Those interested in a new way to think about society and community.
In a nutshell:
The Care Collective makes the case for a re-framing of our priorities, putting care at the top, and organizing society around that.
“The inherently careless practice of ‘growing the economy’ has taken priority over ensuring the well-being of citizens.”
“One of the great ironies surrounding care is that it is actually the rich who are most dependent on those they pay to service them in innumerable personal ways.”
“We must begin by recognising the myriad ways that our survival and our thriving are everywhere and always contingent on others.”
Why I chose it:
Verso books had a big sale. I might have bought a lot…
During the first UK lock down I joined a mutual aid WhatsApp group. I think the local council supported it with funds, but volunteers managed requests and then posted to the group to see who could fulfill them. Most required use of a car, which I didn’t have, but I was occasionally able to help out by printing a grocery gift certificate and home and then walking it over to a neighbor. When we were able to get a grocery delivery slot, we checked with our neighbor to see if they needed us to get them anything; we both shared extra food from produce boxes or extra things we had baked (our neighbor was a pastry chef, so I think we got the better end of that deal). I have friends with young kids who created ‘pods’ so they could spread the child caring responsibilities while also giving their children a way to socialize when they weren’t in-person in school.
I think for me and many others not raised in a culture of care and community, the pandemic has opened our eyes to what we can all do when we support each other, and how much better life is when we support and care for each other. This manifesto explores how much all of our lives could be improved by putting care at the center of our economy, government, and communities. It starts by making the case that we need to expand the idea of who is a carer in our life from immediate family to our friends and neighbors. Yes, some types of care (such as personal hygiene support) may require a close or intimate relationship, but many others just require being willing and supportive of our friends and neighbors.
In looking at the caring community, the authors argue for four main features. One is mutual support – so the types of things I mentioned at the start of this review. The second is public space – taking back green and other types of spaces that have been privatized and given to companies or private property owners. The third is shared resources – they discuss not just book libraries but other types of sharing systems like tool libraries or appliance shares (do you need a leaf blower every day, or can you perhaps borrow one a couple times a year?). And finally the last is local democracy – supporting the community at a local level based on what is needed.
I enjoyed reading this book as it got me thinking further about what our society really could be, and how deeply disappointing the concept of neoliberalism is, and how ridiculous capitalism is. We can do so much better.
Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend and Keep