Mutual aid versus volunteerism: Autonomous PPE production in the Covid-19 pandemic crisis

Lachowicz, Katya and Donaghey, Jim. 2022. Mutual aid versus volunteerism: Autonomous PPE production in the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Capital & Class, 46(3), pp. 427-447. ISSN 0309-8168 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has confirmed neoliberal capitalism’s inability to meet critical social needs. In the United Kingdom, mutual aid initiatives based on ‘solidarity not charity’ blossomed in a context of state incompetence and private sector negligence – including Scrub Hub, a network of groups that autonomously produced personal protective equipment and provided it directly to health workers. Using a convergence of autonomist and anarchist perspectives, this article examines Scrub Hub as an example of emergent autonomous political economies and considers the challenges of resisting co-optation into volunteerist hierarchies and suppression by the neoliberal state.

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anarchism, autonomism, co-optation, Covid-19, infrastructures of resistance, mutual aid, neoliberalism, Scrub Hub, social factory, suppression, United Kingdom, voluntarism, volunteerism

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10 August 2021Accepted
21 November 2021Published Online
September 2022Published

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Date Deposited:

11 Jan 2022 15:03

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2022 09:48

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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