I Can’t Stand the Rain: Report from Houston

1473

“we ran into some good people. And some people who we know wouldn’t care for us if they had known we were revolutionaries.”

I can’t say that we did all we hoped we could do. We have only been out for less than twenty-four hours. And as I sit here in muddy jeans in this gas station typing this out while slamming down a greasy burrito, I feel inadequate with what we did and what we could’ve done. This feeling is the lowest of the low. But we got out; we ran into good people; and, maybe, we helped a little too.

It has been less than a month since our last revolutionary action. It seems as there’s always an opportunity to fight fascism or reach out to the alienated and marginalized people – especially these days. We had just finished composing ourselves from the DFW march against white supremacy and found ourselves racing to Houston to do what we can with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

The comrades had heard the rain was bad, but when we heard that Houston was supposed to get double the rainfall the next night (images of old folks stuck in their homes flash in our heads), it was clear what we needed to do. One of us had a vest. We hit some places and snagged a little boat, lifejackets, lights, rope, and hitches. We didn’t know what we were doing, I’ll be honest. But, fuck it, we were doing it.

We hit the road. We didn’t have a lot of money. We weren’t really sure if we could even get in to help. We didn’t know if we could afford to come back. We have families, jobs, and obligations. And Houston isn’t exactly close. We didn’t know exactly how we could help – but none of that mattered. A person can come up with a million reasons to do nothing and only one big reason to get off your ass and do it anyway. The comrades seemed unmoved by the uncertainty and that was empowering to me.

We made our way down I-45 and it was raining off and on. We made it as far as The Woodlands before it was becoming evident of what was happening in the area. The state had mobilized trucks that were pushing through same time as us. Humvees, LMTV’s, marked government POV’s travelling in the rear. We had to make some route changes just to get into the city, but we arrived and it was dark everywhere. There were usually more lights, as you can imagine.

“The State was hardly present from what we could see. It was armies of good people helping because they could. Proof, if any was needed, that a State is not necessary to maintain our communities.”

We couldn’t make it all the way into the city center. So we started roaming around in neighborhoods. And after about an hour we started running into some people needing some form of help or another. Someone with a scratch; someone needs water; someone needed out. Now, we are not about to kiss and tell, that’s not our style, but we ran into some good people. And some people who we know wouldn’t care for us if they had known we were revolutionaries. And a lot of uniformed people. And that’s kind of where this picks up for us.

We saw a lot of volunteers out there. People just wanting to help. The State was hardly present from what we could see. It was armies of good people helping because they could. Even the uniformed people who had been working endlessly the past day and a half were not out there because of their uniforms or some State obligation, they were out there out of a sense to help – just like everyone else. Proof, if any was needed, that a State is not necessary to maintain our communities. In fact, the State itself was doing little to help the disadvantaged people. And you can bet your ass they weren’t hitting the poor areas first.

What kills us all is that as we heard businesses were opening up their property for the “new homeless.” The capitalists will get teary-eyed at the gesture. But what of the homeless prior to nature forcing the middle class out into the streets? What about the homeless after all this water dries up and insurance pays for new homes? Do people have short memories or will they have empathy for the disadvantaged people? I dare not dream.

The opening of businesses to the people is exactly what revolutionaries have been trying to do for as long as we can remember. The concept of private property kills en masse every day. But today, capitalists are abolishing private property, and everybody is loving it. The systems they fight aggressively to prohibit, they are using today and it’s sparking pride in their community and hope for people. Nothing new to those who understand revolutionary struggles though. Further, what is the State’s heavy equipment and aviation but permissions from above to open up their private property to the people. There’s no way to convey to the average person that we could all be in charge of our own lives if property was completely abolished – as they were witnessing. Would this gas station let a muddy person sit at this table if he was in need but there was no storm? Would a furniture store let in droves of homeless without a storm? Would helicopters rush people to the hospital without a storm? We all know the answers to these questions.

“The concept of private property kills en masse every day. But today, capitalists are abolishing private property, and everybody is loving it. The systems they fight aggressively to prohibit, they are using today and it’s sparking pride in their community and hope for people.”

Ultimately, the experience was eye-opening in the regard that we put in all we could and then some and still had little to no effect on that massive city. And, ultimately, the breakdown of society (not the suffering) we witnessed was beautiful because people came together. But it feels hopeless because some of these people will never see it this way. It will be just another event they can talk about in the future and not a window of opportunity to a new world. Nothing but black drops falling from a black sky into black water everywhere around us.

We still have work to do. Hit up the Houston Anarchist Black Cross. Send them your money, your volunteers, your material help. Solidarity forever.


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