Mutual Aid Then and Now:

Survival and the Power of the People

Leaving 2020. A new year. A step into a new decade. And now more than ever, we see activists and revolutionaries look at the past year to contemplate struggle and history. Many of these activists and revolutionaries experienced 2020 as a clusterfuck of dystopian scenarios coming true, while also experiencing the largest mass movements ever seen. We were cheering on the founding of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, while at the same time screaming at anti-mask demonstrators marching in our communities. All the while, we were doom scrolling, sharing memes and communist TikTok videos. Without fail, the progression of this year has catapulted political discourse into a new era, one ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout.

Intensifying the already existing social ills, the pandemic created a new urgent context through which to organize. Needing to main­tain physical distance, tight bubbles, and an increasing reliance on the internet has had a somewhat limiting effect on our movements. Despite this, we saw the mass organizing and mobilizing globally around Indigenous sovereignty, the Black liberation movement, mutual aid, and labour resistance. It felt new, but we recognized the remnants of old debates seeping in around survival, care, and voicing the disparities between those with everything and those with nothing. And while we saw the creation of mutual aid networks around localized natural disasters, COVID-19 ushered in an international movement where communities grappled with the reality of having to….