In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers are showing the best of humanity, self-organizing to provide mutual aid in spite of the establishment's continued failure to turn the lights back on. Free kitchens were distributing hot meals within hours. Thousands of pounds of food, clothing, and other donations have been distributed across Red Hook, Staten Island, the Rockaways, and Coney Island. Cleanup of flood damage has begun, and volunteers continue to go door-to-door in the neglected buildings that still lack heat and electricity. Of course, this encouraging response does not minimize the true scope of tragedy this storm has left behind. We must continue to provide for each other and, as we do, show the world that another way of relating to one another is not only possible, but necessary in the face of economic and ecological catastrophe.
But we must not forget that the twin catastrophes of climate change and capitalism are deeply interconnected. The market sees only resources to be extracted, not a world to be shared or communities to be protected. The 1% continue to push for (and the banks continue to finance) more coal, oil, and natural gas, and they don't care how many mountains they must destroy or communities they must frack to increase their profits. Wall Street-owned politicians from all political parties are complicit, competing only about who will drill more. The result is a warmed planet and warmed oceans where superstorms like Sandy are increasingly common. And when the storms hit, we aren't all impacted equally. In New York and across the globe, poor and marginalized communities, already suffering from austerity and dismantled social services, are always hit the hardest and the last to receive aid from the established channels.
In response to the failure of the State and capitalism to provide for our needs, relief work like #OccupySandy is a beautiful, necessary, and logical response for social movements who are committed to replacing economic and social injustice with solidarity and people-powered solutions. But the 1% would be glad to have an army of volunteers to replace the safety net they cut and clean-up the mess they created. If we want to protect ourselves from the next storm or BP-style spill, we have to continue building the structures of mutual aid and support that will deal with crisis equitably. But we must also build a mass movement to address the systemic problems that create climate crises. After Sandy, we are not merely rebuilding the status quo; we are building a new world. This is why Occupy Wall Street stands in solidarity with the on-going Tar Sands Blockade and other direct actions to stop the destruction caused by greed and profit. In Texas, activists have held a tree-sit for 50 days and are calling for solidarity actions across the world. Over 20 cities have already answered the call. Occupy Wall Street and Occupy the Pipeline will join with many others to protest dirty power on November 17.
In New York and New Jersey, many of us are busy supporting those who have been left in the dark by Sandy. But we encourage everyone who is able to take action! See below for more information about the Global Campaign Against Fossil Fuels in New York on November 17th and the Tar Sands Blockade day of action on November 19th. To find out how to help the recovery efforts, check out interoccupy.net/occupysandy.
Occupy Sandy volunteers feed hungry FEMA workers