Saturday, August 25, 2007

Peru Solidarity and Appeal for Action

Earthquake leaves cities in ruins

The militants of the Grupo Qhispikay Llaqta is calling for a meeting of
all libertarians, friends and anyone interested, to be held on Sunday
at noon in Plaza Francia, to organize aid for the region hit by the
---Appeal for aid to Ica

Comrades and friends, everybody already knows about the disaster that
hit our brothers and sisters from the south of the country (Ica,
Pisco), besides the mountain areas of Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Ica,
southern Lima. Because of this, and irrespective of personal differences,
now is the moment to unite and show our solidarity, not only in words
but also through action.

The militants of the Grupo Qhispikay Llaqta is calling for a meeting of
all libertarians, friends and anyone interested, to be held on Sunday
at noon in Plaza Francia, bringing with us all that we can, such as:

used clothes in good condition
non-perishable foodstuffs
anything considered useful.

The city of Ica is also home to the comrades of the Ica No Pasiva
collective, though at the moment we have no news of them. All collected

donations will be sent then to Ica by means of a commission from the
Movimiento Nacional de Nats* Organizados del Perú (MNNATSOP - National

Movement of Organized Child and Teenage Workers of Peru) that has a
in Avenida Arequipa. This organization of working youths is trustworthy

since we know about its work and we have had some previous contacts
them. There is also a possibility that some of us may take part in the
commission. Let's help the men, women, children, old people and
that live in the Ica area, who have nothing. While today we are with
families, many of these people now have no family and no home to spend
night. We cannot be indifferent.

Article Excerpts about Politics and Disasters from Harpers

The Uses of Disaster: Notes on Bad Weather and Good Governments

By: Rebecca Solnit (Harpers 10/2005)

…The days after 9/11 constituted a tremendous national opening, as if a door had been unlocked. The aftermath of disaster is often peculiarly hopeful, and in the rupture of the ordinary, real change often emerges. But this means that disaster threatens not only bodies, buildings, and property but also the status quo. Disaster recovery is not just a rescue of the needy but also a scramble for power and legitimacy, one that the status quo usually-but not always-wins. The Bush Administration's response after 9/11 was a desperate and extreme version of this race to extinguish too vital a civil society and reestablish the authority that claims it alone can do what civil society has just done-and, alas, an extremely successful one. For the administration, the crisis wasn't primarily one of death and destruction but one of power. The door had been opened and an anxious administration hastened to slam it shut.

You can see the grounds for that anxiety in the aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, which was the beginning of the end for the one-party rule of the PRI over Mexico. The earthquake, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale, hit Mexico City early on the morning of September 19 and devastated the central city, the symbolic heart of the nation. An aftershock nearly as large hit the next evening. About ten thousand people died, and as many as a quarter of a million became homeless.

The initial response made it clear that the government cared a lot more about the material city of buildings and wealth than the social city of human beings. In one notorious case, local sweatshop owners paid the police to salvage equipment from their destroyed factories. No effort was made to search for survivors or retrieve the corpses of the night-shift seamstresses. It was as though the earthquake had ripped away a veil concealing the corruption and callousness of the government. International rescue teams were rebuffed, aid money was spent on other programs, supplies were stolen by the police and army, and, in the end, a huge population of the displaced poor was obliged to go on living in tents for many years.

“Not even the power of the state,” wrote political commentator Carlos Monsivás, “managed to wipe out the cultural, political, and psychic consequences of the four or five days in which the brigades and aid workers, in the midst of rubble and desolation, felt themselves in charge of their own behavior and responsible for the other city that rose into view.”

To read the whole article go to: