Principles of Care-Mongering HamOnt: Updated May 5th 2020
Updated: May 7, 2020
NOTE: We hosted a live-streamed conversation on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to discuss these principles on Wednesday May 6 2020 at 6 PM. To view the recorded live-stream, you may visit: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B_4FgXPglP8/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet The video is not yet captioned, but will be as soon as possible.
1. We Keep Us Safe
CareMongering is built around the idea that we, as a community, look out for each other. When harm is caused by a member or members of the group, that harm is felt across the community and shakes its foundation. Group members should not call the police or Children’s Aid Services (CAS) on another member of the group.
1. a) Don’t call the cops:
Police and prisons function through racism. They criminalize Black and Indigenous communities, and endanger racialized, disabled, unhoused, and low income families. Calling the police and Childrens’ Aid Services (CAS) endangers people more than it keeps us safe: we can take alternate courses of action to respond to harm.
CAS causes pain and distress to families. They work with police and within a similar framework of disrupting communities through taking predominantly Black and Indigneous children from their homes and families. Despite making up only 4.1% of the population in Ontario under age 15, Indigenous children represent approximately 30% of foster children. http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/interrupted-childhoods
Things to do instead of calling the cops -
1. b) Prisons destroy community, community keeps us safe:
Prisons socially isolate people from healing and community. They tear apart families, stigmatize individuals and their families, economically strain the incarcerated and their families/ communities. This is true before, during, and after incarceration.
1. c) Dismantle, divest, defund, disarm: committing to prison abolition and the call to #FreeThemAll.
Abolition is the movement to eliminate prisons and police. Prison abolition requires that we build stronger communities and meet people’s needs. If they can’t be met, we build a reality where they can.
Especially at this present moment, we support the call to release all prisoners. Every prison sentence in close quarters, with access to protective/sanitary equipment and adequate health care, becomes a death sentence under COVID-19. Formerly incarcerated people have nowhere to go and lack community support / resources.
Care-Mongering can be part of the process towards prioritizing healing over punishment. We can take an approach to justice that centers the needs of those who are harmed while also fundamentally working towards repairing the harm that has been caused. This is done through addressing root causes of violence and harm through a process of healing rather than punishment. We recognize that harmful situations have happened and will happen: we need to learn together how to respond. Not being open to learning together defeats the purpose of why this group is here.
2. CareMongering goes beyond COVID-19
CareMongering is a part of a greater push towards justice.
Racism: where Indigenous, Black and racialized people face oppression and are abused under the system of capitalism
Ableism: where people with disabilities face oppression and are only valued based on their ability to work
Carceral systems: violent institutions and systems that are built upon and profit from the criminalization, aggression, and killing of Black, Indigenous, and racialized people.
2. a) CareMongering is rooted in disability justice.
Disability justice is the activism and work of queer/trans Black and racialized disabled people. It’s goal is to create a world where everyone can exist freely, and where nobody is left behind. We lean on each other and depend on the insight of our community to exist.
2. b) State institutions intentionally fail us. We build up mutual aid from within our communities to address our needs, by us and for us.
Too often, we are told to focus on ourselves when we move through this world. COVID-19 shows us that at the end of the day, we only have each other, and we need each other. We take care of our community better than the government/institutions that claim to help us. The State continues to fail housed and unhoused people. The City was ticketing unhoused people instead and hasn’t opened up the buildings they evicted tenants from during the LRT. The government has failed renters in a global public health crisis that is also in the middle of rising housing costs, where many have not and continue to not be able to afford rent.
2. c) We help each other to survive because we need each other to survive.
Care-Mongering is a matter of survival pending revolution. The revolution we build towards is a world and society where people are cared for and are prioritized over profit; a world where life and land are not only valued for what can be taken from them - in other words, a world without capitalism.
Before, during, and after COVID-19, issues like poverty, racism and ableism, all exist. Mutual aid is necessary to survive and overcome these systems.
3. Community and the Collective, Not Individuals
3. a) The aim of CareMongering is to build community.
In offering to help someone or asking someone for help, members of the group are not only exchanging ideas, goods, skills, and/or services but creating the potential for trust and care between them. We are building relationships, not just providing a service.
3. b) There is nothing wrong with people who are in need. There is everything wrong with systems which put people in need.
Needing help or support is not a reflection of our worth. We are not all in the same place in life and we can help each other survive, wherever we’re at and whoever we are.
It is no one’s place to determine who may or may not need support. Everyone is deserving of care and it is not our (or anyone else in the group’s) place to judge how people spend their money, or what is deemed a luxury versus a necessity. In order to build relationships in this group it is necessary that we have trust and patience with one another, in part by not criticizing or monitoring other members of the group.
Barton Solidarity Project (link)
Instead of prisons; a handbook for abolitionists
Angela Y. Davis - Are Prisons Obsolete?
Ruth Wilson Gilmore - Golden Gulag
On history of the RCMP:
Prison & COVID-19: