What Is Mutual Aid? | How to Get Involved in the Community Movement – MarieClaire.com

Andrew LichtensteinGetty Images

Mutual aid has existed as long as people have been around, says Mariame Kaba, an educator and organizer in New York City who, in March 2020, collaborated with U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a mutual-aid workshop and the release of a COVID-19 mutual-aid digital tool kit. But theres a reason youve been seeing pictures of people filling a community refrigerator and videos of folks handing out clothing on the street accompanied by #mutualaid all over your social feeds lately. Were dealing with a disaster of massive proportions, [COVID-19], that most people have never lived through in their lifetime, Kaba says. When you are in this kind of a situation, you figure out ways to relate to other people that allow you to actually survive. Thats why people are paying attention to it; they have no choice.

Its important to be clear on what mutual aid really is (it can loosely be described as caring for others while working to improve our world)and isnt (charity). This is more than the giving or taking of goods or services; its a relationship that youre building. Its called mutual aid, so its not just the [assistance] that matters, says Kaba, its the reciprocity of itthat youre in a community with other people. From that association, you build connections in a way that you dont with a singular feel-good actions. (Not that theres anything wrong with those)

Its to create a new society; its to create a new community.

Its not just You do one thing for me, and then I never talk to you again, continues Kaba. Its to create a new society; its to create a new community. The idea is that once people are interacting in this way, they see more and more ways to work together to help one another, leading to greater transformation.

The key to understanding it is a 1902 essay collection by Peter Kropotkin. In Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, the Russian anarchist philosopher looked at mutually beneficial cooperation in human and animal societies, sort of the opposite of social Darwinism. For a deeper understanding of the modern version, try the primer Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), by Dean Spade (Verso, 2020). Spade outlines how the systems we currently have in place are not set up to meet peoples needsas weve seen highlighted by last years major global disruption.

But its not only worth practicing during a pandemic. Mutual aid is for when wealth is concentrated in one layer of society, when the health-care system is flawed, and when people can work full-time but still be unable to pull their families out of poverty. In other words, mutual aid is timelyand timeless.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

Follow this link:

What Is Mutual Aid? | How to Get Involved in the Community Movement - MarieClaire.com

Related Post

Comments are closed.