Saturday, December 8, 2012
"From Relief to Resistance..." From The Rockaways and Beyond
Something's happening here...
The situation for the victims of The Storm continues to be dismal as winter makes its way into the the vast stretches of despair and destruction along the Eastern Seaboard, particularly in the hard hit coastal areas of New York and New Jersey, where simple official neglect has left the People without electricity, heat, running water, food, clothing, livelihoods or the means and materials to repair their dwellings and businesses... hm, sounds somewhat like the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.
What is happening here?
Interestingly "Bloomberg" is blamed for the continuing catastrophe on Staten Island and the Long Island shore, as well as the mess still afflicting parts of Lower Manhattan. It's his fault, not anyone else's, that there is still no coordinated relief effort from his office, his lofty perch, his corner of Paradise. He drops in for occasional inspection tours and then drops out again in order to go in front of the cameras and once again to counsel "patience" and "resilience" and all the rest of it that he has been counseling from day one.
There is still no coordinated relief effort... Electricity is still not on, water is still not flowing, temporary housing is still not being provided, food and clothing are still hard to find or impossible to get through reliance on official resources... People are suffering.
It really wasn't that long ago that public disasters like this were met with coordinated disaster efforts that focused on the public necessities (rescue, food, clothing, shelter, etc.) first, then coordinated infrastructure rebuilding, then restoration of what could be restored, reconstruction of what couldn't. Some semblance of "normal life" was intentionally put back in place almost immediately; the point being to enable survivors of whatever disaster it was to get into a re-building frame of mind as quickly as possible, and to see to it that the rebuilding took place.
Now it seems like none of that even enters the pretty little heads of the Ruling Class, as their first objective seems to be to make it as difficult or impossible for the People to even stay in the affected area, and to provide nothing in terms of "relief" -- so that they will go away on their own. Just leave. Get gone. And don't come back.
Occupy Sandy stepped into the void left by official neglect, and has been providing food and clothing, as well as the means and materials for clearing and rebuilding from almost the moment The Storm moved on. They've provided generators for power, volunteers for clean up, meeting hubs, coordinated supply efforts, and on and on, while "Bloomberg" and his ever vigilant staff have harassed and threatened them at every turn.
"You can't do this." "It's not your place." "Go away!" "It's not safe!"
Their answer is "Mutual Aid, Not Charity."
The difference is enormous, and the difference they are making in people's lives is striking.
It's not so much that they are providing for the material well-being of the multitudes of suffering humanity -- though they are -- as it is that they are providing uplift for the spirits of the People, hope, and they are showing how to meet both the challenge of The Storm and the official neglect that left the People so bereft.
They are transforming their efforts from relief to resistance.
Something that happened after Katrina as well, though resistance had something of a different character in those days. The Bush Regime is all but forgotten (except for its precipitation of numerous disasters and its inability to fathom them let alone handle them) and it was Katrina and its aftermath that led to the de-legitimazation of the Bushevik Era. Once de-legitimized by events and bitter experience, they could not recover in the eyes of the People. And now, it's as if they never were...
Such is apparently going to be the fate of "Bloomberg." Of course he can purchase any future he wants out of petty cash, but apart from that, his neglectful response to The Storm is going to be remembered as the precipitating cause of his de-legitimazation. The response of the Occupy Sandy volunteers, on the other hand, will live on as examples of how the People themselves can aid one another.
And so it goes...
The following essay at Waging Nonviolence pretty much sums it up:
The Best Response to Disaster: Go On The Offensive
Illegitimi non carborundum -- as it were.