Remote Bodies

Cesare Battisti

Other languages: Italiano, Français, Español

Capital reproduces itself through its own obscenities. In 2005, scientist Anthony Fauci warned the US government that we would soon see the first pandemic of pulmonary infections due to attacks on the ecosystem, and that other infections would follow thereafter. Since 2005, the world order, established on the framework of economic growth at all costs, has done everything possible to make this widely announced disaster a reality [1].

If, in the darkness of COVID 19, one were to spread conspiracy theories of planned massacres, one would certainly not be helping the world understand what is happening to us. It must be acknowledged, however, that those who could and did nothing to avert the pandemonium have taken a rather suspicious stance.

Never before have the lords of war against planet Earth managed to push the citizenry’s desire for security to such a point that they accepted preventive mass imprisonment. ‘Lockdown’, they call it: an expression that, in the USA, means nothing less than segregation, wherein police and army action in the streets becomes indispensable to dissuade stubbornly “irrepressible” elements. And here we are, all indoors, moralizing at those who dared to express their doubts regarding the efficacy and, ultimately, the true purpose of such maneuvers.

Meanwhile, while the industry of administrative fines flourishes in our country, in some “godforsaken” countries it has even become legitimate to fire upon those reckless enough to venture out into the open.

Since the advent of COVID 19, to watch virtually any TV show, at any time, or read any of the “great national and international press” journals has been like entering the nightmare of a future that not even the good George Orwell had dared to fear: there is not a single word, not a single image that is not designed to foment collective panic. One might imagine that dissident voices, or at least those critics who do exist, are being conveniently ignored by the manufacturers of public opinion. However, this did not prevent some free minds from expressing a different point of view on what is really happening here and elsewhere.

Without detracting from the dramatic nature of the virus, Giorgio Agamben’s words are a breath of fresh air: “the limitations of freedom imposed by governments are accepted in the name of a desire for safety that was created by the same governments that are now intervening to satisfy it.” In light of this, how can we fail to see that COVID 19 has been used as a test case for a possible state of emergency in the event of social rebellion on a global scale? I do not wish to claim that the virus was created specifically for these purposes — this would be to take over the position of those who concoct conspiracies but mock those who report them — but more to the point, it has been skillfully exploited by warlords (it is no coincidence that war terminology has blossomed around COVID 19) who have deployed every resource available to the ruling powers to tame mass rebellion, and this is right in front of everyone’s eyes.

And if conventional weapons weren’t enough, the most fearsome technologies of social control are being put into play. Last century, lovers of genre literature already cautioned us that we will one day all be outfitted with a transistor (it was a long time ago) installed in our bodies at birth, to ensure that what we say and where we are any given moment will be known. The deliriums of youth, those days when we used to find ourselves in city squares discussing art and revolution: such habits have all been overturned by the state’s brutal assault [stragista] [2] on the free and revolutionary thinking of the past century, with a resulting political and cultural decline of the masses that continues to this day.

At long last, the dream of capitalist power, which no longer aims at gathering us together but rather at ensuring our separation, has finally been realized. The tracing of contact between bodies (or ‘contact tracing’, as they like to say to those who, if they don’t speak English, have the impression of nothing being said) is itself nothing new. Our mobile phones are followed step by step by satellites and, on occasion, even our conversations do not escape the “great ear”. Clearly, the necessary timing and precision was not enough to keep us at bay. In fact, today’s cutting-edge military technology has far more sophisticated means at its disposal, ordinarily employed only in espionage operations by counter-terrorism departments. Only the resistance of certain international watchdog [garantisti] institutions has so far prevented the entire society from being targeted indiscriminately by ultra-espionage technology.

COVID 19 has put an end to this ethical scruple. Today, it is loudly proclaimed to be necessary to know where each of us goes, and with whom we are meeting. This is something that experts at Rice University, commissioned by the Gates Foundation, already considered just last year. The invention of copper-based quantum electrolyte points [punti quantici a base di rame], injected into the body together with the COVID 19 vaccine, would serve as a scannable barcode with a special apparatus (cf. “The Art of War”, by Manlio Dinucci). Tell me who you’re with, and I’ll tell you who you are.

They keep telling us, “nothing will ever be the same,” and we are beginning to believe it. Unfortunately, I fear that it will not be in the sense hoped for by the most optimistic among us, who imagine a kind of redemption from capitalist madness. Instead, we are moving towards a day when the word Community will at first be banned, and then gradually emptied of any civic spirit. In the age of separate bodies, gathering is subversion. The virus has been perfected, and the only antidote is separation, obedience. What we are witnessing is no longer a war of ideologies, but a decisive assault by capital against the human condition as a communion of body and spirit.

[I am in] Oristano prison. Today is April 25, the day of the Liberation from Nazi-Fascism. So they told us, anyway, and we believed it. So much so, that every year the people have taken to the streets, not only not to remember the Liberation, but to make it a reality, one day, at least for our children. Now the plaza is gone, and the people are segregated. Mass-murdering capitalism [Il capitale stragista] has occupied the scene, relegating a dream of freedom to a mere viral infection.

Paradoxically, one territory where Community is destined to persist until the last person is prison, and beyond whatever inmate numbers they assign to each of us. Here the means of survival are nonexistent, nor would they even be possible. In Oristano, masks and gloves are forbidden by order of the management, who believe that they will be used to hide faces and fingerprints. Guards are kept on permanent alert. The prisons are powder kegs primed to explode. The bars, instead of separating, gather the feelings of revolt. Prisoners will not allow themselves to die at the hands of laws sanctifying revenge. So they unite, they shout louder than the virus, they want to communicate with people, to say that a solution is possible. Let’s talk about it.

Translated by Ill Will Editions


1. Cesare Battisti is an Italian revolutionary and former member of the Armed Proletarians for Communism (PAC), a far-left group active in Italy during period known as the “Years of Lead” in the late 1970’s. After being sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy for four homicides, he fled first to France and then to Mexico before settling in Brazil where he lived as a free man until an order of extradition issued in December 2018. In 2019, he was kidnapped and arrested by Italian state agents and Interpol, and extradited to Italy where he is currently serving a life sentence. Upon his arrival in Italy, the Ministry of Justice issued a video depicting him as a trophy. Battisti is also a fiction author, having written 15 novels.” —Trans.

2. In the Italian context, the term ‘stragista’ calls to mind the ‘strage di stato’ (state slaughter) and the ‘strategia della tensione’ (strategy of tension) which, from 1969 to 1980, led to years of state massacres that sought to crush the escalating social conflict and the rise of autonomous and revolutionary struggle. —Trans.