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Indeed. In complete agreement
Great read! Very informative.👌
In the absence of government help during this year’s pandemic, individuals have begun to turn to each other in an action known as mutual aid.
Mutual aid stands in stark contrast to conventional methods of charity. It steps away from top-down philanthropy, aiming to create a sustainable system of support and self-determination through horizontal solidarity. Horizontal support rejects hierarchical relationships of power and encourages solutions from community members, based on lived experiences. The beauty of mutual aid is in considering community members as experts in what they need, and the steps to get there. Where charity creates a system of dependency and competition by emphasizing single issues and creating criminalizing structures of deservingness, mutual aid creates a system of reciprocal support. The process of consensus-building in mutual aid creates creative solutions that acknowledge differences instead of hiding them.
Charities typically get their funding from wealthy individuals and corporations, which creates incentives to band-aid problems instead of solving them. This way, charities keep receiving the money to stay afloat. This forgets that the ultimate goal of charity should be to eliminate the reason for their existence. Charitable organizations often prioritize themselves over the needs of the people they claim to help. To get away from this, mutual aid is funded from within the community and attempts to address the root of community issues. The process of mutual aid isn’t based on the continuation and procurement of capital, unlike charitable organizations. Mutual aid has transformative power in this way, creating a community of solidarity and equal support out of strangers. Although solidarity acknowledges that everyone has some knowledge to offer, it also helps center those who are the most vulnerable: the people who need solutions immediately.
The pandemic has given rise to awareness of the concept of, and the need for, mutual aid, as communities' needs grow beyond the capacity of simple charity models. Mutual aid can take many forms, whether it be the distribution of goods and services or direct monetary support. Either way, the philosophy, and purpose is the same: everyone has needs that should be met, and everyone has something to offer to help meet other’s needs.