From the moment Hurricane Harvey hit, autonomous solidarity efforts and decentralized direct action have come to the fore. From rescue efforts, to mobile kitchens, from providing medical care to cleaning up flooded homes – reconnecting with such gestures, buried under years of normalized life, is the only practicable means of not sinking down with the world.
I am sitting here in Tampa, Florida with friends and comrades where we have partnered with Love Has No Borders, a radical refugee solidarity network and just finished delivering hurricane preparedness kits with information on what to expect with Hurricane Irma in over a dozen languages to recently arrived refugee families. We also emptied a couple Starbucks stores full of food to undocumented friendly shelters and drove people experiencing homelessness to welcoming and open doors to find shelter from the coming storm. Throughout Florida we have been busy creating online and real-world hubs for decentralized people-powered relief efforts. In Tampa, this hub is at 5107 N. Central Ave, right next to St. Paul Lutheran Church. The Color Block in Miami is also available as a hub and it is located on relatively high ground in Little Haiti. We have learned from our elders that the real revolution is mutual aid and survival programs that address people’s immediate needs while simultaneously raising consciousness.
After battering several islands in the Caribbean, Irma rendered Barbuda and St. Martins near uninhabitable with catastrophic damage. And Hurricane Jose is on a tentative path back towards Barbuda as well– the second hurricane in three days. Here is an Amazon wishlist created by an ad hoc committee created to bring grassroots and direct relief to the islands.
Meanwhile, there was a massive earthquake in Oaxaca & Chiapas. They say it is the worst one in a century, and was felt by comrades as far away as Mexico City. Interested in supporting relief efforts there? Check out Codigo DH.
We know starting somewhere with disasters of this magnitude can be overwhelming, so we want to remind you that resilience isn’t found in what we can purchase, but in what we can share – in the relationships of support that connect us with each other. Reach out to your neighbors. Invite someone to stay at your home if you live in a safer area. Invite someone without access to transportation to evacuate with you if you choose to evacuate. Give rides to shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness or a physical disability. Prepare to engage in rescue efforts, send in supplies, or volunteer in other ways if it becomes needed. Act without waiting for permission.
Interested in responding autonomously to Hurricane Irma and connecting with others doing the same? Go over to Irma Decentralized Response, South Florida Solidarity & Relief, and Street Medic Mobilization for Irma.
For those thinking about coming to volunteer from outside of Texas for the Harvey recovery efforts, read this primer written by our friends at Houston’s Anarchist Black Cross.
Have medical skills and headed for Texas? Connect with Bayou Action Street Health – BASH on Facebook or by clicking here. And we can’t give enough props to West Street Recovery for their amazing community work in Houston. For a continually updated clearing-house of grassroots efforts in Texas and Louisiana, visit our friends at Another Gulf is Possible.
Extreme weather is only increasing in intensity and frequency, and other types of storms are on the horizon as well. Are you involved with a college campus, community center, or just a group of rad folks who want to prepare your crew to build power from below and spread decentralized, liberatory, solidarity-based disaster response? Please follow this link and get in touch about us coming to your community for popular education and movement building presentations and trainings.
We see clearly the alternative from above: involuntarily committing houseless individuals in the path of Hurricane Irma under mental health pretenses, utilizing shelters as traps to fill the prisons, keeping prisoners in unsafe flooded out conditions, and of course bureaucracy and red tape.
But something is growing from below. Civil society, people-powered, decentralized, network based, climate-justice focused disaster response.
If you can’t be on the ground, there’s lots of other ways to plug in. If you have any extra or spare tools or wouldn’t mind buying some to donate please email us at [email protected]
Speaking of which, thank you so much to everybody who has donated so far. We cannot do this work without you. Items from our Amazon wishlist have already been arriving in Houston, just in time for the clean-up crews going out over the weekend.
It’s times like these when we are reminded that the capitalist ethos is not our own. We are fighting and winning by loving and supporting each other. Every disaster that comes, we remember just a little bit more – that our liberation is tied with others, that mutual aid and solidarity is our natural human inclination, that we have nothing to lose but these invisible chains, that power from below (like courage) is contagious, and that our survival depends on us not waiting for others to do what we know must be done.
In remembrance of Alonso Guillen, a Mexican born hero and DACA recipient who lost his life after drowning while running autonomous first responder rescue efforts in Houston and Meg Perry who lost her life bringing relief to survivors after Katrina. Alonso. Meg. Presente. You are here with us. You are remembered. And we will continue to struggle for climate justice, survival, and collective liberation in your names.
w/ Mutual Aid Disaster Relief