one thing i will say is for people who are understandably afraid of even the more mild forms of direct action, what with all of us living in a nightmarish police state, if you're still looking to make an immediate and future difference, please study and perform mutual aid
i think a lot about how progress is made as a collection of tactics, a series of prongs, and believing in only one as the way ahead makes your overall effort much weaker. mutual aid helps out direct action, direct action helps give leverage to reformers, etc, etc
one of the biggest, most important things the Black Panthers did, after all, was just feed hungry kids in their neighborhoods

if you fear taking to the streets, find ways to directly help and organize those in your community, and not just by going through charities and shit
i suppose you could think it as infrastructure, but for achieving progress and helping others, instead of making a strong bridge or such. you want strength in each piece so they all strengthen eachother in turn, increasing each other's leverage overall
electoralism on its own is an obvious failure - voting with no leverage behind it other than voting alone is weak. so, if you want voting to actually have an impact, you need all your other aspects to be strengthened and beefed up too
a lot of this came together for me some years ago when i really actually started studying the civil rights movement beyond the whitewashed shit and saw how much having other groups around - including ones willing to raise their fists - gave MLK more leverage in turn
this in turn also had local, direct impact - those groups willing to raise their fists and take on racists in their area directly and show they couldn't just be stepped over undoubtedly directly saved untold amounts of lives

local impact can have national impact
some of the most important and underserved groups to start thinking about mutual aid, imo, is with disabled people and indigenous communities. they aren't the only ones, of course, but learning and performing how to do real impact mutual aid there helps everywhere else
you see there just how stacked the systems are against them for getting real aid - not PR bullshit aid, real aid - you learn how to directly help and contribute, and it informs your ability to help with groups and places less structurally and systematically fucked over
(also of course a crucial part of any of that is to leave any thoughts of saviorhood and ego for doing that work at the fucking door; we're all helping each other and that's it, none of us are great big saints and should not think of ourselves as such)
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