McKenzie Wark on Thu, 25 Oct 2001 10:17:13 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> gravity hits the weightless economy...

Index to This Fabulous World / 24th October 2001

A is for Anthrax
McKenzie Wark

It would seem that the powers that be really do believe that we live in a
weightless, frictionless, 'new economy', were pure information circulates
without the tiresome efforts of mere blue collar workers. Even the dogs in
the White House were tested for Anthrax, but nobody bothered to test
Washington's postal workers, who actually have to sort and shift the
mountains of mail that passes through Washington DC. Two postal workers
died from exposure to Anthrax. After only a few weeks on the job, Tom
Ridge, the Bush-appointed director of Homeland Insecurity already has two
preventable deaths for which to account.

The discovery of Anthrax in mail sent to Tom Daschle, majority leader, led
to a massive operation in which Congress was shut down and searched by
investigators in those contamination suits so familiar to regular viewers
of the X-Files. The media responded approvingly to these elaborate
precautions, as well it might, given that media outlets have also been
targets for Anthrax attacks. But just as it was the assistant, rather than
celebrity news spokesmodel Dan Rather who opened the ill-starred envelope,
it was the postal workers and political minions who really faced danger.
The assurances as to their own safety offered by the talking heads of the
military entertainment complex are quite genuine, given that neither
Rather nor Bush or Dashle open their own envelopes.

All the mail in Washington, including mail to Congress, passes through the
mail centre on Brentwood Road Northeast, where the two real victims
worked. Two more mail workers are in hospital with Anthrax. Surprisingly,
mail requires workers to actually sort it and deliver it. Just when the
American ruling class has succeeded in making workers invisible and
irrelevant, they start to turn up dead from neglect.

The free world can at least sleep safe in the knowledge that no
Congressional animals were harmed in the recent attacks. American workers,
on the other hand, have every reason to think that the new-found aura of
unity in adversity radiating from the Anthrax-free person of President
Bush does not necessarily include them. "I'm confident when I come to work
tomorrow that I'll be safe," says President Bush. The same may not be true
for the rank and file of the 'information economy'.

David E. Rosenbaum And Sheryl Gay Stolberg, '2 Postal
Workers Die and 2 Are Ill; Inhaled Anthrax Indicated', New
York Times, 23rd October 23, 2001; Francis X Clines, 'Early
Results Are Negative in White House Anthrax Tests', New
York Times, 24th October, 2001,



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