Written by DSA RGV members Flor M. and Adan O.
Over the past several weeks, community members of the Rio Grande Valley have been learning how to build solidarity through mutual aid.
In weekly reading group meetings hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America chapter of the Rio Grande Valley (DSA-RGV), comrades have used Dean Spade’s “Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)” and invaluable discussion to collectively plan a clothing drive and hygiene kit distribution slated for this Saturday, February 12th at Archer Park in McAllen, Tx at 10am.
Members of DSA-RGV set up a drop-off location at Grind Coffee Co.— a local coffee shop with close ties to the community that has been used for organizing meetings and events in the past — and two, temporary pick-up sites at the UTRGV library and the Mercedes Public Library where members collected items from the public. Across DSA-RGV social media, funds were requested to purchase hygiene kit supplies with a portion of donations going towards acquiring rapid COVID-19 tests to be distributed at a future mutual aid event.
This is in response to the constant disregard of our unhoused and poor community members which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, free clinical services like drive-thru testing or mass vaccine clinics require a vehicle to wait in line, rendering service only to those able to afford the expense. In another instance, the Biden administration set up a program to deliver free rapid COVID-19 tests, requiring a delivery address and limiting four tests per household. Not only does this overlook multi-family homes, but it also completely neglects houseless populations. If the solution to societal problems is exclusionary, half-measured, or places blame on individuals, it isn’t a solution at all. For this current crisis and the next, a community-driven support network that provides means for survival in unjust conditions is needed.
We, the members of DSA-RGV, believe building solidarity through mutual aid can help mobilize people and provide organizing skills that empower our working-class fight against root causes of oppression. People need help surviving the devastating conditions and violence perpetrated daily by capitalism. It is difficult for comrades to organize when they are lacking basic needs or do not have any time to spare. By meeting those needs with survival work and arming comrades with political education, we can extend solidarity in conjunction with social movements to demand transformative change. We can demand for healthcare and housing to be a human right. We can agitate for better working conditions. But most importantly, we can build and strengthen community bonds in an atomized world and help the people of the Rio Grande Valley.
If you are interested in fighting for a socialist future where everyone’s needs are met, organize with us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and become a member here. Follow @dsa_rgv for updates on our next mutual aid action!