Ph: Caro Nicora
Translation: Coletta Younger, Teresa García, Liz Mason-Deese.
We are the type of people who are left out of emergency plans. Foreign bodies. We are the waste of a society that treats us as second class citizens under any circumstances, discarded. For them, we are the virus. We know it. We know it and we don’t deny it. We mutate and survive, that’s why there are no antibodies that can stop us. We are immune to all that shit, because we have spent most of our lives exposed to poverty, hunger, life on the streets, drug use, prison, to the symptoms and consequences of capitalism. We could write at length about how all of that has affected our lives. That is why no quarantine or obedience can guarantee us a livable life under the parameters of a society we don’t seem to belong to.
Prison taught us a great deal about lockdowns. We have learned from all of this and are still learning. We know how to survive a long list of cruelties and injustices that are thrown our way. We know about survival, violence, contempt, pain, anguish, and indifference. We know this because our bodies know it, since our bodies are the ones on the receiving end of every lash. Our power is born there, our power that is the counter-effect of everything that has been imposed on us.
We don’t want to go back to normal once all of this goes away, because normality terrifies us, criminalizes us, and locks us up. Instead, we say “let’s make normality impossible.” That algorithmic normality that forces us to live a capitalist life, that confines us if we disobey; that normality that makes you a terrorist or a suspect if you don’t let yourself become a yuta (1), if you kill the cop in your head.
If, from the moment we are born, we breathe the air that capital imposes on us, then let them pay us for being born, give us wages for existing, give us free and universal medical coverage. This is the moment to demand everything, to rethink what we mean by justice, to get rid of the ortiva inside us, and to flee from obedience. Is this withdrawal a strategy that intensifies the ways of living that existed before COVID-19? To close borders, to become interdependent with cyberspace, alienated from our friends and ñeris, with the intention of destroying all we have been building and deconstructing. To what extent does this leave us alone in the middle of a crowd, where each person is connected with the virtual illusion of being close to others?
The vulture-like way of living that they propose for us, a police state that expects you to report your neighbors instead of asking them how they are doing or what is going on… That is the virus that worries us the most. That’s the pandemic that only few can escape, the pandemic that destroys networks, social fabrics, and genuine interest in others. Because, we are not all in this together in a type of false unity against the virus. We do not face it in the same way. We do not think about or practice care in the same way. While the call might be to take care of life, it is not the same ways of living that we want to take care of.
In prisons, there are different viruses. There is the yuta virus. One the one hand, you can become totally yuta. On the other, there is the official yuta, the ones that beat the shit out of you in the requisa (2), that remind you every day that you won’t be going back home, or anywhere else. The same yuta that is currently beating people up in prisons for protesting because they don’t have food or medical attention. Yet, nobody cares.
We are being suffocated. We do not want the state to continue its monopoly on violence. We are ready and we call on continuing the flows that we have been stirring up, to keep expanding the forces that push us to stop techno-patriarchy, and to find a collective gesture to confront confinement, denunciation, and vigilance.
Perhaps now someone will skirt along the contours of confinement. Those contours that have become sticky and stick to us like chewing gum, that can only be removed by ripping them out from the base. Many think that quarantine began yesterday, but for us quarantine began the day prisons were invented.
1 – prison slang for cops.
2 – the daily inspection
Versión en español: https://tintarevuelta.yonofui.org.ar/ciudadanas-mutantes/04-2020/somos-plaga/