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

Katya Lachowicz, Jim Donaghey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-447
Number of pages21
JournalCapital & Class
Issue number3
Early online date21 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History
  • Scrub Hub
  • social factory
  • Covid-19
  • mutual aid
  • United Kingdom
  • neoliberalism
  • co-optation
  • anarchism
  • suppression
  • volunteerism
  • voluntarism
  • autonomism
  • infrastructures of resistance


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