SWAT Team Raids Autonomous Relief Efforts in Puerto Rico

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Several police vehicles, an armored tactical vehicle, and law enforcement personnel including swat team pointed their guns at relief workers while surrounding and then entering our base of operations in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in the early hours before dawn of October 16th, 2017. Law enforcement communicated that they were acting from a call that Mutual Aid Disaster Relief volunteers were engaged in “kidnapping”. After checking everybody’s belongings without consent, they forced volunteers out of what was the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Puerto Rico hub at gunpoint and the threat of arrest.

Law enforcement intimidation also included aggressive questioning of our purpose there and whether or not we were protestors or Antifa, had we ever used the raised fist, if we were distributing propaganda, and if we were planning to overthrow the government.

 

The state used similar intimidation and disruption tactics against revolutionary disaster relief workers in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Brandon Darby being just one example.

We know that repression from the state intensifies when our organizing is perceived by those in power as effective. Rather than be intimidated into silence and passivity, this just furthers our resolve to continue organizing from below to support people’s survival and self-determination.

And to answer the question, no. We are not planning on seizing state power and overthrowing the government. We do not need to. The state is decaying and will fall by its own weight. We are building relationships of support that can withstand every crisis and give people fertile imaginations full of the possibilities of what can be built in the power vacuums for when the inevitable does happen.


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About the author:
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a grassroots disaster relief network based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action. MADR envisions strong, vibrant, resilient, connected, and empowered individuals and communities as part of an awakened civil society that will restore hope following crisis, and turn the tide against disaster capitalism and climate chaos, in favor of a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world.