The insurrection at the US Capitol was an historic event for numerous reasons. Thousands of words have been, and will continue to be spoken and written about this. Thousands of photos and videos.
This is a moment of reckoning
Now is the time to ask ourselves what kind of country, world, do we want to be living in now? Leave for our children? What can we do together to fill the void left by the collapse of white supremacy and capitalism? For white people, this is an opportunity to reject white supremacy. Where we go now is to build Mutual Aid communities.
Where do we go from here?
I’m of the firm opinion that a system that was built by stolen bodies on stolen land for the benefit of a few is a system that is not repairable. It is operating as designed, and small changes (which are the result of huge efforts) to lessen the blow on those it was not designed for are merely half measures that can’t ever fully succeed.
So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?Ronnie James, Des Moines Mutual Aid
This past year I’ve had great opportunities to learn about, and participate in Des Moines Mutual Aid. I have been blessed to witness the answer to “where do we go from here?” Where we go is to build Mutual Aid communities.
Where we go now is to build Mutual Aid communities
Following is a history of Des Moines Mutual Aid (DMMA) that was just posted on Facebook. Among other things, I learned a year ago DMMA participated in a march protesting increased hostilities with Iran. In the photos below is one where we, in Indiana, delivered petitions to the office of then Senator Donnelly supporting the Iran nuclear deal.
Des Moines Mutual Aid
One year ago today Des Moines Mutual Aid participated in a march protesting the potential for war or increased hostilities with Iran that followed the fallout of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad.
This was our first “public” event since adopting the name Des Moines Mutual Aid, a name we gave our crew during our growing work with our relatives at the houseless camps throughout the city and our help with coordinating a weekly free grocery store that has a 50 year history, founded by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party For Self Defense.
A year ago we started laying the foundation for work we had no idea what was coming. As we were adjusting our work with the camps and grocery re-distribution in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, both that continued to grow in need and importance, the police continued their jobs and legacy of brutality and murder.
This nation exploded in righteous rage in response to the pig murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. DMMA realized we were in a position to organize a bail fund to keep our fighters out of jail, both to keep the streets alive as a new phase of The Movement was being born, and because jails are a hotspot of Covid-19 spread. Not to mention the racial and economic oppression that is the cash bail system.
In the past year DMMA has expanded its work in multiple directions and gained many partners and allies.
We partnered with the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement to create the DSM BLM Rent Relief initiative to help keep families in their homes in the midst of a pandemic and the winter.
The camp work has grown exponentially, but is being managed with our collaboration with Edna Griffin Mutual Aid, DSM Black Liberation Movement, and The Great Plains Action Society.
The bail fund remains successful because of desire from the public and a partnership with Prairielands Freedom Fund (formerly The Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project).
The weekly free food store has maintained itself, carrying on the legacy it inherited.
Every one of our accomplishments are directly tied to the support of so many people donating time, talent, and funds to the work. We are overwhelmed with all of your support and hope you feel we are honoring what we promised.
All of these Mutual Aid projects are just a few of many that this city has created in the last year in response to the many crises we face, not only confronting the problems and fulfilling the needs directly in front of us, but creating a sustainable movement that will be capable of responding to what’s next and shaping our collective futures as we replace the systems that fail us.
These last 12 months have been wild and a real test of all of our capabilities to collectively organize. But it is clear that we as a city have what it takes to do what is needed in 2021, no matter what crisis is next.
Much gratitude to you all.
In love and rage,
Des Moines Mutual Aid