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Progressive Left: Stop Bashing the Red Cross Without Reason!

by activism Saturday, Sep. 17, 2005 at 8:48 AM

Why is KPFK saying, "Don't donate to the Red Cross"?

There seems to be a strong impression among the Left that the Red Cross is not worthy of our support, or that it is doing nothing, or that it is just as

clueless as FEMA. I don't know exactly why people think this, but perhaps some of it springs from the fact that the Red Cross has been turned away

from the disaster zone by FEMA and the National Guard. Or perhaps because local people have been quoted saying that FEMA and the Red Cross were

nowhere around.

If you know of any other reasons for bad-mouthing the Red Cross and withdrawing our support, please enlighten everybody. I hope they are specific,

knowledgeable reasons and not just anti-establishment feeling. However, the above reasons are not enough. The problem of being turned away by FEMA

is the same problem of everybody who is trying to help, and neither the Red Cross nor any progressive community-based organization can be everywhere

at once.

And just this morning, I heard somebody on KPFK actually saying, "Please don't donate to the Red Cross." What the f???! In times like this, when

everybody needs to help, it is just callous and cynical to tell people NOT to help the people who are helping. I have not even heard a whisper of a rumor

about any scandal or incompetence with the Red Cross' Katrina relief effort. If what I have read is correct, just yesterday (Sept. 15) the Red Cross

sheltered 50, 000 people and served 300,000 meals. That is NOT "doing nothing." To tell people NOT to support that effort, is the ultimate in political

hair-splitting, or perhaps it's just jealousy. I'm sure the people sleeping in those shelters and eating those meals don't give a fig about how progressive the

Red Cross is.

Last pay cycle, I donated to both the Red Cross and Operation USA (favored by KPFK). This pay cycle, I'm dispersing my contributions among smaller

in-kind direct-aid groups, like Pastors For Peace, Food Not Bombs and the Dream Center, which is housing 300 people in the heart of Silver Lake. Next

pay cycle, I may go back to the Red Cross and Op USA again. My point is that both large and small relief groups need our help, whether they're

progressive or not.

No one can ever be 100% sure that their aid dollars won't be ripped off. If the Red Cross can waste or steal your donations, then so could the local

anarchist foodbank. It's always a crapshoot, and the only way to be sure SOMETHING gets through, is to donate to a wide variety of groups. Since I

have not heard recently about any Red Cross officials resigning in disgrace or going to jail or enacting any discriminatory or homophobic policies, I guess

I might as well include the Red Cross in my generosity. So, unless you have a reason, please lay off the Red Cross for now.

For some statistics on the relief effort:

Red Cross:


1-800-257-7575 (Spanish)

Operation USA

(323) 658-8876


Pastors For Peace:

Lucia Bruno at 347-423-4330

Dream Center

2301Bellevue Ave. LA 90026

Volunteer hours 9-7 daily (except Sunday)

Volunteer check-in at 9, 11, 1, and 3

(213) 273-7100

Food Not Bombs


The Houston Kitchen can be called at 713-802-9642


The Moutre Family (seen on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, providing shelter to over 50 people)

The Bearrington's School

1250 Texas Parkway

Suite F

Stafford, TX 77477

(281) 499-7975

(281) 431-8999


Veterans For Peace Chapter 116

28500 Sherwood Rd

Willits CA 95490

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 3 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Red Cross = FEMA FYI Saturday, Sep. 17, 2005 at 2:33 PM
Not without reason Leslie Saturday, Sep. 17, 2005 at 2:58 PM
Tsunami Problems Too another critic Sunday, Sep. 18, 2005 at 10:17 AM

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