Watch the full video with our second guest, Luciana Castellina, interviewed by Haris Golemis – or listen to the recording as podcast.
The regions most affected, were those in the north: Lombardia, Piemonte and the Emilia Romagnia. And this, despite the fact, that the health system in the north was still functioning quite efficiently, despite the cuts in funding and staff over the last decades. Instead, she attributes the impact of the virus to the structure of the economy in these regions. They are characterized by thousands of small enterprises, officials who travel continuously throughout the world, and very high levels of pollution, brought on by a combination of industrialization and topography of the region. The Italian government fortunately took preventive measures rather quickly. This included a lock-down, as fought for by trade-unions, who had gone on strike demanding improved health protection at work.
Castellina goes on to criticize the position of Giorgio Agamben, who claims that the measures taken lead to a state of exception. She believes that his views are typical of a Western obsession for individual liberty and the loss of any sense of belonging to a community. She contrasts this with China, where she believes such a sense of community remains, and where she describes citizens easily accepting the seclusion imposed on them by the government.
Amidst the tragedy of the pandemic, Castellina retains her optimism. She sees the possibility that the left and social movements can take advantage of what she considers to be the “positive” effects, at least in Italy. On the one hand, she sees a return of solidarity, which goes together with a feeling of belonging to a collective entity. On the other, she is optimistic about an increased awareness for the importance of ecology and the protection of nature.
Feeling frustrated by the fact that some EU member states failed to act in solidarity with the countries hit most heavily by the coronavirus, she appeals for the building of a European subject. According to her, this must be achieved through European movements, mobilization, strikes, and the media.
Luciana Castellina, co-founder of the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto and the Partito di Unità Proletaria, former Member of the European Parliament, where she was president of its Culture and Education and Foreign Economic Relations committees, several times a Deputy to the Italian Chamber of Deputies, former president of Italy’s academy of motion pictures Italcinema, author of numerous books and one of the leading figures of Italy’s left continuously from the 1970s to the present day. Her latest books are Manuale antiretorico dell’UE (2017) and Amori comunisti (2018).
Haris Golemis, Greek economist who worked at the Research Department of the Bank of Greece. Golemis was scientific advisor to the Federation of Greek Bank Employees and consultant to the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations. A political activist since his early youth, former member of the Political Secretariat and the Central Committee of Syriza and former director of the Nicos Poulantzas Institute (1999-2017). He is now Scientific and Strategic Advisor to the Board of transform! europe, and Chief Editor of the transform! Yearbook.
Angelina Giannopoulou, facilitator of transform! europe
transform! europe, the European network of political foundations and thinks tanks of the radical left, presents a series of interviews with left-wing thinkers to discuss these crucial issues and plan for the future we want to build.