Hundreds if not thousands of Mutual Aid initiatives have sprung up across Iberia during the Capitalist collapse of the pandemic. For us this illustrates the perversity of the ‘Dog Eat Dog’ system and shows how anarchism here is alive and well just under the surface.
We share links to find out much more, and focus on a couple of radical cases in Catalunya.
info: shared from media and participants.translations by TheFreeOnline
Published by The Free Online on 3 September
Updateable Map of Mutual Aid projects in central Barcelona , by the CUP ‘anarcho-republicans ‘ https://twitter.com/cupbarcelona
Solidarity is our Greatest Weapon..LA SOLIDARITAT ES LA NOSTRA MILLOR ARMA
Covid-19 Mutual Aid – Local organising to support the most vulnerable
Like many other #mutualaid communities throughout the world, we focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, to willing volunteers and to those in need.
El Raval, an old city centre Barrio is made up of poor families, immigrants, anarchists, old people, students and tourists, mostly employed in the informal ‘black economy’ of bars, restaurants and tourism which simply DISAPPEARED when the Covid virus struck. @RavalSuport @RavalSindicat
The anarchists were already well organised in coordinated resistance to daily evictions and quickly joined with others to use the surge of solidarity and set up food kitchen, emergency accommodation, etc..
Carlos, who helps organize a network of volunteers, delivering snacks with macaroni to a family / CELIA ATSET
”In a few days, three big proposals have emerged to face the emergency in the Raval and Ciutat Vella, with different ways and objectives and in which, with the entities, groups and organizations of the neighborhood, we have to position ourselves.
From the beginning, the response of the neighborhood organizations was immediate, different networks and communities self-organized and coordinated to face, from the base and with recognized efficiency, the needs not covered by administrations and institutions, either due to lack of will , or of means, by bureaucratic demands that leave many people out. The networks were solving the emergency with imagination, generosity and mutual support.”https://ellokal.org/noticies/page/6/
Radio El Lokal…Contenidos Descargar programa
01. [min 3.41] Suport Mutu Raval + Sindicat d’Habitatge del Raval: Ocupació de la Massana Facebook: @XarxadeSuportMutudelRaval @sindicathabitatgeraval Twitter: @RavalSuport @RavalSindicat
Massana School Occupation
One good project is the abandoned Massana School, occupied for a soup kitchen and emergency accomodation. Escola Massana okupació Sindicat d’Habitatge del Raval Tancada migrant…Xarxa de Suport Mutu del Raval
The action has been vindicated by the Housing Union and the Raval Mutual Support Network. The occupation which was made public at the end of a protest procession that started at 8 pm on June 23rd in Plaza Salvador Seguí, was attended by about 250 people.
This occupation is not the only one that has existed in the old Massana School. (Tancada migrant.)In the spring of 2018, a group of immigrants had occupied to denounce the job insecurity experienced by the group and to demand solutions from the administrations.
The groups denounce the state of a building “abandoned for years by the institutions” and declared that it will become the “base of operations of the popular movement of the Raval”.
“We warn the institutions that we intend to stay, and that for every step they take against us, we will take three,” they said in a statement read minutes after the occupation was made public. The intention of the occupation is to provide a place in the Mutual Support Network, the Housing Union and the Popular Food Network.
Massana school was first occupied by a migrant collective
Neighbors, groups and businesses in the Raval, join the Rental Strike @ Acció Riera Baixa)
” The neighborhood associations and platforms that sign this statement, support and call on all residents and businesses in the neighborhood to join the strike driven by state-wide housing platforms and unions.”Comunicado conjunto de @RavalRebel, @VecinesCv y @resistimalgotic ante la #HuelgaDeAlquileres. Ens posem a disposició de tothom qui es sumi! Veïnes i comerços del Raval ens sumem a la vaga Acció Riera Baixa #SuspensiónAlquileresYA !
Joint statement from @RavalRebel, @VecinesCv and @resistimalgotic before the #RentalStrike. We make ourselves available to everyone who joins! Neighbors and shops in the Raval join the strike Action Riera Baixa # SuspensiónAlquileresYA! https://suspensionalquileres.org/
The strike is already underway, different organizations, neighbors, groups publicly support it. We call on the convening people to agree and jointly make a call to begin the process
part of an interview with Carlos Delclós
…”Thankfully, another collective gesture continues to grow in strength. Since the state of emergency was announced, people all over Spain have been taking to their balconies to applaud workers in the health care system and other essential services.
For the time being, the appetite for solidarity seems stronger than the appetite for antagonism. On the first night, the action took place at 10 p.m. But every night since, it has taken place at 8 p.m. in order to accommodate parents with children, a small but hopeful indication that our capacity to adapt around questions of care is more agile and powerful than we might suspect.
queueing for food handout
In my neighborhood, mutual aid groups have been quick to organize, and the same is happening throughout Barcelona and beyond. In most cases, they are purchasing groceries and providing meals for at-risk populations, especially the elderly, while respecting social-distancing norms.
Others, like the Popular Union of Street Vendors, are also making face masks for their neighbors. Meanwhile, tenants’ unions all over Spain are reaching out to those already affected by the economic shutdown, organizing an international rent strike to force the government to freeze rents.
The infrastructure for this bottom-up response is rooted in previous waves of struggle. Most of these groups are rooted in anarchist collectives, autonomous social movements, and the informal networks of solidarity established around the neighborhood assemblies of the indignados movement or the Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDRs) of the Catalan independence movement. Still others come from the neighborhood organizations responsible for organizing summer block parties.
These aren’t examples of national unity, but of cooperation and solidarity. There is a profound difference between the two”.
Repression by Police
Many Mutual Aid Networks have been attacked by police with some incredible fines. The police have made tens of thousands of fines and arrests for failure to observe the often complicated and perverse rules of the Lockdown.
In some cases the fines against Mutual Aid have been reversed after public outcries.
60,000 euros fine to the anti-racist collective for distributing food to migrants in Barcelona
This March 31, members of the Anti-racist Care Network were detained and denounced by the Barcelona Urban Guard when they were on a food distribution route for migrant families. It was of little use to have the printed mobility certificate provided by the Generalitat de Catalunya and to comply with all the required health security measures. The fines could amount to 60,000 euros.
The Anti-Racist Care Network, which cares for people without resources during the pandemic, denounces the sanctions of three of its volunteers when they made deliveries to families, despite having permission. Barcelona City Council assures that it is a “mistake” and that it will not process complaints as long as they can justify their presence on the street.
The collective Espai Veïnal Cabanyal de València has denounced the imposition of fines of 4,200 euros in total on the restaurant La Lusitana Tasca and on the Food Network of the neighborhood organization “to distribute food to families in need during the state of alarm ”.
Mutual aid and solidarity against Covid-19
from an interview with Carla Fuentes, trade unionist, Catalonia By KOMUN
...”Is your work based on a specific perspective or principle?
Yes, the expectation is to create community based on self-organization, the population has to understand that only with the help of the neighbors can we be stronger and that it is necessary to create community to survive in this world. Creating strong communities based on self-organization is the beginning of changing the system.
People have pointed out that states will use the pandemic as an occasion to deprive people of fundamental rights and liberties for authoritarian purposes. What do you think about different states’ response to the pandemic, in particular about the increase of state powers.
Yes, in the Spanish State from the moment the alerts were put out the rights have been minimized. Citizens are becoming police officers, publicly pointing out those who dare to leave their homes, and applauding the police action even though it is disproportionate…
…What other solidarity/mutual aid activities in your city/region or around the world inspire you?
Young people (in theory, the lowest risk group) are putting themselves at the service of the community, and this is very inspiring. Support networks are being created for abused women, let’s not forget that now many will have to stay home 24h with their abuser.
There is a very high recognition of those workers who continue their activity for the common good, such as doctors, supermarket clerks, etc. In some towns in Catalonia, people are organising how to make medical equipment such as masks, and they want to help.
What would you like to say to others at the moment?
I’d like to say that this is a good time to reflect, what kind of lives do we have that scare us so much about death? Why this panic? Why don’t we panic when we see bombs falling or when our governments throw bombs at innocent people? Why does a “natural” death scare us so much now? Are we living in a correct way and on what principles?
Only a life in harmony with ourselves, with our community and with nature will save us, only a life where we are weaving nets, creating a strong and self-organized community will save us. Only a life where we know we are doing the impossible to improve it will leave us alone in the face of catastrophe. Only the people can save the people”.
While thousands and thousands of people have been left without income, unemployed by ERTEs or layoffs, thousands and thousands more, are not even entitled to benefits: they are the people trapped by the reactionary immigration laws, with precarious jobs or directly under the shadow economy.
Self organization Neighborhood Mutual Support Now And Always ·
The Guàrdia Urbana has 3 times fined a network that distributes food to undocumented migrants during confinement
Entrega de comida en el Gimnasio Social Sant Pau, este viernes. / ferran nadeu
Eater@Eater · Sep 2Mutual aid groups reckon with the future: “We don’t want this to just be a fad” eater.com/21408710/how-m