Wonderful, quick, and practical volume on what mutual aid is, why it is important, and how to create and sustain a mutual aid program. Dean Spade writes with the clarity and confidence of a seasoned veteran of organizing and movement building. Mutual Aid is a nice companion to my favorite organizing books by adrienne maree brown. It lacks the holistic and spiritual qualities of doing social change work that brown’s Emergent Strategy series does, instead focusing on the practicalities of getting work done. Use them together to develop a robust approach to your own social change practice, that ideally places mutual aid—one of the most powerful strategies—at the heart of your efforts.
As an academic, I would have liked to see more references to literature on mutual aid because I know scholars have written about it and want to follow up on the sources. I also understand that this is not an academic volume and scholars are not (and should not be) the primary audience. The practical tools that are compiled here are formidable. I expect all folks engaged in changemaking will find something of value perhaps new in this book. The penultimate chapter “No Masters, No Flakes” was stuffed with practical ideas and frameworks. I learned about Mad Mapping there for the first time and love the idea of creating a guide to your future self for how to deal with burnout.
As Spade urges, we need more mutual aid efforts in the world and we need more folks reading this book and applying its ideas!