No Regulation of Mutual Aid

No Regulation of Mutual Aid

January 25th, 2022

Yesterday the City of Asheville's new spokesperson (who just arrived from Fox News - no joke) did damage control in response to rumors that Asheville will seek to limit food distribution in parks as part of its escalating war on the homeless. But movement journalists at The Asheville Free Press have obtained a copy of the secret ordinance, proving that the rumors are true.

No doubt, the City will attempt to walk this back a little, retool some of the more egregious aspects, and push it through when the commotion dies down. They'll talk a lot about collaboration and community input, despite seeking neither. What's important to know is that NO version of a public food ordinance should ever be acceptable.

Any attempt by government to regulate sharing food and care with your neighbors is a step away from solidarity and mutual aid, a step towards surveillance and control. We've seen how this city uses seemingly innocuous regulation to exert power over our community. In 2018 the City attempted to regulate what events we could host at our co-op using zoning rules. And even a "free" permit entangles organic activity in the City's power: giving politicians ongoing leverage over how we relate to our neighbors, creating individual liability and exposure to punitive fees, alerting police to the activities of marginalized community members, and establishing barriers for those who cannot navigate government bureaucracy due to historic and ongoing disenfranchisement.