My thoughts on one year after, as a manager of Occupy Sandy's Facebook page.
A positive beacon of hope for many–
The trauma and tragedies of Hurricane Sandy brought to light that the promises of protection and aid from big money charities and government can and will fail in many ways. It brought light that much needs to be done to make sure those promises are kept in the future and that community and personal recovery by them isn't abandoned now.
That is the negative after the loss, and not to be dismissive of it–as those failures caused deaths and suffering–but the spontaneous mutual aid throughout neighborhoods affected, the universally acclaimed success of Occupy Sandy, Occupy Sandy's support of the creation of the many local groups that are there to stay, and the immense amount of renewed belief in the power of people's recovery, has proven that -
the most successful immediate aid and relief was from people in their own communities,
that long term recovery that has the interest of the community paramount is most successfully carried out by those local community groups invested in themselves,
that others have seen this successful resurgence of locally controlled mutual aid and have emulated it in flood and tornado disasters since Sandy and this model of mutual aid is here to stay providing a needed additional prong of help for future disasters.
As such, mutual aid has and is continuing to make things better for survivors of Hurricane Sandy, AND has and will continue to establish methods for and the need for mutual aid elsewhere.
Others may take the time to demand better accountability for the social contract that the government is allowed to exist (and tax) in return for the protection and aid it promises. Others may work to help big money charities be more effective and less wasteful of funds while not focusing on spending money but actually getting results. What many have learned is that the greatest return was the Mutual aid that Occupy Sandy and local groups can deliver, and energy must continued to be put in that direction.
We need each other and must ferment strong communities that are prepared to care for themselves. It is a shame that it took so much suffering to prove this point, but it is a delight that this point has not been lost and that people are banding together in NYC and across the country. It is heartening to know that people will enter disasters believing that it is they and those that are in the community that can give the most help, and that they are not alone and can lean on those in Occupy Sandy and each of the mutual aid groups from disasters before them to support their endeavors.