Putting Black Empowerment to Emergency Use

Published

For a few years now, Kali Akuno has been on the receiving end of a fair amount of skepticism as to why Cooperation Jackson, the black empowerment and democracy collective he helped form  in the middle of the “hood” in West Jackson, Mississippi, needed 3-D printers in its fabrication lab.

“This is why,” he tells The Progressive, referencing the debacle of President Donald Trump’s “misleadership” of the pandemic.  

How is it, Akuno wonders, that the productive capacity of the United States was not immediately deployed to manufacture necessary medical and protective equipment, especially for health care workers on the front lines of patient care?

Into the breach—modestly, but significantly—steps Cooperation Jackson, a cooperative network of groups in Mississippi’s capital city, which is 81 percent African American. Having determined that masks are key to stemming community spread of COVID-19, it has created a model of mask-making production.

“We were clearly warned about the potency of the virus by comrades in Milan and Naples,” Akuno says. “They cautioned us not to begin mutual aid work without safety protections,” to reduce the otherwise high risk of infection.

Read the article at The Progressive