The Brydum Tandem Project February 2, 2009Posted by Mark Folse in 504, Crime, New Orleans, NOLA, satire, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: anarchism, Bakunin, Joe Hill, Kirsten Brydum, syndicalism
Members of the Iron Rail, an anarchist collective bookstore in the Marigny, are organizing a volunteer escort service called The Brydum Tandem Project for people who need assistance or just someone to help them get home safely in the Marigy and Bywater area.
Given recent murder victim and fellow Anarchist Kirsten Brydum’s political leanings, I think this is an excellent memorial. More importantly, it is a valuable demonstration of how citizens who feel they cannot rely on the police for protection find ways to make themselves safer on their own.
Robberies and muggings in the areas below Esplanade have always been a problem,with criminals treating the large number of service industry employees traveling home with tips in their pockets as walking ATM machines, and the Fifth Police District is proving one of the most demoralized and least effective in the city. At least, they don’t appear to give a crap about the people who live in Bywater and St. Roch.
To volunteer, please email email@example.com or call 504-259-4670.
I wonder about some of these punk/anarchists kids who come down here with stars in their eyes and wander about our dangerous city with a misplaced Rousseauian view of people. (See my remarks about the lumpen proletariat in mt last Byrum post). This initiative shows they have some sense about them.
What’s Odd about this is a conversation I had with someone Saturday night. We were discussing where to send their rising kindergartner for first grade. After we talked through the craziness of our fractured, semi-public school system, and agreed that while it was crazy, it couldn’t be worse than what was there before, I found myself wondering aloud: why stop at the schools?
Why not just disband city government entirely and replace it with some sort of syndicalist co-ops? It’s not as if City government works in any recognizable way. Before you think I’ve fallen off my rocker, I’ve lived places where the only fire department (and EMS service) was a volunteer department.
Why not just keep going and let me hire my own cops? Oh, wait, we just did that in the Mid-City NOPD Private Detail Shakedown, uh, I mean Mid-City Security District. We can contract out the incarceration, prosecution and jailing to whoever is the low bidder, and put convicted prisoners back to work doing something useful like fixing the streets. Isn’t this the Reagan dream? Does it get any more giant-car-dealer-flag Patriotic that this?
Why can’t we just start patching our own streets and replacing our own burnt-out street lamps? Asphalt patch is easy enough, and I’m sure I can borrow a ladder. And hell, I can pick my own garbage contractor based on best price, or start my own service. The cost couldn’t possibly be worse than what the city has negotiated.
As soon as I get the Sewerage & Water Board part figured out in a way that does not involve installing a cistern and dumping chamber pots in the streets, I’ll be calling an Urgent Torchlight Meeting on the subject. But first I have to find that old Bakunin t-shirt I had in the 70s.
If this post seems to be veering into sarcastic snark, I didn’t originally intend it that way. I have lived places where services like fire protection were staffed by volunteers. I’m already paying a premium to guarantee some of the finite number of police officers spend more time in my neighborhood (instead of yours; this is a Very Bad idea, as least as it exists today).
If we’re going to dismantle the completely dysfunctional public school system, why not have a full and frank discussion about how to do the same to city government?
Until we get to the One Big Union, I want to remind people with time and bicycles they can volunteer for the Brydum Tandem program by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (985) 628-1330. This really strikes me as a good Syndicalist sort of idea (compared to, say, throwing stink bombs into fast food restaurants at international economics meetings).
Joe Hill would be proud.
Later: updated phone number per a comment.