Socialist Left, flu shots, and brake lights

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Jacob Richter
Socialist Left, flu shots, and brake lights

Whatever one's opinion is about the Democratic Socialists of America, especially in relation to class independence, any news about mutual aid or solidarity networks cannot be ignored:

https://mic.com/articles/186172/how-does-the-socialist-left-build-a-mass...

Excerpts:

Quote:
What better way to evangelize a socialist future for America than giving people the things they need for free?

[...]

Aside from brake lights, they’re beginning to train child care providers and gearing up for a campaign against anti-choice pregnancy centers that masquerade as legitimate healthcare clinics.

Five hundred miles away in Dallas, at the same time as the Pittsburgh brake light clinic, another DSA chapter was posted up in a predominantly hispanic neighborhood, administering almost 50 flu vaccines to promote single-payer health care.

[...]

Across the country, DSA chapters ran brake light clinics in Detroit and Olympia, Washington, last weekend, not to mention upcoming clinics in Los Angeles and Oakland, California, all inspired by the first of such clinics in New Orleans back in August.

[...]

And while mainstream Democrats seize on news headlines to raise money and drum up support on the road to the 2018 mid-term elections, the ascendant socialist movement in America is finding those hit by capitalism the hardest and doing what socialists do best: giving people what they need without demanding something in return.

This style of activism, where locals share resources and skills, is traditionally called “mutual aid.” One of the most famous examples in recent American history is Black Panther’s Free Breakfast for Children program of the late 1960s, where black liberationists organized hot meals to be served to underfed children. Mutual aid steps in where government has purportedly failed — provocations that show the failures in a system that needs, in the eyes of democratic socialists, to be radically revised.

For leftists in America, this means mending the holes that, if left unattended, lead to sickness, poverty and, especially, incarceration.

lagatta4

There have been other examples of mutual aid in US history, such as the healthcare cigar workers (of Italian, Spanish and Cuban descent) developed in Ybor City, Florida (they also flouted Jim Crow laws) and of course on the part of workers organising unions (and often getting sacked or jailed) or on strike.

Jacob Richter

The most politically aware activists in the DSA are aiming for something much, much higher than that.  On this centenary year of the Russian Revolution, they're aiming to adapt the alternative culture model of the pre-WWI SPD, Lenin's pre-Comintern inspiration, to American circumstances.

"We are not in the least afraid to say that we want to imitate the Erfurt Programme," he once wrote.

Mr. Magoo

Really, though?  Brake lights?  Nothing wrong with fixing them or whatever, but I can't help but recall people ripping on the NDP for wanting to abolish ATM fees.  What's this supposed to be evidence of?

Ken Burch

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Really, though?  Brake lights?  Nothing wrong with fixing them or whatever, but I can't help but recall people ripping on the NDP for wanting to abolish ATM fees.  What's this supposed to be evidence of?

It can save lives...especially the lives of people of color.  Many of the best-known incidents of police violence against POC(the murder of Philando Castile is perhaps the best example) began when police pulled over a person of color for having a busted tail light.

Mr. Magoo

Well, OK.  As a lifelong non-driver, I guess I just didn't know that brake light problems were that common.