​Watching the tragedy of the Oakland Ghost Ship fire via news outlets and friends who live in Oakland’s facebook feeds has been a heart wrenching journey. Unlike the Pusle shooting in Orlando, there is no clear villain. 

The “at blame” party in this case seems to include some combination of the building owner, the tenant(s), the city for failing to follow up on complaints, capitalism and gentrification for pushing poor people into marginalized spaces, and probably some.other potential villains I haven’t heard about. 

As usual, victim blaming is not a good direction to head in. In general, I think blaming any one party is this nightmare is not going to be useful. Sadly, the damage here is done, to so many young lives, including many POC and LGBTQ folks.

Survivors and folks who had been to that space, or even similar spaces, are speaking out about how they could only find safety and comfort in those types of places. Marginalized identities finding solace in marginal spaces.

I think this tragedy must serve as a push, going forward, for those inhabiting marginal spaces to do as much as they can to make those spaces safe, and not just safe from harassment.

I present this concept: the terribleness of capitalism and real estate and gentrification still do not make outsiders/radicals/artists/lgbtq/whatever subculture justified in being careless/dangerous/unsafe with eachother. 

We need to do a better job taking care of each other than the market does of taking care of us.

We need to do a better job taking care of each other than the market does of taking care of us.

Marginalized people living in substandard housing is pretty much par for the course. But like a lot of anarchist thought, it seems like it is up to anarchists to be accountable and responsible to forge something better.

 Things that are cheap and easy to do moving forward: smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, water filters, safe power strips, condoms, safe space heaters, first aid kits, etc. Self care can include this shit too. It isn’t blaming the victim to learn from tragedy and try to do better moving forward.

Don’t forget that taking care of eachother includes emotional and mental and health things too. Let’s build alternatives to capitalism that are better than, not just different. Let’s carve out our own clubs and forts and collectives and make safe spaces that are emotionally and physically safe.

Poor folks are routinely subjected to the dregs of capitalism. There is often a particular charm to these spaces, certainly the photos of the Ghost Ship are beautiful in certain ways. Revelling in the dregs is legit. But finding ways to make hazards of lead paint, yucky water, bad wiring, etc. Become minimized is going to be important.

Money might be able to solve these issues, but I think creative people can find creative solutions, including bartering, to make safer spaces. I am NOT arguing that all alternative spaces need to become legal. That is out of reach or undesireable in many cases. Spaces can still be marginal, while being improved, and while the cultures within them are improved, to lead to greater safety.

We need to do a better job taking care of each other than the market does of taking care of us.

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