When both levees and governments failed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the anarchist-inspired Common Ground Collective was created to fill the void. With the motto of “Solidarity Not Charity,” they worked to create power from below—building autonomous projects, programs, and spaces of self-sufficiency like health clinics and neighborhood assemblies, while also supporting communities defending themselves from white militias and police brutality, illegal home demolitions, and evictions.
Black Flags and Windmills—equal parts memoir, history, and organizing philosophy—vividly intertwines Common Ground cofounder scott crow’s experiences and ideas with Katrina’s reality, illustrating how people can build local grassroots power for collective liberation. It is a story of resisting indifference, rebuilding hope amid collapse, and struggling against the grain to create better worlds.
The expanded second edition includes up-to-date interviews and discussions between crow and some of today’s most articulate and influential activists and organizers on topics ranging from grassroots disaster relief efforts (both economic and environmental); dealing with infiltration, interrogation, and surveillance from the State; and a new photo section that vividly portrays scott’s experiences as an anarchist, activist, and movement organizer in today’s world.