As a Quaker and pacifist, Ronnie James’ phase about war above caught my attention. At another time he wrote, “So the question is now, where do we go from here? Do we continue to make incremental changes while the wealthy hoard more wealth and the climate crisis deepens, or do we do something drastic that has never been done before? Can we envision and create a world where a class war from above isn’t a reality anymore?”
Meeting Ronnie James and learning about Mutual Aid from him has occupied me this year. I learned Mutual Aid is building Beloved communities.
I’ve been studying and experiencing Mutual Aid for the past year. This work has clarified my life long belief that capitalism is an immoral system. A system that only works for the benefit of the wealthy.
Which led to searching for alternatives to capitalism. I’ve long had a vision of building Beloved communities that Martin Luther King, Jr, and John Lewis spoke about and worked toward. (see: Design and Build Beloved Community Models) But hadn’t been able to find anyone interested enough to begin such a project. Friends in my Quaker Yearly Meeting have been building a community in Iowa City.
The United States is a country of staggering disparities, many of which have been put in stark relief over the past year amid compounding crises. As the coronavirus pandemic has maintained an unrelenting grip on the country, Black and Latino people have been nearly three times as likely to contract COVID-19 than white people and twice as likely to die from the virus. Unemployment has soared to historic levels, rendering millions of people unable to afford food, rent, or other basic necessities. Meanwhile, more and more people are getting involved in organizing and activism amid a nationwide uprising sparked by racist police brutality.
Against this backdrop, where large swathes of the country feel abandoned by the government, the concept of mutual aid is quickly gaining mainstream recognition. Mutual aid is a form of solidarity-based support, in which communities unite against a common struggle, rather than leaving individuals to fend for themselves. While underserved communities have long organized mutual-aid networks, in the past year, the groups have proliferated across the country, and the concept has increasingly gained mainstream recognition.
While many neighborhood networks cropped up in response to the pandemic, mutual aid is not just a response to a crisis, but instead, a more permanent alliance between people united against a common struggle. In short, people offer help — which could be resources, like food or money, or skills, like driving or picking up prescriptions — which are then redistributed to those in the community who are in need. Mutual-aid systems operate under the notion that everyone has something to contribute, and everyone has something they need.So You Want to Get Involved in Mutual Aid By Amanda Arnold, The Cut, Sept. 30, 2020
Socialists are the best fighters for even partial gains for the working class, and they always operate as activists embedded in the mass struggles and campaigns of the oppressed. But they need to operate with the long-term aim of uniting the struggles and campaigns, which means building a socialist party – not a sect or propaganda group interested only in recruiting a few more members, but a broad party of working-class activists, where diverse outlooks are embraced, and political differences are debated.So You Want to Get Involved in Mutual Aid By Amanda Arnold, The Cut, Sept. 30, 2020
What we have is each other. We can and need to take care of each other. We may have limited power on the political stage, a stage they built, but we have the power of numbers.
Those numbers represent unlimited amounts of talents and skills each community can utilize to replace the systems that fail us. The recent past shows us that mutual aid is not only a tool of survival, but also a tool of revolution. The more we take care of each other, the less they can fracture a community with their ways of war.The Police State and Why We Must Resist, Ronnie James, Teach In, August 29, 2020
As Ronnie said above, “The more we take care of each other, the less they can fracture a community with their ways of war.“
capitalism has violated the communities of marginalized folks. capitalism is about the value of people, property and the people who own property. those who have wealth and property control the decisions that are made. the government comes second to capitalism when it comes to power.
in the name of liberation, capitalism must be reversed and dismantled. meaning that capitalistic practices must be reprogrammed with mutual aid practicesDes Moines Black Lives Matter