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COVID-19, the Climate Crisis, and Mutual Aid

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/21/covid-19-climate-crisis-and-mutual-aid

Unfortunately, with respect to the climate crisis, rather than pushing for structural change, many folk are embracing the mindset that it must be address through our current capitalist economic system:

David Roberts

Naomi Klein’s climate book This Changes Everything famously argued that consumer capitalism and climate change are effectively one and the same, that the one is the inevitable consequence of the other. Is that something unique to capitalism, or is it just human nature to be shortsighted?

Noam Chomsky

We should recognize that if global warming is an automatic consequence of capitalism, we might as well say goodbye to each other. I would like to overcome capitalism, but it’s not in the relevant time scale. Global warming basically has to be taken care of within the framework of existing institutions, modifying them as necessary. That’s the problem we face.

Source: _https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/21446383/noam-chomsky-robert-pollin-climate-change-book-green-new-deal

Can we evolve as swiftly as the catastrophes that envelop us?

Social evolution can be rapid. Society can be transformed and peoples’ consciousness change, Human nature is not fixed but malleable depending on conditions and situations.

But perhaps when we mention Kropotkin, we should also reflect on the over-lap he had with Marx.

Both have the goal of the world cooperative commonwealth



Tina Gerhardt wrote:

In her 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, Rebecca Solnit examines how people rise up to help one another through crises, such as the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, 9/11, and hurricane Katrina. She found that in the wake of disasters, most people respond with altruism, creativity, generosity, and a cooperative spirit.

That’s a great book recommendation, imho. One of my favorites.

I’m still pursuing the same mutual aid program I started almost a year ago, now: buying groceries for my elderly neighbor, every time I go to the store. There’s too much contention already, and we’re programmed, for survival, to help each other out.

The most profound form of mutual aid might be staying out of unnecessary trouble, people: taking good care of yourselves. We see crowded holiday airports again, and it’s appallingly selfish as well as foolhardy. We already have enough medical emergencies, so we don’t need yours piled on.


USA hospitalizations approach 120K today – double our peak levels from April and July. There’s no room at the ICU this Christmas. Please stay safe!

Rebecca Solnit is spot on, I have witnessed it here on the Gulf Coast after every major hurricane since 1979, communities come together, help each other, and make sure their neighbors have what they need to survive, Sadly it always ends, and things go back to “normal”, once the crises is over.

This has to be a rhetoric question right?

Sadly, almost certainly

And I cling to that “almost” by the outmost edges of my fingernails