Common Humanity Collective (CHC) is an autonomous mutual aid group. We support people to come together to create the things our communities need in the face of deprivation and disaster.
As we suffer crisis after crisis, each one more excruciating than the last, our political leaders fail to address the inequalities that make them so devastating for working people. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has stretched across every nook and recess of the globe, claiming the lives of millions, while an uncaring ruling elite has multiplied its wealth and kept billions in poverty.
While COVID-19 has ravaged human life across the planet, it has also provoked perhaps the most dramatic and far-reaching examples of mutual aid and cooperation in recorded history. On the heels of nationwide lockdowns across the globe, hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world mobilized to protect and feed millions of neighbors and strangers in their midst.
Our own group, CHC, expanding to over 500 volunteers in the Bay Area, developed a grassroots network of production and distribution through which over 60,000 N95-style nanofiber masks were assembled and distributed, along with enough hand sanitizer to supply over 100,000 people.
Our example clearly demonstrates that a comparatively small number, spanning a wide spectrum of age, ethnicity, gender, and means, can come together to produce essential tools for survival on a city-wide scale. Through CHC, our communities intervened to care for one another at a time when it was dearly needed. Our government had shirked its responsibility of providing basic safety materials to citizens affected by the pandemic, such as quality masks and hand sanitizers. In addition, supply shortages made it impossible to purchase these materials. We were instead able to meet our own needs, working together in solidarity.
Looking forward, global climate change and ecological destruction threaten to spawn storms, floods, and fires that will destroy our homes and communities. Wars begun and fought for profit or political control harm and displace millions of innocent people. CHC has already stepped forward in this space; in response to the wildfires ravaging California, which made our air unhealthy to breathe, CHC produced and distributed over 1,400 air purifiers capable of filtering wildfire smoke.
Surviving these increasingly apocalyptic circumstances will require us to cultivate, on larger scales and with more political vigor, practices of mutual aid and cooperation. We urge those we meet at the point of distribution to take charge of the production and distribution processes, to build an ever-expanding community of confidence, autonomy, and self-sufficiency.
We believe that such practices around the world during these crises are in fact embryonic organizational forms that must be nurtured and grown alongside more traditional organs of class struggle, such as radical labor unions and tenant councils, to ensure the possibility of a truly egalitarian future beyond capitalism.