case study

Anarchist Responses to a Pandemic:

Anarchist Responses to a Pandemic: The COVID-19 Crisis as a Case Study in Mutual Aid

From Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal by Nathan Jun & Mark Lance

The COVID-19 Crisis as a Case Study in Mutual Aid

ABSTRACT: When central authority fails in socially crucial tasks, mutual aid, solidarity, and grassroots organization frequently arise as people take up slack on the basis of informal networks and civil society organizations. We can learn something important about the possibility of horizontal organization by studying such experiments. In this paper we focus on the rationality, care, and effectiveness of grassroots measures to respond to the pandemic and show how they illustrate core elements of anarchist thought. We do not argue for the correctness of any version of anarchist politics, nor claim that the bulk of this grassroots work was done with anarchist ideas explicitly in mind. Nonetheless, the current pandemic, like many social crises before it, serves as a sort experiment in political implementation.

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