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Mutual Aid: In Face of Government Inaction, British Communities Unite in Face of Coronavirus

Faced with a governmental response that has been described as everything from “inadequate” to “genocidal”, the British public is beginning to come together to offer aid and support to each other in the face of the growing coronavirus crisis. From individual acts of solidarity and kindness to the creation of mutual aid networks, Britain has decided to take action into their own hands.

While some have taken the “I’m alright Jack” path of selfishness through hoarding and profiteering, new stories are emerging of solidarity and aid developing across the country.

In Stenhousemuir, Falkirk, shop owners Asiyah Javed and husband Jawad are giving away free face masks, hand sanitiser and cleaning wipes to elderly customers in the local area. Asiyah said that “I thought ‘it’s time to give now’, not when Coronavirus is here.”

“On Saturday I was out, and I met an old woman, she was crying because she had been to the supermarket and there was no hand wash. I feel it is not fair on elderly people, some can’t get out of the house. Some people are asking for them to be delivered as they’re old, or disabled, or don’t drive. We are just trying to help people who can’t get out of the house.”

Asiyah Javed

Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington constituency has set up a COVID-19 task force with the input of Islington Council, Streets Kitchen, Shelter from the Storm, Museum of Homelessness, The Outside Project and The Margins Project. The task force will seek to assist the homeless during the crisis. Homeless people are highly at risk from the virus, having little opportunity to self-isolate and often suffering serious underlying health issues.

Meanwhile, mutual aid networks are being set up nationwide to support those most at risk from both the virus and from imposed isolation.

Covid Mutual Aid UK has been set-up over the past few days by volunteers to “focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.”

“We recognise that injustice doesn’t affect everyone equally and whilst we’re all at risk of COVID-19, there are some people who are more vulnerable and need greater support from the community. The basic idea is to coordinate care efforts for people who are self-isolating, especially if they are part of a more at-risk demographic including the elderly, disabled and people with other pre-existing health issues. We’re also trying to offer support to those people who are feeling most isolated/anxious throughout the pandemic. For people with mental health conditions, this scale of panic can be overwhelming and so community support is vital.”

Covid Mutual Aid UK

The Covid Mutual Aid UK website contains a list of local groups who are offering support during the pandemic.

https://covidmutualaid.org/ screenshot

Religious groups across the country are also offering aid and beginning to call for volunteers for outreach.

With the government planning to isolate all over 70s and estimates suggesting that as many as 80% of the country may become infected by the coronavirus, there can be little doubt that there is an urgent need for support networks. With the Tories seemingly more interested in propping up financial markets and the likes of Virgin airlines, it will be left to the people to organise and care for themselves.

Red Revolution Media will be delighted to publish any calls for mutual assistance, press releases or information on mutual aid across both Britain and the United States throughout the crisis. We can be contacted at redrevolutionmedia@protonmail.com

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