Modesto, CA: Autonomists and Anarchists Organize Clothes Drive
via It's Going Down
Last weekend, autonomists and anarchists organized a coat and clothes drive in the Downtown Modesto area, with hundreds of free items. The event was the the end result of several days of organizing and collecting donations from the community including warm clothing as well as fresh apples, toothbrushes, and other free dental supplies.
The event itself was attended by over 50 people, and during the event we had numerous positive interactions with individuals who discussed everything from job loss to how to get involved in the future with upcoming events. We also put up a banner that read: “Free Clothes” in Spanish and in English, as well as the slogan, “Community Mutual Aid” with a circle (A). We also flew a red and black flag. We did this to make clear that this event was not simply carried out as an act of charity, but instead to put forward a set of anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian ideas, reclaim public space, have fun, and also meet people in our community. Police drove by, but did not fuck with us.
In the past several years, attempts by the city, police, and developers to remake the Downtown core by driving out poor, homeless, youth, and the working class, have largely backfired. Many businesses have shut down, including the one grocery store in the Downtown area, cutting off access to a main supply of food for many elderly and impoverished people. But, there are signs that the gentrification machine will attempt to continue on the path ahead, especially in the wake of many stores shuttering, with new hip and swanky stores and bars openly in the Downtown. We can only assume that developers are hoping to accommodate displaced people from the bay area, while at the same time displacing us in turn.
While we enjoy helping provide resources for those without, we also know that class society and the State will not collapse through an accumulation of either negative or ‘positive’ acts – or posts on anarchist websites. Instead, in the coming together and building of actual relationships, we can attempt to create new forms of power for the battles to come. Only several weeks ago, we found ourselves alongside over 100 others, remembering the life and death of Nick Pimentel, who was murdered by local police in South Side Modesto. Also, on the same day as our coat drive, a march was organized to protest attacks on DACA, and down the road from the giveaway, residents have been protesting harmful waste covered up by the city near their homes.
All of these struggles are connected, and across the divisions placed upon by by geography, neighborhood, gender, and race, we hope to build something that can overcome the systems of control and domination, and usher into being an existence worthy of the name ‘humanity.’
-someone who gave away a coat