On Friday, October 12th the Socialist Rifle Association participated in disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Michael was a historic storm, the strongest to strike the Florida Panhandle in recorded history. Several beach cities, including Panama City and Mexico Beach, were nearly completely destroyed, and hurricane force winds caused widespread destruction well into central Georgia. The storm intensified out of nowhere from a tropical storm to a Category 4 in only two days, catching both Federal authorities and grassroots relief efforts flatfooted.
The SRA began a gofundme on October 8th and in less than two days raised $3500, in part thanks to a single person's very generous donation of $1577. Once the money was raised, while Michael made landfall, we began coordinating with another leftist organization, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (MADR), who put together an extremely impressive relief operation following Hurricane Florence. Thanks to them we were able to develop a relief plan and integrate it into existing mutual aid efforts.
A North Georgia SRA volunteer, aided by other SRA members and Democratic Socialists, loaded his truck with $2500 worth of supplies including water, food, sanitary items, and tools. He drove 320 miles to hurricane-struck Tallahassee and delivered the goods to the Florida People's Action Center (FLPAC) in Tallahassee, which is being used as a supply distribution point by local activists.
Now a coalition of left wing organizations and volunteers -- including Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, Tallahassee Democratic Socialists, Tampa Democratic Socialists, Tallahassee Party for Socialism and Liberation, and Dream Protectors -- are distributing these supplies to low income communities in the hardest hit parts of the Florida Panhandle, including Tallahassee, Quincy, Gretna, Blountstown, Youngstown, and Panama City.
We are proud to have been a part of this historic and needed disaster relief operation. As the world's oceans continue to warm we can only expect hurricanes to become more and more dangerous, and it is clear that the state will not be there to aid and protect the most vulnerable amongst us. Police in Florida are threatening "looters" looking for food in a devastated city, while National Guardsmen are fortifying and defending banks, and FEMA focuses its relief efforts on wealthy beachfront property owners. If you look past the illusion of state power, you can see the true defenders of the people in the background: socialists, anarchists, and ordinary concerned citizens, working together to provide for their fellow man in times of need with no expectation of pay or reward. That is community defense: being ready to help your neighbors with a bottle of water and a helping hand.
The Socialist Rifle Association is a gun rights organization and gun club, but we are also a people's organization, dedicated to defending the working class in every way. Shooting is a martial art, and the study of any martial art should also come with an understanding of your role in your community and your responsibility to others. Our responsibility now, in the face of global climate change and the rising tide of fascism, is to build the infrastructure needed to provide for the poor and defend the vulnerable in our increasingly unstable world.
The lessons we've learned from our relief actions for Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael will allow us to hone our relief respones in the future. We hope to continue our relationship with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief so we can combine our efforts and mount even larger and better prepared relief efforts in the future. We are so grateful to all of our members and to everyone who contributed to the GoFundMe, particularly Anthony Maselli. And we want to extend our gratitude to every person who stepped up and helped others during these terrible storms. We are stronger together than we are apart.
Love and Solidarity!