I’ve been writing about the many ways “the contemporary political moment is defined by emergency.” Multiple global disasters means there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know this. In the face of these emergencies there is a growing feeling of hopelessness. But there is hope. That hope is Mutual Aid. https://jeffkisling.com/?s=%22mutual+aid%22
The contemporary political moment is defined by emergency. Acute crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change– induced fires, floods, and storms, as well as the ongoing crises of racist criminalization, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality, threaten the survival of people around the globe. Government policies actively produce and exacerbate the harm, inadequately respond to crises, and ensure that certain populations bear the brunt of pollution, poverty, disease, and violence. In the face of this, more and more ordinary people are feeling called to respond in their communities, creating bold and innovative ways to share resources and support vulnerable neighbors. This survival work, when done in conjunction with social movements demanding transformative change, is called mutual aid.Dean Spade. Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)
Quakers like to ask ourselves questions we refer to as queries. Rather than being ‘told’ to do something, the questions invite us to focus on what we are or are not doing. I would ask these questions. You might have others.
What are your answers?
- What Mutual Aid groups are in your area?
- What relationships do you see between your peace and justice work, and the concept of Mutual Aid?
- What would your justice work look like if you adapted it to the Mutual Aid model?
- How might faith integrate with Mutual Aid?
- How could Mutual Aid expand who you do your justice work with? Bring in more Friends in your meeting, youth in your meeting, and other people in your wider community?
- How can we create ways of meeting our needs, making decisions, and organizing ourselves and solving problems outside of the State structure and the capitalist system?
Locally, you can see what Mutual Aid looks like on the Des Moines Mutual Aid Facebook page: Des Moines Mutual Aid | Facebook
As it says below, you can take the initiative to create a new mutual-aid network. That is the beauty of Mutual Aid.
How can I get involved in mutual-aid efforts?
Unfortunately, there isn’t currently an extensive database that outlines all the mutual-aid efforts across the country. Instead, you’ll likely have to spend some time digging around on Google or social-media platforms to find local efforts. You could also reach out to local community organizers for guidance. It’s up to you how to support the efforts: You could give money, which is a great way to support national networks, or you could volunteer your time. Depending on your level of involvement, you might be instructed to attend a quick orientation or meeting. Crown Heights Mutual Aid, for example, offers twice-weekly trainings over Zoom, every week.
You could also take the initiative to create a new mutual-aid network to respond to an unmet need. In response to the pandemic, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kaba compiled an incredibly useful, comprehensive guide to mutual aid, including information on how to start a network.So You Want to Get Involved in Mutual Aid By Amanda Arnold, The Cut, September 30, 2020