What is Mutual Aid? How can we make it work for us?
MUCH WORK TO DO HERE, BUT MEANWHILE, WATCH THIS EXCELLENT VIDEO PRIMER
And this one too:
We will be depending heavily on Canadian and International community input to develop this section.
And here’s a new voice coming out of Montreal. Allie Pauld is young, black, disabled, and totally on our wavelength! Perhaps we will have an opportunity to work together sometime soon!
Check out this fantastic new *Canadian* website on surviving severe heat and other climate-change emergencies specifically by and for people with disabilities!
Here is an awesome disability-focussed example currently operating in America. This demonstrates the do-abililty of many of the ideas touched upon in LWD’s thinking so far. A powerful role-model!
Check out this article about mutual aid in an unexpected source — a magazine for accountants.
And here’s another worker-focussed American example: https://uwunited.org/resources/mutual-aid-networks/
Many of the readers of this page will have more experience than we do with mutual aid, and we want to hear from you. Below you’ll find a few of the areas where we think there might be a role for LWD to aid in efforts to enable disabled people to choose life instead of giving up and opting for doctor-assisted death.
Housing, food, personal care: the basics. You’ve seen the stories in the news: people choosing MAID because they can’t get their needs met. How can we best support groups, ad hoc or established, in small or large communities across the country to make sure people with disabilities (pwd’s) get their immediate survival needs met? We have examples: Chiliwack Free Fridge; Marpole Pantry; and many many others. Many of these operate outside of the “normal”, regulated, policed food-bank cultures and networks.
Emergency Help Lines: How well equipped are local communities with phone trees or social media networks that people can call to get immediate help in a crisis? Can we rely on our national suicide prevention line NOT to offer MAID as one of the possible solutions to crisis resolution? Do we need to MAID-PROOF the suicide prevention system? How?
Income support: UBI (Universal Basic Income)? Better local processes? More enlightened provincial coverage? Recognition of basic need and humanity?
Visit and support https://www.disabilitywithoutpoverty.ca to learn about the federal government’s promise of a Canada in which disabled people don’t have to live in poverty. Please consider writing a blog post to educate us all on the feasibility of easing poverty through existing government channels, or through non-government mechanisms.
In the absence of government support, how can we actually confront the income inequality issue in our own communities? “We’re all we’ve got, we’re all we need” is the mantra of Mutual Aid. But how will this work without falling into the much-hated “charity” model? Think of some creative strategies, test them out, then write up your results in a blog post for all to read — even if your results are discouraging. We learn as much from failures as we learn from successes.
Technology exchange: Can we set up a system? Can we make it work? In the modern world, technology can spell the difference between isolation and connection. It can be hard for poor folks to get online, although public libraries serve an essential role here. Can we capitalize on that already public system to increase access for people with disabilities? Write up your experiment and share it here.
Skills exchange: What are you really good at? How can you share your skill with others? What if there’s no pay involved? How much volunteer time and energy can reasonably be expected?
Adaptive equipment and clothing exchange: It used to be just what you needed, but now your needs have changed. Do you think there might be someone out there who could use your equipment? Your gently used clothing items, particularly adapted clothing?
Information and resource development: federal; provincial; local. We need lists of doctors in every community whose practice does not include T 2 MAID — assisted death for people who are not dying. We need to know who, in which bureaucracy, can speak to you like a human being. We need to know who has struggled, who has decided to die by MAID and who has decided not to and why. (Note: We cannot rely on the Government reports for this information! Their statistics don’t tell us what we need to know!) It will be big work to build these data bases, but they’re something that we need. We are open to your suggestions about what information needs to be collected, how it can be organized and shared for practical purposes, as well as for research purposes.
Loans and grants – processes for application for and distribution of funds. This is a big topic. Who might give money to us? Who might give it to you directly? How might short-term micro-loans, or other instruments help people stay alive instead of choosing MAID?
Mutual Care Networks: How can these be developed and where can we sign up? We at LWD Canada will need support from others; community networks and members will need support from us; and somebody will have to figure out which sign-up forms work best for which groups and individuals, how and why.
And here’s an Indigenous Group that’s already doing the work!! So excited to discover and reach out to this and other groups who can show us the way. Please read this excellent “zine” about mutual aid from an indigenous writer who lays it out in gritty detail. As colonial settlers, we need to come to terms with who we are and what we and our ancestors have done, and how we continue to benefit from genocide and occupation of stolen lands. And we need to make certain that anything we do with and for disabled people includes and benefits indigenous disabled people at least equally if not more.
Nov. 12, 2020 We Keep Each Other Safe: Mutual Aid for Survival and Solidarity