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LOCAL Commentary :: Civil and Human Rights

local organizing for Hurricane Relief work

what are our strengths as radicals? how we can actualize them to aid in relief work?
A full analysis of the hurricane and its aftermath is better left to other articles (of which there are lots of good ones being written). However, this is specifically about what are our strengths as radicals/activists and how can we put them to use in practical ways.

Certainly we have among us a lot of people trained in crisis management, in counseling, in mediation, in law work, in direct services - we gravitate towards these area where we think we can help, and where we can get some individual signs of affirmation to help us get to sleep at night. And those skills will be necessary and if you have them and are able to get some time away from pressing responsibilities and feel like you can leave your local constituencies for awhile without abandoning them, I urge you to plug in.

But we have other things as well. In response to this particular crisis we have: rainbow family kitchens used to serving thousands of meals per day in primitive conditions, filtering water, supplying our own fuel, etc. We have people trained in permaculture and low-cost, low-impact building who could help new small villages dot the southern countryside. In my fantasy world people are able to regroup, build houses out of mud and half-burnt tires and discover the comfort and joy of living in small communities of mutual aid - for the first time feeling connected, cared-for, listened to, self-sufficient. we have people used to functioning without any top-down command structure. We have people used to functioning in the midst of overwhelming fear and tearful dispair. We have decentralized media networks, cellular and wi-fi expertise. We have people who know how to live healthily off of wild plants and roadkill. We have people with non-petroleum vehicles. People who know how to practice medicine and healing outside of the hospitals. We have visions and dreams, and some of us have become experts at holding onto hope while dark forces wrench and pull and gnash at that hope.

I would be interested in organizing locally with people to first off set up some sort of connection system to let people that have a weekend/a week/a month know where places are that need help (I imagine this will become more clear over the next week) but more importantly to figure out if we have local strengths/time/energy to actualize a coherent and concrete plan for action over the course of the next year.

If you are interested, please reply here, and maybe we can start laying the groundwork over the next few weeks.

EricS

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(also, as a sidenote, MANY MANY MANY people are decrying this tragedy as what happens when you "make government small". NO NO NO this ius what happens /in an authoritarian state/ when that authority disappears. This is very very very important I think, and if you consider yourself to be an anarchist, I would caution against getting sucked into the "well if we would have just had lots of government money, national guard troops, etc everything would have been alright."

NO NO NO NO it is true that a lack of support systems (and again, a lack of a sense of shared destiny and mutuality) contributes greatly to this disaster, but we must not get sucked into thinking the only/best support systems are top-down government ones. and yet, AND YET, we can not lot our condemnation of that get sucked into the free-wheeling world of weird free-market charity

We can decry and bitch and rightfully condemn the fact that the government basically herded people up and then let them die; that people that trusted in even the meager support systems that our free-trade every-person-for-themselves system have been hung out to dry, but we don't have to equate that condemnation with simply strengthening the same oppressive, inefficient and quite frankly murderous "support systems")

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Comments

Re: local organizing for Hurricane Relief work

There is a group of radicals in Houston who are organizing efforts, as well as RiotFolk music is trying to organize as well. Any ideas?
 

Re: local organizing for Hurricane Relief work

in the meantime there is a list of organizations led by and working with communities of color and other grassroots and radical orgs here:

there is a very good list of organizations working irectly with communities of color and other grassroots and radical orgs here:

www.sparkplugfoundation.org/katrinarelief.html

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infoshop is putting together a list of mutual aid/radical oriented relief efforts here:

www.infoshop.org/hurricanekatrina.html

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FnB is seeking donations/volunteers

www.foodnotbombs.net/katrina.html

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The Southern Mutual Help Association that works directly with poor rural communities and is focused on equity and justice is seeking donations

www.southernmutualhelp.org/
 

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