Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a grassroots disaster relief network based on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action.
Our national network is made up of many eco-activists, social justice activists, global justice activists, permaculturalists, community organizers, and others who are actively organizing around supporting disaster survivors in a spirit of mutual aid and solidarity. It is a decentralized network, defined by the character and creativity of a multitude of communities and drawn together by our collective commitment to stand in solidarity with those impacted by disasters and turn the tide in favor of climate justice. We build our network through education and action. We are deeply moved by the Black Panther survival programs which served the aim of satisfying immediate needs while simultaneously raising people’s consciousness. Rooted in our history and experiences of social movement organizing we see our disaster relief work in the context of social struggle and believe that we must simultaneously address people’s immediate self-determined needs for survival and organize for fundamental shifts in the way we relate to each other and the earth.
The steering committee is Mutual Aid Disaster Relief’s main organizing body, comprising a dynamic group of about a dozen individuals from around the country. Many Steering Committee members have been involved in other mutual aid disaster relief projects including Common Ground Relief and Occupy Sandy. Steering committee members educate, organize, and mobilize support around Mutual Aid Disaster Relief projects in their respective communities, regions and networks. They also provide Mutual Aid Disaster Relief with long-term organizational continuity and sustainability, work to build leadership within the national network, and work closely with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief working groups to ensure continuity with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief’s campaigns, needs, and processes.
Semi-autonomous working groups exist within the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief network to help drive certain aspects of our work forward. Some working groups are temporary and are formed around specific needs such as campaign research or location specific organizing. Other working groups are more permanent, such as supplies distribution, medical, animal rescue, environmental/permaculture, and media/communications. Working groups communicate via conference calls, emails, listservs, and/or on the ground and are a point of access where anyone in the network can become more involved in shaping the direction of Mutual Aid Disaster Relief. To get involved with a working group, or to start a new one, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition, we believe in horizontalism, decentralization and that the most effective decisions and actions take place at the level of those closest to the problem or most impacted by the solution. Therefore we strongly encourage the formation of affinity groups and, if needed, spokescouncils, to promote self-organization and autonomy within the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief network, especially in the event of a large disaster response mobilization.