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Mar 18, 20

To Survive this Crisis and the One We Left, We Must Break Laws

Argues that the exploited and excluded will need to act directly to meet their needs, which will bring them in conflict with the existing power structure.

We are in pandemic pandemonium. Governments bail out the rich, and with few exceptions let the poor and the wretched suffer. This much is not new. But this time the stakes are higher, more immediate. We do not face death through the suffocation of poverty, the evaporation of freedoms, or the crushing of the climate. Now it is disease, it comes towards us, fast, furious and feverish.

To survive, we must break laws, deliberately, collectively.

If there are no homes for the homeless, we must break the locks of empty mansions and office towers and move people in. Health practitioners must give healthcare, without charge, even to those without insurance. When we see food hoarded by the rich, it is incumbent upon us to share it amongst those that need it. Where we see evictions in progress, we must surround the enforcement officers. When we hear of our friends dying of disease without care in prison, we have no choice but to break them free. When deportation vans come to tear people away, we have no choice but to stop them. As we lose jobs, lose income, lose our few cherished belongings, and are buried in debt — it is incumbent upon us to redistribute the holdings of the wealthy.

This crisis will not end when the lockdowns are lifted, the restaurants opened, when schools are back.

For those of us that can only live until the next paycheque, the road back will be eked out one painful step at a time. The debt collectors will lose their newly acquired patience. The concerned emails from corporations will dry up. Prices will rise. They speak of the return to normal. But normal was the slow death, before this now fast death. For many, we have nothing to return to. We will not, can not, go back quietly.

It is not normalcy we seek, but new worlds.

It is not a return to the ways of the old but to make worlds where we thrive. When we say health for all, we mean for ever. When we say, income supports for all, we mean forever. When we say stop rent, stop mortgages, stop debt, we mean forever.

They will not give it to us, we will have to take it.

We will. We must.

Laws are but tools. This much we can see. Rules can be changed when those at the top decide that we are in crisis. Those of us at the bottom have been in crisis for generations. This moment, now shows us the way – we must change the rules.

In this time, we must build organizations. Physical separation cannot stop our social solidarities. We must develop our capacities. Gather ourselves. Fight for our people now. Get ready for the larger fight to come.

Reject the return to normal. Prepare for the transformation.

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