Davide Tutino: a reflection on our body and philosophy

Davide Tutino is a professor of history and philosophy in a high school in Rome, a member of Resistenza Radicale and the Lazio representative of the union FISI.

Translation of the interview wirh Davide Tutino on Prima Pagina Online, March 15, 2022, original in Italian is here.

Suspended after the introduction of compulsory vaccination for school personnel, he began a hunger strike last December 31. Due to this hunger he obtained an exemption, but refused to use it as a green pass.

His actions of disobedience are based on the principle of non-violent struggle and on the (re)affirmation of the body and its corporeal integrity, at a time when society seems to be going in a completely different direction.

Davide Tutino: the interview

Hello Professor. Let’s start with a general question: in your opinion, how can philosophy help us “survive” in the situation we are in?

The main role of philosophy is to help man ask questions within himself. Man, after all, is as such a question and differs from all other living beings not because he is better, but because he carries within himself a question that goes more or less like this: “Why are things this way?” The human being, therefore, questions the world and himself since the dawn of time, something that other creatures do not do. Philosophy is therefore a form of education into this question that today’s man is ceasing to ask himself, with the risk of renouncing his condition and reducing himself to the role of machine, a slave to the tools he himself has created. If the man will not soon return to reflect on what is the way to go, this way will be decided upon him by an agency no longer human, which will only use humans for its own ends.

You are carrying out a protest action against the measures currently in force in Italy, starting from the green pass. What do your students think about what is happening? And how did they take your gestures?

The students don’t all agree with me and I’m happy about that: if it were the other way around, I would have been a bad teacher. However, they are aware that they can talk with me openly about the issue. With respect to the situation in the schools, the regulations in place are punitive, nothing to do with health. They are methods of punishment and psychological torture, I will say more: I would use the adjective “military”. Military torture techniques applied to the civilian population to bend the will and cause a kind of Stockholm syndrome, making the victims feel so much pain that they are willing to throw themselves into the arms of the executioner. Quarantine, green passes and masks are used for this. No one denies the health problem, but the fact is that a political strategy has been built on it, aimed at militarily bending the population and dehumanizing it, transforming relatively free men into slaves, with the sole purpose of producing, consuming, obeying and dying.

What does it mean to fight in a non-violent way the measures that are in force in Italy?

It means to never stop remembering that the means you use to fight define the ends: this is the principle of non-violence. If you fight with brute force you lower yourself to the level of those who have forced us to fight in the first place. This is why we must attempt to move a large force with a small force, as Archimedes does with his lever. I would also add that the non-violent struggle needs scientific rigor, because it proceeds by trial and error. Unlike violence, which moves between errors and horrors.

What role does the body — and its integrity — play in this battle?

The first form of disobedience to this illegitimate power is the affirmation of the body — the body, that has since the beginning been the object of a ravenous desire of expropriation by the regime. To expropriate the body in the name of emergency is to uproot consciousness from its home. When we are on hunger strike, in Duran Adam (Turkish for “Standing Man”: it means standing still in front of significant buildings as a form of protest) or we disobey by entering forbidden places, we affirm with our bodies the right, which cannot be defended only with words. Currently, words are the battlefield of our violent adversary, they are that something that creates the propaganda. We are now endowed with only one last force: the body. Even the war that has been waged against us began by isolating bodies, a brilliant move to weaken and separate us. The only answer we can give to this spiritual lockdown of bodies is to embody a new political force, thus making it flesh, not just words.

So your hunger strike action fits this context.

Yes, it is an action aimed at reaffirming the sovereignty of conscience over the body, taking it away from those who try to expropriate it. It also serves to physically represent to those who are starving us the result of their work, as in a mirror. It is a gesture made not only in front of power, but also in front of all fellow citizens, so that they realize who they have made themselves accomplices of and so that they can be helped to start to disobey. It is also a resistance to state-mandated health treatment, i.e. vaccination. Mine is, perhaps, the only known case of exemption from compulsory health treatment due to a hunger strike. Undoubtedly an important precedent, Pfizer itself had to admit in writing the potential danger of inoculation during fasting. We have therefore succeeded in removing the famous criminal responsibility from the doctors and to make them get back in touch with their personal responsibility and their conscience, putting them in a position to account for their actions, as it was originally the idea of Medicine, before our State medicine.

So you obtained a vaccine exemption, but refused to use it as a green pass. Why did you make this decision?

I refused because they tried to impose on me an obligation that violates many other regulations. The school, according to the law on self-certification, cannot ask for a document that it already has. A decree, therefore, cannot invalidate a previous medical act, it is an abuse that I totally refuse. It will be the judge who will demonstrate the illegitimacy of this act. If I am suspended, then the bureaucrats will answer for it. We have to activate the law, the judiciary has not been asked enough yet and it could be the immune system of the country.

You are also a member of Resistenza Radicale and you are a trade unionist of FISI. Can you tell us something about these two organizations?

FISI (Federazione Italiana Sindacati Intercategoriali) is extremely valuable, it is the only union that has defended the sovereignty of bodies, while the other unions were busy selling them to the bosses. I think that Italians should join because it is a strong and free union that can bring down a dictatorship, as happened in Poland with Solidarity.

Resistenza Radicale is a non-violent action group based on civil disobedience that is expanding throughout Italy to build an army of non-violent fighters. I believe that this regime can not resist a strong and cohesive union that claims the cornerstones of law and the Constitution. Citizens must give strength to this National Liberation Committee so that it brings together all the forces that want to free the country from the new totalitarianism.

Professor, I would like to ask you one last question: what reading would you recommend to a young Italian at this time?

I adore Collodi and if I had to choose a reading suitable for this period, I would choose Pinocchio: the story of a puppet who wants to stop being a puppet and wants to become human flesh. In order to reach his goal, Pinocchio does not weep over himself, he does not claim his rights, but he uses sweat and effort, until he saves his own father by becoming his own guardian and parent before being a son. A son of flesh and blood, worthy of being free.

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Lena Bloch

Lena Bloch

Background in psychology of learning, literature, philosophy, math.