Here is the third poster in this series.
High resolution PDF here.
Designed by Klee
I’ve read the term “Solidarity Not Charity” on walls and in ‘zines since I was young. I don’t know where the assertion originates from other than it has been an organizing point of anti-authoritarians who have long challenged exploitation and dehumanization perpetuated by the charity industrial complex. When I was in high school the most accessible stepping stone into radical organizing was either Food Not Bombs (FNB) – which didn’t take a lot of serious coordination as you just need a few friends, a kitchen, and a few sources for free/cheap/liberated food – or the much more challenging task of starting an infoshop if there wasn’t one already in your town. FNB is not only a great demonstration of mutual aid and solidarity in action, but since it’s such an incredibly scalable expression of decentralized dual power, it is also a threat to the capitalist monopolism of charity. Even the small incarnation of FNB here in Kinlani/Flagstaff faced state repression for the simple act of offering free healthy food.
Solidarity can be material, including organizing temporary support to address a crisis or building long-term infrastructure for necessities like food, clothing, shelter, & medicine. It can also be, usually as part of it’s depth in building human and non-human connections, emotional and cultural. When addressing social and ecological struggles, solidarity always means action.
When I think of the concept of mutual aid I reflect on the understandings of K’é, or clanship/relationship for Diné. Our guiding philosophy in life is to seek and maintain harmony as we grow. I was also taught that the relationships we must consider in seeking and maintaining harmony are not only within our mind, body, and spirit, but with human and non-human beings, Mother Earth and all of the elements. This is what I consider when I reflect on the word “sacred” as well, so in many ways this idea of mutual aid (sharing, supporting, giving, reciprocity, and so forth) is an idea that has already been part of our ways and teachings. It informs how we are to maintain harmony with creation. We’ve been practicing mutual aid long before anarchists decided it was a necessary principle for just social relations.
When I helped found Táala Hooghan Infoshop in 2007 with a crew of rabid young Indigenous folx, we wanted to ensure that we challenged the clichéd white-punk dominated infoshop scene with a primary focus on Indigenous youth education, activation, and anti-colonial radicalization. We flipped the script a bit on FNB too when we used to host weekly meals and talking circles for Indigenous unsheltered relatives. We would always plan meals with them. When we didnt have funds and couldn’t get the donations, they’d pool EBT cards. We’d cook and organize everything together. Nearly the first thing that would be mentioned in our talking circles would be how restoring and healing that process is. We had to put that work on hold temporarily due to issues with volunteer capacity and our need to re-organize, though we still distribute warm clothes in the winter and a bit more.
The space has transformed over the years, and weathered many internal and external struggles (most recently one by the FBI), yet we’ve always maintained a strong orientation of what we now are comfortable calling “conflict infrastructure.” I think this is a critical precipice of action and “solidarity” that not only antagonizes, or disrupts, but uses rupture as a tactic and a strategy.
Please support efforts to ensure our relatives on the streets don’t freeze this winter here in Kinlani: www.taalahooghan.org