Fundamental social change involves two intertwined processes. On the one hand, it means shutting down the mechanisms that impose disparities in power and access to resources; on the other hand, it involves creating infrastructures that distribute resources and power according to a different logic, weaving a new social fabric. While the movement for police abolition that burst into the public consciousness a month ago in Minneapolis has set new precedents for resistance, the mutual aid networks that have expanded around the world since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic point the way to a new model for social relations. The following report profiles three groups that coordinate mutual aid efforts in New York City—Woodbine, Take Back the Bronx, and Milk Crate Gardens—exploring their motivations and aspirations as well as the resources and forms of care they circulate.
This is the first installment in a series exploring mutual aid projects across the globe.