Support may come in various forms, but no matter what, we must remember that corporations will not save us.

In the last two weeks alone, the news has been filled with nothing but tragedy. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma has wrecked havoc in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Social media and mainstream publications has been littered with links to crowdsourcing funds, giving the names of organizations and corporations emerging to rise to fill the need. And on the surface, this is admirable, necessary work, but looking deeper, we can see that this is nothing more than a strategy used to maintain their image.

At the same time, Munroe Bergdorf — L’Oreal’s first Black transgender model — was ousted from her position after calling out white supremacy in a Facebook post following the events of Charlottesville in August. Though both of these instances seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, it’s clear that both signal a necessary lesson: our reliance on corporations and organizations to do the work for us signals our own compliance with saviorism.

In the wake of tragedy, we often see a public rush to donate to the first organization that we see and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done. But to put our faith within organizations, especially those who have long histories of cooperating within the oppression they pay lip service to fight, is a lazy way that we allow casual oppression to continue.

Related: THIS LABOR DAY, DON’T FORGET ABOUT INCARCERATED PEOPLE.

Support may come in various forms, but no matter what, we must remember that corporations will not save us.

We cling to the illusion that organizations are here with our best interests at heart simply because this is what we have been led to believe. Whether we like it or not, we live in a society that values capitalism and commodifying people; our value lies in how much we can contribute to that system. Large corporations rely on this as well, helping to establish a system that creates a reliance on that system.

The appeal of large organizations is huge because deep down, we want to believe in a system that says that it takes oppression seriously without any evidence beyond their word. We want to believe it when a corporation whose name we’ve been familiar with since childhood says that it is standing for diversity, championing for the less fortunate. But what do we do when that hope is crushed, time and time again, because of capitalistic greed rather than the altruism that we were lead to believe?

Instead of placing our faith within corporations that fail to see us as individuals and see us solely as commodities and passive observers, we have to begin centering our own self-reliance. Individuals on the ground, in the community, doing the work long before there were hashtags or an increased social media presence surrounding their communities — if we are to put faith anywhere, it should be within these people. If we are to put monetary value on anyone to “save” us, we have to put it towards their work.

Related: 5 WAYS CAPITALISM DESTROYS THE MODERN FEMINIST MOVEMENT

That thought is easier said than done, of course. There’s still so much reluctance into giving directly towards individual and local grassroots causes over the familiar corporations. But when we ask ourselves important questions about why that is: where is this reluctance coming from? Why are we so quick to give towards a large entity that doesn’t acknowledge our individual strife over the those in already in our communities?

Our reluctance shows that when it comes to it, the importance of better understanding our own relationships to commodity, saviorism, and the capitalism. These things are what is tying us towards these misplaced actions. If we continue to uncritically put our faith in a corporation, one that cannot see the value of our humanity beyond what we are able to give in return, we will be doomed to repeat this cycle for every tragedy that should arise before us.

In a capitalist society, we need monetary support to survive. That is indisputable. But we have to begin to sever the ties that we have between our reliance on this and the faith we have in ourselves to be the change we wish to see. Corporations will not be the saviors that we wish to see, but the faith that we place in ourselves might be enough to overcome that.

 

Click here to find a list of grassroots organizations and individual people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Featured Image: Gene Bershtam, Creative Commons

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