Statement by Mutual Aid Committee (Minority)
We in favor of F4S believe that the campaign could prove to have the same sort of success and reimplementation in other cities across the country in the way that DSA NOLA inspired a truly groundbreaking mutual aid program with their Free Brake Light clinic.
We feel it is critical to distinguish between charity and mutual aid, absolutely. Perhaps the distinction lies in its payoff. Would it be, say, uncharitable to say that we received no material recompense for the labor hours and parts for the Free Brake Lights Clinic?
Or say, the Free Brake Lights Clinic had failed?
Would the several comrades dedicated their work nearly exclusively to the project to the exclusion of everything else have done so in vain? When our organization raised over two-thousand dollars exclusively for its use, would that have had been for nothing?
Would it be seen as nothing as a failed charity? Perhaps, but that was not the case.
Instead the clinic generated hundreds of contacts with the organization, a surge of community enthusiasm and goodwill, and free publicity in the form of positive news coverage, and drew an unknown number of excited new members to our cause.
Some of us contend that perhaps the distinction between mutual aid and charity is a question of reciprocity: when we expect the work to be simply for a greater good with no expectation of reward, it is charity. But when the work we do inspires those who see it to join with us, when those who we help are compelled to give back -- this is mutual aid.
We feel that the F4S campaign with its narrower scope and larger ask - an admittedly generous fundraising effort required for a small cadre of dedicated comrades to feed a collection of families for a year in a single neighborhood where the organization currently lacks presence- could have a similar, if not larger impact, perhaps even beyond our imagining.