Tag Archive: mutual aid


I feel fine

Image stolen from Strike Debt UK –  http://www.strikedebtuk.com/

My son likes to argue with me that Occupy didn’t achieve anything. That it failed. I try not to engage with him, because who really wins an argument with a 16-year old who has a very black-and-white way of seeing the world? But, really, it seems like everywhere I turn I see ways in which the politics and tactics of the Occupy movement are being carried out in to do good in the world. Partially because Occupy brought so many good-hearted people together, and now we kind of all know each other and know who to call when something needs to get done. But also because the politics and tactics of the Occupy movement were just another iteration of politics and tactics that have been evident in activist/social justice movements forever, and in some ways they are becoming more and more refined.

This weekend in Austin, amidst the ridiculous conspicuous consumption of the F-1 spectacle, a representative of Strike Debt New York paid a visit to help facilitate a Debtor’s Assembly and participate in a Debtor’s Carnival. Both events were aimed at destigmatizing debt and bringing people together to discuss the effects of debt on their lives and what might be done about it. I was unable to attend the assembly, but did attend the carnival today, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to talk about this project with one of its organizers. In addition to the Rolling Jubilee – which raised money in order to buy huge amounts of debt for pennies on the dollar and forgive the holders of the debt that was bought, the organizers of Strike Debt are trying to find ways to form Debtor’s Unions and some are holding Debt Clinics to empower people who are in debt to get out of debt and/or deal with debt collectors in an informed manner. It’s an amazing movement, and just one of many examples of how the tactic of gathering random people together in a park for weeks on end spawned ambitious ideas and action. I’m really looking forward to working with my activist community to hold debt clinics and work with people on fighting back against debt collectors.

Image Courtesy of Austin Common Ground Relief – https://www.facebook.com/atxcommongroundrelief?directed_target_id=0

I also continue to be impressed with the hard work of the Austin Common Ground Relief. After floods hit the Dove Springs area in Austin, hundreds of people were left homeless, and it took several days/weeks for significant help to arrive. Now, two weeks after the flooding, the agencies that were helping are packing up and leaving. With F-1 racing happening in the city, hotels that were housing displaced residents are putting people back out on the street so they can accommodate wealthy tourists, and the shelter is closing down. Meanwhile, members of Austin Common Ground Relief are still preparing daily meals and distributing them to people who were impacted by the flooding (which is really just a symptom of climate change and environmental racism.) While distributing meals, they are also having people fill out intake applications listing their needs and desires, and providing assistance with cleanup and whatever else the residents are looking for. Because of the work activists have done in Austin to create an infrastructure of support, the infrastructure of information sharing and organizing was quickly put into place. Decentralized planning, volunteer-based assistance, and ubiquitous social media presence enable the Common Ground organizers and participants to be flexible and respond immediately to the needs of the community. The hope is that once there are a sufficient number of community members who are out of crisis, those tools can be provided to the community so they are able to provide mutual aid for their neighbors, and call upon the larger group when necessary. It’s truly a beautiful thing, and another example of the influence of Occupy on local organizing. I couldn’t be more proud of the folks who are doing the really hard work. While I can only spare a couple of hours a week towards the effort, it feels so much better to know that the time I do volunteer is having a direct, positive impact on those who need the help, rather than being filtered through the ranks and red-tape of a large organization like Red Cross.

These are the things that sustain me and help me get through my own struggles. I’m really proud to be part of a community that is invested in doing good things for other people and actively working towards making the world a better place.

Advertisements
Rug

Rug

My room/office is very slowly still coming together. The clutter! The clutter! I’m still sorting through the clutter. But this feels good on my feet, and my new chair feels good on my back, and hand-me-down furniture is really the best thing ever.

rumbled paradise

rumbled paradise

And there’s something about a freshly-made-then-rumpled bed. I was staring at it longingly all day. From my desk. About three feet away.

flowers

flowers

and absent-minded flower doodles.

I’m having to deal with issues surrounding the person I’m forever having to deal with issues surrounding. It’s annoying and frustrating. (I wanted to qualify that with a “but” statement, but…But what?)

But…nothing.

And then there’s…that.

Lots going on this week. But tonight, it’s dancing in my room, writing, reading…the usual.

***

This made me happy today:

The Warriors never set foot in the Bronx

This might come as a surprise, seeing as how the movie revolves around a New York City gang trying to make their way from the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park to Brooklyn’s Coney Island, but filming only took place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. However, authenticity aside, The Warriors captured nighttime New York in a way that very few movies had previously, using some insanely brilliant and memorable locations.

Let’s see how many we can find.

http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=6629

CBS ALMOST gets it right:

In a special report on face recognition, 60 Minutes warns us that we have nowhere to hide — that our anonymous space is approaching non-existence. Framing the problem through a simplistic (and inaccurate) division between corporate and government deployments of the technology, CBS warns us that big business plans to exploit our faces for economic gain, whether we like it or not, while government plans to use the technology to keep us safe.

But all is not equal, the narrative says: according to the bureau, the FBI is bound by strict regulation and needs lots more data to be effective. Unfortunately, CBS repeats the government’s claims as journalistic fact — no matter that they are false.

http://www.privacysos.org/node/1065

This is amazing:

Foreclose on Banks Not People

Foreclose on Banks Not People

 

For more information:

Five years after Wall Street crashed the economy, not one banker has been prosecuted for the reckless and fraudulent practices that cost millions of Americans their jobs, threw our cities and schools into crisis, and left families and communities ravaged by a foreclosure crisis and epidemic of underwater mortgages.

Record profits are back at the bailed-out banks. Meanwhile:

  • Homeowners and communities have lost billions to Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis;
  • Millions more families face foreclosure in the coming months;
  • Communities of color have been impacted the most.

http://occupywallst.org/article/people_are_too_big_to_fail/

100 Days of Hunger:

Over the last three days Anonymous ‘Operation Guantanamo’ hashtags #OpGITMO and #GTMO have skyrocketed in popularity on Twitter, drawing attention to the 100th day of the inmates’ hunger strike, as their protest becomes a question of life and death.

http://rt.com/news/anonymous-twitter-guantanamo-strike-505/

Are you starting to see all of the connections yet?

Canada’s tar sands are the third biggest oil reserve in the world, but separating the oil from the rock is energy intensive and causes three to four times more carbon emissions per barrel than conventional oil. Hansen argues that it would be “game over” for the climate if tar sands were fully exploited, given that existing conventional oil and gas is certain to be burned.

“To leave our children with a manageable situation, we need to leave the unconventional fuel in the ground,” he said. Canada’s ministers were “acting as salesmen for those people who will gain from the profits of that industry,” he said. “But I don’t think they are looking after the rights and wellbeing of the population as a whole.

“The thing we are facing overall is that the fossil fuel industry has so much money that they are buying off governments,” Hansen said. “Our democracies are seriously handicapped by the money that is driving decisions in Washington and other capitals.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/19/tar-sands-exploitation-climate-scientist

This is beautiful:

UPDATE: Midland Avenue Neighborhood Relief will be helping and reaching out to our neighbors in Oklahoma.We have seen charities and so called relief agencies fall short when it comes to keeping compassion and humanity when people are in need of help after a disaster.We will be forwarding resources and funds to the people of Oklahoma whether it be delivering it through mutual aid networks with ourselves on the ground or diverting funds to proper efforts there.We stand with Oklahoma. We know ourselves firsthand what it is like to be left to our own means.Help us stand with them. https://www.wepay.com/donations/midland-beach-relief

In case you didn’t hear:

A massive, mile-wide tornado touched down in Moore, Oklahoma Monday afternoon, killing at least 51 people, including 20 children. A reporter from local news station KFOR supposedly called it “the biggest, most destructive tornado in the history of the world,” and estimated it was two to three times the magnitude of the massive tornados that hit Oklahoma in 1999.

http://gawker.com/the-biggest-most-destructive-tornado-in-history-just-508956719?utm_campaign=socialflow_gawker_facebook&utm_source=gawker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

And, on that note…