nothing will be able to stop the race towards total catastrophe to which the capitalist mode of production tends without an authentic communist party that, strengthened by its revolutionary Marxist critique, conducts an all-out and relentless struggle against this false ideology and directs the growing social malaise towards the perspective of the communist revolution.
Giorgio Paolucci (I.O.D.), November 20, 2021.
Translation: H.C., November 22, 2021
1 See: G. Paolucci – Il ritorno del covid: questo lockdown non s’ha da fare! (“The return of covid: this lock-down will not happen!”), November 7-9, 2020.
2 Ibidem – Si scrive vaccino ma si legge merce. E s’ha da fare a ogni costo! Lo esige sua maestà il denaro (“You write vaccine but you read merchandise. And it must be done at any cost! His Majesty the money demands it.”), December 16, 2020.
3 It gives one to think, for example, when the worst Nazi-fascist scum praises the “freedom of choice” while flaunting Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.
4 Probably forgetting that already for some time so-called Surveillance Capitalism, through the Internet and the increasingly widespread use of smartphones, controls every moment of life, even the most intimate, of the vast majority of the world’s population, by drawing in a huge amount of information, transformed into data to become an invaluable source of profits. Read in this respect: A. Noviello – Il capitalismo della sorveglianza (May 3, 2021) An English translation is available: Surveillance Capitalism.
5 Quoted from: R. Romano, Ddl concorrenza – Così Draghi avvia la privatizzazione dei servizi pubblici (“Ddl competition – So Draghi starts the privatization of public services”), ‘Il Manifesto’ of November 7, 2021.
6 See: The Recovery and Resilience Plan: Next Generation Italia (February 9, 2021). [Editor’s note]
8 M. Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? (Zero Books, Winchester, UK; Washington D.C., 2010). [Editor’s note]
Illustration: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes - Witches’ Sabbath (The Great He-Goat), 1821-1823. Oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid. (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)