Covid19 shakes the world

This is the summary of the book Pandemic: COVID 19 shakes the world (Ed New Anagram Notebooks, 2020), that I later analyze for the readers of Nueva Tribuna: Its author Slavoj Zizek, makes an urgent reflection on the coronavirus crisis. On his relationship with politics, the economy, fear and freedoms. On the connection between the expansion of the pandemic and the socioeconomic model of modern societies. On COVID 19, the last warning before the ecological crisis that flies over the future of the world. On the need not to remain in mere naive reflection on how this crisis teaches us what is truly essential in our daily lives, but to go further and think about what form of social organization will replace the liberal-capitalist New World Order. How is the pandemic going to change not our lives, but the entire society?

Slavoj Zizek (Ljubljana, March 21, 1949), is a sociologist, philosopher, psychoanalyst and philologist. He studied at the University of Paris, where he received his doctorate in 1981. He is currently a professor at the University of London and has been considered the most controversial political analyst of our time.

In the first chapter of the book, entitled now we are in the same boat refers: “Li Wenliang, the doctor who discovered the ongoing epidemic and was censored by the authorities, was a true hero of our time, something like the Chinese Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden, so it is not surprising that his death triggered a general anger ” The predictable reaction in the way the Chinese state is dealing with the epidemic is best reflected in the comment of Verna Yu: “If China values ​​free speech, there would be no coronavirus crisis.” There should be more than one voice in a healthy society, said Dr. Li from his hospital bed just before his death, and this urgent need for Listening to other voices does not necessarily mean the western type of multi-party democracy, it just asks for an open space for the critical reactions of citizens to be heard.

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Reacting to the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak, Netanyahu He immediately offered aid and coordination to the Palestinian authority – not out of human kindness and consideration, but for the simple fact that it is impossible to separate Jews and Palestinians there – if one group is affected, the other will inevitably be affected as well. This is the reality that we must translate into politics – now is the time to put the slogan aside “America (or whoever) first.” What did you say Martin Luther King more than half a century ago: “We may all have come in different boats, but now we are in the same boat.”

In the second chapter, titled Why are we all tired?, refers: “There is exhaustive hard work for many dealing with the effects of the pandemic, but it is meaningful work for the benefit of the community, which brings its own satisfaction, not the stupid effort to succeed in the marketplace. When a doctor is mortally tired from working overtime, when a caregiver is exhausted, they tire in a totally different way than the exhaustion of being obsessed with the hustle and bustle of a career. His fatigue is worth it ”.

In the third chapter titled, towards a perfect storm for Europe refers: “A perfect storm occurs when a rare combination of disparate circumstances produces an event of extreme violence: in such a case, a synergy of forces releases energy far greater than the mere sum of its individual contributors… / Three storms are gathering and combining its force over Europe. The first two are not specific to Europe: the coronavirus epidemic in its direct physical impact (quarantines, suffering and death) and its economic effects that will be worse in Europe than anywhere else, since the continent is already stagnant, and also It depends more than other regions of the world on imports and exports (for example, the automobile industry is the backbone of the German economy, and the export of luxury cars to China is already paralyzed). To these two storms, we must now add a third that we can call the Putogan virus: the new explosion of violence in Syria between Turkey and the Assad regime we can see how the combination of three storms makes a perfect storm: a new wave of Refugees organized by Turkey can have catastrophic consequences at this time of the coronavirus epidemic. So far, one of the few good things about the epidemic, coupled with the basic fact that it has made us keenly aware of the need for global cooperation, has been that it has not been attributed to immigrants and refugees – racism acted primarily in the perception of the threat as originated by the Eastern Other-. But if the two issues are mixed, if the refugees are perceived to be linked to the spread of the epidemic (and, of course, there is likely to be a widespread coronavirus infection among the refugees, given the conditions in the crowded camps they occupy ), then the populist racists will have their apogee: they will be able to justify their exclusion from foreigners on “scientific” medical reasons. Policies of sympathy that allow the influx of refugees could easily trigger a reaction of panic and fear.

In the fourth chapter entitled Welcome to the desert of viral refers: “The current spread of the coronavirus epidemic has also unleashed vast epidemics of ideological viruses that were latent in our societies: fake news, paranoid conspiracy theories, explosions of racism. The well-received medical necessity of quarantines was echoed in ideological pressure to establish clear borders and quarantine enemies who pose a threat to our identity. But perhaps another ideological virus, much more beneficial, spreads and infects us: the virus of thinking about an alternative society, a society beyond the nation-state, a society that is updated in the forms of solidarity and global cooperation ”.

In the following chapters: Five, the five stages of the pandemic. Six, the virus of ideology. Seven, calm down and panic. Eight, Watch out and punish? Yes please!. Nine, Is barbarism with a human face our destiny?, Zizek continues to contribute his particular vision of the pandemic.

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Finally, in chapter 10, titled Communism or barbarism that simple refers: “… That is why the position of those who see the crisis as an apolitical moment in which the power of the state must do its task and we only have to follow its instructions, hoping that some kind of normality will be restored in the future is a mistake far away. We should follow Immanuel Kant who wrote regarding the laws of the state: “Obey, but think, keep the freedom of thought!”… / Two more things are clear. The institutional health system will have to depend on the help of local communities to care for the weak and the elderly. And, at the opposite end of the scale, some kind of effective international cooperation will have to be organized to produce and share resources. If states simply isolate themselves, wars will break out. This type of event is what I mean when I speak of “communism”, and I see no alternative but that of a new barbarism. How far will it develop? I cannot say, I just know that the need for it is urgently felt everywhere, and, as we have seen, it is being enacted by politicians like Boris Johnson, certainly not a communist. “

* The author will allocate the entire world royalties for this book to the NGO Doctors without Borders


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