Recently, mutual aid has come under scrutiny, with critics taking issue with it as a concept, those who support it, and individuals and organisations who claim to practice it. Simultaneously, mutual aid has become an urgent need within our communities due to the recent COVID-19 lockdown that has left many already financially precarious people unable to support themselves. Working class people across so-called ‘Australia’ are struggling to survive due to deeply insufficient structural support from the state. For those of us engaging in this work, it is now, more than ever, that the value of mutual aid is clear in bettering the conditions and centering the experience of the working class.
The recent criticism from Black Flag and Socialist Alternative alike have argued that mutual aid is not ‘radical enough’, cannot see the difference between mutual aid and charity, and do not understand the aim of mutual aid to itself become obsolete. It is one thing to theorise a better world, but the actions of mutual aid groups are creating that new world as we speak. To discredit the work of mutual aid is to discredit the importance of working class power. Without it, the revolution will be nothing but an idea tossed around over the coffee tables of rich, white armchair leftists.