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Mutual Aid

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July 20, 2023

/stream /reading /mutual-aid /mutual-aid-spade

Finished reading Mutual Aid by Dean Spade. The last chapter was two thirds of the book, and full of specific plans and examples for how to deal with common issues in mutual aid groups. I found it quite helpful in framing my thinking about the real-world bumpy patches I encounter in my activism and movement building, and I'll be reflecting on it for a while I think. I'll continue reviewing my highlights and notes, and put together a synthesis on the book to share with others, since I think it is a hugely important topic.

July 19, 2023

/stream /reading /mutual-aid /mutual-aid-spade

Continued reading through Mutual Aid by Dean Spade, from the second through the fourth chapters. He outlined the shortcomings of the charity model of nonprofits, the necessity of asking for the entire world, and some of the dangers and pitfalls of mutual aid projects. The second and third chapters maintained the punchiness of the first, but the fourth chapter (in the second "part" of the book) fell apart a little bit. Still useful information, but less refined and impactful.

/stream /mutual-aid /ollas-comunes

After discussing the Ollas Comunes paper with my friend who linked me to it and then sleeping on my notes, I came back this morning and wrote a clearer synthesis on the topic. The notion of co-production stood out to me much more today, especially in the context of the other conversations I've been having with friends around the /climate crisis and the recent catastrophic floods in Vermont.

July 18, 2023

/stream /reading /mutual-aid /mutual-aid-spade

In preparation for an upcoming book club, I read through the first chapter of Mutual Aid, by Dean Spade. In this chapter, Dean lays out the three elements of mutual aid centered around meeting survival needs, educating people why needs are not met, expanding solidarity, and active participation. Spade writes extremely clearly, and this book so far feels very impactful and concise.

/stream /reading /mutual-aid /ollas-comunes

Read Collective Infrastructures of Care after being linked to it by a friend from Peru, which was a great review and anlysis of some of the history of community kitchens in Lima. It was a great example of Mutual Aid in South America, and formally introduced me to a concept I had been thinking about called "Co-Production", where communites are directly involved in the decision making and design of their collective infrastructure. I read through the paper and took a lot of notes and highlights, and will come back later to finish a synthesis after sleeping on it a bit.

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