Fascism, racism and homelessness kill with or without a virus

Please radically redistribute your hoarded sanitation, cleaning and healing supplies to POOR Magazine and Homefulness, at 8032 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, on or before Tuesday, March 24. The following day, we’ll begin to redistribute them around the Bay to unhoused encampments and very poor communities. Email poormag@gmail.com for more information.

by Lisa ‘Tiny’ Gray-Garcia

There are so many more terrorizing things in this poverty skola’s life than a virus.

Before you read on, please turn your phone, TV, radio or computer off for just a minute. Take a deep breath and give your corporate media-terrorized mind a rest. 

After that breather, I ask you to understand and overstand that just like before there was a terrorizing thing called a “corona” virus, there was a crisis called homelessness, poverty, police terror, racism, femicide, displacement, incarceration, false borders, gentrification, scarcity and Mama Earth extraction and destruction, all stemming from the violent diseases of colonization and what I affectionately call krapitalism. All of which cause death, sickness and harm to many people, including Mama Earth.

And as I know most of you conscious readers know, just because of the terrifying Covid-19 moment we are in, these other issues have not disappeared. In fact, all of our communities impacted by violent scarcity models and colonial violence are not only still here but are also impacted by this illness terror and impacted even worse than you might be, especially if you are not incarcerated, not living with a disability, not on a non-existent or fixed income and are currently safely housed, with a roof, wifi access and a computer and a working vehicle and dry blankets and beds and utilities and access to healthy food and sanitation. 

And as you take a break from the consumption of all of these terror-filled, action-free messages about an illness that many of us will never have, please remember that as humans we all have this magical thing called an immune system, which has protected us for our whole lives from other murderous diseases and bacteria. And finally that this global pandemic of terror and panic actually suppresses our immune system so it’s actually bad for our health and heart to be endlessly in panic and terror mode. 

“Yo tengo miedo,” said an elder who I take care of for one of only two paid gigs to support my family, speaking to me on the phone. Telling me she has been so scared she hasn’t even gone to the pharmacy to get her medicine. And she didn’t want me to come and treat her ‘cause I might be bringing the virus with me. 

Elders and poor folks are absolutely terrorized with the droning on by corporate media of this terror message. To what end?

I do question the droning corporate terror message and its relationship to the disaster krapitalist profiting off of Big Pharma’s eventual vaccine and the endless purchase of “survival gear.” 

Meanwhile all of us poor folks, houseless and barely housed, who survive on the edge, with or without a virus, of this broken, stolen society, are barely taking in what we need to eat and feed our families and pay rent and survive right now. 

So many low and no-wage workers who people never see are being laid off, stopped from working or just not called in to work.

“I’m out here now because I got laid off,” said Mike Z, a RoofLESS Radio reporter who just became unhoused this week in Oakland after not getting called to work for three weeks straight due to coronavirus work stoppages. RoofLessRadio at POOR Magazine serves food and grassroots, poor people-led media every week at encampments in East Oakland.

Social distancing sounds bizarrely like social anxiety and institutionalizes isolation in a creepy Black-poor-different-planet kind of way. It’s tech speak by people who don’t care about people in the first place. 

And that one of the most terrifying things about getting terrorized is our default to other very serious and murderous processes like isolationism, ableism, fascism, racism and scarcity models that can kill us all, with or without an illness of any kind.

From the weird silent anti-Asian messaging and not patronizing of restaurants to the constant ableist and classist messages we are receiving, assuming we all have hand-washing stations – even if we live outside and have no running water – and stay inside messages, even if we have no inside to stay in. What do social distancing, stay inside and stay away messages mean if we rely on people’s care, medicine, doctor visits and support to stay alive and, equally important, to stay sane. 

Social distancing sounds bizarrely like social anxiety and institutionalizes isolation in a creepy Black-poor-different-planet kind of way. It’s tech speak by people who don’t care about people in the first place. 

The funny-not-funny thing is, in krapitalism, we are already propagandized into what I call the away-nation. We are already sold and told on Western-white, hetero-patriarchal notions of individualism, isolation and separation, from our families, our cultures, our villages and communities. Because alone, separated, individualistic people make good and constant consumers and gentrifiers who endlessly have to buy products like new blankets and dishes and shelves, rent, buy, seize more and more of Mama Earth (property) and hoard and hoard and never give back. 

Herstory and fascism and hoarding

Throughout herstory, panics have happened over mass illnesses and emergencies and that is also when fascism can easily show its ugly head. The unknowing leads to more suspicion and greed and suddenly people who were all talk and no walk get more self-centered and somehow people who talked a good game about “helping and serving” people no longer give two cents about anyone but themselves. 

The non-profit industrial complex shutters its doors, the people with homes and trust funds and credit cards stay home and hoard and the rest of us are still outside with less access and more hate than we had before. Plantation prisons put little or no precautions in place and act worse than they were already acting to people stuck inside their unjust walls.

Action not fear

Bottom line is we are still here, elders and families who are homeless, incarcerated Black and Brown and poor people not getting medical treatment, proper food or any kind of safety and thousands of unhoused people getting criminalized. To address these issues, just like before there was a virus, things need to be done. And just like our front-line medical professionals, this is when we need people to get active. Radically redistribute your hoarded cleaning supplies, wipes and latex gloves and masks. 

Show up for the elders who are terrified of going outside. Make sure the poltricksters put up porta potties (like the ones unhoused North Oaklanders at the Self-Help Hunger Program have been fighting for for years), hand washing stations, trash pick-ups. Stop violent sweeps and equally violent evictions, like Dean Preston in San Francisco and the mayor of San Jose proposed. 

Insist the plantation prisons protect and provide sanitation for the people still inside their plantation walls. Radically and actively move hoarded and stolen wealth and stolen land to poor and indigenous peoples so we can build back our self-determined solutions like Homefulness, Sogorea Te Land Trust, Here/There and Where Do We Go Berkeley. 

In these times, indigenous, landless, homeless people’s own self-determined solutions rooted in ancient life-ways and liberation models are what will “save” the day – not because we are saviors, but because we aren’t working for a paycheck, a medal of honor or legislation, but we are working for each other, inter-dependently, like we always have, like we always do, to get what needs to be done, done. 

Please radically redistribute your hoarded sanitation, cleaning and healing supplies to POOR Magazine and Homefulness by or before March 24. RoofLESS Radio at POOR Magazine and United Front Against Displacement will be launching a series of Self-determined Healing, Sanitation and Cleaning Supplies Distribution days at unhoused encampments and with unhoused and very poor communities across the Bay Area (Oakland and San Francisco) beginning March 25. For more information, please email poormag@gmail.com.

Read more about issues of poverty and race written by the people who face them daily at POOR Magazine/POOR News Network, www.poormagazine.org and www.racepovertymediajustice.org. Email poormag@gmail.com