Left Coast Media

North Bae 012 - Help, Medic!

February 21, 2018 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
North Bae 012 - Help, Medic!
Show Notes Transcript
Comrade Sauce (twitter.com/communalsauce) speaks with the DSA Street Medic Collective's John, Eli, and Logan about the challenges and necessities of street medic training for radical movements. Help them out by funding the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest's training on https://www.gofundme.com/dsa-medics-california-regional-agm-training and https://www.gofundme.com/dsa-pacific-northwest-affinity-group-medic-training-portlandYou can find DSA Medics (twitter.com/DSAMedics), John (twitter.com/parsonshanged), and Chicago Action Medical (twitter.com/ChiStreetMedics) on Twitter

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Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to North Bay, a podcast from the left coast media collective to connect with the show. Follow us on Twitter at left-pad or the hosts at checker informant or source and our our, our, our n. You can email us@leftcoastpodcastatgmaildotcomandourpatrionisatpatrion.com slash left coast media. We love you. Okay. How about we just don't have any artifice chat at all.

Speaker 2:

Okay.

Speaker 3:

Welcome everybody to another episode of what can I ask from the left coast media

Speaker 1:

collective, which I guess is what I'm calling it now. Very least with me today. I have three people from the DSA medics. Uh, I suppose coalition collective. Other words, David. Okay. All right. Y'all go ahead and introduce yourselves.

Speaker 4:

My name is John Hieronymus. Miss, I use he him pronouns. I am a nurse and also a street medic. Um, I started officially street medic, English, Chicago Action Medical backend, occupy and around the, we had a big NATO g ga mobilization here in Chicago, um, years and years ago. Uh, and yeah, that's me.

Speaker 1:

And anyone who's listened to street fight may recognize your voice, John.

Speaker 4:

Yes, it's true. I've called into a street fight radio to give them a few updates. And also there's a, the the international labor hour out of Champagne Urbana. I've talked with them as well. We basically just talk about, you know, the medic organizing work within um, Bsa and kind of what is that street medics do? Cause I think a lot of people new to left to the spaces don't really understand what it is that street medics are therefore. Okay. Yeah, I'm elan the street medic right before the RNC, the RNC in Cleveland. So I've been a street medic for little over a year and a half I think. And uh, yeah, I've been active with the Chicago action medical collective since that time and I'm just starting to get involved with DFA medic.

Speaker 1:

I'm Logan. I got involved in street medic stuff. I think I was trained last May and I've been working with Chicago action medical and DSA since about June. Great. Thank you for introducing each of yourselves. Now you're on North Bay to talk primarily about DSA medics. So for anybody who is, I would say has zero familiarity with DSA medics, how would you, how would you describe the work that y'all are doing?

Speaker 4:

Um, I'll start out real quick to speak. I think I like some of the work is started as in Chicago. Uh, more and more mobile. Any mobilizations are happening all over the country after the election of Trump and DSA was becoming more and more visible in those, at those actions. And you know, as a street medic, you know, coming into a space where we have a lot of people who've never been to a demonstration before, who aren't really familiar with all the things that can kind of go wrong when you're out in the streets trying to voice your opinions. Often when you're, you know, coming into contact with, you know, comrade to are coming from all kinds of different back ground. The medic presence is there to help make sure that everyone is safe or as safe as they can be within kind of like the context of direct action. I'm on the streets. And as the year progressed there was talk about the DSA convention in 2000 or this August. And it seems like when you bring it over a thousand people who've never met or many of whom have never met or interacted outside of online, that kind of thing, just, it seems like a recipe for people injuring themselves, people accidentally hurting each other and also just like a target for people who could potentially be, you know, attacking us. And it seems like it would be a good thing for a DSA is convention to have a medic presence there to kind of help kind of like smooth over the wrinkles and make sure that everyone who came all the way from all over the country to Chicago got the kind of support that they needed to do the political work that they, you know, wanted to do. Um, and then from there about less than two weeks later, a 12 happened. And I think a lot of people were kind of didn't understand what the potential could be for violence. Again, left us because up until that point, uh, people being murdered at protests like has it's happened in the past but have not happened in recent memory though we've seen things at standing rock that have, or an occupy that we're, you know, could have turned into, you know, tragedies but didn't. And that really drove me to start organizing to get all the medics did. I knew together to start building structure within DSA. So this is a permanent part of GSA is political organizing work.

Speaker 5:

John, I know you were at convention. I I met Eli Logan. Were either of you at DSA convention in August? I was there. I mostly actually tabled for LSC or working at the medic booth. But um, I was also at the convention.

Speaker 6:

Uh, I was not at the convention, if I recall correctly. I think that was the same weekend as sort of Queer punk festival that had a similar kind of medic presence edit that a, that cam was supporting. One of the, one of the interesting things about street medic work in situations that aren't actually the street is that like a lot of it is just the preventing burnout. So I think I ended up doing kind of a similar thing that weekend. Then a lot of the DFA medics were doing at the DSA can setting up sort of a calm space that people could come to or they could stay hydrated. And I know I actually treated one case of someone who's just really dehydrated and didn't realize that they were dehydrated. I imagine some of these things probably happen at the convention as well.

Speaker 5:

So Eli, do you just touched on the fact that when you are being a medic and event, hopefully it will not be drawing on like the more intense physical medical needs of like immediate physical trauma or anything like that, but more of the dealing with dehydration, burnout being a space for people. Do you feel like that's something that Dsa medics can, can kind of push for or be a leader on in India say? I,

Speaker 6:

I believe so. Yeah. I mean, I think there's an interesting and important distinction that has become more significant and more important in the last time that I've been a medic at least, which is the distinction between like a street medic and affinity group medic and like a community medic because we kind of like lump all those together. But like a street medic training is a very different, you're trying to do different things. You're trying to do kind of take care of strangers who might be in immediate danger or whether that be from like a very serious injury ranging, you know, just down to like you can see that they're not drinking enough water or they're going to get sunburn and like trying to make sure that they, they do prevention on that. The street medic thing is like you're out, you're interacting with people that you don't necessarily know. You don't necessarily know their medical history or anything. You're probably not going to be able to follow up with them a whole lot afterwards. Um, and in that kind of situation, like the things that I've treated the most I've just been like, yeah. At besides dehydration and just and, and avoiding sunburn as straight as people who are having panic attacks or you know, some kind of anxiety just from being in a large crowd or just from like the uncertainty or the newness of the situation. Whereas you know, in in the DSA I have more interacted with like the sort of affinity group, medic slash community medic kind of model where you know, in a DSA chapter people know each other. They're going to be seeing each other hopefully month after month. No.

Speaker 4:

They can see the extent comfortable share relevant information about their health so that they can better follow up with each other and to take care of each other in an ongoing way so that it's different skills involved.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. What I'm hearing is that you're pushing for more than just the immediate street medic stuff, but also affinity group or community medic if not training or ability, but awareness of that and the ability to Leighton perhaps move into that space as well as just the kind of street medic affinity group, medic space.

Speaker 4:

Well, one thing we did do a lot of, and I think that this is becoming more and more apparent, is making sure that like GSA meetings and spaces are accessible, supporting a lot of our comrades who have come to join DSA because they're dealing with the, like the kind of the fallout from like the mental health problems that I think life's in late stage capitalist America is kind of conflicted on a lot of us. And at the convention we not only talked to people through who are you know, triggered by their autism autistic episodes where they are triggered by loud sounds and things like that, but also where people who I think over the last year have found themselves unable to kind of cope, um, mentally with just the general political situation, the country and a finding themselves dealing with like kind of a new experience of mental illness and talking. I mean I talked a, a convention goers through like a major depressive suicidal ideation moment where they were incapable of bringing themselves to like date. They had said something and it upsets somebody and someone said, just go fucking leave me up or go away or something like that. So I had a sack but, and then we talked with that. I sat with that person for almost an hour and a half. You get to a better place using all the skills that we learned as street medics and that you as a nurse to kind of help them through that episode. And that was a really powerful experience for me as a medic because you know, those are the things that those that can be just as damaging as, you know, seeing something traumatic happened to someone in like a physical space, you know, or in a physical way. I mean we also bandaged up and, and you know, took care of more physical injuries in those three days. And I had in the last year it was street medics. So I ran out of like triangle bandages from awkward men who just kept slipping and falling and you're like wrenching there. Their shoulders and elbows. One of our lead organizers from the south side of Chicago was around with a, an injured knee. I helped her like, I was like, alright, we're going to get your ice, we're going to wrap this knee up. We're going to make sure that you can sit on the last day and can keep promoting, you know, so you can do the work that you're here to do.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. One of the things that I learned from convention is that many of the comb rates that I met and grouping myself in in that group is we all kind of an awkward lot.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. It definitely not the most athletic graceful crew of people there. Some niacin there are, I mean, and I, and um, but you know, they're not the people. Uh, as we as a, as a nurse who'd say, it'll turn into people that we see, the people who are grateful on athletic are, are, are dodging around all of the potential mishaps and injuries that they could as, whereas it's the folks like the awkward folks who seem to need the need care. And there's nothing wrong with that. I wanted to make sure everyone has like a space to come in and like and, and do the organizing work.

Speaker 6:

Yes. Supporting everybody is physical and mental needs in the space. Whether that's basically in a project in the street or in a convention or you know, just in a long meeting. Um, it really interested me to the diversity of different kinds of people that can participate in the different kinds of scenes that we got exposed to and that, that I get lifted up, which is really important especially because people with mental and physical disabilities are among those kind of first and most heavily impacted by a lot of the worst things about capitalism.

Speaker 7:

Yeah. I mean honestly, what's one of the most exciting things about the DSA medic stuff that we're working on in my opinion, is the fact that we can have these conversations with people like ahead of time, even like ahead of actions or stressful situations to get an idea of what would be helpful and like what we need to look out for for each other. Like, I think having that pre planning is something that we as just street medics don't have the opportunity for. That DSA has a really unique opportunity to do with this affinity group style training. And I think that's something that's really useful and helpful in making the movement most accessible to people with disabilities, Blm, physical, mental, et Cetera.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And Logan, you, you mentioned that setting up trainings as well. I know that you all have had at least one training so far, so how about your, tell me a little bit about that and that, how it went and perhaps what we can be looking for in the future.

Speaker 6:

You want to talk about that first time? Because I have things to say, but I want to make sure I don't dominate the conversation too much.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, sure. I'll, I'll start off with the, that, um, Logan, uh, will hopefully be out at our next year, meaning by Eli and I both went out to Richmond, Virginia in December after Charlottesville happened. There were, were there, there was this kind of like, and I was not in Charlottesville, the street medic, but there were other medics or where, um,

Speaker 8:

and DSA was in Charlottesville supporting all of the, you know, community, uh, activism again, you know, and fighting back against the fascist to come to, you know, to terrify like a region. And there were comrades, Bsa, uh, who came, you know, from Washington DC who came from Maryland. She came from North Carolina who came from Richmond, um, and into local Charlottesville chapter all came together to support that action. And then there was the attack and you know, Heather Heyer was murdered. And I think that slashed out through all of our communications networks that something horrific had happened. Um, and the people who were there who had had this like really amazing moment of victory that they felt like they had, you know, finally, you know, pushed these really awful people, you know, out of their community and then, you know, had that moment, you know, taken from them by someone and the people, the experienced it did, it, um, you know, they, they went through it and they didn't have, there was the medics that were there did what they could. The DSA people who were there, there were DSA members who were injured. They were in a IWW members who are injured. Heather Heyer was murdered. And we started thinking in a different way that this is something that is going to be, we have seen kind of like a s a ramping up of violence by the right wing, by police against less organizers in public spaces. And so, you know, um, there had been some issues where someone collected a lot of money to support the victims of the Charlottesville attack and our national structures. I don't think we're fully prepared to deal with how, what to do when someone hands you like a 2000,$200,000 check and then get that to the people that need it. And the folks in Richmond's wrote some, uh, wrote some articles online and I commented that, you know, we are trying to do this work that would be in support of the folks who have been kind of like attack and to help make sure that when these attacks happen, DSA has some kind of preparation ready to go. And uh, one of our, one of the local leaders in, uh, Richmond, Virginia. So we would love you to come out here and help us, like make sure that we're ready. So we came up with a new type of training where we took the affinity groups medic model, which is an eight, an eight hour training is focused primarily on basic first aid in like, uh, an affinity group setting. And we expanded it, we added things to, it seemed like we'd be super relevant to DSA organizing. We came up with some new ideas and concepts that no street medics or a sandy group medics have ever gotten before. And then because DSA is in a lot of ways it's a brand is that people can use to help, you know, raise money under and do things that left us, haven't been able to do before and medics haven't been able to do before. We raised money to pull together trauma kits and tourniquets, chest seals and we built a manual and all these sorts of things. And then we flew people from Chicago action medical and DSA medics out to Richmond. And we had an amazing event where we got to talk about all kinds of care support issues. First Dade, primary prevention of sexual assault accountability. We brought in people who are involved in the deescalation training from, they can bet when we want to make that kind of like a permanent feature of DSA organizing. Um, and people who were there and we did it. And then we have like a training scenario where me and one of the other organizers dressed up and kind of a weird flashy outfit. We did like a scenario where someone got hurt and people had to come up with what that response would look like. And people said it was amazing. And they thought that it was more, it was like the first time where they'd had, where after this horrible thing had happened and they felt like people were coming in from outside of their region and really helped and May and, and it was kind of an act. It's all there already between the Chicago Dsa and the folks out in, you know, in that area and that region of the country. And I will say is that, uh, we, we got to drink beer at the guar bar. That's the thing that I'll know. That was some guy at the globe choir bar.

Speaker 6:

We, we not only drank beer, we lit the Menorah cause it was Hanukkah,

Speaker 8:

it was hot and we had like an Antifa Honika at the, the best bar I've ever been to that had anything to do with heavy metal. And I'll just leave it at that and I'll let, I'll let you talk to me. Cause do you like to say?

Speaker 6:

Yeah, so I, yeah, it was also at the training, which it was amazing. It was a, it was a really, really different training then any affinity group, medic training than I had done or definitely then any kind of street medic training that I had done. The DSA medic model really opened up a lot of possibilities because when you're doing just a regular street medic training you're in, you're talking about like getting kind of consent from strangers or implied conflict situations where there's implied consent for treatment. Like if they're unconscious and in a life threatening situation and we have to go through all that. Those issues are not as prevalent when people know each other, right. And they can kind of plan ahead for things. So that kind of opened us up to be able to train on things like a street medic training would really never include like tourniquets because you can actually really do damage if you use them improperly. But like in this situation, it was like we were, we were giving the training to people who not only knew each other and we're very familiar. It was kind of like what their, their limitations would be. But also like a lot of these people had trained a street medics the week before a 12 this is a thing that that street medic collectives do commonly is if there's going to be a big action, train up a bunch of new genetics, which I think maybe we need to reevaluate this way of doing it after, after seeing what happened. Because for a lot of these, these street medics in Charlotte's, oh, this the one where somebody was killed, which is not, I mean, it's just not something that I had ever considered a possibility of happening before that I didn't think anybody would ever be killed anywhere. But I, it had not occurred to me that that could happen at someone's first action, right. In such a, in such a way, and definitely not at an action, whereas a lot of people's first action. So a lot of people I think not only were overwhelmed by this and it being such a huge mass casualty, but also that street medic training just didn't really include, we included mass casualty triage in our, in our trainings, like physically there I was present on a 12 in Charlottesville and the thing that really struck me the most was that I felt the most unprepared to deal with was the psychological mass casualty. Like in the immediate aftermath, people just not even having instinct to keep themselves safe because they were so stunned and starting with people who are wandering off on their own. People are becoming very hostile and and kind of wanting to be left alone screaming at each other, chasing people away. It was very chaotic, but I tried to add to the training and that I've actually kind of added even more to the training material sinks. Then hopefully in our future ones you more fleshed out is, I kind of found out about protocols for psychological mass casualty and I had in Richmond when was two days, so the first day was pretty well just devoted to like physical trauma issues. We talked about quick clot, which I, I would really like to see more people carrying around and able to use because it's a, it's a product that's cheap, very portable, requires very little training to know how to use and can stop bleeding very rapidly if it's, you know, severe dangerous life threatening bleeding. And I've been carrying it around every time I go on public transportation ever since. The stabbings on the train in Portland Day was when we really focused a lot on um, like emotional support follow up. I went through like a list of kind of the more subtle symptoms of post traumatic stress or you know, things that might not clinically meet the criteria for posttraumatic stress that we referred to, kind of just as aftershock, things that people don't think of, like, you know, loss of appetite year to ability, things that you wouldn't necessarily connect with. Feelings of fear unless you knew that those were symptoms. We talked about that. But also I spent the night between the first and second day of training, staying up pretty late, uh, pulling together resources or as John mentioned, on primary prevention of sexual assault because those people were on the first day having a lot of questions about kind of things they wanted to include it in the training that I hadn't originally planned to cover. Um, but that, you know, when brought up, I realized that were very important and that there is a lot of overlap between accountability and, and creating a culture in which people don't hurt each other and which people know how to hurt you, how to not hurt each other and know how to stop hurting each other if they do it. You know? Um, because a lot of us come from places that are really dysfunctional and families might be or you know, definitely a lot of us coming in school environments or you know, just our whole system of just, just about hurting somebody else who hurt you and to back it up and to talk about like creating a culture and an organizational atmosphere in which people are really empathizing and really able to see each other as fully human was like the biggest kind of resource and, and, and the stuff that I, from different organizations about the primary prevention of sexual assault and primary prevention is a bit of a jargon. It refers to like basically preventing anyone from having the idea to commit sexual assault in the first place as opposed to what we usually talk about is prevention, where we're talking about like someone who, who might be likely to be targeted, taking measures to make sure that instead of them, it's someone else who gets targeted. Right. And that's like we can see why that's inadequate because it doesn't solve the tries to fobbed it off onto another victim. So we talked about that. I mean there were all kinds of things that weren't, I would never have previously considered being directly related to him per se. They kind of just seems more in the realm of sport or politics, but like it became clear from the questions that people were asking about like, you know, physical trauma support, emotional trauma support, how to prevent an emotional trauma, traumas in a, in a close knit group of, you know, people who are working together, you know, week after week and month after month. So the training really expanded to include a lot of stuff that is just not usually part of a strictly street medic training or even a normal affinity group. Medic training. And it was really, it was a really wonderful experience for me and just as a medic and and as now you know, kind of a trainer but also, you know, somebody who was at a 12 and felt extremely helpless in the moment. I felt completely despite having been a medic for over a year at that point, just totally unprepared to deal with like the whole situation. And to turn that into something kind of more actionable. And to kind of determine as to like, well they're like the guidelines for the kind of situation are hard to come by. Like I eventually found some, I think like Ngo handbooks for like aid workers being sent into like war zones. And like that was the closest thing that I was able to find like guidelines for how to deal with like people frightened from like bombing attacks and like, you know, earthquake building collapses was like the most relevant kind of guidelines I was able to find that kind of answered the questions that I had left unanswered from a 12. So, um, I, I've added those to the kind of training materials that I want to do for future training. So it's constantly evolving as people have questions that we find new materials as I encounter other people who have had the same questions and has found their own resources and we pull our resources. So hopefully this training will just keep getting better and better. And I think the biggest problem we're running into is how are we going to fit it all in?

Speaker 9:

Cause there's so much,

Speaker 8:

I mean we're, we're talking about like we're compressing, we're trying to compress essentially decades worth of knowledge of activist spaces and from, um, even, you know, like some of these things are things that we got from people who are veterans. We validated them with people from the GSA, veterans working group. If people have been in war zones because a terrorist attack in America is an immune, it's in many ways. I mean the difference between that and a terrorist attack anywhere else in the world or in a, you know, some sort of horrific mass casualty event is an eye. I mean the only comparison as to what a veteran will go through or on who's a victim of war would go through. And the military for better or worse is the place where they have, they have to do a like codafide something they deal with it or else they wouldn't function. Thankfully DSA has become a place where people who've gone through that and have decided that they think that they don't want to let that, you know, knowledge go to waste and that their experiences help inform like the kind of activism we need to dismantle us empire is, you know, brought into our own work. So you know, it's interesting cause we talk, you know the 20 hour street medic training is like kind of like the granddaddy of all of all medic activists, medic training. But it is a very, I mean it's, it's short, it's kind of quick and dirty. It cuts corners. You kind of get, you know, we always, when we do our trainings we always get feedback where like man I wish we had more time to talk about this stuff. And I think something that we want to give out, I think a piece of knowledge that everyone needs to understand is that, you know, nurses and doctors and you know, combat medics go through months and years of training to deal with these things. And we're just doing the best that we can with the limited amount of resources that we have. And fortunately we have some interesting, um, short cuts at radical politics, what us that kind of give us when you use things like radical consents, it really simplifies a lot of problems. In some ways. It makes it so that you're, you know, you're not going to treat someone who doesn't want to be treated because I rent, I respect their autonomy. Whereas if I'm like a nurse in that situation, there's times when I have to do what I have to do to make sure that someone is safe with radical consents. There are times when you'll let someone walk away who maybe otherwise you would hurt you would, you would help in a different context regardless of whether they said help me or not. That doesn't mean that we don't help people who are incapable of saying, help me or don't help me because that's a whole nother type of the scalp we called implied consent and that's something we talked about in Dsa metrics and we talked about it in three back training. But, um, yeah, so it's interesting to see how, you know, we, we, we will work with the limitations and we give a lot of information and we just do everything we can to support each other so that we can, you know, continue to learn and grow.

Speaker 6:

I think also it's important to mention that, um, among the street medic stuff that we're at a 12 that responded and even some of the ones who had just been trained as medics who had not run as three medics before, there were veterans in that, in that group. And actually one of the people that, um, I think there were multiple, you know, veterans who were DSA members at our trading and one was directly participating in like kind of putting on the training. And I was able to have really, really great conversations with them because it was the first time for me also that I had had the opportunity to talk about what happened with someone else who was there since it happened, even though other people from Chicago were there. But because of concerns, security concerns and because, um, people in Chicago were being docked so heavily, actually I haven't been able to get a, a holiday, some of my closer comrades. So they're kind of, we can kind of cut off from each other for that reason. So that, that was like connecting with, with somebody who's been in literal war zones and also went through 12, you know, as a, as a statement, as a CSA member and as an antifascist to be a little, to have that validated that like, you know, even for someone who's been through all of that, like I think we have this idea that like, oh, they've been through that. So like this is like, it's a big deal to us, but really it's not. But like that's not really how trauma works. Like each, each trauma is its own thing. And it was really, uh, in time overall very excellent experience for me to get to talk to them and kind of have validated the way that it affected them in the way that it affected me were pretty similar.

Speaker 1:

So I hear also in that lots of talk about improving it for next time or talking about when you're doing these trainings in the future. And I know from what you said earlier, John, that Logan you have a training in the works. Would you like to talk a little bit about that?

Speaker 7:

Sure. I mean our next training that we are doing is going to be, I believe it's the weekend of the 24th and the 25th here in Chicago. So it's going to be a training for all of the Midwest area DSA chapters. So people from, oh my gosh, I'm not even entirely certain what the borders of the Midwest are, but people are traveling from several states around. Um, and Chicago, DSA members are coordinating to offer housing to people who are traveling. And I'm pretty excited about this training because our last training, which I was supposed to go to, I ended up being unable to go to you for health reasons. Um, so this will be my first one, which is very exciting because of all of the work we put into setting up the materials, which was actually pretty cool in and of itself. But yes. So I believe it's the weekend of the 24th and the 25th year in February.

Speaker 8:

We're still doing some fundraising around that. We've got to go fund me set up and I think there's still a few slots left. One of the cool things about this particular training is that we're going to be hosting a few IWW members. Um, so this is going to be kind of like the beginning of a, like an opportunity for the two organizations to do, you know, to be in the same space and talk to each other and share skills and as happy. Yeah. We're going to have people both from a, we're going to have people from, I do believe Wisconsin people from Michigan, people from Saint Louis coming and possibly Indiana, but I'm not 100% sure. And it's one of those things where, uh, you know, I think that chapter's, she'd be trying to do as much as they can to get other chapters together to get together with other chapters because BSA is kind of like a diffuse decentralized organization and a lot of ways and the more that chapters can do the work of getting each other into it, you know, two together and to doing things together, um, I think that helps build their organization that helps it. Um, all right. Think of that helps build like a sense of solidarity between groups that normally maybe wouldn't be in the same spaces. You know, we need to be able to call on each other when things go wrong or when we need help. And I think that's a big part of, you know, building like a viable socialist movement in the United States. Lot of

Speaker 6:

cross pollination when then happens to like even for the, the training and Richmond. You know, when I went there, I flew into DC and then wrote down in the car with a comrade and we ended up talking the whole time about the differences in housing law and between our two cities and the way of and kind of strategizing about, you know, having struggles. This is like not at all what I had gone out there to talk about, but it's something I've gotten more involved in as my building that I live in has been sold to a private equity firm. So that kind of cross pollination has also been really important I think for me at least. And I imagine that that kind of thing could really lead to a lot of sharing of tactics in ways that aren't necessarily planned in advance. And so you just get to talking and you, you know, you talk about what you're passionate about and what you been organizing around. So even if you go out for a medic training and come back with, you know, I just, for housing struggle,

Speaker 8:

I think it's important to note this training and these skills are applicable to every aspect of GSA organizing. It doesn't matter to me if you are running canvassing team paid or canvas or rent control or to help on a picket line, you know, with striking workers or to, you know, it even if you're in a group working on like building like videos around like health care reform, these are all things, these are the skills involved that we teach are going to help make all of those struggles better. They're going to help make those, uh, the work, the space that those, uh, that work happens in more accessible to all of our different comrades. Hold on. I've got a child, I don't know, Mommy's in the other room.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, I mean everybody, everybody needs to stay hydrated. You know, you're out canvassing. You need to stay hydrated. It's cold. You need to avoid, frostbite is high. You need to avoid heatstroke like is there just, you know, everybody has these basic physical needs. So even if you're not out going to a protest or you're not doing like a, like a really intense direct action or you're not, you know, directly confronting, you know, fascist, which is harder and harder to avoid because they show up to things, you know, even if you're doing a quote unquote safe kind of thing. Like the majority of what of what I've ever dealt with as a street medic is like, like I said, you know, just giving people water and you know, pointing out like, hey you're, you might go like, you got a lot of exposed skin. It's pretty funny. Like you might want some sunscreen like, or you know, hey, you look like you're kind of tribe plotting. Like you're Kinda like leaning over like you're having trouble breathing. Like you need to take the rest 30 do you need, it's an inhaler, like what's going on? Like, can I help you with anything? You know, and a lot of times people just need reminders to take care of themselves because especially really passionate organizers and people who are, you know, politically active who care a lot about what they're doing. They'll sometimes forget about their basic physical needs and kind of neglected having somebody remind everyone of that in any situation is always useful.

Speaker 8:

Police Bhutan's don't care if you're Democrat or if you're cracking a Marxists line, it's over the head or an anarchist. And those are, I mean, we're all, we're all showing up at these things together and I think that, you know, sometimes you get online, we get like rage at each other over silly things that really aren't that important, but the end of the day for all showing up to the same spaces.

Speaker 10:

I mean, I don't do that as much as I do.

Speaker 8:

I do. I mean, I do, I will admit like if anyone following my Twitter feeds like,

Speaker 10:

sorry, I'm trying to, um, and uh,

Speaker 8:

well I was a big focus of the things that I raised you about are when people are bullying each other or when people are spreading me like things that are hurtful or ignoring comrades that need our help and solidarity. So I think that it's just important to understand that like I'm, it doesn't matter that I'm not the biggest fan of like certain types of social. It's organizing. My job is to be there to help everyone be safe. And my job is to be out there and make sure that people who may otherwise not feel safe going out into the streets or doing, you know, coming into a big group of people for the first time. My job is to make sure that those folks have everything they need so that they can engage in a work that they going to engage in. And my job is, I'm sorry, go ahead. Oh yeah. And then it's my po. My job is to make sure that people are heard, you know, if, if we're not listening to each other, if we're not, if everyone doesn't get a chance to talk, then we're failing as a movement because we're not going to win when people are being silenced. We're not going to be, we're not going to win when we have spaces that women don't feel safe and we're not going to win and know win. And Trans and nonbinary folks. Like if, if, if half of the population doesn't want to engage with our work, then we lose. And until we become a space that's welcoming and safe as any safe human beings can be until we get that, until we get there, we're going to keep, we're gonna keep running into the same walls and when, when our, when our activists are burning out because you know, one's taking the time to ask them what's wrong or what is it that I can do to help you work? Like that's a recipe for failure. And I think that, I don't know about everyone else but I'm sick of the left getting kicked and down on the ground and not able to take because we're not even taking care of each other and our job. And I feel like that's a big part of it. The GSA medics mentality is like, our job is to get, we've got your back, we're there and be kind but we're also ready. You know, we're people you know, are coming for us and you know what, we're going to be ready for when they do. In the meantime, we're going to be, we're going to take care of each other.

Speaker 6:

I know those are really good point that you raised about creating safety too. Cause like it reminded me of the way that I became aware of like medics, like street medics as, as a concept, as a organization, but also just as like a that exists is that, um, at the time for a long time I had a partner who has epilepsy and um, and they didn't, they were worried about going into actions like really big. Um, this was after, you know, as black lives matter, it was really just kind of taking off. They, they were going out to these big protests and they were afraid like, what will happen to me if I have a seizure? Especially for them, your cops. So what they, what they did was they would kind of go find, hey, that they knew, right? But occasionally they'd end up at a big action where they didn't know anybody and they saw somebody with this patch they had like the thing we medical looking thing on it. And it turned out to be a wonderful comradery with and moved away from Chicago named and Meredith, who I just want to like shout out her name because she's amazing. I learned so much from her in the years after that. But um, when it went up to her and said like, Hey, what's that about? Um, and she kind of explained it and, and my partner was like, oh, I have epilepsy. Can I like stick near you? And Meredith was like, of course. Um, and that was the beginning of my understanding of what street medics do and what they can offer.

Speaker 5:

Yes. I think when you say medic, one of the first thing that comes does come to mind is, you know, protest medic street medic and then perhaps community medic affinity group medic. But it all tends to focus on physical rather than maybe emotional or mental medicating, which I know isn't a word, but one of the things that I'm, I'm excited about seeing DSA medics is, is this holistic approach to treating the whole socialist or treating the whole left with an emphasis on, on everything, on not just managing up sprained ankles or dealing with a chemical weapons, but also helping calm rights who may face burn out. Being available for people to talk. T allowing us to learn and helping us learn how to be better comrades to each other, how to avoid hurting each other, how, how to create spaces that foster comradeship, that foster healthy interdependence, like there's more to this than just going out there with a bottle of water and some Mylanta and a bunch of clif bars and bandages. There's no, no, no my Lanta. Unless you have hollow bones like that, there's more to do this effort and speaking of more to this effort, I know that one of the things that I'm excited about that I want to give you space to plug is DSA medics in the bay area. John, do you want to give a little bit of a Spiel on that?

Speaker 6:

Yeah, we'll give a spiel. So, um, we are planning on coming to bay area and that will be an um,

Speaker 4:

March. I do believe March 24th and 25th. Um, we're gonna, we're doing kind of like a west coast tour. We're going to have a go fund me up I hope in the next week where there's already folks from southern California and we'll be making the pilgrimage up to the bay area and we will hopefully have a great space set up and we're going to be bringing all the things that we brought to Richmond and then were organizing here in the Midwest, including trauma kits and manuals. And we're making these really rad patches. We're trying to make some, uh, custom, uh, patches for every a medic train team. It's been a, it's been a trip trying to figure out how that all works, but we actually have a comrade here in Chicago with an, an industrial past to make human machine now, which is saving us a ton of money because making tee shirts is ridiculously expensive. Um, and, uh, and we're because of as I think you all are aware on the west coast between Sacramento and the bay area, um, and uh, you know, police raids and with the ice and all that, uh, things that are going on in the west coast. This work is just as vital in your, in your neck of the woods. It is everywhere else where we were basically assessing security issues across the country and throughout GSA. And we're after bay area. The next weekend we're going to be, we'll actually be driving between bay area up to Portland to do a Pacific northwest training as well, which we'll also be trying to do some fundraising for. So I think the big thing is, is that we want to make this a feature of every da Nsa chapter of any substantial size. In my mind, an ideal world every chapter has to people who've been through this, it's sometimes a little bit overwhelming when you think about what that means. Um, it's been a little bit difficult figuring out how to organize that when we have a national organization that doesn't have a lot of resources to offer us really any resources to offer us and not a lot of support even in terms of explaining to the membership that this is a thing. But we're, once we realized that we were doing this on our own, then that freed us in a lot of ways to, you know, go out and get the money and people have been donating from across the country to help this happen. It's like DSA, people have been incredibly generous, um, and have given us an ability to bring resources to these trainings that no other medic collective has been able to do, which has been incredibly heartening. And I think as a, a pretty, I think important development in how the know medic trainings operate within in the United States. I think, I'm hoping that we're building a new standard for a new kind of context. The 20 hour street medic was designed for mass mobilizations around Andy globalization work during the turn of the century. So you would have to have, you know, 50 or 50 people ready to go for, you know, to help take care of people. Um, you know, when you have 50 or a hundred thousand people showing up at a protest and while that still happens occasionally the vast majority of our work is happening. Like it's a slow low burn all over the country in communities, you know, as small, you know, small towns is this happening in big cities isn't happening and the people that we're seeing are the people that we we'll, we'll, we'll be organizing with for the for years to come. Then we need to acknowledge that. It also, it changes how we train because it means that a 20 hour medic training is something that a big medic collective can pull off maybe twice a year if that's the only thing that they're doing. Aside from running actions. And this is hopefully less burden on. Hopefully any medic collective can take this kind of curricula and Dsa should theoretically be able to take care of everything else except for the actual first aid skills. And then everything else gets like rolled up and taken care of by DSA. And that means that more people have access to training than would have been in before. And Street medics can focus on what they do, which is taking care of big masses of people that they've never had that before.

Speaker 5:

I dunno, sounds a little bit like a bureaucracy creating itself, but I have faced that y'all would know how to handle that.

Speaker 4:

I mean, what is a libertarian socialism is like, it's what's, what's dismantle the tyranny of structurelessness. There's nothing wrong with a little, it's a little bit of structure. Makes, creates a context for real organizing. I'm, I'm okay with a little bit of structure. I think that, and it's, and it has absolutely taken are what, what, you know, what, and if sandy group medic training was and made it something new and incredibly valuable.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, I'm 100% joking. Um, one of the things that, that Dan Potsie and I both kind of emphasize when we were talking about running for MPC is the fact that DSA does need structures and both of us were group LSC affiliated. There's that part to the tyranny of structurelessness that people tend not to get to. The bottom part, which is that it's possible to have a structure that is not centralized or is not Leninist is, you know, it's, it's possible to, to deal with the tyranny of structurelessness without going full on marching and ranks kind of structure. But let's not get sectarian about this.

Speaker 4:

So we all are all hail left. So one was jokingly getting very sick, caring about it. No, no sectarianism. Bullshit. All right,

Speaker 5:

so we are, we're coming up on an al are now, um, is there anything that y'all would like to talk about, would like to cover or discuss that we haven't already touched on or that you'd like to revisit?

Speaker 4:

Don't put my Lanta in your eyes. Oh yeah, sure. You're like, we can do a real quick thing about do no harm. I think this is like the, the one thing that I try and the, when I, when we're talking about this to folks in like a podcast, a big thing that all medical people and Maddox should focus on and is doing no harm. And over the years there've been a lot of home remedies for dealing with tear gas and pepper spray in your face and that kind of thing. And sometimes they were effective, but police weapons has always been evolving because people evolve and as people evolve and develop and as movements evolve and adopt new, you know, a remedies to these, uh, the use of weapons that are deployed against us. The police have people who's entire job is to come up with new ways to hurt us and keep us quiet. And so when we talk, there's new weapons that are being developed and were apparently deployed at standing rock that things like my Lanta actually make worse. And so our end, this has been kind of like the Chicago action medical kind of like really call it like the standard of care, which is like a kind of a medical team. Like this is like what you should do and do nothing else. Just use water. If someone gets pepper sprayed or tear gas or whatever it is that they are putting on us. The one thing that we know doesn't hurt anybody. You can't, you cannot hurt anyone with water flushing someone's eyes.

Speaker 6:

And they're, and you can explain the reason for that pretty quickly too, which is that when you went somebodies eyes, all you're doing is helping with their tears are already doing. You're not diluting it. You're not doing it. You're definitely not doing some kind of chemical reaction in somebodies eyes. You're not doing acid base chemistry. Your tears are literally just flushing the chemicals out because you can't take a cloth and wipe someone's eyeballs because their eyeballs, you do it with water and stuff. So it's not a chemical process. You're just physically using water to physically remove the thing. The eye.

Speaker 4:

Exactly. And when you, uh, when you start introducing chemical both, that's something that the people who develop chemical weapons and police weapons can, can specifically tailor tailor agents that are going to react in with those like, uh, additives like Maalox and make things significantly worse. So that's the one takeaway. If you don't take away anything else from this podcast, uh, you know, a squeezy bottle full of water is the best thing you can do for anyone that's been, um, you know, hitting the say with a, uh, a can full of pepper spray or you know, has just had tear glove, tear gas, waft over them. That and also spread calm. I think that's a thing that was the best to bring that up too. Yeah, we all, we all try and talk about, maybe Logan can talk about spreading call because Logan Logan talk about spreading column a little bit for everybody

Speaker 7:

because you're a calmer person and then either, so, I mean the concept of spreading calm is like the fact that large groups of people are prone to panicking pretty easily. So in terms of handling a situation that gets higher stress, if something's happening, telling people to walk, not run, and like yourself being calm and not reacting at the high level of anxiety or stress helps to keep everyone else at a lower level of anxiety and stress, which keeps a situational a lot easier than normal. And I would say that I'm not actually that much of a calm I'm good at, but there have been times that John's had to be like, Logan can, you can go home. Because I was getting like super anxiety, like stressed about being around large groups of people at the women's March. And so I mean it's really important to keep checking in with yourself and the people you're with about their own stress levels. Because I mean for myself, I know I'm prone to like I'm just going to keep doing this thing and then I get anxious and then it's just not effective for working as a medic. Like if I can't spread calm because I can't be calm, like I'm not going to be able to help people. You know what I mean?

Speaker 6:

Oh yeah. And that reminds me also was like the number one thing that I learned as a medic that I repeat to myself many times every day is don't create another patient. We're always taught like, don't you know it's the principle of put on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else. Like if you are not able to keep yourself healthy and functional, how can you help anybody else? You have to be your own first patient and if you're, if you're on first patient isn't healthy, you cannot move on to another one.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, we have like an a few acronyms and tricks about like dealing with some of these things and one that we've been, that we talked about did we talk about a lot in the context of direct action as halts and it's like, are you hungry? Are Angry, are you lonely? Are you tired? And in the last part is, my favorite part is are you taking yourself too seriously? We added that. We added that word or not seriously ignoring your knees when you're just like whatever. And it's like what the hell are you doing? Well let's get this taken care of. But there's also times when I think Eli brought up this great mom, great point. And when we were in Richmond about let's share moments of revolutionary joy, like what is it that we're doing to, you know, to kind of engender like a, an an uplifting each other and uplifting our spirits when we know that so many things are such a mess and that's why we're fighting. But at the same time, if we are not doing things like singing songs and, and you know, telling jokes and like in meaning and all the silly things that are like that people do to kind of like as coping mechanisms but at the same time to kind of like, because no one wants. So there's this, that old slogan from like the probably from the weather underground, like, don't talk to me about revolution, play ray, the rats, it's survive. I mean like fuck that. Like people in like the resistance movement and um, in eastern Europe when they were being literally hunted by fascists were still singing songs and still dancing and talking to and telling stories and doing the things that anyone has to do, any movement has to be capable of doing. Because if you don't have those moments of kind of like the help build social cohesion, your all, you're going to end up hating each other and you won't be able to fight for the things that you believe it. Yes. Right. Yes. That roses to more solidarity forever.

Speaker 5:

I do want to give you each of you a moment to say like if our listeners wanted to follow you on social media or follow Dsa medics or what you're doing on social media, um, where would they find you if you're okay with giving that you are okay with people following you?

Speaker 4:

Um, well definitely there's, there's definitely DSA, medics, Twitter accounts. Which John, is it just DSA underscore medics or, no, it's just the static that DSA medics. Um, we try and update it with whenever we buy things for training we try and like show folks what it is that their, that their contributions are buying. Try and give a little snippets of advice, self care moments like things where we're boosting medic collectives cause Medica Cla is you're out there and they don't always have like a huge audience. So we try and boost up when another medic collective is either doing a training or have like a health warning or something like that. I wouldn't try to start the Hashtag Hashtag DSA self care. So like if anyone wants to like tweet out there, like I think that there's people who say, oh, self care is a Boujie bullshit. But it's like, how is like swallowing like a little bit of honey when you've got a scratchy throat before you're about to like talk to a bunch of people like bullshit. Like it matters that you feel comfortable if you're not comfortable, how can you do the work? Like let's within the extent that we can, let's take care of each other and take care of ourselves. Because if we're not taking care of ourselves where we're going to not be doing this work for very long. Also, you have all the Chicago action medical on Twitter, which is, um, at Chai street math. Next is t h street medics no underscores. It's all one word. And there's a Facebook too for Chicago action medical. And then, uh, you can follow me. I'm at, I'm at Parson Tang. If you want to get your dose of like of loving, loving, loving criticism and self criticism and our code is, I'm like, you know, the kind of things that, you know, earnest people want to hear when they're like out there fighting like evil and capitalism, capitalist evil.

Speaker 5:

Well, thank you all three of you for coming on and talking about all this and I am very much looking forward to the the bay area and training and would love it if you could check back in after the, after your next training and let us know how it went down and uh, anything else that you've, that you've learned and how it's going.

Speaker 4:

Can I make one last point and maybe you can snip it in somewhere. Of course. Anyone who's in Tsa, anyone who's in Dsa who is a street medic or who has in a sandy group, medic training, hit us up in the DMC, the medic, Twitter or um, or through our Facebook group. I've through our Facebook page because we're trying to gather everyone with these skills into one one place so that we can start talking to each other and build like the building capacity within an organization.

Speaker 5:

Cool. Siberius when you hear this, please splice that bit in some way where it makes sense, which hopefully will be in this episode of the podcast and not just gonna like splice it into our discussion of like some book or something. But you have made maybe that too.

Speaker 11:

Well, that's it for this episode of the North Bay. As always, comrades. I want to thank you for joining us for this episode and it go in peace and to be in solidarity.