Feminism and ecology are struggles that capital cannot digest

Adriana Marcus* on the vaccine experience, the fear of being left out of the human herd, and the role of death.

From my little house of mud and wood in the Andean forest, I begin to think about the post-pandemic period, and many questions come to mind. It is because these two years have generated a lot of uncertainties, doubts and confusion created by contradictory or absent information, data from unknown sources, upheavals in our daily lives, and everyone has reacted in a different way, as they could.

Personally, I was fascinated to be able to be at home, working in the shared garden with my neighbour, chatting and mating with the neighbors without fear of possible contagion, knitting, writing and reading in front of the wood stove, cooking without time or haste, sewing handmade books.

I know most people have had a really bad time, overcrowded, pressed by telework, locked in tiny houses. There have been many femicides, depressions, panic attacks, abandonment of old and sick people, and many people who neglected their health because they could not monitor their health. And those who supported a large part of the social metabolism in the cities were the most vulnerable sectors: the totally precarious domestic workers and delivery men, who took care of the life of the middle and upper classes, at least in my country, where the unemployment, inflation and bidding by the political class have impoverished the population.

Perhaps the suffering experienced challenge urban life. Eco-feminist Yayo Herrero from Spain argues that big cities don’t produce anything that serves the sustainability of life. But from them, decisions are made for everyone.

i knowI share my questions considering post-pandemic, though the answers will come a long time from now, or when the archives are opened thirty years later (if we’re still here and the sixth extinction hasn’t happened yet) or never.

About the pandemic: Why did the WHO modify the pre-existing criteria to define the “pandemic”? Hunger is not a pandemic? It reminds me that over the past few decades, hegemonic biotechnopharmacological medicine has changed the laboratory values ​​by which to determine various pathologies to be treated pharmacologically or to be confirmed by means of high (and expensive) biomedical technology.

About mandatory preventive social isolation, Why should healthy people perform “quarantine”? In known human history, this is the first time this has happened. From a health perspective, it makes sense to tell people with the disease what rest they need for recovery and to avoid close contact with healthy people who might be infected. This decision – very costly in terms of collective mental health, economy, work, abandonment of the elderly and the needs of infants and young people – was it more political than health? At what level was it designed, national or international?

Do you know what memory comes back to me? The history of the Malvinas Islands, Argentina. I tell you that seven years after the Argentine military coup, on March 30, 1982, the CGT (workers’ union) organized an immense national mobilization “for peace, bread and work”, objectives more than manageable, right? Not only was the demonstration delegitimized, but it was immediately followed by fierce repression. And three days later, the government sent the armed forces and conscripts to invade the Falklands, territory that we consider Argentine. It seems that this event was planned for July 9, Independence Day, a significant date that would indicate a second independence and recovery of the islands.

This fact made popular mobilization invisible which jeopardized the genocidal dictatorship (1976-1982) already in question and, strangely, stoked the xenophobic fire which – as we know very well – unites people beyond all reasoning. This is a great lesson of fascism: to create an enormous generalized threat, an “invasion” of migrants expelled from their territories, the communist or terrorist danger and other bogeymen to discipline on one side and unify the people on the other , realizing their adhesion and forgetting their previous feelings. An external or internal enemy unites us.

This was the case of the Falklands, It lasted a short time and was extremely traumatic. The collective euphoric delirium of the first days turned into indignation when the deception was discovered, and culpable indifference when the surviving soldiers began to tell their stories.

And now: Is the virus the invisible and universal enemy that unites us, makes us forget the crisis of civilization, the infeasibility of the exterminating and suicidal neoliberal system, the crisis of 2008, and allows the popular awakening to hide the social excesses of Ecuadorians and Chileans people in 2019 with its brutal repressions and the feminist wave that puts life at the center and not the market, as part of its antipatriarchal, anti-capitalist, anti-colonial proposal?

I leave this analogy there, and I continue with the vaccines, that is to say: I share with you the reasons for my decision not to get vaccinated, respecting the decisions of others, since they are optional, and it is because ‘they are actually still in the experimental phase (see Nuremberg Protocol). This means that when participating in an experimental study, volunteers must be informed of the risks of inoculation and where to go in the event of a side effect, as well as having them sign an informed consent.

I consider that the science developed in the West from an instrumental logic, typical of the mechanistic paradigm, it has become a new religion. We blindly trust her, we outsource her services and hope that she will tell us about the fantastic results of her activities. Human activity that has lost the spirituality with which our ancestors related to nature and its other coexisting beings. This desecration of the world by the scientific thought of our current society manages to transform subjects (all living beings) into objects, manipulating nature through interventions that interfere and seriously alter its physiology and metabolism – under our naive and trusting eyes, or blind and indifferent.

ecofeminism, feminism, capitalism, ecology, vaccines

Science “plays with things that have no replacement” in the words of Catalan musician Joan Manuel Serrat, and natural pathways are bypassed, deceiving bodies and their systems of origin. Because naturally a virus that enters the body generates an influx of NK (natural killer) cells, and they are responsible for neutralizing the virus. The resulting antibodies have a short duration, because – and it is known – that viruses (information packets) mutate permanently and it will not be necessary to keep the information for a long time as it is the case in the cases of chickenpox, measles or rubella, which are suffered once in a lifetime, because the antibodies generated by our bodies last a long time.

Interventions that humans develop for our supposed benefit, they usually interfere with physiological processes and generate new problems. For whom we rack our brains in search of sophisticated technological solutions that generate new disorders, in an endless spiral of complications. This is what the British playwright Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was talking about in “Frankenstein”, in her original denunciation, commodified and distorted by horror cinema.

I feel that the vaccine relieves us, it is a psychomagical act that allows us to rediscover our gregarious, social, communal nature that we have missed so much. We don’t think about it much. If to lead the life before – to travel, to go to recitals, in the field, in the square, at school or at university, to practice a profession – it is enough to get vaccinated, I get vaccinated and that’s all. I only put the body. There is no doubt about the validity of a vaccine which, according to the ministries of health, reduces mortality but does not prevent contagion, does not prevent suffering from the disease and does not offer immunity, therefore it is necessary to repeat the vaccination several times.

There are also people who prefer not to investigate too much and she trusts the State, she feels supported by its rulers, setting them up as parents who make decisions for others and do not take her own life into account, because she recognizes that she does not know the subject and decides to outsource the care of its existence. Or is it comfort, intellectual laziness, the impossibility of creating one’s own thought, the fear of being excluded from the human herd?

Deep in the fear of death, so characteristic of the Western gaze, plays an important role. The original peoples have a different vision of this, and they know that death is part of life, that we must make room for those who follow us, that life needs to die to continue its wheel, just like we see this happening in nature of which we are a part. To do this, collective rituals can even give rise to festive events, such as the Day of the Dead in Mexico.

In the end, everyone does what they can. he believes in what he chooses to believe, he seeks and dives to keep walking with awareness and responsibility, or he sits in the chair of comfort, of what is already known, delegating our destinies to others and to others, as representative democracy and TV superheroes.

Above all, respect, empathy and solidarity, also with those who think and feel differently, with our species and all others.

My fantasy, during 2020, was that maybe Fidel Castro was right, and “one only learns in the face of a catastrophe”. I dreamed that urban life would become aware of its parasitic condition, that it would recognize the peasantry that feeds it, that we would learn to live austerely, to take care of water, to consume responsibly, to take care of the waste we generate, reduce consumption, be in solidarity with those who need help, eat consciously to gain health, instead of filling up with drugs for the benefit of the disease industry, be more humble in front of others forms in which life expresses itself: animals, plants, waters, mountains, recognizing that we are part of the great web of life, assuming that we are vulnerable, interdependent, eco-dependent, just “a thread in the great existential web” . I thought we would be better off.

I honor what I lived because it brought me a lot of learning, and I sincerely hope that we have gained awareness and responsibility, in relation to our mother, Ñuke Mapu, because we are part of nature. We are only his children. Humility and gratitude to be part of it, please!

ecofeminism, feminism, capitalism, ecology, vaccines

*Adriana Marcus She is a retired general practitioner and has practiced in Argentina, mainly in the field. A former prisoner during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1982), she is the author of several books on holistic health and is part of a self-managed publishing house (“Notes for Citizenship”). He lives in Patagonia, Argentina.

Photographs: Daniela BeltranEditing and production: Martu Lasso & Romano Paganini



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