One of the principles of Mutual Aid is political education. As part of this education, found below is the March 2023 edition of MUTUAL AID MONTHLY, A Production of Des Moines Mutual Aid. You can download it using the DOWNLOAD button on the PDF file display window at the end.

“This flyer is a production of Des Moines Mutual Aid, which is a local network of anarchists, communists, and socialists building community autonomy from capitalism and the state. Below are our points of unity – basically, our basic political and social outlook which binds us together.”

Des Moines Mutual Aid

This is a good description of Des Moines Mutual Aid. We are a network of anarchists, communists, and socialists. Understanding these terms applied to a community I belong to has been part of my political education. My life has been a rebellion against capitalism and the state. But am I an anarchist, communist and/or socialist? I learned that those are parts of me. It’s a step to not only learn what you are not, but also what you are. It’s easy enough to say I’m not a capitalist, but am I a so-called enemy of the state? Yes, I am, in the nonviolent sense. The state is becoming increasingly oppressive and authoritarian. But I’ve learned that even when the capitalist system was “working”, it was and is still a system built on supremacy, violence, abuse, and oppression.

Several years ago, I changed the name of this blog to QUAKERS AND RELIGIOUS SOCIALISM as part of my evolving political education.

I learned about the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) Religious Socialism Committee from my friend Fran Quigley, director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law and a editorial team member.

Fran wrote in response to a blog post I had written, The Evil of Capitalism, December 31, 2020.

This post of yours struck me close to home. I too have become fully convinced of the evils of capitalism. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that my faith dictates that I work to replace it. Turns out I am far from alone, so I’ve been devoting much of my time this past year to the Religion and Socialism Committee of the DSA,

My Introduction to Religious Socialism, Jeff Kisling

I like the Points of Unity of Des Moines Mutual Aid. I like the emphasis on the positive, “our basic political and social outlook which binds us together“. We are tightly bound together. I often hear my friends say how much they look forward to being together, working alongside each other, being directly connected to those who come for help. And knowing there is no judgement, because we are all aware that we might one day need help ourselves. I like the stories of those putting together boxes of food tell me they once came for food, themselves. I like the expectation that anyone of us should take food ourselves. It took me a while to realize my mistake in not taking any food. (As a result, my friends now know of my sweet tooth.)

One of our principles of unity is:
We have open disagreements with each other about ideas and practices.
“We believe there is no formula for resolving our ideological differences other than working towards our common aims, engaging with each other in a comradely manner, and respecting one another whether or not we can hash out disagreements in the process.”

The publication of MUTUAL AID MONTHLY relates to another of our Points of Unity, political consciousness.

We work to raise the political consciousness of our communities.
Part of political education is connecting people’s lived experiences to a broader political perspective. Another component is working to ensure that people can meet their basic needs. It is difficult to organize for future liberation when someone is entrenched in day-to-day struggle.

from Points of Unity, Des Moines Mutual Aid

Political ignorance is one of the main reasons this country is falling into chaos and authoritarianism. People would be less susceptible to falling for cults of personality and understand the threats to freedom posed by culture wars if they had a better education, including critical thinking skills. You might think of sharing MUTUAL AID MONTHLY with others in furtherance of their/your political consciousness. As a resource to stimulate discussions.

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