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Mutual Aid

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.

Mutual Aid And Solidarity In Nigeria’s #EndSARS Protests

On October 18, 2020, during the #EndSARS protests against police violence and state corruption in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, a photo was shared on social media that quickly drew nationwide attention. The image showed passionate protesters with their fists pumped in the air, mouths wide open singing songs and chanting slogans. Some were holding placards that read “Our Lives Matter.” What drew the attention of the public, however, was the woman right at the center of the image. With a small Nigerian flag in her left hand and missing her right leg, the woman who was later identified as Jane Obiene stood out because of the defiant spirit she embodied by joining the protest march on crutches.

People In Prison Organize Collectively For Survival

On this show, we talk about how to build the relationships and analysis we need to create movements that can win. When we have talked about the rise of fascism, and how to fight it, I have often made the point that we have a lot to learn from prison organizers, who operate under the most fascistic conditions in the United States. But amid this pandemic rollercoaster of hope, disappointment and uncertainty, I feel like we also have a lot to learn from imprisoned and formerly incarcerated organizers about how to sustain ourselves and each other psychologically during hard times. So, today we are going to hear from Monica Cosby, a formerly incarcerated Chicago organizer whose insights about mutual aid as a form of social life support are invaluable right now. We are also going to hear from Alan Mills, the executive director of the Uptown People’s Law Center about the fight for mental health care in Illinois prisons, how COVID has affected the situation, and what we can do about it.

After Ida, This Louisiana Tribe Is Organizing Its Own Recovery

After the hurricane, the garden took on a new role as a staging ground for the tribe’s disaster response to distribute supplies, coordinate mutual aid groups and help tribal members, who, along with other Native people in south Louisiana, were among the hardest hit. In the long run, Aronson hopes Yakani Ekelanna can combine these functions to become a sort of “laboratory”— a place for building tribal sovereignty and resilience against an uncertain future.

Mutual Aid Goes Mainstream

Last spring, within hours of the University of Chicago’s announcement that classes would be held online, students created a Facebook group to coordinate mutual aid efforts. Even with finals right around the corner, UChicago Mutual Aid came alive with activity. Students eagerly offered and accepted support in the form of advice, essential supplies like food and moving boxes, and spreadsheets listing leads on resources like housing.  What I witnessed at my college was just one example of the many mutual aid networks, both college-based and non-college-based, that sprung up across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mutual aid, a radical practice that has been undertaken by marginalized groups for decades, became a mainstream buzzword almost overnight.

Hunger Stalks The United States

According to the United Nations, the world produces enough food to feed 10 billion people. Yet this year, even in the United States, the world’s richest country, 1 in 3 American families with kids went hungry. Even before the pandemic, in 2019, official statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) detailed that 35 million people went hungry–10 million of them children. The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged the situation, exposing even those who felt “secure” to the possibility of going without eating. In a society where food is not a human right but a good to be purchased, how were people supposed to eat if they couldn’t work? The short answer: they didn’t. Receiving almost no help from the federal government, working people in the United States were laid off by the millions.

The ZAD: Between Utopian Radicalism And Negotiated Pragmatism

The global coronavirus pandemic has brought into sharp relief the many failures of contemporary capitalist states around the globe. These include the failure to ensure social and economic justice and to provide basic protections for the most vulnerable individuals and communities, from refugees to the houseless. Consequently, it has also made clear the need for social movements to not only resist the violence of the state and its facilitation of global capitalism, but to simultaneously and actively build a prefigurative politics toward an alternative society. Carving out autonomous spaces for mutual aid and radical politics is more important than ever. Among the multitude of ways movements engage in prefigurative politics, land occupation struggles have long been central...

After Hurricane Ida, Mutual Aid Provides Safety And Survival

In the aftermath of disasters, those most in need are also who the state often leaves behind. Into this vacuum, communities come together for mutual aid. While charity rarely challenges the root causes behind disasters, and often divides recipients into worthy and unworthy, mutual aid comes from a principle of solidarity. As Dean Spade has written, “First, we need to organize to help people survive the devastating conditions unfolding every day. Second, we need to mobilize hundreds of millions of people for resistance so we can tackle the underlying causes of these crises.” In New Orleans, the entire city was without electricity for nearly a week (and tens of thousands still have not had their power turned back on).

Communique On Brutal NYPD Eviction Of Mutual Aid Hub

We are The Gym, an organizing network focused on mutual aid and community support along the Myrtle-Broadway corridor of Bushwick on the occupied Lenape land known as Brooklyn, New York. On Saturday, July 24, the NYPD violently attacked our neighbors, friends, and comrades at the behest of the landlord, Richard Pogostin. We began using the sidewalk space in front of The Gym storefront at 1083 Broadway in August 2020, when Pogostin’s corporation, Dodworth Development of New Rochelle, originally harassed us and removed the mutual aid and organizing efforts in the space. Last week, after nearly a year of daily operations on the sidewalk, The Gym reclaimed the storefront, which had been kept vacant and neglected.

Mutual Aid, Abolition And Movements

When I first got involved in organizing, in the mid-1990’s in New York City, I wasn’t aware of the term “mutual aid” but mutual aid was a core part of what I saw around me in all the groups I was in. Rudy Giuliani (or as we called him, Ghoul-iani) was mayor and his administration was attacking and targeting people on many fronts. He was going after taxi drivers, street vendors, unhoused people, queer bars and public meeting spaces, the sex work industry, people on welfare, and more. His administration’s brutality really “remade” the city in ways that are so visible today, increasing displacement and criminalization of poor people, pushing people off benefits, “cleaning up” Times Square and other areas to be family-friendly tourist attractions by sweeping street people into jails and prisons. It’s hard to estimate how many people’s deaths his policies hastened.

Saving Ourselves: Autonomous Disaster Relief In Texas

On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we speak with participants in autonomous groups across Texas, including Cooperation Denton, Stop the Sweeps in Austin, Mutual Aid Houston, Houston Tenants Union, and North Texas Rural Resilience. The first in a two part series, this episode discusses the devastating storms which rocked Texas and the Southwest and the context that the “big freeze” happened within: from anti-Black police violence and attacks on the homeless community, to widespread neoliberal policies that left infrastructure and housing stock dilapidated and on the verge of collapse.

Jackson’s Water Crisis: How You Can Help

"This is the first time that we've ever had record-breaking, five to six straight days of below-freezing temperatures," Ronnie Crudup Jr., Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives and Executive Director of ‎New Horizon Ministries told WURD radio in an interview on Wednesday. "Our infrastructure just could not handle that." The ice on the ground didn't help the speed of government aid either once Jackson's water treatment plant went down. "The local guys are doing the best they can," Crudup said. State leaders have done little to help with on-the-ground needs or longer-term efforts to replace the sewer and water treatment system, estimated to cost $2 billion—six times the city's annual budget. "We haven't seen the federal government at all." "Just that 'landmass' in between, right? It's just like that. We're always last.

Jackson Water Crisis: Collective Effort Is Critical To Community Sustainability

While the Mississippi city of Jackson works to fully restore water, various community organizations have been filling in the gaps with relief. Mutual aid is a new term for some, but providing it is an old practice in many Black communities. “As a southern Black girl, who grew up in rural Mississippi, mutual aid has always existed in my life,” Calandra Davis, an organizer with the Jackson chapter of Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100), told NewsOne. Davis said community institutions have always provided aid in times of need. “The churches [and families] in my community always provided mutual aid,” she added. Providing support to communities in Jackson and across the state, the Mississippi Rapid Response & Relief Coalition is a statewide coalition, including rural partners. Member organizations include the Mississippi Poor People’s Campaign, the People’s Advocacy Institute, the Milestone Cooperative, Mississippi M.O.V.E., Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition, BYP 100 and Sarah’s Touch.

We Who Believe In Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes

As winter storms rocked Texas and others across the South last week, Southern organizers waited for no one to do what they do best: stepping up to make it happen. Volunteers signed up to phonebank for wellness checks, and mutual aid networks continue to expand their capacity to intervene where policy has failed. The government failures may continue to pile up while Southern communities are left to resolve multiple crises on their own, but people are building collective power across the South—people committed to making sure our communities not only survive, but thrive.  Mutual aid—along with regional action and local policy change—is just one of the tactics central to the People's First 100 Days, a regional organizing campaign to grow Southern movement power.
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