Riles Reads: Mutual Aid by Dean Spade
How can we create the world we want to live in? We need the time, resources, and skills to drive change, and a shared vision of where we want to go. We also need to freedom to take action to get there. This can mean having the time to do so, as well as having the security to do so and know that our basic needs will still be covered. (If you’re going to get fired for showing up to a political rally, you’re far less likely to show up, and for good reason.)
"Mutual aid is the radical act of caring for each other while working to change the world." says Dean Spade in his excellent book Mutual Aid. Mutual aid organizations seek to fill social needs in ways that are outside the norms of our current socio-economic organization, which is largely short-sighted and profit driven. Mutual aid can be very casual or highly organized. Sharing rides with your neighbors to get to the grocery store? That’s mutual aid! See a Little Free Library with books that are being shared around the neighborhood? That’s mutual aid. Your local Food Not Bombs chapter that shares meals with whomever shows up? Mutual aid.
Learn more about this by reading Mutual Aid by Dean Spade.
Mutual aid strengthens community bonds, helps ensure everyone’s needs are met, and gives us security to fall back on when we are going through tough times. This enables us to more safely take risks even if we aren’t currently rich, and enables social movements to gain enough support to drive real change.
If you’ve ever asked yourself “What is mutual aid?” or “How do I get involved with mutual aid?” this month’s book club book is the perfect place to start. Mutual Aid by Dean Spade not only introduces what mutual aid is, but walks you through how to show up in and engage with mutual aid organizations. This short book will be helpful both to people newly showing up to movements and more experienced community organizers looking to improve their mutual aid organization’s effectiveness and impact. This will become a reference book you keep returning to over time.
If you'd like to read it with us, join the Soft Heart Book Club and come to the meeting on September 25 to share learnings, paths forward, and talk about what we’ve learned as we seek to transform ourselves to transform the world.