Radical Thinking in Time of Pandemic [Reading List #6]

Radical Thinking in Time of Pandemic [Reading List #6]

Radical Thinking in Time of Pandemic [Reading List #6]

1022 641 Into the Black Box

In tempi di pandemia anche il pensiero critico deve interrogarsi su come sta cambiando il mondo. Quali categorie politiche, economiche e sociali possono essere utili per analizzare l’impatto del Covid-19 sugli spazi urbani, l’organizzazione del lavoro, le catene globali del valore, il progetto neo-liberale, gli equilibri geopolitici su scala mondiale, le forme di lotta e i soggetti resistenti?
Into the Black Box curerà in questo periodo una lista settimanale di letture utili per interrogarsi attorno a tutti questi nodi.
Qua tutte le reading list.

In times of pandemic, even critical thinking has to question how the world is changing. Which political, economic and social categories can be useful to analyze the impact of Covid-19 on urban spaces, work organization, global value chains, the neo-liberal project, geopolitical balances on a global scale, forms of struggle and resistant subjects?
Into the Black Box will be producing a weekly list of readings during this period, which will be useful to ask questions about all these issues.
Here are all the reading lists.


América Latina: estados de excepción en tiempos de coronavirus
La pandemia del covid-19 enciende las alarmas en una América Latina que todavía se relame las heridas de la represión que vivió a fines de 2019. El estado de emergencia pone de nuevo a los cuerpos de seguridad a controlar las calles, mientras los Gobiernos experimentan con tecnologías digitales que vigilan a la población.

El coronavirus rompe la cadena de producción global y deslocalizada: se impone el modelo de Donald Trump
La pandemia refuerza la visión del presidente de EEUU en una disputa por los suministros que ya afecta a los gobiernos de países. Las empresas replantean ahora su modelo habitual de distribución repartida y ‘stock de mínimos.

Corona: A View from Below
https://focusweb.org/corona-a-view-from-below/The novel Corona virus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, has ushered many parts of the world in a state of disarray. Within the span of a few weeks countries found themselves implementing measures that would otherwise be unthinkable. Italy and Spain have imposed a halt on all “non-essential” activities in order to slow the spread of the virus. With the number of infections soaring and already staggering economic fallout, the US has signed into law the biggest relief package in its history. In both the US and Europe health systems are being stressed to the point of near collapse. India has just extended a curfew for all of its population of 1.3 billion, in an attempt to prevent the country from reaching a pandemic stage of virus infections. Many other countries have severely limited public and economic life. International travel has almost come to a complete standstill, with the last departing long haul flights being deployed to bring stranded travelers to their home countries. While some countries seem to slowly have gone beyond the peak of infections, many others are still bracing for what is yet to come.

Let’s Decolonize the Coronavirus
In a dispatch from their lockdown in Kigali, two UK-based researchers Andrea Filipi and Katrin Wittig reflect on the international media coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic and Africa. They argue that the coverage has recycled stereotypical portrayals of Africa, and that the West may be losing an opportunity to rethink itself and its relationship with the continent.


Coronavirus, Crisis, and the End of Neoliberalism
Suddenly, we find ourselves in a transformed world. Empty streets, closed shops, unusually clear skies, and climbing death tolls: something unprecedented is unfolding before our eyes. News about the economy are alarming almost everywhere: the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the sharpest and deepest economic contraction in the history of capitalism. To paraphrase The Communist Manifesto, all that was solid has melted into air: ‘globalization’ has gone into reverse; long supply chains, that were previously the only ‘rational’ way to organize production, have collapsed and hard borders are back; trade has declined drastically, and international travel has been severely constrained. In a matter of days, tens of millions of workers became unemployed, and millions of businesses lost their employees, customers, suppliers and credit lines.

La pandemia ¿y el fin del neoliberalismo?
En un artículo que ha tenido gran difusión, Atilio Borón, el intelectual argentino,  discute acerca de las consecuencias excepcionales y mundiales que podrá tener la actual pandemia del coronavirus. Atilio Borón inicia su artículo mostrando su desacuerdo con la tesis expuesta por Slavoj Zizek en el setido de que el capitalismo sufre ya, con la pandemia, un nocaut fulminante a lo Búfalo Bill, volviendo a la tesis clásica de Lenin en el sentido de que “el capitalismo no caerá si no existen las fuerzas sociales y políticas que lo hagan caer.” Y tales fuerzas revolucionarias no parecen existir por lo pronto ni en Europa ni en Estados Unidos ni en América Latina”.


The Remaking of Big Pharma in a Post-Pandemic World
COVID-19 has bucked conventional wisdom on how the industry must operate.

Before COVID-19, Big Pharma Was Neglecting Vaccine and Antiviral Research
After reaching a new low in consumer confidence last year, thanks to public anger over rising drug prices, the pharmaceutical industry’s reputation is on the rise as researchers worldwide rush to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. A new national poll finds that the COVID-19 pandemic has benefited the industry’s public image, with 40 percent of respondents saying they have a more positive view of private drug companies than before the outbreak.


Agamben’s Polemic: On Biopolitics, State, and Capital
In a moment like this, there is something recognisably unhinged about a polemic against emergency measures to save lives. To characterise state responses to the global pandemic as ‘frenetic, irrational and entirely unfounded’, and to view the latter as an ‘alleged epidemic’, seems to betray a mind either unaware of the enormous loss of life and livelihood already under way, or else one too obsessed by other concerns to take this loss seriously. To claim that today’s emergency measures represent only the further normalisation of a permanent state of exception – and should be rejected out of hand – is thus a kind of polemic without interlocutor, to the extent that the rest of us are worried sick about our loved ones or ourselves; or to the extent that we are busy organising a way out: in any case we just aren’t listening. So an unhinged polemic, cast to the winds.

The philosopher’s epidemic
‘There will be no recovery. There will be social unrest. There will be violence. There will be socio-economic consequences: dramatic unemployment. Citizens will suffer dramatically: some will die, others will feel awful.’footnote1 This is no eschatologist speaking but Jacob Wallenberg, scion of one of global capitalism’s most powerful dynasties, envisaging a world-economic contraction of 30 per cent and sky-high unemployment as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns. While philosophers worry that our rulers are exploiting the epidemic to enforce biopolitical discipline, the ruling class itself seems to have the opposite concern: ‘I am dead scared of the consequences to society . . . We have to weigh the risks of the medicine affecting the patient drastically’. Here the Swedish tycoon echoes Trump’s prognosis that the therapy will kill the patient. While the philosophers view anti-contagion measures—curfews, closed borders, restrictions on public gatherings—as a sinister control mechanism, the rulers fear the lockdowns will loosen their control.

El tiempo suspendido: pandemia y neoliberalismo
Quizás este virus es la “herida narcisista” –Freud dixit– de la soberbia neoliberal: la libre propagación de una pandemia que utiliza emblemáticas figuras modernizadoras (aviones, automóviles, trenes) para su expansión, que enlaza viralmente y cruza los cuerpos en silencio y a su vez los orilla a suspender sus vínculos sociales para individualizarlos en una cuarentena global escalonada, aquello que facilita la competencia económica también facilita la propagación del virus.

La peste e lo stato
La crisi pandemica ha generato un diffuso desiderio di stato e di autorità. Ma per filtrare questo desiderio imponendo un nuovo bisogno collettivo di salute occorre rivolgersi alle tradizioni di ciò che potremmo chiamare “dualismo del biopotere”, vale a dire ai tentativi di appropriarsi politicamente di quegli aspetti della riproduzione sociale, dalle abitazioni alla medicina, che lo stato e il capitale hanno abbandonato o reso insopportabilmente “esclusivi”.

Foucault y sus sombras (III)
El nacimiento de la biopolítica” se publicó póstumamente en el 2004. Pero Foucault dio las lecciones en el Collège de France que recopila en el curso 1978-1979. La primera es de enero de 1979, tres meses antes de que Margaret Thatcher fuera nombrada primera ministra y cuando aún faltaban dos años para la llegada de Ronald Reagan a la presidencia. Aunque no lo mencionara, las ideas del neoliberalismo norteamericano de que hablaba solo se habían experimentado a fondo en el laboratorio ofrecido por la dictadura chilena. Pero se habían convertido en un tema candente en Francia cuando el primer ministro Raymond Barre (1976-1981) las incorporó en su revolucionaria agenda económica, que apenas había empezado a realizarse pero que era aplaudida por muchos altos funcionarios y por círculos académicos e intelectuales de peso. El auditorio de Foucault se había acostumbrado a almorzar leyendo interesados obituarios de la era keynesiana recientemente fallecida por los efectos de la crisis energética. Y, en las lecciones, el filósofo hablaba de la desconfianza respecto al Estado como un sentimiento compartido a derecha y a izquierda aunque fuera por razones diferentes.

Sonnambuli sorpresi dal panico virale
Sebbene sia stato pensato e realizzato in un periodo in cui l’arrivo di una pandemia da Covid-19 era ancora al di là di ogni immaginazione, il saggio di Yves Citton, scritto insieme a Jacopo Rasmi, Génération Collapsonautes. Naviguer par temps d’effondrement (uscito da poche settimane per Seuil, pp. 288, euro 23) contiene già in nuce l’analisi delle peculiarità del tempo che stiamo attraversando. Un tempo di crolli e di profonde modificazioni delle nostre pratiche sociali così come delle categorie con cui pensare noi stessi e il mondo che ci circonda. Un tempo nuovo di cui abbiamo chiesto a Yves Citton di parlarci.


La productividad en tiempos del coronavirus
La situación de confinamiento está siendo utilizada para forzar al personal investigador a ser más productivo y eficiente. Esta presión puede ahondar aún más en la desigualdad que existe en los colectivos más vulnerables.

Work After Quarantine
COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of our labor markets just as much as the fragility of our public health and welfare systems. As we take the economy out of its induced coma, we should ask what kinds of jobs we want and need.

Prison Struggle Is Class Struggle: Incarcerated Workers Rise up Against COVID-19 Exploitation
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, workers from all sectors around the world have been fighting back against the capitalist conditions that have worsened the situation. Workers in Italy have gone on general strike, Amazon employees have walked off the job, nurses have protested, and Whole Foods workers have staged mass sick-outs. These actions haven’t just been limited to the general population of working-class people; there have also been actions by incarcerated workers.

Sex workers’ response to the pandemic proves they aren’t society’s victims
Sex workers have long been portrayed as victims of patriarchy and trafficking, but their quick mobilisation to counter government indifference demonstrates otherwise.

How the Coronavirus Crisis Is Redefining Jobs
The outbreak of Covid-19 has forced organizations into perhaps the most significant social experiment of the future of work in action, with work from home and social distancing policies radically changing the way we work and interact. But the impact on work is far more profound than just changing where people work; it is also fundamentally altering what work is performed and how we perform it.


Urbanismos de la ausencia
Un urbanismo de la ausencia, de la expectación, se disuelve irónicamente en estos días de covid-19

A tale of three cities: the places transformed by pandemics across history
Marseille in 1720, Hamburg in 1882 and the Swedish city of Östersund in 1918 were all indelibly shaped by diseases.

Geografías de la pandemia: La ciudad de los balcones
Uno de los elementos que ha puesto de relieve la pandemia es el debate sobre el diseño, estructura y función de las ciudades. Las políticas de aislamiento social, si bien eficaces desde un punto de vista de limitación de la transmisión vírica, abren muchas incógnitas acerca de la vida comunitaria post-coronavirus y su despliegue espacial. Lo que en cualquier caso parece claro, es que las crisis dejan ver las costuras del sistema, y la observación sobre lo que está pasando en nuestras ciudades debería darnos algunas claves acerca de cómo reconstruir nuestra convivencia.

Social reproduction

Coronavirus, pandemia y crisis global: una mirada feminista
La pandemia global del coronavirus desnuda como nunca la fragilidad de la organización económica, política y social capitalista y revela la centralidad del trabajo de cuidados que la sostiene. Un repaso a la situación de esos sectores habitualmente despreciados.

Il crepuscolo del geo-capitalismo. Virus, corpi, natura, valore.
Lo scambio metabolico uomo-natura nell’era del capitalismo globale e il suo collegamento con l’espansione della pandemia da coronavirus. Ruolo del wildlife capitalism; influenza della scienza e politiche di sicurezza; mobilità negata e libertà dei consumi; crisi economica, cambiamento climatico e nuove configurazioni di potere. La discussione dei molti dilemmi emersi dal “fenomeno sociale totale” Covid-19 per iniziare a costruire il futuro collettivo.

Social Reproduction Theory And Why We Need it to Make Sense of the Corona Virus Crisis
When I think back on this crisis in the years to come, two images will stay with me. One is of ordinary Italians singing to one another across balconies in solidarity with neighbors in isolation and caregivers on the frontlines. The other is that of the Indian police hosing down migrant workers and their children with bleach for ‘daring’ to walk cross country once their workplaces closed during lock down and no public transport was available for them to get home.

COVID’s borders: between peer-to-peer surveillance and the “common good”
The vocabulary of war contributes to concealing the differential impact of COVID, which has just found its first victims in the overcrowded refugee camps in Greece.


The Pandemic and the Global Economy
Developing countries face collapsing international trade, falling remittances, sharp reversals of capital flows, and currency depreciation. Only bold policies—debt relief, international financing, planning, and more—will avert further catastrophe.

Is this the end of Airbnb?
Hosts are calling it the Airbnb apocalypse. But it’s more akin to an enema

Airbnb and Covid-19: Capturing the Value of the Crisis
The tourism and travel sector has been devastated as the Covid-19 pandemic spread over the world: airlines keep their fleet on the ground while hoping for state support; hotels temporarily convert hotel rooms to workspaces and makeshift hospital rooms due to lack of guests; and museums now offer virtual tours. Meanwhile, Airbnb rentals have plummeted; data by short-term rental market analyst Airdna suggests that in some cities Airbnb bookings were down by 95%. State-sanctioned immobility directly hits business models of platforms like Uber and Airbnb, which normally thrive on facilitating travelling. In this blog post I explore Airbnb’s response to the crisis so far, which seems to primarily consist of crisis management and efforts to capture any value that remains and may come out of the crisis.


El Capitalismo de vigilancia conquista el shock
El capitalismo de vigilancia se erige como la solución a una pandemia descontrolada, de la misma manera que la uberización de la economía se erigió como la alternativa a un mercado laboral bajo shock por la crisis financiera de 2008.

Fin del interregno: hacia la sociedad digital post-Covid19
Los capitalistas new age han aprovechado la crisis sanitaria más importante del último siglo para mercantilizar cada vez más áreas de la vida mediante sus adictivas tecnologías. Sólo una estrategia socialista que coloque las infraestructuras digitales en el centro de la batalla política podrá impedirlo.

COVID-19 e human tracking
Il fine di questo documento è di scattare un’istantanea dell’uso delle tecnologie mobili di tracking e contact tracing nella lotta per il contenimento del contagio nel corso della pandemia Covid 19 nel momento in cui stanno per essere introdotte in Italia, in Francia ed in altri paesi europei.  Cercheremo inoltre di mettere in evidenza le problematiche connesse e legate all’uso ed alla diffusione di tecniche di sorveglianza di massa.

A European Contact-Tracing App Might Be More Privacy-Invading Than Apple and Google’s
As we move past the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have started to make plans for what the next phase of containment will look like. A crucial element of these plans is likely to be the ability to automatically track down contacts of those found to be infected, using the radio technology built into smartphones. Unfortunately, plans to deploy these systems hit an unexpected snag this week, as the major European contact-tracing technical coalition found itself at odds with both smartphone manufacturers and privacy advocates. In the words of one scientist: “This has gone beyond a joke and descended into farce.” How did we get here?


Ill Will. Throughout history, pandemics have been structured by racism
In 1992, THERE WAS A SILENT EPIDEMIC running through New York City jails. A drug resistant strain of tuberculosis proliferated throughout the damp cells, leading Morris E. Lasker, federal judge for the Southern District of New York, to decree a state of emergency on January 24. In his order, he demanded that the New York City Department of Corrections create forty-two isolation beds for the highly contagious inmates with tuberculosis. He was prompted by the death of thirteen New York City inmates from TB over the course of the previous year, all of whom were HIV positive. Investigators and medical practitioners found that immunosuppressed prisoners who were HIV positive were especially vulnerable to tuberculosis, pneumonia, and other communicable diseases.