Agamben, Klein – signaler om hur pandemin ideologiseras

Ideologiseringen av pandemin är oundviklig, och redan nu är det intressant att studera hur den sker. Filosofen Giorgio Agamben, som länge hävdat att undantagstillståndet är ett sätt att fördela makt, har hamnat i rejält blåsväder för att hävda att hela Coronakrisen är ett tecken på att samhällen i dag är oförmögna att existera utanför undantagstillståndet.

I den första texten – som skrevs 26 februari – är Agamben frätande:

First and foremost, what is once again manifest here is the growing tendency to use the state of exception as a normal governing paradigm. The executive decree (decreto legge), approved by the government “for reasons of hygiene and public safety,” produces a real militarization “of those municipalities and areas in which there is at least one person who tests positive and for whom the source of the infection is unknown, or in which there is a least one case that is not connected to a person who recently traveled from an area affected by the contagion.” Such a vague and indeterminate formula will allow [the government] to rapidly extend the state of exception to all regions, as it is practically impossible that other cases will not appear elsewhere.


Epidemin tar vid där terrorismen slutar som alibi för makten att lösa upp individualla fri- och rättigheter, menar han:

It is blatantly evident that these restrictions are disproportionate to the threat from what is, according to the NRC, a normal flu, not much different from those that affect us every year.We might say that once terrorism was exhausted as a justification for exceptional measures, the invention of an epidemic could offer the ideal pretext for broadening such measures beyond any limitation.


Agambens analys har inte stått oemotsagd, och i en artikel i Chronicle of Higher Education angriper Anastasia Berg Agamben utan silkeshandskar:

”What is a society,” Agamben asks, ”that has no value other than survival?” Under certain circumstances, this is a good question; under these circumstances, it is a blind one. Is this the society Agamben believes he is living in? When this philosopher looks around him, does he truly see nothing but the fight for ”bare life”? If so, Agamben’s ”clarification” may be revealing in a way he hadn’t intended. We might think of it as a very lucid example of ”bare theory”: the dressing up of outdated jargon as a form of courageous resistance to unreflecting moral dogma. Sometimes it is advisable to hold off on deploying the heavy theoretical machinery until one has looked around. If we are after wisdom about how to live today, we should look elsewhere.


Agamben skrev ett förtydligande i vilket han dock inte backade från sin position nämnvärt:

What is worrisome is not so much or not only the present, but what comes after. Just as wars have left as a legacy to peace a series of inauspicious technology, from barbed wire to nuclear power plants, so it is also very likely that one will seek to continue even after the health emergency experiments that governments did not manage to bring to reality before: closing universities and schools and doing lessons only online, putting a stop once and for all to meeting together and speaking for political or cultural reasons and exchanging only digital messages with each other, wherever possible substituting machines for every contact — every contagion — between human beings.


Agamben står dock inte ensam till vänster. Naomi Klein menar att Trumps pandemisvar är ett exempel på chockdoktrinen:

Look, we know this script. In 2008, the last time we had a global financial meltdown, the same kinds of bad ideas for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts carried the day, and regular people around the world paid the price. And even that was entirely predictable. Thirteen years ago, I wrote a book called The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, described a brutal and recurring tactic by right-wing governments. After a shocking event — a war, coup, terrorist attack, market crash or natural disaster — they exploit the public’s disorientation, suspend democracy, push through radical free market policies that enrich the 1% at the expense of the poor and middle class.
But here is what my research has taught me. Shocks and crises don’t always go the shock doctrine path. In fact, it’s possible for crisis to catalyze a kind of evolutionary leap. Think of the 1930s, when the Great Depression led to the New Deal.


Agamben och Klein ger intressanta signaler för den som intresserar sig för de politiska och ideologiska förskjutningar som Coronakrisen kommer att leda till.

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