Around the world, people are faced with crisis after crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change-induced fires, floods, and storms to the ongoing horrors of mass incarceration, brutal immigration enforcement, endemic gender violence, and severe wealth inequality. As governments fail to respond to-or actively engineer-each crisis, ordinary people are finding bold and innovative ways to share resources and support vulnerable members of their communities. This survival work, when done alongside social movement demands for transformative change, is called mutual aid.
This book is about mutual aid: why it is so important, what it looks like, and how to do it. It provides a grassroots theory of mutual aid, describes how mutual aid has been a part of all larger, powerful social movements, and offers concrete tools for organizing, such as how to work in groups, decision-making process, how to prevent and address conflict, and how to deal with burnout.
Mutual aid isn’t charity: it’s a form of organizing where people get to create new systems of care and generosity so we can survive.
"We need this book right now! This reads like a how-to manual for modern and future interdependence. Dean walks us through what mutual aid is, best practices, pitfalls, and helps us tap into the wisdom and potential of this strategy for surviving the crises we can anticipate and those that will surprise us. Read this and move from a scarcity/charity mindset to one of abundant solidarity!" - adrienne maree brown, author of Pleasure Activism "Mariame Kaba said she 'cheered after I read this book,' and other readers may join in her enthusiasm for its helpful guidance and useful framework for our mutual aid projects." - Renee Feltz, The Indypendent "Peter Kropotkin called mutual aid a "factor in evolution." The Black Panther Party called it "survival pending revolution." Dean Spade tells us that mutual aid is fundamental to making revolution. It is about building solidarity, preparing for battle, and creating a culture of collective care to displace the atomizing culture of individualism and the market. An indispensable guide for our moment, this book teaches us that effective social movements are impossible without mutual aid. Read every page. Carry it everywhere. Share it with everyone. Change everything." - Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams "[Mutual Aid] provides a useful framework of the meaning of mutual aid while explaining how it is an essential component to social transformation and solidarity movements." - Hannah May-Powers, The Tulane Hullabaloo "Deftly exploring the grassroots theory of mutual aid and its role in social justice movements, Spade critiques the existing systems and the need to "fix" people who are in need, as well offering actionable advice for activists." - Eve Upton-Clark, The Progressive "[Mutual Aid is] at once a call-to-arms, a balm for all those despairing at the present and future, and a blueprint for how we might better live with one another." - Daniel Fernandez, The Nation "[Mutual Aid] can be read as a manual for people already doing mutual aid work, but it will also be of interest to people [who] don't identify as activists but are questioning that identity amid the chaos and pain of the pandemic, continued police brutality, polarization, and climate chaos." - Alisa Bohling, Lit Hub
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