Monthly Archives: November 2012

Rubber Bullets on the Streets of Madrid

A few weeks ago, I went to Madrid for the general strike, where I swigged whisky, watched teenage anarchists smash banks, and drew mass protests.  I wrote and sketched it for VICE.

 

Of course, protest doesn’t change the world. By itself, protest is carnival. Masquerade, song, fire- liaisons made and kings mocked. Daily gray briefly overturned.  Rebellious ecstasy that ultimately serves to keep the hierarchy in place. Those in power, if they’re a speck self aware, allow carnival as a safety valve. Carnival is not power itself.

Hurricane Sandy

Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit New York. I was one of the million or so people without power or water. The day after we walked past downed trees and the looted stores at South Street Seaport (someone really wanted sensible women’s office wear).


flares guiding people onto the blacked out Williamsburg Bridge

A week later, we’re fine, but much of the city is not. The Rockaways, Red Hook, Staten Island, and other neighborhoods are devastated. Me, Fred, and photographer Kate Black hitched a ride on the 666 Burger Truck to Rockaway Parkway, to hand out delicious fried foodstuffs. One girl nearly wept, at having had her first hot meal in a week.

In the Rockaways, Red Cross has little presence, and FEMA is mostly there to survey damage. Wrecked boats block intersections, and people’s entire possessions are covered in toxic sludge and piled out with the trash. We passed gas lines 20 blocks long.


Burger truck in Rockaway

In situations like this, where the government is failing, we have to be good to eachother. For people wanting to volunteer, Occupy Sandy is doing a fine job in Red Hook, as is New York Communities for Change. The Ali Forney Center, which helps homeless LGBT youth, was devastated. Other people with construction experiance, like my friends Veronica Varlow and Burke Hefner, are going down to the Rockaways to help clear out flooded basements themselves.

Read Sarah Jaffe’s powerful article for Jacobin on mutual aid.