Eight years ago today, Hurricane Sandy made landfall in NYC causing the deaths of 53, leaving thousands homeless, and hundreds of thousands without electricity - many for months! As with all environmental disasters of our age, it is the poor, working class, and especially people of color who suffer the most, just as we suffer the daily crisis that is capitalism.
Those of us who had been organizing under the Occupy Wall Street banner, calling out this economic inequality, responded quickly and effectively organizing tens of thousands of volunteers, and providing emergency relief and resources directly to our neighbors in the affected communities. The government, the Red Cross, the NGOs weren’t there in the immediate aftermath. But just as in New Orleans following Katrina, we anarchists were on the ground organizing and helping people through mutual aid.
Relief stations offering medical support, food, and essentials, along with free stores and tool lending libraries were established from Far Rockaway to the Jersey Shore.
As they did in 2012, people have been responding to the Covid19 pandemic, helping make sure everyone has enough of what they need. The concept of mutual aid is more popular now than ever.
We are inspired by all the amazing organizations who are in this effort now. We encourage everyone helping spread mutual aid and building stronger communities to focus on long-term sustainability, decentralization, and local autonomy. It is imperative that we do what we can to ensure that these efforts will persist after the donations run out. We can’t count on the state -- nor the benevolence of the rich -- who have no interest in upsetting that status quo that allows them their privilege.
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