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Collective Care Is Our Best Weapon against COVID-19

https://mutualaiddisasterrelief.org/collective-care/ 

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps around the world, statist and capitalist structures predictably continue to fail us in many ways. Underlying that failure is the stress on individual responses: stockpile, isolate, and care for yourself.

While “social” aka “physical” distancing is a necessary tool to help stop the spread of this virus, it will only be effective if it’s grounded in an ethics and practice of social solidarity and collective care. COVID-19 clearly demonstrates that only by deeply looking out for each other—acting as if everyone’s life has inherent worth and is at risk; as if the health of one is the health of all—will we actually be able to lessen the amount of sickness and death, not to mention the emotional weight on us all. Unless everyone cooperates, the virus exponentially spreads.

Such cooperation has to be about building on—rather than fearing—the fact that we’re all interconnected and impacted by COVID-19; that we’re all in this together. Our cooperation is about making sure everyone can take time off work, have a home and enough food, stay hydrated and wash their hands, not feel alone or abandoned, receive health and other care, and the list goes on. It’s what geographer Peter Kropotkin long called “mutual aid” in his book by the same title—a phenomenon that he saw repeated time and time again in his studies of various species, ecosystems, and societies: mutual aid allowed them to not only survive but also thrive! Or as Kropotkin put it, “Practicing mutual aid is the surest means for giving each other and to all the greatest safety, the best guarantee of existence.”

Mutual aid entails what’s often called “solidarity not charity.” It isn’t a handout from some top-down entity, nor someone’s paid employment. It embodies a spirit of empathy, generosity, and dignity. When we engage in mutual aid, we are gifting each other the beginnings of a new world, premised on reciprocal, voluntaristic, and egalitarian social relations. We are collectively self-determining, self-organizing, and starting to self-govern how to supply each other with what we need as well as desire, all the while cultivating beloved communities of care.

Thanks to your local radical healers, queers, feminists, anarchists, and like-minded others—who know that only we can love and protect each other—social solidarity and mutual aid pandemic care is blossoming in communities large and small around Turtle Island!

In hopes of helping folks find and join in a mutual aid effort where they live, offering inspiration to start your own, and/or simply lifting your spirits, below is a growing directory of mutual aid pandemic disaster care (with the acknowledgment that place-names are a colonial imposition). First, you’ll find the “Do-It-Ourselves Resources” section, with the subsections “General,” “Health and Wellness,” “Rent and Other Strikes,” and “Solidarity/Cooperative Economy.” Then you’ll see the “Mutual Aid” section, arranged by geographic location.

Note: Each project is autonomous and self-organized—meaning that they are only as good as we are good to each other, and that you can start your own with a few friends, neighbors, or other accomplices. Also, they all use public links, so be wary of putting info on these sites/documents that you don’t want to be public.

The text above was written by Cindy Milstein, who compiles and updates this directory daily, with love and solidarity. If you’d like your project or resource added to this listing, email Cindy at anarchistagency@gmail.com.

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