In order to co-create a better world, we need a multiplicity of groups and communities engaged in the work of building alternatives. For this, we need you. Our model is simple, and is designed as a foundation that facilitates the combining of local passions and resources to fulfill needs in your own context. We aren’t prescriptive about what groups do, only about the process through which we do it, which involves the commitment to communicate (teach and learn) with each other. In order to have any success in dismantling the complex systems of oppression and those that drive environmental devastation, we need each other to be engaged in a great many different endeavors within a common vision.
The first thing you need to start your own Mutual Aid group is four other people that will commit to getting together regularly. Essentially, this is your first Circle. Some groups have held an initial exploratory Gathering to gauge interest or to form their first Circle or Circles, while other nearby groups have invited us to their locale to facilitate an exploratory workshop. We have found this small group style of organizing to be vital. So often in our efforts we attempt to “get everybody involved” and end up going nowhere (or in twenty different directions). Building the intimacy of trust with a small group is creating the building blocks of community as well as the capacity to engage in impactful work in the world.
Once you’ve got a core group (at least one committed Circle), we encourage you to meet at least monthly and to also begin hosting monthly Gatherings. As a community coalesces (which can take a month or a year), you can begin exploring a Build project to do. What we have found to work is to first focus on building a cohesive community of folks by deliberately spending time together being human (eating food, discussing life and the world we want to live in, being friends, being silly, etc.), and then to take on projects as the group’s capacity is built.
Throughout this time, members of our existing groups would be more than happy to meet with you regularly for advice or guidance (and to learn from your experiences so that we can do better ourselves!). We also have materials that have worked for us that you are free to use. After a time sufficient for your group to have some momentum, you can invite us out to do a foundational weekend workshop with you. Once you’ve been Circling and Gathering for a few months, and can get firm commitments of at least 15 people to do the workshop, it’s time to invite us. We do this workshop for free, we just need transportation, food, and a place to sleep.
The Mutual Aid foundational workshop is vital to what we’re doing, because it connects us more deeply (trust is essential to being in community) and gives us a mutual understanding for the work we’re doing. Far from seeking agreement, which is not very possible (and it makes things boring), the purpose of this workshop is to give us a shared platform and process from which to do the work. The workshop typically runs Friday evening until Sunday afternoon, and in it we explore interconnection, wholeness, mutual relationships, power, oppression, liberation, transformation, co-creation, interdependence, and solidarity.
We invite you to build with us communities for fulfillment in life and for sustained social justice work, the foundations of the world we know is possible. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org