What is Mutual Aid?

Mutual aid is where people in an area, or a community, come together to support one another, collectively meeting each other’s needs without the help of official bodies like the state or NGOs. It often arises due to neglect of government provision for certain classes of people.

Mutual aid, in simpler words, is cooperation for the common good

Mutual aid is a horizontal mode of organisation, aiming to break down hierarchies and practice collective decision making. However, the concept of mutual aid encompasses a wide variety of practices – there is no one-catch-all term or definition, it is a universal practice rather than a singular concept. All the examples listed on this site attempt to speak to the universality of this practice, but by no means aim to define them rigidly.

The idea of solidarity, rather than charity, underpins mutual aid. Resources are unconditionally shared, as opposed to charity which is often conditional and means tested.