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Spanish state and pandemic

How not to go crazy in lockdown

Monday 30 March 2020, by Laia Facet

Many of us have been confined to our homes for more than ten days. Taking out the trash, shopping, or walking the dog have become the three easiest escapes. The truth is, the Covid-19 crisis will probably make us more demanding with science fiction, but it can also make us go crazy on the way. So, I’ve compiled 5 tips for surviving confinement.

1. Join a union

If you’ve been fired from your job too, don’t settle for unemployment benefit. Think that the benefit is not being given away, but that it comes from the taxes that the State collects. From everybody? Well, some more than others. The big companies and large fortunes will not contribute anything extra to the public coffers in the face of this crisis. Therefore, the first advice is to join and organize in a union that has not collaborated in the ERTE (Temporary Employment Regulations) and to fight so that the crisis is not paid for as usual.

If you are one of those who have to continue working because the company has decided that the risk of the workers is less important than their profits (but your boss is ’working’), organize with your colleagues. The staff at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Vitoria stood up and made the factory go out of business. So it does work.

In addition, many groups such as domestic workers or sex workers are being put at risk by being forced to continue working or by a drastic reduction in their income without the possibility of accessing unemployment benefit. You can help by contributing to the resistance fund or by participating in the domestic workers’ campaign.

If you are one of the essential ones, those who are working in the health sector, in supermarkets, in transport or in residences,... Demand an increase in the number of staff, a risk premium, gloves, masks and other protective material. And of course, that all the resources, infrastructure and private health care personnel are placed under public control immediately.

2. Organise your non-payment of rent

In addition to being unemployed and/or without income, does the government happen to have passed over the rents? If they... They want us confined and unable to pay for the house! The tenants’ union is organizing a campaign to demand the suspension of payments to the government and to organize those who will not be able to pay their rent.

The first thing the union says is that you are not alone in this situation (even though we are confined). On the campaign website you will find how to help the campaign and a guide on how to proceed if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay your rent. In addition, we are encouraged to make our cases public through social networks.

3. Stop the Covid-19, but also the machismo

Romanticizing confinement is not only a class privilege (as we have been able to read these days on the web) it is also a gender privilege. Confined to the home where for centuries multiple machista injustices are hidden: domestic chores, upbringing, care... and violence.

If macho violence already enjoys a mantle of invisibility and impunity, what is happening today in conditions of confinement? Even if we think we cannot, there too we can help: let’s not leave our neighbours alone. If you suspect that women close to you are living this situation, try to contact them, go to the administration, to feminist groups. Let’s make sure that the feminist solidarity we have shown these years does not remain confined. To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, we should all have the right to a home of our own to confine ourselves to.

4. Give a helping hand to your neighbours

You may be confined and unable to help your mother or grandmother because they live hundreds of miles away but you may be able to help those in your block of neighbours. Or maybe you need a helping hand because you’re in the at-risk population, because with kids you can’t cope or for whatever reason. In any case, you should know that in many neighbourhoods support networks are being organized so that no one in a vulnerable situation should be put at risk. Look for the nearest support network or if it doesn’t exist yet, contact associations and groups to get organized.

5. Exercise

Yes, exercising is important and was already recommended by the POUM with Swedish gymnastics.

24 March 2020

Translated by International Viewpoint from Poder Popular “¿Cómo no volverte loca en el confinamiento?”.

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