Giorgio Agamben speaking on November 13, 2021 -at the IV Congresso Associazione Diritti Alla Follia

Agamben speaking

My English translation of the Agamben’s speech in this video.

“I think you have to realize that in Italy a real coup d’état has taken place under the pretext of the health issue. Perpetrated by the same State authorities. Here all the principles of law but also of political coexistence are blown up one after another.

So we have the state of emergency instead of the law, the emergency law is the opposite of law!

We have information, imposed and forced on us, instead of free debate about the truth, we have health worship instead of the religion of salvation, we have technology instead of politics, we have distance, suspicion and discrimination instead of proximity and trust. It seems to me that all the principles of coexistence and law are being destroyed.

It seems to me that the very concept of freedom and the very concept of law are already changing. Two very simple examples — the first is the issue of the Green Pass — that is being talked about so much. The Green Pass is a part of that political model the political scientists call the “authorized freedoms” — what is an authorized freedom? The authorization in law is an act that does not grant new rights, but authorizes the exercise of already existing rights. So the rights that one has freedom to leave the house from six to six, go to a restaurant or take a train — these basic rights — now need to be exercised with an authorization, and the Green Pass is this authorization. And also the issue of blindness of people who think that the Green Pass is a principle that guarantees freedom, when in fact an authorized freedom is no longer freedom, because it can be revoked and changed at any time by the person who gave the authorization. I repeat: once you implement this model of authorized freedoms, which is a general model, any act, any right, any movement will soon have to be authorized and the authorization requirement can be extended indefinitely onto any everyday activity.

Another important point is the change of the very nature of law — by definition, the law must be certain, there is no legality without certainty of laws, any jurist has always known that. Now instead the government changes regulations every 15 days, every month: constantly changing the rules! There is no longer any legality whatsoever, this phenomenon is no longer a phenomenon of legality, an uncertain law is not law.

This is an enormous change, because there is an enormous change in people’s lives, citizens now know that the law is not what has been established, but it is not stable, changes every 15 days. With this state of lawlessness normalized, these two issues are very important to resolve. These changes demonstrate the essence of the “authorized freedom” — an uncertain right or law is no longer right or law. We must understand that a coup has taken place, it is precisely the pattern that will change the concepts of freedom and law. Perhaps we need to remember that at the core of this pattern is bringing out one illegal situation after another, not creation of new norms. We need to remember that as the scholars pointed out, the Nazi state is always a dual state, dual because on the one hand it seems that there is still a semblance of a legal state as we know it — but on the other hand there are the new powers outside of any legality — those are really in charge and they decide. That is where we are now, I just wanted to say.”-

Giorgio Agamben



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Lena Bloch

Lena Bloch

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