The current crisis surrounding COVID-19 has unleashed a flurry of dispersed, self-organized activity, from mutual aid efforts to demands and nascent initiatives to build the power to meet these demands. Many of these demands have consolidated/coalesced around the 5 demands outlined in the graphic below. Here, we’ll try to collect a guide to all the ongoing activity surrounding these demands and some mutual aid initiatives that people can plug in with locally. We encourage folks to start plotting their own conspiracies if they see something lacking–whether mass sickouts, rent strikes, housing takeovers, and more. The situation is constantly changing, so please contact us on social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s something we should add.
- March 18-24 Phone Zap for Corona Relief (demanding paid sick leave, rent and utility freeze, and a hardship stipend): https://www.facebook.com/events/638225086973609/
- Petition for UT to adopt a universal pass policy: https://www.change.org/p/the-univeristy-of-texas-at-austin-urge-ut-to-adopt-a-universal-pass-policy-for-the-spring-2020-semester?
- On April 9th, Stop the Sweeps hosted a slow-roll car demo in downtown Austin. While their demands focused largely on opening up hotels and access to care & testing for homeless people, they also highlighted other demands such as rent suspension and freedom for prisoners.
1. Free Healthcare
2. No Work
- Whole Foods workers have been threatening sick-out and strike actions over pay and safety issues
- Instacart workers have been mobilizing for strikes over similar issues
3. No Paying–No Debt
- On May Day, Rent Strike ATX hosted a car demonstration on I-35. Around 15 people were arrested. Donate to their legal fund. As of May 2nd, all demonstrators have been released from jail
- A Rent Strike and Justice for Mike Ramos banner drop on April 27th
- Call-in City Council meeting on 3/26 to vote on 60-day grace period on evictions. Sign up by Wednesday at noon to call in and speak in support!
- Some folks spread the message of the Rent Strike on the walls of an apartment complex
- Rent Strike ATX
- Rent Strike ATX has co-sponsored a petition demanding rent control and rent forgiveness measures from city council.
- Currently, one building in Austin is officially on rent strike, while others are organizing to make demands and negotiate with their landlords.
- Rent Strike ATX has set up a Strike Fund for legal defense and anti-repression expenses
- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
- Rent Strike Form: https://tinyurl.com/tvq822s
- Join their Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/819966381844896/about/
- Petition for Landlords to Charge Rent at Cost for Hospitality Workers: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-steve-adler-residential-landlords-charge-rent-at-cost-during-covid-19-for-hospitality-workers?
- Petition to Governor Abbott to Suspend Rent, Mortgage, & Utility Payments: CLICK HERE
- Petition to Mayor Adler for rent, mortgage, and utility bill suspension: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-adler-mayor-adler-we-need-rent-mortgage-and-utility-bill-suspension-now-6c8e129e-39d8-42d7-a9c3-b91b6c0d1205?
- Petition to West Campus student housing conglomerates for rent relief: https://www.change.org/p/quarters-on-campus-west-campus-student-rent-relief-in-response-to-covid-19
4. Free The Prisoners
Austin Anarchist Black Cross
- Zine for distribution to prisoners and their loved ones with information on the pandemic and ways people can advocate for themselves on the inside.
- “Additionally, two older Texas inmates are suing the state’s prison system for its handling of the new coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit, filed on Monday, 3/30/2020, argues that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is failing to protect prisoners at the Pack Unit, a geriatric prison near College Station, from the potentially fatal virus.”
- Help Austin ABC pay for postage to send these zines to prisoners
Stop the Sweeps Austin
- As of April 9th, Stop the Sweeps has been fighting against a proposed renewal and extension of a city contract for encampment sweeps. As of the last city council meeting, the item was removed from the agenda for discussion at a future meeting.
- Petition to stop encampment sweeps: https://www.change.org/p/txdot-stop-encampment-sweeps-in-austin
- Stop the Sweeps Statement In Response to Coronavirus: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1q3a_Mi3th_UBrAYcyITxubbYzwJ-hR4P/view?usp=sharing
- [OLD] Phone Zap to End Sweeps: https://www.facebook.com/events/209613710287292/
- As of 3/17, the City of Austin confirmed they would be stopping sweeps. Meanwhile, TXDoT is believed to be continuing, or at least deflecting on whether they actually will stop sweeps. STS Austin is encouraging folks to keep calling in to the next few days, pay attention to the event page/their social media for more details on where to call.
5. Homes For All
Mutual Aid Initiatives
- ATX Free Food Sharing: https://www.facebook.com/groups/307913700125933/about/
- ATX Mutual Aid for COVID-19: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2600062263571948/about/
- Primrose Community Care (Facebook page for mutual aid resources): https://www.facebook.com/pg/Primrose-Community-Care-101420724830565/about/
- Emergency COVID-19 Relief for Sex Workers in Austin. Organized by the Sex Workers Outreach Project ATX: https://www.gofundme.com/f/SWOPATX-COVID19RELIEF
- Care Web Austin, a decentralized spreadsheet with folks coordinating needs, resources, and more: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Eafuk2C9FZu5aW_gpPcDJPkbMCL6KA7UuBz2xfNAjug/edit?usp=sharing
- Mutual Aid ATX, a marginalized student-run mutual aid collective: https://twitter.com/mutualaidatx
- Bat City Antifascist Front is raising money to purchase bandanas & hair ties to help make masks for homeless folks.
- Monkeywrench Books is offering their space as a community center and organizing space for mutual aid/relief groups, while ceasing operations as a bookstore. Contact them via their website, facebook, or at 512-766-6925. They additionally now have open drop-in hours for you to pick up supplies you need or drop off donations, daily from 4-8 PM.
- Graffiti spotted around town during the crisis
- “Eat The Rich” spray painted on the Texas Theta sorority house. Theta had been the target of criticism for an irresponsible Cabo trip which spread many new cases of COVID-19.
- The above two pieces spotted near South Lamar
- Above tags spotted in South Austin off William Cannon.
- graffiti spotted around May Day near South Lamar