How can mutual aid retain its radicalism?

Essex Social Science on COVID-19: A webinar series from the Faculty of Social Sciences

  • Wed 15 Jul 20

    12:30 - 13:30

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Dr Rhiannon Firth

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Essex Social Science on COVID-19

  • Event organiser

    Sociology, Department of

Join Dr Rhiannon Firth as she looks at whether mutual aid has been taken over by a well-meaning middle-class. Mutual aid has radical roots – should these be maintained and, if so, how?

How can mutual aid retain its radicalism?

COVID-19 has seen the rise of thousands of grassroots ‘mutual aid’ groups across the UK. This follows similar movements in the USA in the wake of hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. 

The concept of mutual aid has a long tradition in anarchist theory and practice. It differs from charity because it does not presume separation between helpers and helped, and it intends to prefigure a non-hierarchical society. However, many participants in current groups are unaware of the history, and there have been calls not to politicise disaster relief. 

The State response sometimes appears to encourage these groups, attempting to co-opt them into official policy. At other times, movements are violently repressed when perceived as a threat to governability. So does mutual aid suit the governing elite or threaten it?

This live webinar will be hosted by Dr Rhiannon Firth from the Department of Sociology. The event will run from 12:30pm until 1:30pm on Wednesday 15 July via Zoom.

This event is part of the Essex Social Science on COVID-19 webinar series and is organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences. The webinar is open to the public and completely free of charge. To register your place and join the webinar, book your place via Zoom:


Book your place now 

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