Sebastian Lotzer wrote three novels that were published by Bahoe Books. Unfortunately his books were not translated (yet?) in English. Sebatian also writes regularly for Sunzi Bingfa. Here is a piece from the latest edition (#14, January 25, 2021) of Sunzi Bingfa.
It will be a long night.
It is good, on the night shift, oooh
You found another home
I know that you’re not alone on the night shift
Four evenings and nights. Intensified curfew. Ten years after Muḥammad al-Būʿazīzī set himself and what the white world calls the Arab world on fire. Pandemic curfew. No one bought it. The relatives of those who fell 10 years ago gathered in downtown Tunis, as they do every year, to commemorate, to make sure that the dead are not forgotten, to commemorate, to remember that nothing has changed. They were pepper sprayed in their faces, as if there were nothing but tears anyway.
Since the first night of the intensified curfew, car tires are burning again on the streets of Tunisia’s working-class neighborhoods, stones are flying… “The whole system must disappear… We will return to the streets and regain our rights and our dignity, which a corrupt elite usurped after the revolution.”… One voice among many, almost everyone here thinks this way. Government buildings are pelted with stones and burning bottles. The suburbs of Tunis, Kasserine, Gafsa, Sousse, Monastir, the same names, the same places as ten years ago. Nothing has changed. Everything has to change. The government has mobilized the army and the National Guard, armored tanks roll through the streets, Molotovs are thrown from the rooftops. More than 700 young people have now been arrested, and their families are standing in front of the Tunis Palace of Justice demanding their release. Meanwhile, the daily demos in the capital are growing, with people gathering on the historic Avenue Habib Bourguiba: “The people want the fall of the regime.” Still. An address by the prime minister on TV: “The grievances and concerns of the youth are justified, we have heard them, but we will act with force against any violence.” It is as if Ben Ali was never overthrown.
The year has only just begun and it already seems as if the world has (apparently) held its breath for only a few months. In Guatemala a new caravan of hope is pushing towards the USA, in India millions of peasants have been on the streets for weeks, in France tear gas canisters are flying through the air every weekend again. And these are only fragments of those sequences that are currently putting the escalation of social conflictuality back on the agenda, despite or perhaps because of the Corona state of emergency.
The Riot wants to preserve nothing, affirm nothing. At most, it wants to affirm the existence of a common enemy, a shared plight, a shared negation.
When we talk about the uprisings in Tunisia at this point, it is also because no one in this country (Germany, Enough 14) talks about the riots in Stuttgart last summer anymore. Or, in other words, because there is no real spatial/perspective separation for the surplus proletariat that is full of pride in being responsible for the riots. There is only the left’s misconception about the genesis and perspective of the whole affair. To a large extent disconnected from any proletarian reality of life, it settles down at home in the stay home Biedermeier until the state has eliminated the pandemic completely or takes pleasure in introducing differentiated concepts of the state of emergency into the discourse. To this day, there is no left-wing report worth reading on the revolt in Stuttgart, no interviews with those involved, no one knows the names of those imprisoned, no donations are being collected for the trials, no one visits or writes the prisoners. And this is not a question of morality, although it also is, but a question of necessity, because where else should future common struggles come from, if not from the real struggles that are already there.
In 2021 we will see a further generalization of the revolts, the consequences of the worldwide states of emergency will cost the lives of millions of people, the refugee and migration movements will inevitably multiply. Our opponents, who, unlike the left here, have a clear consciousness of the class issue, will unconditionally use the tools they have appropriated in the pandemic state of emergency in the subjugation of the coming social unrest. Categorization, spatial compartmentalization, control over streets and squares, manipulative social techniques… are not only useful to “fight ” pandemics, but are also helpful to suppress social and political resistance, respectively the different states of emergency already flow into each other, as can be observed very well in Greece, which was already an experimental field for the management of a crisis in 2008.
The task of those radical left splinters in this country (Germany, Enough 14) who are making tentative attempts to question the prevailing narrative of the pandemic state of emergency and to create possibilities and places of resistance should now be, among other things, to discuss how the isolation from the real social reality can be lifted. Beyond the polite phrases of solidarity and catalogs of demands to the state. Initiatives such as the demonstration on January 23 in Berlin, for which there was a broad pasting poster campaign in real life, could be a step in this direction, if they position themselves in a deliberate break with those parts of the left that support the state of emergency through silence and acclamation. Likewise, the May Day mobilizations could provide a platform if they do not exhaust themselves in the reproduction of familiar rituals and courses of action. Beyond these very practical questions, it is necessary to intensify the debate that has thankfully been broken open by the unspeakable #ZeroCovid campaign. When the night is at its deepest, the day is coming…
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