Ron Sakolsky interrogates the lazy use of the term Mutual Aid in this essay.
Following up on his essay "Mutual Acquiescence" in issue #1 of <a href="http://modernslavery.calpress.org">Modern Slavery</a> Ron has written an engaging essay that asks this central question.
I did not create the term mutual acquiescence as part of a doom and gloom scenario of despair in which misery rules our lives, but as a way of understanding why and how people become immersed in the dead end of believing that misery is the only reality. The latter "realistic" state of mind is what surrealists call miserabilism. I see the relevance of the concept of mutual acquiescence here as bringing the historical connection between surrealism and anarchy into the present moment. For my part, the operative idea was that if we could understand the contemporary phenomenon of mutual acquiescence, we could begin to figure out how to transform its socially ingrained relationships of subservience into vibrant ones of mutual aid. I had no illusions that accomplishing such a task would be an easy one in practice, but assumed that the crossroads of mutual acquiescence and mutual aid would offer us a place to start in that journey toward anarchy.
Per usual, Sakolsky titles come with excellent surrealist art.