Add new comment

"Are there particularly anarchist ways of helping people? What makes them that?"

I think being regularly/consistently available for and around the people you care about so that they can readily help themselves with you so to speak. Sometimes you don''t know what they need and they might not feel like straightforwardly going out of their way to ask you to help them with it, but if you happen to be around a lot, and their problem keeps coming up, they might mention it in passing and you may ask them about it, and they may ask for your opinion or help. If you get to know a person really well you might even dare to make a favor they'd appreciate before they even ask and it will be spot on, but you can still mess up.

This is different from charity where you parachute and give help to someone, imposing your timing and conditions on them. Instead, by being available and around them, they get to choose the time that is convenient to approach you, and you can dialogue each other's availability, preferences and boundaries. Also, you don't assume what their problem is and what a solution might be, you get to know each other through conversation, cohabiting and conviviality, and trust develops which leads to asking for help in terms which are more agreeable for each.

But there are so many case by case specifics and things are complicated, like the TotW points out.
In cases of spontaneously helping strangers, it's tough to call the shots in split second decisions.
In those cases what could make it anarchist is that you acted freely, not out of some sense of duty or obligation, but an urge you needed to satisfy (the urge to see a tragedy avoided or to remediate it) that is informed by your theory of mind guess and gut feeling that that person would greatly appreciate what you're about to do. In that situation, your intervention or non-intervention trolley cart problem style is never neutral, to put it that way. And it would also make it anarchist if you didn't expect, much less demand, anything in return, and to avoid further imposing yourself on that person's life beyond that impulsive intervention if they do not wish your help.

Also, seemingly unrelated detour, the picture features a soldier. In this context I'm reminded of two things:

In the military context the term mutual aid is used to refer to weapons and services given to allies, and Zizek recently said that communism he imagines is the wartime economy and international collaboration but geared towards the production of everything (including sharing important information, data, "intellectual property"), mentioned in the context of producing the necessary supplies to deal with Covid pandemic.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and authority always claims to do things for your own good or for the greater good. Some missionaries think they're helping people by saving souls, the white man's burden etc. Our whole modern civilization and its reliance on the industrialization of mass over-production/consumption/waste, technology and automation is predicated to be for the greater benefit, convenience, pleasure, liberty, and health of all.

"the things that might be most good for us have negative aspects, and even the things that will quickly kill us, can serve our needs in some way"