Thursday, January 17, 2013


In our first collective meeting, we called Susana who has been involved in Occupy Sandy in New York, to hear and ask about her experience of this mobilization, its effects on the wider Occupy movement, its organizational dynamics and further perspectives.

The transatlantic connection was shaky but we really enjoyed the converstation!

Discussion notes - Questions asked and answered in common by the participants

  • This resonated with Black Panther Party in many ways...
  • But I found that exactly when it came to asking the question 'how is this political' there isn't really an answer – like mutual aid in itsel is something that christian aid or migrant communities do all the time, but it doesn't change political structures in any way...
  • But I also have to say i'm not quite sure what these terms mean, I can only guess what the difference between mutual aid and charity might be defined...
  • In terms of where it comes out of, the mutual aid discourse comes from the anarchist tradition, and charity comes from the church..
  • I think charity is also something top-down, you give to someone but it doesn't have the mutualness to it
  • But then when she was describing these suspicions that they experience every now and then, maybe that's not top-down but seemingly there are also hierarchies, or class issues, or whatever you want to call it then..
  • I guess it's also that mutual aid is very community based, and that when you come into a community that you're not a part of, they say 'why do you want to be mutual with us? We don't know you, why should we trust you, etc..?' And then they have to say 'well actually we do it cause we have some political ideas or ideals'... this would have been interesting to talk about a bit more; how they talk about Occupy, whether they say they wanna change american society, or curb the power of Wall street, or how do they representat that to communties – because they have to explain why they're there, without being a charity

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


'In October of 1966, in Oakland California, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation — a party whose agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines'.1

>>The Panthers' ten-point plan, 'What We Want' can be found here.

The Breakfast Program
This free breakfast for school children program was set up in Berkeley 1968 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. It was the first significant communty program organised by the Panthers, and perhaps the most significant.

After a few months spreading to churches, community centres and auditoriums in Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland, it was announced that the program would be set up across the US.

The Breakfast Program has already been initiated in several chapters, and our love for the masses makes us realize that it must continue permanently and be a national program. But we need your help and that means money, food, and time. We want to turn the programs over to the community, but without your efforts and support we cannot.“
- The Black Panther, 19692

Serving Broadly
By the end of 1969 free breakfast was served in 19 cities, under the sponsorship of the national headquarters and twenty-three local affiliates. More than 20.000 children received full free breakfast (bread, bacon, eggs, grits) before going to their grade or junior high school.3 While programs operated in predominantly black neigbourhoods, the program also fed children of other groups, even operating in a partly middle-class neigbourhood in Seattle. It was also used to raise public consciousness about hunger and poverty in America, and the importance of nutrition for learning.
[there are] millions of people who are living below subsistence; welfare mothers, poor white people, Mexican-Americans, Chicano peoples, Latinos, and black people.“

- Bobby Seale4