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 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.”
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 list of mutual aid pandemic disaster care, in alphabetical order (with the acknowledgment that place-names are a colonial imposition). Please note: these links are all public resources, so be wary of putting info out on them that you don’t want to be public. And thanks to Anarchist Agency for setting up the list on Google Drive At:
To add to this list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of this afternoon, you’ll find: