Love, Care and Mutual Aid: Resisting State Violence and Reliance A Reflective Piece Section Articles


Baljit Kaur


Mutual aid provides us all with opportunities to move away from state reliance and to embrace companionship and solidarity in the face of governmental violence and neglect, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering this, the organisers of this project envisioned and participated in an online feminist mutual aid space designed to disrupt the silence produced by sexism. Central to feminist politics, the project sought to continue raising awareness and politicising the personal. This reflective piece thus explores the principles of mutual aid and its application to a project that encompassed six weeks of discussions on the different forms state violence takes in different spaces and the implications this has on women at the intersections of race, class, and sexuality in the UK. The project was created with the purpose of providing a safe online space for women doctoral researchers to talk about their experiences, anger and frustrations with a social, political, and economic system that works hard every day to enact violence towards women and the silence that is often (re)produced by the very structures that enable it. In line with the principles of mutual aid, our reflections exemplify the ways in which knowledge, resources and care were shared and aided the group in bridging the gap between academia and the wider community. Furthermore, while the project was organised by three facilitators, those who were part of the group engaged and contributed within their own capacity, and in this way, we demonstrate our awareness of power dynamics within mutual aid spaces and our efforts to create a non-hierarchical space. Finally, this reflective piece will illustrate the opportunities for togetherness that can emerge from mutual aid spaces: to reconnect, forge friendships, and offer love and solidarity, and resistance to state violence in incredibly unsettling times.
Keywords: Mutual aid, feminist reflexivity, state reliance, systemic violence


Author Biography

Baljit Kaur, University of Sussex

Baljit Kaur is a third-year doctoral researcher in Cultural Studies at the University of Sussex. Her research explores young people's engagement in music production at an east London youth club. In particular, her research focuses on music as a form of storytelling, with intersecting themes of capitalist, gendered, racial violence, and explores community resilience and resistance to experiences of victimisation.