TOTW: Natural disasters and other trouble

  • Posted on: 13 March 2017
  • By: thecollective

As anarchists, we may often find ourselves in challenging situations. This TOTW takes a looks at the anarchist relationship with natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, etc) and other major adverse events like insurrection, war, riots, and general trouble.

What can we do as anarchists when disaster (or trouble) strikes? How can we prepare and plan for these emergent situations? What does the anarchist response to such events look like? Are there any favorite tools, gadgets, technology (mesh networks?) or cell phone apps that one my find useful? What does anarchist infrastructure look like in terms of preparation and roll out?

What are some past examples of anarchist mutual-aid in times of disaster / trouble? What lessons in anarchist praxis can be learned and developed from these events? Any personal stories about living through such events and general experience?



The Common Ground Collective in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was for a while considered to be the standard bearer for anarchist responses to natural disasters. Then Common Ground became a huge clusterfuck of all kinds of craziness. Now it is a totally mainstream nonprofit organization and anarchists have largely forgotten about it. Hopefully anarchists can learn from that sad story.

very accurate account

There were many example of mutual aid after Katrina. Organizations like Common Ground Collective (and it's affiliates) and disorganization's like the Rainbow Family and even Veterans for Peace were breaking any law that prevented them from helping those in need. "Looters" were often merely taking what they needed to survive. Anarchist relief was the Only Relief for much of the city of New Orleans. The whole Gulf Coast was learning about mutual aide, subversion and justice. Well, mostly INjustice... which lead many to become comfortable with solidarity and self reliance.

these 2 tell most of the story

my full Katrina archive goes much deeper

Every disaster another weak point in the system meant to be exploited. It is a good OPPORTUNITY for the push of decolonization. Use it to your advantage. Because we need all the help we can get. You want to reclaim occupied territory. Every disaster is a radicalizing opportunity. Start a chapter in the area and move on to the next troubled zone where ever trouble is created by the system.

And where ever trouble is created naturally of course.

Very heartening, makes me choke up thinking of their humanity and empathy. I'll stop stockpiling food now for emergencies, and rely on the do-gooding charitable anarchists to survive. Nice to see them working for once assisting the state, which has done so much for them in the past. Keep up the good work anarchists, I knew the mainstream would welcome you back into the fold.

don't aim to help put normality back in place after a disaster.

fuck yeah I won't. I'm walking around a floodzone in a furry outfit. fUcK b31ng N0RmalLL u Sqr4rEzzz

I worked in emergency services for years as an anarchist, laughing at the contradiction while I got paid (not that much) and thousands of dollars in free training in exchange for only a few hours a week. Obviously I helped people in my rural community and the whole thing was very surreal and problematic at times but I don't regret it. Never had to compromise on a practical level, only a theoretical one (I was technically an agent of the state, swallowing my pride to acquire things, as one does).

The interesting part is I got an insider-look at the limitations of emergency response infrastructure and I'm here to tell you it is very fucking thin. To suggest that people shouldn't build parallel organizing projects because they're "doing the state's job for free" or whatever is mostly demonstrating that you're an idiot.

Even as the worst kind of pompous, selfish, egoist who enjoys laughing at what you perceive to be "do-gooder liberal" organizing, I'd say to you - hope you have a lot of friends with practical skills and you've laid down some plans with them. Also, hope those same ferocious, skilled and savy folks don't realize you're a piece of shit and kill you for the meat haha!

Fucking egoist peanut gallery, amirite? Stirner this, stirner that, spook, spook, spook, blah blah blah!

"Even as the worst kind of pompous, selfish, egoist who enjoys laughing at what you perceive to be "do-gooder liberal" organizing, I'd say to you - hope you have a lot of friends with practical skills"

Yeah boy that's us hahaha wait...what?

Hahaha, next we'll have anti-Stirner anarchists enrolling in the police force specifically to persecute individualists, just shows the power of Stirner's ideas.

Yeah … or Stirner lived a long time ago, completely surrounded by non-rational people and you're ascribing his anachronistic frustrations from a different era to your own strawman projections on the modern world.

"Non-rational" and "strawman projections on the modern world." are spooks.

*eye roll* You can't just throw spook at everything dude … it's embarrassing

For fools maybe, however psycholinguistics can identify emotional immersions and projections as spooks in themselves. Only silence and an empty mind has no spooks,,,,,

Psycholingusitxs is spook liberal

Footware is important in a crisis, as I found out in the Ash Wednesday fires. Good boots are invaluable & don't neglect socks & laces.

Can't tell if you're kidding or such a creature of cyberspace that you think that's actually news.

The great pothole debate of 2017, wherein we see how many idiots hiding on anews still subscribe to an anticiv line.

(I should caveat that I actually hate car culture and think most roads should be torn up, but seriously tho, anews fools are such wankers.)

I mean I think anarchists are frequently in such shoes. AFL-CIO won short term ameliorations at cost of long term aspirations.

To edgelords the idea of anarchist outreach to general public is the worst most shrieking abomination imaginable.

Anarchism is, in their eyes, a social hierarchy of edginess to be climbed. This is how you get eg nihilist ultraviolence

I am a social justice ronin and second generation anarchist. Deal with it. Debate me if you're feeling man enough, inferior humans.

Let's not remember how the Left anarchist dumbos are also actively playing that Game of Thrones for being on top of the (non-existent) hill of anarch-ism. You know... people like you, in the first place?

I'm not surprised so many of yall are choosing the dark side (fucking Stirnerites, all of you), but I am still disappointed.

The Jedi can go a little "straw vulcan" but the lightside is about organic unity with all other life forms.

I mean I'm a white dude, and Portland is heavily white

Deal with it

everytime you comment i get the feeling ive just dropped into the middle of a conversation that you know nothing about


If by conversation you mean decentralized transmission of revealed preference by actors with desires we're subjectively barred from.

Markets are the best way to lower profits and increase efficiency to increase size of post-scarcity fraction of economy.

Everybody knows this.

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