Trump is inaugurated today and I wanna talk to you about what we can do about it.
There’s so much venting going on – me included – but I’d much rather we used today as a great reminder of where the real power lies in our lives.
If you want to find it start practising the principle of mutual aid. We’re growing a movement of Camerados and we use the vehicle of mutual aid to get the two things that people who are lonely or having a tough time really need to transform their life: Friends and Purpose. Two things we all need for a happy life as it happens.
Mutual aid is when I help you and you help me. We’re equals. We don’t have to know each other but we have each other’s back. We recognise that the solution is in the talented people around us who may be going through the same things we are…life.
When you practice this principle you break that bad power dynamic where one person of expertise or privilege deigns to help another beneath them with a handout and the beneficiary must be full of supplication and gratitude. I may be over -dramatising that but not much – this is how working with Government or receiving charity can feel to many people. With mutual aid we both feel valued and respected and it builds a strong bond, a tie between people that is powerful and which combats the suspicion and hatred that drives apart communities and makes them elect a Trump.
AA have been successfully running mutual aid for alcoholics for decades. We at Camerados want to do it for anyone having tough times – which basically means the general public. I would suggest that if you practice it everyday you’ll feel the power yourself. The power in yourself and in talented people you know and strangers too.
The question I’m most often asked is “What do I do when I see a homeless person on the street?” my answer is “ask them for advice” they’ve probably seen more of life than you have and they’d love to be valued. At the very least look them in the eye and say hello. It is by building bonds between us that we will remain powerful in the time of Trump.
I would say that if kindness is given properly then the giver always gets something from it themselves and so there is a mutuality to it but also sometimes the mutual aid is done in a “pay it forward” fashion. Someone helps you and you help someone else.
For example, Janis helps out in our Blackpool living room, she has moved to the UK from China and speaks very little English. She came to the living room to meet new people and friends and develop her English. A fellow customer who used to teach English at a local high school has taken it upon himself to offer English lessons to Janis in the living room. Fair to say her English is slowly improving and she’s started chatting to people. She also joined the craft group that happens in the living room and helped make jewellery to sell at the recent winter Christmas market that the craft group ran to raise money for the local children’s hospice. Look at all the people in this little story and how they are helping each other and getting something for it for themselves and the community.
Let’s stop positioning these government figures as the fountain from which everything in your life flows and turn instead away from them to focus on the power in the people in your community. Let’s turn to each other for help and give back too. Yes Government policies affect us but that’s just the environment, that’s our habitat it doesn’t have to govern our lives.
You may think this “help each other” mutual aid thing is naive and sentimental and I understand that. I could point to moments in history where movements of people have affected global change but all I really have to do is cite the many stories from Camerados where looking to each other has produced the solution for some horrible personal situations.
When it comes to who is powerful in your life you’ll find that Donald Trump comes a long way down the list after hundreds of friends, neighbours, acquaintances, helpful strangers… or as we say, Camerados.