Much has been written about the collapse of our political systems and the capitalist economy. This past year has seen the utter inability of Federal and state governments to even begin to adequately respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the consequences of which are 18,973,520 confirmed cases and 333,957 deaths as of today in the US.
The capitalist system that requires money for every transaction leaves behind all who don’t have access to money. Millions of people who once had jobs no longer do, through no fault of their own. Suddenly millions of people are hungry and find themselves dependent on food banks. Millions face the threat of eviction when they can no longer afford the rent, or to pay their mortgage.
And yet, knowing all this, the US Congress and administration refuse to provide even a modicum of financial relief. At the same time the military is given billions of dollars.
Mutual Aid has become ever more important as a way to address these survival needs. I don’t know why I only discovered the concept of Mutual Aid about a year ago. Fortunately there is a well organized group nearby, Des Moines Mutual Aid (DMMA) that has been active for years. Providing food, help for the houseless or those facing evictions, and providing bail for those arrested for agitating for change.
I went to Des Moines again yesterday to help with the DMMA food giveaway. Where I see first hand what food insecurity and hunger look like. Where I am with my friends joyfully doing this work together. Those are the two reasons I hope more people become involved with Mutual Aid in their communities. Fulfilling survival needs, and experiencing working with, belonging to a community working on helping us all, together.
I came across this article recently, “COVID-19, the Climate Crisis, and Mutual Aid. Mutual aid is not only about addressing the crisis at hand but also about undoing the injustices of colonialism and imperialism”, by Tina Gerhardt. I’ve had a great deal of trouble convincing white friends that capitalism is the root of much that is wrong today. In this country colonialism has been based upon capitalism.