Does Mutual Aid speak to your condition?

For the past week I’ve been writing daily to prepare for a discussion at my Quaker meeting this Sunday. (See the table at the end listing those posts).

Yesterday’s post is an example of why I need to prepare. I went a bit off track. There is a lot to Mutual Aid, and we can’t cover it all in one hour. I hope there will be interest to continue to explore more about Mutual Aid after this weekend’s discussion.

In the quote below (Quaker) George Fox uses the term “speak to my condition”. I think that might be a way to frame Sunday’s discussion, does Mutual Aid speak to our condition today?

But as I had forsaken the priests, so I left the separate preachers also, and those esteemed the most experienced people; for I saw there was none among them all that could speak to my condition. And when all my hopes in them and in all men were gone, so that I had nothing outwardly to help me, nor could tell what to do, then, oh, then, I heard a voice which said, “There is one, even Christ Jesus, that can speak to thy condition”;

George Fox, (Quaker)

I wrote about using questions (queries) to help guide the discussion and encourage participation by those attending. (Notes to Myself).

Queries related to Mutual Aid
Do we recognize that vertical hierarchies are about power, supremacy and privilege? What are Quaker hierarchies?
Do we work to prevent vertical hierarchies in our peace and justice work?
What are we doing to meet the survival needs of our wider community?
How are we preparing for disaster relief, both for our community, and for the influx of climate refugees?
Are we examples of a Beloved community? How can we invite our friends and neighbors to join our community?

The following table lists some of the queries that we routinely use that apply to Mutual Aid.

Advices and Queries of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)
OutreachIn what ways do we cooperate with persons and groups with whom we share concerns? How do we reach out to those with whom we disagree?
Civic responsibilityIn what ways do we assume responsibility for the government of our community, state, nation and world?
Environmental responsibilityWhat are we doing about our disproportionate use of the world’s resources?
Social and economic justiceHow are we beneficiaries of inequity and exploitation? How are we victims of inequity and exploitation? In what ways can we address these problems?
What can we do to improve the conditions in our correctional institutions and to address the mental and social problems of those confined there? (This one is related to Abolition of police and prisons)
Peace and nonviolenceWhat are we doing to educate ourselves and others about the causes of conflict in our own lives, our families and our meetings? Do we provide refuge and assistance, including advocacy, for spouses, children, or elderly persons who are victims of violence or neglect?
Do we recognize that we can be perpetrators as well as victims of violence? How do we deal with this? How can we support one another so that healing may take place?

Mutual aid work is not easy. It means forming lasting commitments to doing hard work collaborating with people even when we have conflict. And facing the heart-wrenching realities of the systems we live under. It is also deeply satisfying work that transforms us from being exasperated passive observers of the shitstorm we’re living in to inspired builders of the new world we desperately crave.

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

There are three key elements of Mutual Aid.

  1. Mutual aid projects work to meet survival needs and build shared understanding about why people do not have what they need.
  2. Mutual aid projects mobilize people, expand solidarity, and build movements.
  3. Mutual Aid projects are participatory, solving problems through collective action rather than waiting for saviors.

    Mutual Aid, Building Solidarity during this Crisis (and the next) by Dean Spade, Verso, 2020
DateBlog posts related to Mutual Aid discussion
Mutual Aid in the Midwest
12/31/2021A Call for Quakers to Embrace Mutual Aid
1/2/2022What I Don’t Know About Mutual Aid
1/3/2022Notes to Myself
1/4/2022Notes to Myself Continued
1/5/2022Spirituality and Mutual Aid
1/5/2022More Notes on Mutual Aid

2 thoughts on “Does Mutual Aid speak to your condition?

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