In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we continue our discussion with autonomous mutual aid and tenant organizations across Texas about the grassroots response to the “Deep Freeze” which hit Texas and other states in mid-February. The massive storms left several dead and millions without power, heat, and internet. After the storm passed, many homes and apartments were left with broken pipes, the result of dilapidated infrastructure already hit by hurricane Harvey and decades of neoliberalism.
“People just woke up, and found themselves in extreme, life threatening danger.” We talked to autonomous mutual aid and tenant groups across four different cities in #Texas to find out how they got organized in the face of deadly storms. https://t.co/E0jSKK3dna pic.twitter.com/iC4EVoLrD2
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) March 12, 2021
During our discussion, we pick up where our last podcast left off, talking about the spotlight which was placed on mutual aid groups as the storm became front page news. We then discuss the scope and scale of these mutual aid projects across Austin, Denton, Houston, and beyond. We then talk about other forms of collective activity and direct action which were organized by various groups, including an autonomous cop-free zone organized by 400 + 1 in Austin, marches and protests against attacks on the houseless by groups like Stop the Sweeps, and rent strikes supported by the Houston Tenants Union. We end by talking about the impact of the crisis and the failure of the State on the general population.
Look for 93 at Rosewood for support or to make donations.
When you arrive, they’ll get you settled in, connect you to housing 400+1 is offering, offer warm food and beverages, & facilitate healing. #martialtheblock #winterstorm2021 #atx pic.twitter.com/jKHQsIkqRX
— 400+1 (prounounced four hundred and one) (@_400and1) February 18, 2021
— Candice Bernd (@CandiceBernd) February 21, 2021
The response by autonomous anti-capitalist groups to the Deep Freeze offers us valuable lessons, as climate change fueled disasters and the breakdown of racialized capitalism and neoliberal infrastructure continues to feed crisis after crisis. We hope that these discussions provide folks with examples of how everyday people in horrific conditions responded not only to help people through hard times, but mobilized to confront the systems which immiserate our lives.
No Water, No Rent! Villas del Paseo Tenants On Strike pic.twitter.com/mOuLjS1AyP
— Houston Tenants Union (@HoustonTenants) March 2, 2021