‘Sopa de Wuhan’ (Wuhan Soup) by Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, María Galindo and Byung-Chul Han, Et. al.

Published by ASPO (Aislamiento Social Preventivo y Obligatorio). Written between February 26 and March 28


The book brings together texts by authors such as Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, María Galindo and Byung-Chul Han, among others.

In a compilation of writings published between February 26 and March 28 by thinkers from all over the world, the Argentine professor Pablo Amadeo seeks that the title Wuhan Soup reflects “recent controversies around the scenarios that open up with the coronavirus pandemic, views on the present and hypotheses about the future ”.

The first writing found in the publication – open access – is “The invention of an epidemic”, by the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. In this text the author explains that in the face of the impact of the coronavirus raised by the National Research Council of Italy, which establishes that between 80 and 90 percent of cases present mild symptoms, there are two possible explanations for the media and authorities spread a state of panic.

Agamben argues that one of the reasons is that “having exhausted terrorism as the cause of exceptional measures, the invention of an epidemic may offer the ideal pretext to extend them beyond all limits”; while the other reason is “the real need for states of collective panic” on the part of society; “Thus, in a perverse vicious circle, the limitation of freedom imposed by governments is accepted in the name of a desire for security that has been induced by the same governments that now intervene to satisfy it.”

In contrast and in response to the previous text, Jean-Luc Nancy exposes in “Viral Exception” that “Giorgio says that governments take all kinds of pretexts to establish continuous states of exception. But he does not realize that the exception becomes, in reality, the rule in a world in which the technical interconnections of all species (movements, transfers of all kinds, exposure or diffusion of substances, etc.) reach a hitherto unknown intensity and that grows with the population ”.

 In “Coronavirus is a Kill Bill-style capitalist coup,” Slovenian Slavoj Žižek poses an analogy in which the fall of the Chinese Communist government, caused by the COVID-19 crisis, is akin to the attack of the “Technique of Exploiting Heart of the Five Point Palm ”, used in the final scene of the movie Kill Bill. This technique is characterized by the time that elapses between the end of the attack and the death of the victim, which results in a comparison of the time in quarantine that China has spent, in which “the authorities can sit, observe and pass through the movements, but any real change in the social order (like trusting people) will result in their downfall. ”

However, for the sociologist, capitalism represents not so much an attack on the Chinese communist system, but rather on capitalism in general, “a sign that we cannot follow the path hitherto, that radical change is necessary.” In addition to this, the thinker maintains that as he has been portrayed in various catastrophic utopias that give way to solidarity, “here we are today, in real life”.

He adds that “the coronavirus increasingly disrupts the proper functioning of the world market and, as we hear, growth may fall by one, two or three percent”, while wondering if “does all this not clearly indicate the need urgent of a reorganization of the global economy that will no longer be at the mercy of market mechanisms? ”

Chaos, discrimination and dictatorship

Judith Butler, in “Capitalism Has Its Limits,” begins by stating that the coronavirus does not discriminate; however, he alludes to Donald Trump’s offer to try to buy, in Germany, the exclusive rights to a vaccine, and ends by stating that “social and economic inequality will ensure that the virus discriminates. The virus alone does not discriminate, but humans surely do, shaped as we are by the interlocking powers of nationalism, racism, xenophobia and capitalism.”

On the other hand, the Uruguayan Raúl Zibechi writes in “At the gates of a new world order”, that “we enter a period of chaos in the world-system, which is the precondition for the formation of a new global order”. He maintains that the leadership of the United States and Europe is transferred to Asia; “The pandemic is the grave of neoliberal globalization, while the pandemic of the future will be a ‘kinder’ globalization, focused on China and Asia Pacific.”

Bolivian activist María Galindo affirms in “Disobedience, because of you I am going to survive”, that “the coronavirus, more than a disease, seems to be a form of multi-governmental world police and military dictatorship.” He points out that in addition to the fear of contagion, the coronavirus also turns out to be “an instrument that seems effective to erase, minimize, hide or put in parentheses other social and political problems that we have been conceptualizing.

In this same sense, the author claims that in this context of illness, millions of euros of bailout of her colonial economies appear to settle rents, utility bills, salaries, when all that proletarian mass was cutting the sky, saying that there was no where to pay the social debt.

Finally, and regarding the arrival of the disease in Latin American countries such as Bolivia, he declares that dengue and coronavirus greeted each other, tuberculosis and cancer were on one side, which in this part of the world are death sentences, since in that Instead what is done is to repeat and copy the European measures, but without having the same resources.

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