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Mutual Aid in the Face of the Storm

Posted 5 years ago on Nov. 21, 2012, 4:14 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: mutual aid, tidal

via Tidal

People are not helpless against the storm. While the winds howl, the thunder rages, and the waters rise, people can find shelter when they act together in the face of collapsing economies and ecological crises. Shelter can take the form of robust mutual aid networks and solidarity economies by which people empower and support one another to sustain themselves outside the constraints of the capitalist system.

Those within the community can share their knowledge and talents, letting people know what they are willing and able to do, and what sorts of non-market goods and services they are willing to accept in exchange. Plumbing and repairs in a home reclaimed from a bank or a building liberated from a landlord; gleaning and sharing unsaleable goods cast off stores and markets. Learning to grow and distribute our own food as we traffic between the urban and the rural through community gardens, neighborhood potlucks, Occupy Farms. Legal and tactical skill-shares among those being hunted down by the debt-collectors and Repo Men. Forming industrial co-ops in which managerial decisions are made by workers in their own collective interest rather than for the profit of a Boss. Medical care provided to those who have put their body on the line in a protest or encampment. Self-generated energy-systems for those who want to opt out of the fossil-fuel economy that is destroying the very basis of life on earth.

The specifics of a solidarity economy vary based upon those participating and the resource-landscapes of particular areas. But the focus should always be on creating communities of sharing and mutuality. Such communities are not based in charity, or simply giving things away for free.

They present, rather, a way for people to use their talents and skills — regardless of economic worth — to build social bonds that subvert the way capitalism has warped and colonized our human relationships.

In constructing a solidarity economy, it is always prudent to reach out to local organizations and see what sort of meaningful work can be done for them in exchange for what they, in turn, can provide for you. Even people who have never heard of mutual aid will understand it on a fundamental level. Against private accumulation and self-interested gain, we advocate the communal support of life, the reciprocal donation of resources, and the passing-along of good will across space and time. Starting a conversation about mutual aid with friends and partners can create a space in which to challenge the relation of their work to the constraints of paternalistic State and well-meaning 1% donors.

The powers that be are counting on our efforts to construct alternative economies to founder, especially since the current system has made us feel isolated and alone in the face of crises. Debtors are encouraged to think that they failed, individually, to fulfill their promises, even though going into unpayable debt is a structural condition of life under capitalism. Tenants feel they must acquiesce to the negligence of the landlord. Consumers think they must buy into an endlessly developing energy economy based on the burning of fossil fuels. Workers imagine themselves in a perpetual competition to work harder and for less against their fellows at home and abroad in the name of economic growth.

As long as the system isolates and pits us against each other, successful strikes against capitalism are impossible. Thinking and acting alone, we suffer alone. But creating a unified front disrupts this ongoing pattern. We are forming debtors’ unions, energy coops, food networks, strike committees, and more. When we develop sustainable networks based on mutual aid and solidarity, we will realize that, as terrifying as the storm of the current system makes itself out to be, the power it wields is minuscule compared to the torrential deluge that we, the 99%, are capable of unleashing against capitalism itself.


Unions Supporting Occupy Sandy NJ Relief Efforts

Posted 5 years ago on Nov. 20, 2012, 12:12 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: disaster relief, occupy sandy, new jersey

Occupy Sandy NJ

Occupy Sandy NJ has been deploying mutual aid and solidarity to communities across New Jersey. Volunteers and donations have been pouring in from across the country. Now, the Transport Workers Union in Philadelphia has opened their warehouse space for long-term storage and dispatch needs.

John Johnson Jr., President of TWU Local 234 said,”TWU-234 is happy to oblige and help our brothers and sisters who are unfortunately in need. That includes the riding public and our members in PA, NY & NJ who cannot get to work to do their transit duties. We’re proud to take part in this effort.”

Local 234 facilities on North 2nd St below Spring Garden St are being used to house, sort and distribute the many items needed to help people get back on their feet. Unions and organizations from across the region have begun contacting the OccupySandy organization wanting to help, support and supply relief items to the still struggling victims.

Social-media-generated donations via Occupy Sandy NJ $58,000. More than $100,000 in “wedding registry” donations have arrived in Jersey City, and those supplies are now being moved around the area by volunteer drivers. Occupy Sandy NJ volunteers have been deployed to Union Beach, Moonachie, Hoboken, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Asbury Park, Belmar, Toms River, Manahawkin, Long Beach Island, Ocean City, and Atlantic City, among other places. Regional hubs are being developed in strategic locations and excess good are being dispatched from Occupy Sandy NYC to New Jersey.

Each night at 9pm, organizers from across the state meet on an InterOccupy conference call to debrief, share urgent needs, and plan the following days’ activities. These calls are open to the public, and have recently included callers from the American Federation of Teachers, the Sierra Club, various faith-based organizations, and even FEMA (the call registration link is available on the website).

Occupy Sandy NJ volunteer crews have been working throughout the state, delivering food to evacuees still living in hotels or homes without power, dispatching supplies throughout the state, and helping homeowners returning to their devastated communities with the hard, dirty, hazardous work of home demolition and remediation.

People in need of help (in the form of volunteers or supplies) and people interested in volunteering should register online at http://www.OccupySandyNJ.org/. Residents seeking help should be sure to fill out the “Community Needs Register & Individual Request Form.”

[DONATION REQUESTS - Occupy Sandy NJ at TWU will only be accepting the following items: for house clean-outs, waterproof boots, waterproof work-gloves, hazmat suits, heavy duty work-clothes, OSHA N95/N92 face masks, tarps, waterproof plastic bins, pry-bars, garbage bags, headlamps/flashlights, and batteries; for rebuilding, construction equipment, drywall, floorboards, lumber, joints, insulation, wiring, and hot water heaters; personal appliances, refrigerators, dishwashers, gas or electric ranges/ovens, newer-model personal computers, electric wheelchairs, & generators. We will accept no clothing but socks, underwear, heavy-duty winter coats, and house muck-out clothing. We will accept no food besides baby food and baby formula. Bottled water is welcome.]

WEBSITE – http://www.OccupySandyNJ.org/
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Sandy-Relief-NJ/364593683632382
TWITTER – @OccupySandyNJ

Occupy Sandy is a coordinated recovery effort aimed at helping communities and individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition dedicated to connecting volunteers to people in need, and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution and community building. Our primary focus is solidarity and mutual aid, not charity and Band-Aids. These are our communities, and we are here for the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Philadelphia, TWU Local 234, 350.org, and InterOccupy.


#1D: European Day of Action Against Precariousness and Social Insecurity

Posted 5 years ago on Nov. 20, 2012, 11:21 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: europe

People of Europe Rise Up!

This is a call to unemployed and precarious people, workers, retired, students, undocumented migrants, homeless… Let us all demonstrate together on the same day all over Europe against poverty-inducing policies in order to build transnational solidarity and to move forward in the convergence of our various movements.

In the wake of the European general strike on November 14, Agora99, a European conference of social movements meeting in Madrid in November (http://99agora.net/) calls for a European day of action against precariousness on December 1 as well as to the drafting of a new charter of social rights.

What new chart can we imagine and how to defend our rights together? On December 1 let us organize public debates, popular assemblies, cacerolas, marches, direct actions, occupations, etc.




Support Walmart Black Friday Strikers!

Posted 5 years ago on Nov. 17, 2012, 1:50 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: labor, boycott, donate, walmart, black friday

Boycott Walmart Poster

Support the Walmart Black Friday Strikers!

It's time to take a stand and support the workers who are standing up to live better through an unfair labor practice strike.

Walmart workers decided to strike on Black Friday after they were targeted for retaliation for speaking out about substandard work conditions and treatment last month in the first ever walk out in the history of the company.

We ask you to help us feed the workers who will walk out on the company next week on the biggest shopping day of the year.


The workers are demanding the following from Walmart:

  1. Improve Workers’ Lives
    Pay a minimum of $25,000/year and guarantee quality, affordable health coverage for all Walmart associates and workers in the company’s US distribution chain.

  2. Rebuild Communities
    Sign on to a national community benefits agreement that ensures as Walmart expands into new markets, it strengthens communities, protects the environment and is responsible for the well-being of its employees in its retail stores and US supply and distribution chain.

  3. Put Its Promises in Writing
    Agree to a global labor agreement guaranteeing the fundamental human right of freedom of association for all of its associates and instruct their suppliers to do the same, and recognize and negotiate with OUR Walmart.

  4. Elevate Global Living Standards
    Establish a legally binding global responsible contractor policy requiring contractors and subcontractors to provide living wages, worker safety protections, and respect basic human and labor rights, including freedom of association and freedom from racial and gender discrimination.

How can I support in other ways?

You can join solidarity actions throughout the United States. Find out which solidarity actions are being organized and the store employees that are participating by going to the Corporate Action Network event page.

“The only thing workers have to bargain with is their skill or their labor. Denied the right to withhold it as a last resort, they become powerless. The strike is therefore not a breakdown of collective bargaining-it is the indispensable cornerstone of that process." -- Paul Clark

Click here and support the Walmart Black Friday strikers today!


The People's Bailout: a Live Telethon for the 99%

Posted 5 years ago on Nov. 15, 2012, 8 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: strike debt, debt, rolling jubilee

rolling jubilee logo

EDIT: Show's over – with enough raised to abolish over $5,000,000 of debt! Keep the Jubilee rolling: click here to donate!

Join Strike Debt for an updated version of an old classic, the telethon, to launch The Rolling Jubilee, a campaign that buys debt for pennies on the dollar and does away with it. Instead of collecting the debt, we will abolish it and help free the debtors!

People shouldn’t have to go into debt for an education, because they need medical care, or to put food on the table during hard times. We shouldn’t have to pay endless interest to the 1% for basic necessities. Big banks and corporations walk away from their debts and leave taxpayers to pick up the tab. It’s time for a bailout of the people, by the people.

It will be a wild night of music, comedy, magic, education, and the unexpected. This fast-moving variety show will mix well-known performers, intellectuals and activists from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street.

THE PEOPLE’S BAILOUT will feature music, comedy, education, magic, and the unexpected. Special guests include Janeane Garofalo, Lizz Winstead, Hari Kondabolu, David Rees, actor/director John Cameron Mitchell, Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio, Climbing Poetree, the Invisible Army of Defaulters, Holistic, Kool A.D. and Dapwell of Das Racist, The Music Tapes, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, members of Healthcare for the 99%, Occupy Faith, and many more.

$25 (abolishes an estimated $500 worth of debt)
$50 (abolishes an estimated $1000 worth of debt)
$100 (abolishes an estimated $2000 worth of debt)
$250 (abolishes an estimated $5000 worth of debt)


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