‘The way we get through this is together’: the rise of mutual aid under coronavirus
Amid this unfolding disaster, we have seen countless acts of kindness and solidarity. It’s this spirit of generosity that will help guide us out of this crisis and into a better future. By Rebecca Solnit
People behaving badly is a staple of the news, and the pandemic has given us plenty of lurid snapshots. In the US alone, we have seen protesters with guns in Michigan’s capital demanding an end to lockdown, anti-vaxxer women in a frenzy at California’s capitol, opportunists stockpiling hand sanitiser to resell for profit.
One of the biggest cliches about disasters is that they reveal civilisation as a thin veneer, beneath which lies brutal human nature. From this perspective, the best we can hope for from most people under crisis is selfish indifference; at worst, they will swiftly turn to violence. Our worst instincts must be repressed. This becomes a justification for authoritarianism and heavy-handed policing.