On Mutual Aid
That we shall extend mutual aid and solidarity were we can
Anarchism is pro-active in its outlook. It is not sufficient that we as individuals or our particular group in society are free and equal with access to the resources desired; we see ourselves as part of a wider whole and take on the extra responsibilities that brings.
On Mutual Aid
Mutual aid is helping each other to achieve individually and mutually beneficial goals.
Already it is the glue that holds society together. In an anarchist world it would form the basis of any economic systems, replacing current dominant models which are dependent on accumulation and therefore encourage exploitation and inequality.
Relationships between people in society would be based around the principles of cooperation and sharing of resources. It becomes in their own interests to help others, in other words, altruism is rewarded.
It can be argued that this must arise if we are to extend equality and freedom to their natural conclusions. Neither can reach their full potential if there exists at all a system where there are those who have all they need and more, while some do not.
On a societal level groups need to come together, big and small, not just for mutual benefit, but for the benefit of society as a whole. We must take on the holistic management of resources by those who use or need them, rather than abdicating that responsibility to others such as corporations and governments.
There are many models for how this would work and no one size fits all, but there are working examples all over the world of cooperative society in action. Organisations such as Radical Routes in the UK, Mondragon in Spain and others across the Global South (Argentina in particular) demonstrate that modern cooperative societies are realistic aspirations.
Economics, however, is probably the least developed part of anarchist thought, even though it is growing in stature. Theoretical developments such as the Viable Systems Model are allowing the principle of mutual aid to be effectively scaled up to larger systems than most of us are accustomed to dealing with. This can answer much of the criticism levelled at anarchists, but there is much work to still be done in this area.
“We want to see a world based on equality and co-operation
where people give according to their ability and receive according to their needs,
where work is fulfilling and useful and creativity is encouraged,
where decision making is open to everyone with no hierarchies,
where the environment is valued and respected in its own right rather than exploited.”
From the Aims and Principles of Radical Routes