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Response to Hurricane Harvey

Submitted by aiwendil in Antifa (edited )

I have been thinking a lot about how we should respond to this Hurricane, given a few interesting variables. The fact that it is in Texas, means that it will likely disproportionately affect people that are not ideologically in line with us. This presents some interesting challenges and opportunities as we decide how we want to respond, should there be a need of volunteers down there(I am thinking of a Katrina like situation with all the rain and flooding).

I think how we respond could actually be an opportunity to connect with people in a positive way, in communities that have not been exposed to, or have been resistant to anarchist ideas. Obviously helping out is, "the right thing to do," in some senses, even if it is people that wouldn't do the same for you. I don't think helping other human beings should be contingent on their political ideology(unless they are nazis, or kkk members then let the fuckers drown... You get the idea though).

I have read a lot of research on punishment and I don't believe it works and I don't think we should adopt tactics that specifically involve punishment(such as not helping out as punishment for communities having a lot of racism), but at the same time I think that whatever we might do as a community to help out in the aftermath should be done with dual purpose. We have a real opportunity to show people directly that we are not just giving lip-service to ideas about community building. We can actually do it by meeting people that might otherwise be our adversaries, with compassion. In so doing, we may in fact change some minds(maybe that is naive and overly optimistic in this political climate).

I am a person that cares about the suffering of others and as such, I plan to get involved in the humanitarian efforts that might ensue in the aftermath. I do plan to do so on my own terms in a lot of ways though. I want the people that I am helping to know I am an anarchist. I want them to know; where the government fails them, our diverse and amazing community is willing and able to step in and help them to get back on their feet. This counter-point is something I feel is necessary, just as much as is helping people in need.

I don't say this because I want personal validation, but because I think that our movement needs this kind of validation. I don't think it will come from the media coverage, so much as the connections we make with other humans. I would like to hear other people's constructive opinions on this, or maybe ideas on how we can get involved.

Comments

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7

Tequila_Wolf wrote

This book is about what an anarchist did when there was that disaster with the levees breaking in new orleans. It's somewhat related, if you don't know about it and are interested.

Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective

Link to Free Copies

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zod wrote

Chances are, the government will drop the ball the way they did in New Orleans (but less likely since Texas is so white). That's where we need to step in, taking a page from our Portland comrades who fixed the roads when the city wouldn't.

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Defasher wrote

What about crowdfunding a radleft relief effort? A group of us could go down there and directly help these people, while making it clear to the media what we stand for.

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BlackFlagged wrote

We need to organize more stuff like this - But most of us here aren't Americans and probably can't even get into the country thanks to Trump's new rules. I'll xpost on reddit.

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aiwendil wrote

I think that is a great idea actually, do you have any experience doing a campaign like that? I am going to do some research over the next couple of days, but I think we need to get on this quickly.

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BlackFlagged wrote

If you start the gofundme, we can all promote it around the web and recruit volunteers.

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aiwendil wrote

What is a reasonable amount of money to ask for? I literally have no experience. I don't know what to expect as far as volunteers would be concerned either, what should my baseline expectation be here?

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kramlmark wrote

Goal doesn't matter too much on GoFundMe since you get the money whether the goal is met or not -- more a way of communicating what is needed for something specific (like bail money or repairing a building or w/e).

Biggest issue with a crowdfunding campaign is that people need to trust you, which is hard to do unless you're a known entity like the DSA (which is running a crowdfunding campaign right now). There's legitimate worry about scams via crowdfunding activism right now.

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aiwendil wrote

I agree with that. I think it might be better if we can get links to groups that already have some resources, but need volunteers and go down with them. I am not sure I want to be such a public figure myself anyway. I would really like to get down there and help out and maybe start talking to people about issues of social justice. I know that religious organizations are already mobilized and preaching and countering the notion that religious people are the only ones that care is important, but they are very well funded unlike loose collectives of anarchists. Maybe we can get a bunch of links together for secular groups that are heading over to volunteer and get people connected that way to begin with. I'm not sure if such a thing exists, but it should and if we can't find links, maybe now would be a good time to put an org together. When I've tried to start things like that before I have run into that social capital issue though. People don't want to get involved unless you are established and you can't get established because people don't want to get involved. Seems very complicated to be doing on the fly.

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kramlmark wrote

For what it's worth, my street medic collective has been working with another collective in Houston to get supplies there -- https://www.facebook.com/Bayou-Action-Street-Health-BASH-868606126613493/ is their page, they have an Amazon wish list and a paypal: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ls/ref=?ie=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&lid=26UOYXYJ77GJW&ty=wishlist and paypal.me/BASH2017

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aiwendil wrote

I am not on Facebook, do they have a public email that I could reach them at?

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______deleted_ wrote

I am a person that cares about the suffering of others and as such, I plan to get involved in the humanitarian efforts that might ensue in the aftermath. I do plan to do so on my own terms in a lot of ways though. I want the people that I am helping to know I am an anarchist. I want them to know; where the government fails them, our diverse and amazing community is willing and able to step in and help them to get back on their feet.

This is the only way to show people they can depend on other people better than they can the state.

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aiwendil wrote

So for anybody following this hoping to get involved in Houston, here is the information I have been able to dig up. You can get involved with the Anarchist Black Cross, email them here:

houston_abc@riseup.net

Or Democratic Socialists of America has a form here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeFqb_PcEkVyQ95KzDqOfm4Uwn2b_ZQbdggM33xtI_heh26gQ/viewform

I will start another thread with this information so that it is sure to reach people here.