Part of why we say "solidarity not charity" is because the way charity is typically presented gives moral superiority to the givers - and often, moral inferiority to the receivers (or sometimes "takers," if they decide to be particularly transparent about it)

Truisms like "it is better to give than to receive" implicitly contain "it is wrong to receive help." It's wrong to ask for the support you need, to want it, even to accept it when offered. Panhandling, for instance, is often portrayed not just as shameful, but immoral - even greedy

Solidarity, and especially mutual aid, are meant to reject that dichotomy. Everyone at Food Not Bombs eats together, volunteers and otherwise, and talks to each other. Our Free Store puts "it's free because it's yours" all over its reading material - it's not a gift, not a blessing, not charity. And that makes *such* a big difference

@socalledunitedstates signage like that is helpful for folk like me too, volunteering, because it reminds us not to maintain our normal mindset during these actions, and to remember they're part of a mutual aid thing and should be thought of that way

@emsenn If this is your "normal mindset" then you should put some effort into fixing that even outside of the context of mutual aid, tbh

@socalledunitedstates alright let me just not get affected by any of the miasma of marketing that exists all around me. :P

I appreicate the well-meaning advice but I do, as well as I can, given I operate in a community where people charge each other for loose cigarettes.

@socalledunitedstates Sorry this came off as snarky than I meant to, it's just in the context of my life this came across as "you just aren't Pure enough! Do more to isolate yourself!" and I get that in one ear a lot. Sorry for the snark.

@emsenn Oh no, I didn't mean to be overly critical. Your tone is entirely justified

Really I suspected from the beginning that your post was just somewhat unfortunate wording. I already know you're not a smelly capitalist :b

@socalledunitedstates yea I'm a smelly bum! Overdue for a shower but what can you do ^_^

@socalledunitedstates From an economic perspective, solidarity is also preferable because it re-allocates wealth on the basis of economic need alone, rather than on the basis of some arbitrary affinity which has to be extended by those with higher wealth,

Hence solidarity models improve overall economic well-being rather than just for a select few,

@qcat There are countless reasons why solidarity and mutual aid is much more effective and respectful than traditional charity

My favorite is to call back to Nestle donating bottled water to Flint, MI... after they bought their water source and caused the crisis in the first place. We'll take the *means of production*, and once we're done exploiting it, you can have some of the leftovers. You know, for PR!

Most charity isn't that egregious, but the basic formula is still there

@socalledunitedstates based on how I grew up, I'd call what you just described as the Christian concept of charity. I was raised with Judaism, where charity is called 'tzedakah,' and it's defined differently.


@raye I hate how right you are about that, since it's so antithetical to what Christianity actually teaches

Before it was laundered by the ruling class into something non-threatening that can act as a driving force for colonialism, that is...

@raye @socalledunitedstates one thing that made me fall in love with Judaism was my rabbis almost angry description of the word charity and insistence on tzedekah with emphasis on "don't turn an opportunity to perform a mitzvah into an ugly act of vanity and pride"

@socalledunitedstates "It's wrong to ask for the support you need, to want it, even to accept it when offered."

This is something that I've unfortunately internalized pretty deeply, at least with regards to myself. I don't apply it to others (or I hope I don't), but it's still incredibly harmful and not just to myself. Really getting out of the mindset that anything you have which you don't sacrifice something for is undeserved is much easier said than done, from my experience.

@IslandScrubJay @socalledunitedstates
This is so relatable.

“Other people get to have things.
They deserve them.
I don’t.”

That’s often my toxic self-talk and yeah...the original post had me really emotional right now.

religion, Christianity, food 

@socalledunitedstates the Beatitudes would seem to suggest that any sense of moral superiority is deeply unfounded

(I am still glad that one part of our soup garden project at church includes inviting people who eat at the soup kitchen to get involved in growing the veg, though; we already eat together)

@socalledunitedstates Wow, that's amazing that they all eat together and socialize! I think it's easy to forget that homeless people are people too.

@socalledunitedstates Charity is right, it's wrong to receive help if you're not in life threatening situation. And you should return it immediately when you get out of that situation. All other takes create more and more takers and less and less givers.


Learned from an anarchist disability activist that Mutual Aid is a two way effort, not in a 'give and eventually you will receive' kinda way but contained in every single interaction: the effort to help and the effort to accept help are both necessary for Mutual Aid to take place. When we see every act of Mutual Aid as two people both contributing to the bonds that keep us together, the game changes.

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