When the government is incapable

It’s just unbelievable, or sadly, it is believable, that Congress can suggest severe cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Social Security, Medicare, and other social safety net programs. All of which could be paid for by a small fraction of the military budget. This is just another example of the government being incapable of helping us. And/or unwilling to do so.

The following is from Des Moines Mutual Aid, that I am proud to be a part of.

In the late 1970’s the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for School Children Program fed tens of thousands of children daily. Our free food project in Des Moines is a continuation of the program started by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party for Self Defense fifty years ago.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recognized what a threat the free food program was to the status quo in those days.

Free food seemed relatively innocuous, but not to FBI head J. Edgar Hoover, who loathed the Black Panther Party and declared war against them in 1969. He called the program “potentially the greatest threat to efforts by authorities to neutralize the BPP and destroy what it stands for,” and gave carte blanche to law enforcement to destroy it.

How the Black Panthers’ Breakfast Program Both Inspired and Threatened the Government. The Panthers’ popular breakfast programs put pressure on political leaders to feed children before school by ERIN BLAKEMORE, History.com, FEB 6, 2018

Newly uncovered FBI records are a poignant reminder of just how long African Americans and others have been demanding fair treatment from the law. Together with the marches across the nation last year after the killing of George Floyd, the records serve as a stark reminder why lasting police reform can no longer be delayed.

The FBI documents shed new light on a scandalous raid on a Black Panthers apartment on Chicago’s West Side on Dec. 4, 1969. In the pre-dawn raid, officers under the command of then-Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan shot and killed Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

The killing of two Black Panthers, the secrets of the FBI — and our nation’s long fight for police reform. Newly released documents shed disturbing light on the FBI’s involvement in a 1969 police raid that resulted in the deaths of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by CST Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 24, 2021,

When those in authority talk about threats, they are referring to social, political, and militarized policing threats. Threats of violence and death.

It’s important to point out that Mutual Aid is absolutely nonviolent. Violence is antithetical to Mutual Aid. The following describes the first action of Des Moines Mutual Aid, participating in a peace march.

One year ago today Des Moines Mutual Aid participated in a march protesting the potential for war or increased hostilities with Iran that followed the fallout of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by drone strike in Baghdad.

This was our first “public” event since adopting the name Des Moines Mutual Aid, a name we gave our crew during our growing work with our relatives at the houseless camps throughout the city and our help with coordinating a weekly free grocery store that has a 50 year history, founded by the Des Moines Chapter of The Black Panther Party For Self Defense.

Des Moines Mutual Aid, January 7, 2020

For years I’ve been warning about the collapse of our social, political, and governance systems from environmental chaos. But it has become increasingly clear that social and political collapse from extremists and the movement to authoritarianism is happening now. Authoritarianism advancing with the aid of increasingly militaristic, deadly police forces. With radically expanding surveillance and characterizing political dissent as terrorism. I removed the credit for the quote above from a good friend of mine for security reasons in this political climate.

So, it’s time for many more of us to do something like a free food program again. A growing number of us are doing what “the government is incapable of”. In a minute I’ll be leaving to go to our Des Moines Mutual Aid free food project, as I have for almost three years.

Mutual Aid is something I’ve written about extensively. See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/mutual-aid/

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