Mutual aid will NOT replace the social contract

Mutual aid will NOT replace the social contract

In the U.S., hyper-segregated communities have had versions of mutual aid for decades (as a supplement). In fact, Black people in the U.S. have had mutual aid organizations since the 1700s owing to de facto then de jure racism, but now that this activity is coming into the mainstream —I’m highly suspicious.

Nonprofits became viewed as acceptable replacements (rather than the supplements they had been) for the social contract by some very creative white supremacists via the Southern Strategy who wanted to break the social contract once the United States became integrated by law owing to the Civil Rights Act. They spread the propaganda that the government was terrible and intrusive. And put the idea in people’s heads, wouldn’t it be nice to decentralize (defund and deprofessionalize) social services and make them more tailored to individual needs? 

We don’t need Black social workers. We need Black social service assistants. We don’t need teachers that speak Spanish. We need teaching assistants that can translate. Let us take away the benefits for those jobs and then let them Battle Royale it out for limited funding. We don’t need public housing. We need partnerships with businesses; then people can live wherever they want —provided they don’t mind waiting four years.

Anytime you deskill an action and make it volunteer (defund it), it privileges a white person in that activity. It also helps white supremacy. The results are the taxes and benefits of the U.S. go to the white and middle-class community and the RICH — while the rest of us hope people want to aid us mutually.

You can describe mutual aid in any way you want. It’s not solidarity. Mutual aid is a charity with another name, it. It’s disrespectful to women and people of color dominated professions. Whether you’re stealing or giving supplies, it privileges and makes for unbalanced power with white people who get paid more, have higher household worth, and pay a way lower price if caught stealing being at the top.

Solidarity would be using your free time to demand the government fund our social services and honor its social contract to Chicano, Black, Latino, and Asian Americans.

There is nothing mutual in mutual aid in the racialized U.S. 

White people volunteer and get awards and social standing in the community. Black people volunteer. Well, the expectation is that you work for free, so you get to be volunteered to death until a younger, more friendly POC comes along.

Black, Latino, and Asian Americans have less free time, fewer hours in the day to volunteer. After we have done the mutual aid in our communities which has already been embedded in our lives for generations, we don’t have time to do this sparkling new anti-government idea to break the social contract.

Mutual aid will end up with a hierarchy model similar to nonprofits because the people who do it REFUSE to look at racism on the leftist of the anti-left left. And I know it has severe issues with racism, because that is where I have spent most of my adult political life. Every single leftist group I have been in ends up with a white or white-passing or upper-middle-class person at the top. 

Black people’s entire lives in the U.S. have involved doing things for free or for way less than a white person. We get paid even less to volunteer, and now we’re supposed to embrace a model that we’re ALREADY doing and continue to have ZERO expectation for the U.S. to honor its social contract, because some people want to play anarchist on the weekends? 

This isn’t how you do anarchism.

Dean Spade Mutual Aid vs Nonprofit Chart

Mutual aid is another cover for the wealthy to get out of paying their taxes and to DESKILL & DEPROFESSIONALIZE predominantly women jobs. Mutual aid will NEVER be a replacement for good government, NEVER. 

All I see is a future of white-led “volunteer” mutual aid organizations where Latino and Black people get paid even less —wait, get paid NOTHING.

I didn’t think anything could be worse than nonprofits. Oh, this seems like it might be, oh so we’re setting this up from jump with the expectation of POC are getting ZERO money not for working WITH their community, but with “let us work together” person from where? Who are you exactly?

I have already read this book.

Who always gets the one nicely paid gig in these “volunteer” organizations?

After exploiting all of the labor —who gets to paint themselves as “social justice warriors” along with a book deal, not the Black people or the Latinos. No, we die in the gutter. 

I already see where this is going —mutual aid public school, mutual aid social work, pretty much any job that is a universal benefit and funded by the federal government that Black, Latino, or is predominantly women do will be turned into a volunteer gig.

Food giveaways instead of food stamps, seems like an extra horrible idea.

I already see that.

If you think I’m going along with that plan, think again.

Unless mutual aid is part of going hard for the Universal Basic Income, I really don’t see the end game here. Well, actually, I see it very well, and I’m not playing.

While I know some of you badly want this to be about just class, but this is the United States, NOT EUROPE. Race is always going to be a part of the discussion.

What rich person is pumping up this idea?

For emergency, because we had that maniac as a President, OK, but as a replacement for the social contract, no, absolutely not.

Black people have already been doing mutual aid for 300 years, it is not a sufficient replacement for the social contract and good government. I know some of you hate this idea —but we’ll have to vote and create policy to fix the economic mess that we’re currently stuck in. 


Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals

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