Cooperation Beats Capitalism in a Crisis
Cooperation Beats Capitalism in a Crisis:
COVID-19 Mutual Aid Resources, Coop & Business Resources & Advocacy
March 27, 2020 / 6320 AFK
Last updated May 22, 2020
As you've likely heard, during this pandemic, we should try to stay as isolated as possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying six feet away from others. Disinfect surfaces that you, your family and your coworkers regularly touch. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists certain products that kill the coronavirus. Wear a mask when you're outside of your home and among people. Wear gloves when appropriate and wash your hands frequently. Our elder family members and family members with respiratory complications should minimize their exposure to others especially. Give greater weight to the instructions of health professionals and scientists, than to the instructions of the current president or religious leaders.
The Ujamaa Works network exists because black households, native households and low income households live in a constant state of crisis under the lethal effects of systematic oppression including racism, patriarchy and healthcare capitalism. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these long-ignored problems of systemic injustice and greed. Incarcerated people, unhoused people and people whose limited wealth prevents us from consistently meeting our basic needs are especially at risk.
Our priority should not be getting back to "normal" because normal is what put us in this situation to begin with. Normal is why the richest nation in the world has such an ineffective, racist, classist, expensive health system. Normal is why the ecological health of our planet is plummeting. Normal is why 50% of the world owns less than 1% of the world's wealth and 70% of the world is made to live on $10 USD or less per day. Normal relies on this violent dehumanization.
According to the single-payer, universal healthcare advocate and pediatrician, Dr. Margaret Flowers, "The current disaster exists in large part because the US healthcare system is the opposite of what is needed. It is fragmented, discriminatory and designed for corporate profits, not the wellbeing of the public. Even before the pandemic, the United States had the highest number of preventable deaths compared to other wealthy nations and a declining life expectancy... Two thirds of personal bankruptcies in America are because of medical bills."
Systems-change is our only option for survival. Now that a significant portion of the global worker class has been forced out of work, even more of the conditions for a general strike are in place. The purpose of such a strike is to confront the disastrous, "normal" leadership of corporate managers and politicians that brought us to this point by withholding our labor, our rent payments, our mortgage payments, our taxes, our health insurance payments and anything else that we can withhold to force leaders to govern for all of us, starting with the most vulnerable. This international work stoppage is an opportunity to assert our humanity and our power in numbers. See the advocacy section below for more information about a general strike.
Few of us are deluded enough to turn to capitalism in a crisis. When we're up against it, people rely on each other, on recognition of the inherent value of human life and on unfettered access to healthcare. We don't pray for angel investors to invest in public goods. We don't rely on the Dow Jones Industrial Average to make rent. We don't rely on the benevolence of health insurance capitalists to care for people without homes or insurance. Despite the corporate messaging and neoliberal political rhetoric of "coming together" to face this "shared" crisis, the culture of capitalism does not care whether we live or die, even during a pandemic. Their god is infinite, economic growth and our suffering is not equal. Fortunately, in beautiful, necessary acts of solidarity, everyday people in Baltimore, Maryland and beyond are expanding cooperative and mutual aid efforts. If you’d like to request assistance, volunteer, contribute or apply for business grants or loans related to the pandemic, then this page offers some options.
Baltimore food distribution, video below (Circles of Voices / An End To Ignorance)
Baltimore Black-led COVID-19 Response Fund (CLLCTIVLY)
Contribute to housing in Maryland: Contribute to housing costs for individuals recently released from incarceration. Please write "housing" in the memo line if you would like your donation to be directed to housing costs. (Out for Justice)
Contribute to bail black mothers out of jail (Color of Change)
Contribute to Native American Community Response Fund (Decolonizing Wealth)
Seed Commons Worker Response Fund: "Help us make sure that the worker-owners on the frontlines of building a democratic economy have the resources they need to weather this storm. The workers of the Seed Commons cooperative network need your help building a mutual aid fund to endure the COVID-19 crisis."
Emergency Loans for Cooperatives
COVID-19 Emergency Loans (Shared Capital Cooperative)
Disaster Recovery Fund (Cooperative Development Foundation)
Emergency Cooperative Enterprise Relief Loan (Cooperative Fund of New England)
Worker cooperatives are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
Emergency Grants & Loans for Businesses, Nonprofits & Tribes
#BmoreBlackOwned, two micro grants of $1,500 and $1,000 for black-owned entities in Baltimore region, deadline May 22
NDN COVID-19 Response Project: Grants for organizations providing indigenous communities with medical supplies, food delivery, youth and/or elder care, educational access, shelter and housing, economic relief, social/emotional support, cultural, ceremonial, spirit-aligned support, information and communications, including access to accurate information; Radio/T.V., internet; deadline May 31 (NDN Collective)
Grants for mothers with sole proprietorships (Moms As Entrepreneurs)
COVID-19 Emergency Response Funds, grants for Baltimore area nonprofits
Small business grants for Pacific Southwest region (Better Business Bureau)
Grants for women-owned businesses, deadline May 31 (Amber Grant Foundation)
Artist Relief Fund, Cycle 2: April 24 - May 20; Cycle 3: May 21 - June 17; Cycle 4: June 18 - July 22; Cycle 5: July 23 - August 19
COVID-19 Business for All Grants, deadline July 16 (Hello Alice and Verizon)
Business for All Grants, deadline September 25 (Hello Alice and Verizon)
Innovation Grant, for targeting solutions and projects that will build lasting community resilience through protecting vulnerable populations and frontline workers or providing for the safe return to work; deadline June 5 (Booz Allen Hamilton)
[Round 2 opens July 1] Racial justice grants, for black/indigenous-led entities in Oakland, California (So Love Can Win)
[Closed, round 2 TBA] COVID-19 African-American Relief Fund Small Business Grants
[Closed, next round TBA] Grants for women-owned businesses in design, fashion, music and the arts (Girl Boss)
[Closed, next round TBA] Verizon Emergency Business Grants
[Closed] Food Stability Fund, grants for food distribution in Baltimore (Fund for Educational Excellence)
Indian Tribal Public Health Grants (CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support)
Maryland Unemployment Application (Division of Unemployment Insurance)
US Small Business Administration (SBA) Coronavirus Relief Options, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Funding for life sciences companies (National Institutes of Health)
[Closed] Baltimore City COVID-19 Small Business Fund, small business grants
[Closed/Paused April 6] Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund (MD Commerce Department)
[Closed/Paused April 6] Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund (MD Commerce Department)
[Closed/Paused April 21] Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund to produce personal protective equipment (MD Commerce Department)
[Closed in MD, VA and CA] Rural Business Development Grants (US Agriculture Department)
Maryland Business Relief Wizard: "There are numerous local and national programs for businesses in need of emergency support, but understanding which options are relevant for your organization can be a challenge. The Maryland Business Relief Wizard is a tool that helps connect businesses with the resources and programming for which they’re eligible, streamlining the process of finding support."
Maryland COVID-19 Business Information: Financial assistance, business closures ("essential"/"non-essential")
General Strike (CoronaStrike)
General Strike, video below (General Strike 2020)
National Demands for COVID-19 (Movement for Black Lives)
International Declaration on COVID-19 (Endorsed by Red Nation)
Survey of tribal and native community leaders: Information gathered will be utilized to inform IAC's programmatic responses and the guidance we offer the USDA Office of Tribal Relations and our valued partners. (Intertribal Agriculture Council)
American Indian Foods: Future and Current Participants, survey (Intertribal Agriculture Council)
"Black Oakland [California] Demands in Light of COVID-19 and Rates of Black Death" (Community Ready Corps, Anti Police-Terror Project)
Tribal provisions in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 (National Congress of American Indians)
Public Health Information
Disinfecting products that kill the virus that causes COVID-19 (US Environmental Protection Agency)
Maryland Department of Health: The State of Maryland updates this page every morning with new information on the coronavirus in the state. For now, they’re still saying that they’ll launch statewide testing “as soon as supplies are available”. Presumably, they will share information about testing in this website’s “Symptoms & Testing” section when it becomes available.
Baltimore COVID-19 Asset Map (Baltimore City Council Member, Brandon Scott)
More Resources & Information from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
More Resources & Information from Open Society Institute in Baltimore