Mutual-aid is in the air. Look near any anarchist or socialist project, and you will see the importance of it emphasized in big bold text. In the name of mutual-aid, people are doing food shares, repairing pot-holes in black bloc attire, fixing brake lights, mucking and gutting flooded houses, and giving out Narcan and clean IV supplies to drug users. These have become ubiquitous practices on the left.
All very good deeds, how can we be against this? When people are hungry, you feed them. If you have two coats and your neighbor has none, you have one coat and your neighbor now has one. The impulse is more than relatable, I too believe in these things. The appeal is hard to disagree with. From disaster to crisis, mutual aid comes like Superman to save the day, feeding and housing everyone, saving each other’s lives.
But the truth is, mutual-aid isn’t a challenge or threat to the social order which produced hunger and precarity. The state is largely indifferent or even welcoming to it. In a world where the working class is increasingly being told to fend for itself, can we continue to call this “solidarity” with any honesty? If not, then what actually do these practices do for us?
[Read more from Regeneration]