Somebody’s Gotta Do It 

By W. Speare

“Solidarity Not Charity.” If you’re around Mutual Aid groups long enough, you’ll hear this pop up. You’ll read about the “Non-Profit Industrial Complex” and how it maintains an iron grip on who is and isn’t deserving of help. You’ll hear stories from people who jumped through numerous hoops and missed desperately needed hours from work to apply for assistance, just to be turned down three weeks later with no explanation given. 

We hear these stories and we live these lives and we do everything that we can to make a material change. To make a difference. Organizing strangers and making friends along the way. Lifetimes have been spent pushing against the stone wall that is the United States of America just to leave handprints and not much else. 

This is not easy work. It is not paid work. Often we are pulling from our own very limited resources to try to make these changes. Often we don’t have much to start with., But if there’s food on my plate, that means I can share. And share we do. 

But what about when it’s hard? When it is cold. When we’re busy. When we’re tired. When we just can’t seem to make it out there. What then? 

We keep on. We push through. We find a way. 

The work that we do is demanding and it is specifically demanding on a few. Part of that is just a numbers game. I mean, I haven’t read the most recent census report but I’m guessing there’s not a large presence of self-described Anarchists out there. We’re already starting off with a smaller pool to draw from. The other is that of that group,  few of us are really active or active consistently. What this means in practice is that almost any Leftist activities you see- education, mutual aid, direct action, solidarity, whatever –  these are being done by a small number of people who are also doing other things. 

I’ve been doing this long enough to know that the biggest threat to a Leftist organization isn’t the Proud Boys or FBI, it’s burnout. People are tired. People need rest. But the community that we’ve spent a decade on building and helping and working with is depending on us. So we can keep pushing. Because the work needs done and somebody’s gotta do it.