A core principle of libertarian socialism is mutual aid. In the broadest sense, mutual aid is the universal human practice of altruism and self-sacrifice which undergirds all societies, the spirit of generosity and basic decency which makes cooperation and thus all community possible. As Peter Kropotkin wrote a hundred years ago,
“The mutual-aid tendency in man has so remote an origin, and is so deeply interwoven with all the past evolution of the human race, that is has been maintained by humankind up to the present time, notwithstanding all vicissitudes of history.”
In an organizing context, mutual aid programs are those established in order to create a structure for providing some service that meets a material need in the community. Unlike a charity run by the rich for the benefit of the poor, a mutual aid program is run by and for ordinary working people, administered democratically, and focused on creating anticapitalist alternatives to the provisioning of basic services. When mutual aid programs reach enough density and capacity that the basic needs of a community can be met by the community itself, then that community has begun to reach a condition of dual power.
Caucus members have been engaged in creating mutual aid programs in their local DSA chapters across the country. The following are mutual aid programs established nationally by the LSC.
The People's Zoom
The LSC has created a Zoom account usable by any DSA member in order to conduct organizational business. The People's Zoom will provide crucial assistance to the most fruitful organizing going on within the DSA, and is a key first step in making up for the lack of support for regional and other large-scale organizing by the current National organization.