Ella Fassler: Mutual Aid Groups That Arose During COVID Gather to Build Power Regionally

Activists take inventory of donated foods while others stand and talk during a Day of Solidarity event at the DeKalb County Courthouse on April 3, 2021, in Auburn, Indiana. JON CHERRY / GETTY IMAGES

Truthout | July 10, 2022

More than two years after ad-hoc networks of collective care sprouted from the cracks of state neglect during the pandemic, mutual aid organizers across the U.S. are convening in Indiana this July to prepare these networks to face crisis, disasters and survival for the long haul.

“To the extent that we engage in this work only as an emergency response, it’s doomed to stay a Band-Aid,” said Shannon Malloy, who is helping plan a “Dual Power 2022” gathering from July 29-31 at Indiana Dunes State and National Parks. “It’s our long-term, larger-scale interconnectedness that makes it more of a long-term viable solution, as opposed to just a way to stop the bleeding.”

Malloy described building mutual aid networks as a tactic in the strategy of constructing “dual power,” defined by the Black Socialists in America as “[a] situation where there are two powers — a democratic one developed by poor and working-class people (defined by direct democracy), and the other one capitalist (defined by domination) — coexisting and competing for legitimacy during a transition away from Capitalism.”

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