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Mutual Aid

There Is Power In A Pantry

If you’re one of the people who’s been following the Warrior Met Coal strike over the past 23 months, it’s almost certain that you’ve heard the name Haeden Wright. The 35-year-old mother of two is a teacher, an activist, an elected official, a coal miner’s daughter and a boss’s worst nightmare. She’s a vocal presence on social media, has given countless interviews, and has participated in panels and other public events in an effort to direct attention to the strike. But the first time I met Wright was before all that. It was April 2021 and we were standing in a forest clearing in Alabama’s Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park, surrounded by 1,000 striking coal miners and their families.

How To Provide Direct Support To Earthquake Victims In Syria

The U.S. Peace Council (USPC) and the World Peace Council (WPC) have started a joint international fundraising campaign in support of the victims of the recent catastrophic earthquake in Syria, who are facing the consequences of a destructive earthquake without the much needed supplies of food, medicine and shelter as a result of debilitating economic sanctions. The purpose of this fund drive is to raise the necessary funds for the purchase and shipment of medical supplies and equipment to the victims of earthquake in Syria, in direct coordination and cooperation with the Syrian Red Crescent, in accordance with the General License No. 23 of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Authorizing Transactions Related to Earthquake Relief Efforts to Syria.”

CUNY Administration Cracks Down On Student And Worker-Run Food Pantry

Three years ago this month, the City University of New York (CUNY) pivoted to remote operations during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. When the university began to gradually reopen in-person operations after vaccines were widely available, dining services on many campuses — which students rely on for affordable meals — remained closed. At the same time, wages have not kept up with inflation, and budget cuts from the city and the state are gutting many of CUNY’s other services. Not only are affordable campus dining options important, but students and workers are struggling more than ever to afford basic needs.

Organizations Provide Mutual Aid To Residents Of East Palestine, Ohio

Organizations and affinity groups across Ohio are uniting to offer support and mutual aid to those most affected by last week’s train derailment and subsequent release of toxic chemicals. We are accepting donations of both funds and supplies for communities in and around East Palestine, Ohio. This disaster is a policy decision. The Biden administration and Congress refused to support rail workers in their demands to improve safety in December 2022 and January 2023. Ohio Governor DeWine mandated the conditions to allow the toxic burn off in lieu of alternative remediations. The purpose for escalating the release of volatile chemicals was to speed up the process for trains to resume to generate profit for the companies who perpetuated this catastrophe.

Building Solidarity And Strength On The Streets Of Pittsburgh And Chicago

From ‘hood to ‘hood and city to city, we stand the most to gain in uniting, as an oppressed community capable of liberating ourselves from our collective social conditions! Over half a million people are experiencing homelessness here in the US, 580,466, as of January 2020. However, more than 16 million housing units in the United States are vacant. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the same social contradiction exists, where over 800 people are documented as homeless. According to the Pittsburgh Quarterly, however: The city of Pittsburgh has nearly 24,000 vacant properties, including 7,500 vacant houses and buildings, according to a market analysis by the Center for Community Progress, a national land-recycling nonprofit. About 22 percent of the vacant houses and buildings are owned by the city. Pittsburgh ghettos like Homewood, Hazelwood and the ‘Hill are socially situated much like Woodlawn, Englewood and Lawndale, here in Chicago. Vacant lots can be seen, not primarily downtown which is a lucrative tourist attraction; but outcasted from the world of the privileged.

Autonomous Winter Support Mobilization: Street Patrol Basic Guide

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately seven hundred people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are killed from hypothermia annually in the so-called United States. Absolutely no one should be left to sleep outside during cold weather yet a range of factors may force people to sleep in the cold; from discriminatory shelters kicking people out, being kicked out of a house during a storm, being forced to flee an abuser, simply being unprepared, etc. Raids sweeps and anti-homeless laws, such as anti-camping ordinances push people to camp in hidden and dispersed areas which puts them more at risk. Street Patrol (SP) consists of an autonomous (decentralized) volunteer crew or multiple crews of people who mobilize to support unsheltered relatives when weather is extremely cold.

The Making Of La BOM: Montreuil’s New Library Of Things And Sharing Hub

Montreuil, France - Inspired by Shareable’s coverage of the sharing economy, Bibliothèque D’Objets De Montreuil, also known as La BOM, opened its doors as a “Library of Things” in April 2022 in the Parisian suburb of Montreuil. La BOM’s president and founder Sylvain Mustaki had been searching for a way to make a difference in an economic climate that disenfranchised people who struggled financially. Mustaki says that Libraries of Things (LoT) help reduce waste through the loaning and lending of useful but costly everyday tools, appliances, and other items, but says empowering everyday people to share is his focus. I’m afraid we have difficult times coming, particularly for poor people. Building a community based on sharing and mutual help is the best chance for the people to get through hard times. We had to do something.

Commoning Our Way Through The Climate Crisis

In early 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic forced a retreat into our homes in a grand finale of our atomization and separation from nature — a separation that was exacerbated by enclosures. Yet physically distanced (and with the fragility of the economic system exposed) we remembered our interdependence. Many of us rediscovered ways of self-organizing and returned to the culture of commoning that has been overlooked as a vital way to address many issues, like climate change. Across countries, collective responses to the climate crisis have flourished at local levels, particularly where there were existing networks of support and democratic enterprise. Community energy organizations sent thousands of pounds to support neighborhood responders before governments had figured out how to reach people.

Settlement House As A Time-Tested Model For Community Resilience

How can we best equip our communities as we transition to a new normal? This question is driving resilience researchers and practitioners across the nation to seek out new models that support local adaptation to a variety of crises. Recently, the climate crisis has increased the challenges faced by our communities, making the future even more uncertain and community resilience all the more necessary. Scholar Kristen Magis describes resilience as “the existence, development, and engagement of community resources by community members to thrive in an environment characterized by change, uncertainty, unpredictability, and surprise.” Importantly, resilience is the human ability to recover, and even thrive, after crises. However, communities need a supportive model to respond well to the accelerating environmental challenges.

Mutual Aid Emerges As A Critical Survival Tool In Puerto Rico

A network of mutual aid groups in Puerto Rico were quick to react when the island lost power on Sept. 18 before being hit by Hurricane Fiona. Nearly 750,000 people are still without power a week after the storm caused mass flooding, landslides and property damage. Mutual aid groups like the feminist community-based organization Taller Salud, the collective sustenance and solidarity group Brigada Solidaria del Oeste and LGBTQIA+ support group Waves Ahead have provided Puerto Rico residents with direct economic aid, as well as emergency essentials like first-aid kits, water filters, solar lamps, nonperishable food, toiletries and water purification devices. Puerto Rico’s infrastructure system had not yet recovered from Hurricane Maria in 2017, which caused the deaths of nearly 3,000 people and decimated the island’s health care, water and power systems.

Pirate Care, A Syllabus

Alarmed that certain types of caring for people has been criminalized, a large group of Europeans assembled a course syllabus in 2019 on what they call “Pirate Care.” As the convenors of the project explained, “We live in a world where captains get arrested for saving people’s lives on the sea; where a person downloading scientific articles faces 35 years in jail; where people risk charges for bringing contraceptives to those who otherwise couldn’t get them. Folks are getting in trouble for giving food to the poor, medicine to the sick, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless. And yet our heroines care and disobey. They are pirates.” Hence the idea of “pirate care” – and the need to offer humanitarian or lifesaving care even if the state chooses to criminalize it. 

The Climate Movement Was Built For A World Before Climate Change

We are past the point where “stopping” climate change is really possible. With global temperature rise already above 1 degree Celsius and the window on keeping warming below 1.5 degrees rapidly closing, the consequences of decades of political inaction and corporate malfeasance are already making themselves known. Every month it seems like another part of the world is being hammered by one catastrophic climate impact or another, from flooding in Puerto Rico and Pakistan to the extreme heat that melted asphalt in Europe this past summer to the wildfires raging across western North America. In the face of this new reality, climate organizing needs to evolve. For me, this reality really struck home last summer when extreme heat and wildfires ravaged the part of Canada that I call home.

How Activism Labour Defies Capitalism

It only takes one doom scroll through social media to see there is no shortage of injustice in the world. But there is also no shortage of people who have dedicated themselves to dismantle systems of violence and advance justice through activism. With how deeply entrenched injustice is in our society, the work to dismantle injustice is a full-time job. Despite the hours put in, this job does not fit a capitalist and colonial view of labour. El Jones, a prison abolitionist dedicated to fighting state violence, said that for Black people, there is a historical precedent that makes it easier for this work to go unrecognized. “Labour and Blackness cannot be separated,” Jones said in an interview with rabble. “You can’t understand any current Black problem without returning to the idea that we were property for a long time.

Anti-Fascism At The Intersection Of Ella Baker And Clara Zetkin

This article is a continuation of a previous one titled “Rethinking Revolution for an Age of Resurgent Fascism.”  Ella Baker’s work leading the Young Negroes’ Cooperative League (YNCL) from 1930-1933 is here used to further inform today’s anti-fascism.  Overall, this article relates Baker’s work to the dissenting views of German Communist Party (KPD) co-founder Clara Zetkin, specifically her views on fascism and the systemic alternative she referred to as a “Soviet Congress for a Soviet Germany.”  This was a federation of autonomous councils formed in neighborhoods and workplaces for mutual aid, self-defense, and as dual power to succeed in revolution through general strikes in the event of a Nazi coup.

Mutual Aid Groups Try To Keep Unhoused Neighbors Alive In The Snow

While the City of Seattle swept her home at Ballard Commons, an unhoused woman cried out to the city workers, mutual aid groups, and other community members packing up the park. “Why don’t they come up with a solution that actually makes sense?” she said of the city. “Put people indoors. Do they think we want to be out here in the middle of winter? No! We’re not crazy.” That was three weeks ago. It was 40 degrees that day. Monday, Dec. 27, the city shivered under a high of 23 degrees, the coldest day in 31 years. The risk associated with hypothermia in the cold weather was greater than the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County. That afternoon, Dr. Stephen Morris, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at UW Medicine, told the Seattle Times that Harborview Medical Center saw one cold weather-related death, two “critically ill” patients, and approximately six people admitted for hypothermia.
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