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Black Flags and Windmi...
Scott Crow
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Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  51 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Tracing a life of radical activism and the emergence of a grassroots organization in the face of disaster, this chronicle describes scott crow's headlong rush into the political storm surrounding the catastrophic failure of the levee in New Orleans in 2005 and the subsequent failure of state and local government agencies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It recounts crow's ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by PM Press (first published 2010)
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Kevin  Van Meter
Interview with scott crow on Left Eye on Books

* * *

Black Flags and Radical Relief Efforts in New Orleans: An Interview with scott crow

Author and activist scott crow

“Solidarity not Charity” is a way of feeding people while addressing the underlying problems that cause hunger. The way this manifested itself in Common Ground was to immediately deliver and render aid where the state had failed, and then to leave structures in place so communities can continue to rebuild themselves as they see fit.
Another wonderful one that deserves a full review, and maybe a blog post-- I was there for some of this, I know many characters, I really appreciated scott's thoughtful but forceful narrative-shaping, and I'm embarking on my most intimidating international disaster relief project yet while reflecting on the anarchist, survivor-driven processes of this amazing and at times troubled organization back home. Perhaps I can make time for book reviewing during my upcoming 60+ hours of airplane/airport ...more
I wrote a paper on this for a class on natural disasters. Things that were conveniently left out of this text but were found in the academic lit: a contextualization within the history of white colonialism of communities of color, the privileging of masculinity and string of sexual assaults reported by members of the collective, and subsequently the fear and mistrust of locals in the surrounding neighborhoods by (mostly white, middle-class, nonlocal) collective members discussed, etc

I generally
This book was a solid start to explaining some of the circumstances and tactics that led to the formation of the collective. Crow writes passionately and attempts to cover a nearly inconceivable amount of territory with this book. Although not the sum of the book, it was jarring to find so much emphasis on the role of firearms in the body of the text, as opposed to the revolutionary nature of providing healthcare and food to the community (which as a reader I sometimes felt were being held up as ...more
Engaging story of hope and radical change in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In a few hundred pages, activist scott crow takes the reader through the origins and growth of the Common Ground Collective, an anarchist direct service group that arose in the West Bank of New Orleans. Along the way, we see the horrors of the hurricane's aftermath, we see scott in over his head as he searches for his friend and faces down white racist militias with his friends, we see the failure of huge, better-funded ...more
The subject matter is more interesting than the execution in this one, unfortunately. Less a narrative about the pitfalls of setting up an anarchist collective to meet the needs of the disenfranchised in post-Katrina New Orleans and more an ideological treatise on anarchist organizing. crow is a substantial character, and he injects much of himself into this book with his personal and unique take on anarchism. While this is interesting, it's clunkily woven into the overarching narrative of tryin ...more
Jun 05, 2014 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anarchists, Black Panthers, Zapatistas
Recommended to Kate by: Rikki
"'Twas like where you're from weren't never there. Where you're going doesn't matter. And where you are ain't no good unless you can get away from it!"

"Para todos todo, para nosotros nada."

"Queremos un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos."

"Solidarity Not Charity."

"There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories."
It may not touch on all of the important tenets of anarchy, but it certainly gives one some perspective on the state's overwhelming failures and atrocities. Most specifically this books talks about the state's actions during the events following hurricane Katrina and how a non-coercive group of people saved and improved a community by breaking laws and actually working together. A very poignant argument against statism and a heartwarming story about direct action, friendship and the spirit of co ...more
Marc Lucke
This is the most vivid memoir of post-Katrina reconstruction I've read and an amazing story of anarchism in action. Both terrifying and inspiring, it shows a totally different perspective than what's been reported in the major (and minor) news outlets. It's a bit muddled at the beginning, but everything falls into place eventually. Great reading now that we have a (little) historical perspective on the hurricane.
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