Corona Killed Capitalism ?
I have a Case of Toilet Paper, I’ll bring it over tomorrow” said Reena, a now unemployed accountant from Alameda.
“I have a box of organic vitamins.” Said Mr. Johns, an architect.
I will bring two bags of non-perishable groceries over.” Said Linda, a landscape gardener
“I have so many masks - we had hoarded them after the fires,” said Gene, an UberEats Driver.
All of these beautiful statements were just a few of literally hundreds of people who have become “RadicalRedistributors” in this time of Covid19.
What is Radical Redistribution? Its what most people might refer to as mutual aid, but we as a houseless and poor people/indigenous people-led, self-determined movement on stolen land have been doing since our inception in 1996 when me and mama led extreme outreach street based writing workshops in shelters, welfare offices and street- corners to eventually launch the first physical copy of POOR Magazine and the very grassroots, non-profit of the same name.
Fast foreward 20 years and here we are with permission and guidance from 1st Nations elders and families, unSelling Mama Earth and working really hard to build Homefulness -a homeless peoples solution to homelessness while also supporting po mamas and families with the Po Mamas Reparations Fund and The Bank of ComeUnity Reparations.
For us mutual aid is interdependence,
donations is radical redistribution, as it involves a decolonizing and intentional consciousness shift away from the hoarding, producing, CONsuming mentality of Capitalism, and just like our multi-nationed ancestors before us, we have operated this way from the beginning of our movement life and personal lives.
Every Tuesday for the last several years POOR Magazine goes into encampments from San Francisco to Oakland to create grassroots poor people -led media and simultaneously pass out healthy organic food, hygiene kits, produce, tents and sleeping bags. On Friday we distribute cash money, food and supplies to very low and no-income housed families as part of the Po Mamas Reparations Fund and on Thursday since we got to Homefulness on BlackArthur in Occupied Huchuin in 2011 we have been operating the Sliding Scale Cafe, Po Peoples Organic Bakery and Po Peoples Organic Farm, all of these provide free food, produce, organic harm reduction hot dogs, healthy food to help decolonize our poor people diets and have the goal of supporting unhoused and very low-income This was all long before there was a Covid19 virus, we were struggling to heal the virus called Poverty, which all of us have or still currently deal with. Now the numbers of peoples needing help has increased, so we have increased our support.
Other powerful very grassroots groups like the Self-Help Hunger Program, Phat Beetz, East Oakland Collective, Coalition on Homelessness, Community Ready Corps, UFAD, Consider the Homeless, Where Do we Go Berkeley , First they Came for the Homeless, Anti-PoLice Terror Project, the Poor Peoples Economic Human rights Campaign out of Philly , HomiesEmpowrment and Disability Culture Club have been doing this work since their inception too. But the odd disconnect is, its always been just seen as movement work or social work or even worse, as in the case of the big NGO’s, savior work. But now with the shelter in place scenario when so many supportive services, and savior services are not even open, us very grassroots folks of course are still here, relied on more and happily now, joined by huge numbers of people waking up to the lies of scarcity and the violence of poverty.
Stop Perpetrating the Violent Act of Looking Away..
Oddly, peoples inability to operate same old same old seems to have forced them to actually think about the lies of hoarding and accumulating, stealing and selling, in a way never seen before by this poverty skola. In fact, I might be so bold as to say- Corona might have killed Capitalism.
Most of the new radical redistributors aren’t members of POOR Magazine’s powerful Solidarity family of conscious wealth-hoarders or even a graduates of our decolonizing/degentriFUKing seminar called Peopleskool which we do twice a year, to help people ungentriFUK their minds and lives, they are redistributing this toilet paper, food, masks, money and essential things because they were answering a call for radical redistribution. Which is a direct resistance to the lies of hoarding and accumulating, stealing and selling that are so rampant in crapitalism.
Rent Moratoriums and Reparations
From 2009 when POOR Magazine launched the concept I call Community Reparations most people, even so-called conscious and woke seem to listen to me talk about it with that annoyed/confused look on their faces. Waiting politely until I am finished explaining even though i am a formerly houseless poverty skola I don’t want to be saved by them or anyone else... then they proceed with their talks about, “organizing oppressed people from the bottom up….”
It is always mind-numbingly idiotic and I want to scream, didnt you hear me? ( and alot of this nonsense is happening on Zoom now- but more on that next week) But now, perhaps because so many people are experiencing just a small slice of the torture of scarcity, isolation and abandonment by a system who doesn’t care about anyone, even if you have played by its harmful rules. A lot more people are suddenly waking up.
It Takes a Barrio..HomiesEmpowerment
“Someone said once, when you are hungry, you can’t eat books, so now our library is filled with food, toothpaste and essentials, said Cesar A Cruz Teolol - founder of HomiesEmpowerment, a powerful grassroots, educational, arts and culture space right here on occupied Huchuin, BlackArthur, down the street from Homefulness.
As an indigenous and very grassroots, organizing project, Homies Empowerment launched the “Freedom Store” earlier this month as a direct response to Covid19 scarcity, hunger and struggle. Now they are distributing paper towels, food, sundries and so much to over 700 low and no-income Oakland families.
And then we have the powerFULL work of young people like this young man name Eagle in Richmond who on his own put out a little table of food outside so people who might be hungry could eat and Deecolonize Academy Students who unflinchingly jump to the punch to offer support whenever called on for Sliding Scale Cafe and RoofLESS radio.
The End of Krapitalism
Driving through downtown San Francisco and Oakland and gazing upon images of Las Vegas, New York's Time Square and other spaces across Mama Earth it seems like its over. Everything, the useless work, the superfluous travel, the CONventions, the buying and selling and extracting, and stealing, the profiting off of and the destroying. Of course its not . The insane poltricksters trying to “open back up” and weird protestors of social distancing, the land -stealers of Wamponoag land (again) and the extraction nation are still here, never left and are waiting like vultures to strike. The PoLice, ICE and Plantation prisons, Detention centers, false borders and selective enforcement and murder didn’t go away, haven’t really ebbed and in many ways are more dangerous than ever.
But this moment will never be forgotten and hopefully has taught a huge lesson to us all, that krapitalism is just that , crap, that scarcity is a lie. That there is in fact enough for everyone and its not based on how much money you have in your pocket, or land you have stolen but where your heart and consciousness is located. And all that useless hoarding doesn’t actually get anyone anywhere, except alone, with a lot of useless stuff and stolen land.
To radically redistribute to HomiesEmpowerment via Paypal - firstname.lastname@example.org or Venmo @Cesar-Cruz-22 . To Radically Redistribute to POOR Magazine - RadicalRedistribution-Fund on Venmo
To drop things off to POOR magazine or for more information about PeopleSkool email email@example.com