Cured Quail: The reality of denial and the denial of reality, Antithesi / cognord, September 2021.
This text was written and published in Greek in September 2021. It was intended as a polemical intervention in a debate about the Sars-CoV-2 virus, the measures and instruments to fight it, and the authoritarianism of the Greek government. It was triggered mainly by the authors’ astonishment (and sadness) that many of their comrades and friends from the radical milieu deny the pandemic, while some of them slowly but surely slip into conspiracy thinking and shocking absurdities. With the text, therefore, the authors wanted not only to criticize and denounce such irrationalities, but also to try to understand the various reasons for such a regression. Thus, although the text attempts to answer the question of what the covid pandemic (and its management) tells us about contemporary capitalism and the state, it also poses the difficult question of what it tells us about contemporary subjects and the material conditions for collective thought and struggle.
Because this was written with an eye towards a Greek audience, certain passages that related directly to issues only relevant in Greece have been removed from the translation. At the same time, it became clear that many of the points raised in the text could easily apply to other countries. In relation to the embrace of denialism from radicals, for example, the cases of France – and perhaps also Italy – appear to be moving in similar trajectories. The similarities that were identified made the translation of the text a worthy endeavor and the authors thank their comrades in France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Italy who expressed their interest. Among other things, the similarities that can be found between countries indicate that approaching the current situation by looking at specific historical developments within Greece (such as the consequences of a prolonged austerity and the defeat of social movements that emerged against it) can, though significant in many ways, be misleading if utilised to prioritise some specificity of the Greek situation. The combined effects of an unprecedented outbreak (existentially and materially) of a contagious virus almost simultaneously around the world, the fear and uncertainty this generated, as well as the different ways through which state and capital chose to respond, allow us to extend our observations beyond Greece.
Since translating essentially means interpreting (and at times re-writing), the structure has been slightly altered in order to give the text a better flow. And though the text was published almost two months ago, the authors chose not to make too many additions and updates, apart from some comments indicating how some of the frightening predictions they had made unfortunately materialised. They also added some clarifying sentences or paragraphs to render the text more relatable to a non-Greek audience.