By Members of Xicana Tiahui Podcast (part of Chicanx World Making and Futurities Project)
12:30pm Mutual Aid in LA: Two Femmes Discuss the Politics of Race, Gender and Disability in Mutual Aid Organizing
Presented by Ndindi Kitonga, who is also a founding member of Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid (PUMA-LA) and Bunny* – a queer femme triracial femme who organizes with unhoused communities in Los Angeles.
12:30pm Storytelling and Oral Histories for the Marginalised (foci: South Asian Casteism)
Presented by Divya Rosaline David from the Indian Women’s Project
2pm Urban Indigenous Resistance in the Bay Area: From Mission Burning to Statue Toppling
Presented by anonymous indigenous peoples and supporters
2pm Care Against Biopower
Presented by a panel of anarchist health care workers
3:30pm A Discussion on Anti-Fascist Organizing In the Coming Period
Presented by 3 way fight collective and it’s going down
3:30pm Reproductive Justice for the Post-Roe Era: Who What Why When, HOW?
Presented by a panel of speakers from Bay Area Coalition for Reproductive Rights, Access RJ, and Author Angela Hume moderated by Kate Jessica Raphael, author of The Midwife’s In Town: A Novel of Feminist Resistance
Two years into the global pandemic sparked by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, American anarchists have failed to produce a solid critique of, position on, or avenue out of state and capital’s technocratic solutions paraded as “management” of this public health crisis. Through first-hand experience of COVID nursing, dialogues with other healthcare workers, research and passion—this presentation looks at the attempts made by people to define and respond to the crisis on their own terms, while also deconstructing dangerous alliances and concessions made by anarchists in the pursuit of harm reduction and “safety” over the last two years. Our goal is to arrive at some woulda, coulda, shouldas in order to birth a renewed ethic of care that could guide us through the long haul of the viruses that are here and those that are to come. Beyond critique, we will also highlight ongoing resistance to global biological surveillance systems, genetic profiling, border logics and the avalanche of unregulated data that now trumps any kind of lived experience of health and the body. Let us remember the first wave of rent strikes, mutual aid, and uprisings against the death cult of America while we resist the pull back into capital’s normativity.
Storytelling and Oral Histories for the Marginalised (foci: South Asian Casteism)
This session will trace how storytelling for marginalised populations can be employed in an emancipatory and liberating fashion – and how they in turn can not just be sensitising but can inform development and social change (I’ll draw from my field research and community grassroots work here). I will then segue into how marginalized microhistories of South Asian populations need to be inclusive of Dalit voices in South Asian American spaces (most voices you hear are upper caste ones since casteism has reproduced itself across South Asian populations in America!) in order to create a more inclusive historical narrative that does not erase, but instead centers those at the margins of our collective history.
Reproductive Justice for the Post-Roe Era: Who What Why When, HOW?
This will be an interactive workshop. Reproductive rights are on the chopping block. If Roe v. Wade has not been overturned by the time this takes place, it likely soon will be, and even if it isn’t, abortion is scarcely available in many parts of the country. Yet creative feminists continue to provide access; a recent study found that most of those who needed abortions in Texas have been able to get them, despite the elimination of most access in the state. We have decades of grassroots work to fall back on and learn from. Panelists will briefly describe their experiences in the trenches, lessons learned, and speak to both the opportunities and challenges presented by the current moment. Then we will open it to participants to share their own stories and ideas, and try to generate a working list of possible and planned resistance actions to begin to implement over the next year. Hopefully at the next Anarchist Book Fair, we’ll be able to have a workshop sharing our victories in guaranteeing culturally appropriate reproductive health for everyone!
Urban Indigenous Resistance in the Bay Area: From Mission Burning to Statue Toppling
To shed light on the gruesome mission development of california and the ongoing resistance. To put people onto current struggles of indigenous folks in the bay area and the current spiritual warfare being waged against folks accused of and in support of the toppling of colonial monuments. We hope to draw connections from the past to current struggles showing how so-called california and amerika use the missions, settlers, prisons and cops to target two spirit and indigenous communities specifically. We also hope to gain material support for the IP5 for legal fees.
Apenas 500 años: Witnessing Tierra Insumisa and Zapatista Planetary Bridges
Mutual Aid in LA: Two Femmes Discuss the Politics of Race, Gender and Disability in Mutual Aid Organizing
Drawing upon many months of co-organizing around issues of homlessness across Los Angeles, we (Bunny and Ndindi) will reflexively share their on-the-ground experiences with: resource distribution activities, harm reduction and community defense at homlessness sweeps. Questioning key assumptions about “mutual aid” as formally understood, we will reflect on joys, challenges and contradictions we’ve encountered in our work.
Beyond addressing immediate needs, the mutual aid work we are witnessing (and believe we are engaging in) is also solidarity work that “hinges upon the recognition of our deep interconnectedness, and suggests ways of relating to one another that might begin to dissolve the transactional attitudes inculcated by capitalism” (Sparrow, 2020). Voluntarism, distributing essential items, engaging our unhoused community in harm reduction practices, participating in direct actions and political activism to address issues of homelessness are not in themselves forms of mutual aid. Mutual aid can certainly address communities’ survival needs, but it also serves another purpose, i.e., to undermine the reification of human relations under capitalism. Mutual aid care work in particular necessarily reveals how reproductive labor sustains capitalism.As the capitalist mode of production reproduces the capitalist-worker relation and capital subsumes all aspects of our lives, the very structures it relies on to reproduce itself (such as the patriarchal nuclear family and other institutions of care) begin to degrade. This presents an opening if you will for new forms of care-taking institutions that are not based in exploitative social relations to emerge.
When it comes to the housing and homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, the profit-motive and the hyper neo-liberalization of housing markets have left many precariously housed or downright houseless. Carceral logics suggest that the answer to social and economic and even moral questions should be addressed through policing, surveillance, cages and social control. These systems can not be addressed through voluntarism or merely via the expansion of our social networks which continue to grow. With that being said, every organizing activity we participate in offers new understandings, extends our community networks and allows us to ask better questions.
In the time we’ve known each other we’ve co-organized together, distributed food, hygiene, navigated local and state bureaucracies in the quest to support our vulnerable unhoused neighbors, many of who became even more vulnerable as a result of the COVID pandemic, housing crisis and more generally the logic of racialized and gendered capital.
In our session we will be exploring the following questions.
1. What do we make of mutual aid and how can our work become more sustainable?
2. From our perspective current-day movements are drawing on frameworks from the early abolitionist movements along with new theoretical insights articulated by the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) abolitionist scholar-activists of the 1990s and the early 2000s. These movements are also developing their own creative organizing practices based on knowledge co-produced and shared across BIPOC and feminist collectives who’ve been doing this work for over the past 3 decades. The large abolitionist mutual aid groups across our city have members who are predominantly white, middle class, able-bodied and college-educated. Moreover these groups are not often collaborating with Black and Brown organizations in Los Angeles. How are mutual aid networks reproducing classist, heteropatriarchal and racist structures even as organizers intentionally attempt to subvert these systems and what is to be done?
3. What aspects of our mutual aid efforts have the potential to move beyond survival work and advocacy? Can our work as a collective and in collaboration with others offer insights towards upending dehumanizing systems and transforming our communities?