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Radical Response to Hurricane Gustav and the RNC: Statement

@ | 01.09.2008 17:45 | Repression | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | World

Here in the Twin Cities, activists have been experiencing the suspension of civil and human rights through intolerable pre-emptive raids, and members and friends of the RNC Welcoming Committee have been on the run, seeking sanctuary from police terrorism. Now, residents of the Gulf Coast are will continue to be experiencing the suspension of civil and human rights on an even more massive scale, and seeking sanctuary not only from the weather but from a military invasion of their cities - the same kind which 3 years ago proved an even bigger calamity than Hurricane Katrina itself.

On Friday night in Saint Paul, activists and community members including children and elderly people were confronted with the terrorism of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department and SPPD while eating food and simply spending time in what should have been a safe space. In the gulf, will people soon be confronted with an even greater terrorism from the military while trying to find food and create safe spaces?


Mayor Nagin's so-called mandatory evacuations are actually forced evacuations - enforced by the memory of the terrorism conducted by FEMA, Homeland Security and the U.S. military during Katrina, and the threat of Angola Prison for those who choose to remain on the land they call home. This is pre-emptive martial law. As always, all levels of government are out of touch with the needs of the people who will be most affected by this storm: most poor residents of New Orleans don't have money to travel, particularly because it is the end of the month. The government did not send aid checks this week, and with stores closing this weekend, New Orleans residents left behind will have no access to food and water. Even before the storm hits, it is undeniable that government is not a hindrance, not a help, to people in crisis.

However, just like during and after Katrina, and once again avoiding the guns of cops and mercenaries, radical, anarchist and anti-authoritarian aid workers are organizing in New Orleans to help those left behind by the government. Common Ground, Food Not Bombs, and various anarchist EMT affinity groups are digging in for the storm to help those most afflicted. The same mass movement that is organizing around the RNC also exists in New Orleans and is gearing up to provide mutual aid to people in their own communities.

Common Ground is a community-initiated volunteer organization founded in the week after Katrina offering assistance, mutual aid and support in the form of solidarity, not charity. Common Ground will be open following the storm, and is currently preparing for the worst by gathering volunteers and supplies. A list of urgently need donations, especially radio equipment, generators, and food, and a place to donate money online, is available at

Of particular concern to us are the prisoners of New Orleans. During Katrina, many prisoners remained locked in flooded cells with no food, little ventilation and minimal odds of survival. Prisoners constitutional and human rights were violated and their loved ones kept in the dark - this abuse can not happen again.

Members of the US Indymedia network are actively coordinating and have direct lines of communication with media activists and others in the path of the hurricane.

For the latest from inside New Orleans, we ask you to monitor and

Here in the Twin Cities, we will be reporting up to the minute at on the plans that are still moving ahead for massive civil disobedience as a form of resistance to the police state that is unfolding nationwide.

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