Puerto Rico Mutual Aid Centers in Action.. Centros de Apoyo Mutuo

listen first of all, work with the needs of people, act with firmness and sacrifice, and of course, not ask for forgiveness or permission”

In the Post-Maria situation we are promoting the creation of Mutual Support Centers throughout the island to address the serious situation of our people.Help us build another Puerto Rico,FIND AND HELP.. click  HERE ON FACEBOOK… MUTUAL AID CENTERS.. Centros de Apoyo Mutuo

We are currently supporting community and grassroots organizations, including Taller Salud, El Hormiguero, Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico, the Boricuá collective, and the agroecological movement, which are working in the communities, from Santurce to Loíza.

Our center of operations is in Cucina 135 in Hato Rey, with the telephone line 787-767-9862, where we agree daily to join collective, organizational and community efforts of all the organizations mentioned. We are betting on the capacity and potential of communities to identify their own needs, organize their own reconstruction and build long-term collective resilience. We urgently need supplies to provide the communities most devastated by the hurricane and which, as a matter of fact, have been forgotten and abandoned by the authorities.

Puerto Rico. Without forgiveness and without permission


By Giovanni Roberto

..In Puerto Rico there is .. an emerging movement of radical self-management that threatens to gain strength after the passage of Hurricane Maria.

CAM  Mutual Aid Centers

One of the expressions of this emergency is the Mutual Support Centers (CAM), spaces for popular needs management with the perspective of building new communities. The “mutual support” includes .. an anti-system position, because in Puerto Rico the colonial assistance with charity has been one of the ideological bases with which the population is tied up and the State is sustained.

With the slogan “better to ask for forgiveness than permission,”a group of residents of all ages in Las Carolinas, Caguas took over the  Maria Montañez Gomez Elementary School, which was closed in May, and turned it into the Mutual Support Center of Las Carolinas. Also in Caguas, the members of the first CAM of the island, quickly reorganisedat the facilities of what was 30 years ago the Social Security Offices.

In Las Marías, another diverse group of residents of the Bucarabones neighborhood occupied their school closed 15 years ago and turn it into a CAM little by little. And in other communities or projects there is discussion about what space to rescue, what school to re-open to fix or how to manage things in the most independent way.

…This seems to point out better than anything else the real and moral bankruptcy … of these governments under the economic mantle of neoliberalism, that of privatizing everything, turning everything into merchandise, selling, accumulating, earning only for you

The radical self-management that is reborn with momentum after Hurricane Maria does not really ask for forgiveness or permission, especially since it is carried out in broad daylight, in open communication with the population and closely supported by our diaspora, our exile. The nation lives!   / continues below


Help Fund Casa-Taller & Grassroots Relief in Puerto RicoAyúdenos a levantar fondos para Casa-Taller y otros esfuerzos de apoyo para organizaciones de base en Puerto Rico

 US$93,644.93 Raised       US$100,000 Goal

The Socialised Food kitchens

It is something that we had lived in the Social Comedores (Socialised Food kitchens) project of Puerto Rico, because in these four years of difficult management, the UPR has asked for licenses, papers, permits and we have never been able to present any of that. Not because we do not want to, to be honest, but we have not been able to because we operate with few resources.

Without asking for forgiveness or permission, the social canteens continue to consolidate little by little in the UPR due to the combination of a contribution model that makes sense for people -materials, work or money- and because it solves a basic need for all those who reach the food tables. Now this model is having another expression on the island with the emergence of Community Eaters.

On occasion, at UPR Cayey, Municipal Patents and the Treasury tried to fine us. Later, in that same UPR, a gang of university guards tried unsuccessfully to stop a food distribution. In a few others, in UPR Río Piedras, using threats, some Deans and administrative personnel tried to dissuade food management through the bureaucratic route. In all these experiences we strengthened a central argument for what we do: solidarity between people can not be regulated by the State.That is why we must insist on a new way of understanding and doing politics in Puerto Rico. A policy that without asking for forgiveness or permission from anyone, listens with patience to the needs of the population and helps with creativity to organize it in such a way that we can become, why not, anti-system management, because we know all too well that the system in which we live is totally anti-people.

A policy that, without pardon or permission, challenges certain sectors of the progressive middle class to step aside and stop trying to represent those below, to speak for them.

That middle class has taken advantage throughout its life of its class position, its privileges, to make the poor believe that without them they will never be able to defeat our oppressors.

Their effort is always to interact with the government, to throw at the politicians, to show themselves as a more viable option than the others. In any case, the role of the poor is to thank them. Shit on that!A policy that without pardon or permission also rejects the traditional left from which I come, because to do anti-system politics does not always consist of the picket and the march… Our main strategy is to reinvent ourselves and develop a method of work, which until now in this experimentation that we call CDPEC could be summarized as follows, to:

listen first of all, work with the needs of people, act with firmness and sacrifice, and of course, not ask for forgiveness or permission.

* Summarised from the page of the Center for Political, Cultural and Educational Development and reproduced here with the authorization of the author.

This is Caguas: “Centro de Apoyo Mutuo”

“Apoyo Mutuo seized the space a month and a half ago. A month ago they defended it from the police who demanded to know our individual names.”

Centro de Apoyo Mutuo,(Centers for Mutual Aid), exist as raised fists across the island landscape of post hurricane Irma, post hurricane Maria Puerto Rico.

In the narrow, colorful streets of Caguas, a building seized and defended by community is being painted by Centro organizers and a Mutual Aid Disaster Relief medical and systems crew from the main land.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb…D Outside, a 400 gallon buffalo tank awaits the systems teams’ erection of the high volume modular water filtration system and pump which will fill it with drinking water for the community, creating a resource on lands reclaimed by autonomous Apoyo Mutuo community members. By 2pm it is pumping heavily, pouring treated water from the mouth of a hose until long after sunset.Apoyo Mutuo seized the space a month and a half ago. A month ago they defended it from policia who demanded to know their individual names…

“We just kept responding that our name is Centro de Apoyo Mutuo.”

At 8, a crowd fills the parking lot sharing donuts cut in halves with the opening scenes of a documentary on a history of direct action occupations in Puerto Rico playing on the concrete wall of the lot in front of the building.

“We are changing the way we relate to each other. That’s what we want. To change the behaviors we have learned through capitalism.”…

We parted with the crew of community members from Centro de Apoyo Mutuo late in the night after helping paint the new community kitchen space, building a compost toilet and pumping hundreds of gallons of drinking water into a common tank…

This is the dream of a new Puerto Rico being manifested by autonomous direct action.

from  … It’s Going Down!


original en castellano

Puerto Rico. Sin perdón y sin permiso

Por Giovanni Roberto

Para adelantar cambios profundos en Puerto Rico, la expresión popular “es mejor pedir perdón que pedir permiso” tendrá que crecer por toda la isla. En realidad lo hace ya en algunos espacios de la mano de un emergente movimiento de autogestión radical que amenaza con ganar fuerza tras el paso del huracán María.

CAM
 Una de las expresiones de esa emergencia lo son los Centros de Apoyo Mutuo (CAM), espacios de gestión popular de necesidades con la perspectiva de construir comunidades nuevas. Tras el “apoyo mutuo” se esconde una posición antisistema, pues en Puerto Rico el asistencialismo colonial lleno de caridad ha sido una de las bases ideológicas con las que se amarra a la población y se sostiene el Estado.

Con el “mejor pedir perdón que permiso”, en Las Carolinas, Caguas, un grupo de residentes de todas las edades tomaron la cerrada en mayo Escuela Elemental María Montañez Gómez y la convirtieron en el Centro de Apoyo Mutuo de Las Carolinas. También en Caguas, los miembros del primer CAM de la isla, arreglan a buen ritmo las facilidades de lo que fue hace 30 años las Oficinas del Seguro Social.

En Las Marías, otro grupo diverso de residentes del Barrio Bucarabones toman su escuela cerrada hace 15 años y la convierten poco a poco en un CAM. Y en otras comunidades o proyectos se discute qué espacio rescatar, qué escuela abrir para arreglar o cómo gestionar de la manera más independiente.Algo tiene de poesía, por cierto, eso de que muchos espacios rescatados hoy para ensayar el desarrollo de un nuevo poder popular hayan sido alguna vez espacios que pertenecían al Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico o al Estado Federal de Estados Unidos.

Parece señalar mejor que otra cosa la bancarrota real y moral de éstos frente a unas poblaciones marginadas por el abandono organizado y consistente de estos gobiernos bajo el manto económico del neoliberalismo, eso de privatízalo todo, conviértelo todo en mercancía, vende, acumula, gana solo para ti.

La autogestión radical que renace con impulso tras el huracán María en realidad no pide perdón ni permiso, sobre todo porque anda haciéndose a plena luz del día, en comunicación abierta con la población y sostenida estrechamente por nuestra diáspora, nuestro exilio. ¡La nación viva!Es algo que habíamos vivido en el proyecto Comedores Sociales de Puerto Rico, pues en estos cuatro años de difícil gestión, la UPR nos ha pedido licencias, papeles, permisos y nosotros nunca hemos podido presentar nada de eso. No porque no queramos, para ser honesto, pero es que no hemos podido porque operamos con pocos recursos y como todo el mundo sabe, “aquí puede el que más tiene.”

Sin pedir perdón ni permiso, los comedores sociales siguen consolidándose poco a poco en la UPR por la combinación de un modelo de aportaciones que hace sentido para las personas—materiales, trabajo o dinero—y porque soluciona una necesidad básica para todas las que llegan a las mesas de comida.  Ahora este modelo está teniendo otra expresión en la isla con el surgimiento de Comedores Comunitarios.

En alguna ocasión, en UPR Cayey, Patentes Municipales y Hacienda intentaron multarnos. Tiempo después, en esa misma UPR, un corillo de guardias universitarios intentó sin éxito detener una repartición de alimentos. En otras pocas, en UPR Río Piedras, usando la amenaza, las Cartas Circulares, algunas Decanas y personal administrativo, intentaron disuadir la gestión alimentaria por la vía burocrática. En todas estas experiencias fuimos fortaleciendo un argumento central a lo que hacemos: la solidaridad entre las personas no puede ser regulada por el Estado.

Por eso debemos insistir en una nueva manera de entender y hacer política en Puerto Rico. Una política que sin pedir perdón ni permiso a nadie, escuche con paciencia las necesidades de la población y ayude con creatividad a organizarla de modo tal que puedan convertirse, por qué no, en gestiones anti-sistema, pues sabemos de sobra ya que el sistema en el que vivimos es totalmente anti-personas.

Una política que sin perdón ni permiso rete a ciertos sectores de la clase media progresista a hacerse a un lado y que dejen de intentar representar a los de abajo, hablar por ellos. Esa clase media ha sacado ventaja toda la vida de su posición de clase, de sus privilegios, para hacerle creer a las y los pobres que sin ellos y ellas no podremos derrotar nunca a nuestros opresores. Su esfuerzo es siempre interactuar con el gobierno, tirarle a los políticos, mostrarse como una opción más viable que los otros. En todo caso el rol de los pobres es darle las gracias. ¡Mierda es!

Una política que sin perdón ni permiso rete también a la izquierda tradicional de la que vengo, pues hacer política anti-sistema no consiste siempre en el piquete y la marcha o la democracia de los círculos y las manos. El debate de nuestro tiempo es de algún modo muy clásico, pues tiene que ver con cuál será nuestra estrategia principal de cambio para la próxima década para lo cual estamos obligados y obligadas a reinventarnos y desarrollar un método de trabajo, que hasta el momento en esta experimentación que llamamos CDPEC se resumiría así: escuchar primero que todo, trabajar con las necesidades de las personas, actuar con firmeza y sacrificio, y claro, no pedir perdón ni permiso.

* Tomado de la página del Centro para el Desarrollo Político, Cultural y Educativo y reproducido aquí con la autorización del autor.

2 thoughts on “Puerto Rico Mutual Aid Centers in Action.. Centros de Apoyo Mutuo”

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Puerto Ricans helping Puerto Ricans … the way to get things done!!
    ‘In the Post-Maria situation we are promoting the creation of Mutual Support Centers throughout the island to address the serious situation of our people.’

    Like

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