People are really confused about Solidarity. Before anything, solidarity means love. It means humanity. It means engaging in an intellectual, emotional, physical and ideological pledge to end oppressions, violences, and terrorism towards marginalised communities, whether they be the Kurds, Indigenous and Aboriginal people, People of colour (PoC), the Syrian people, Palestinians, trans women, refugees, disabled people, etc. Solidarity means love, because it means caring so much about the plight and the cause of others, people who you may have never met, and may never meet, but whose oppressions moves you to your core and causes such emotional pain, such outrage and such determination in you that you are moved towards implementing individual and societal change, no matter how difficult the process.
Solidarity means recognizing that when others are oppressed our collective capacity as humanity is reduced to live in a violence and oppression free society where terms like equality and freedom are concrete concepts and daily realities of ALL, not just some privileged groups and peoples.
Solidarity means humanity. It means privileged people recognizing that they do not experience the oppressions that particular groups of people experience daily; that oppressions occur across various identity markers including due to race, class, religion, culture, gender, sexual orientation and recognizing that sometimes for some groups all of these factors intertwine to cause intersecting layers of oppression for them; and just because you are not individually affected by these intersecting layers does not mean that others don’t and that their experiences and voices are not legitimate.
Solidarity means that irrespective of whatever the cause and the oppressed people that you choose to support, you recognize that the oppressions experienced by marginalised people is as a result of interconnected and systematic impacts of historical, colonial, imperial, White supremacist, capitalist, heteropatriarchal system. It means realizing that the violences experienced by colonised people and marginalised people is interconnected. That you cannot stand in solidarity with queer people but be transphobic. That you cannot claim to be an environmentalist and be a misogynist or fail to address oppressions experienced by disabled people. This is failure in solidarity in you.
Above all, solidarity means hard work. It means unlearning and learning; it means listening a lot, knowing when not to speak, and engaging in a lot of active and self directed learning. It means using google and any other educational tools available to you to start the process of activism and solidarity. Don’t be confused, real and effective solidarity is not easy. If it is easy to you then you are not doing it right because it means there are aspects of oppressions that you have yet to learn about. Solidarity means using your privileges to listen and give/use/create platforms to amplify the voices of the activists and people affected by particular types of oppressions. This means letting Kurds take the lead in discussing their oppressions and issues. It means letting Palestinians speak about their situation. It means letting women talk about their experiences of misogyny; it means letting black people and PoC talk about racism and what needs to be done to end these oppressions. It means never ever dismissing, silencing, and speaking over the activists affected by particular oppressions.
and Real and effective solidarity requires hard work and self criticism, and commitment to your own and other’s- who are similarly privileged – progress because you recognize that by developing yourself and learning about other’s oppressions, and what you can do to help end these oppressions, you help to create great and real and effective change in the world.
and real and effective solidarity means that when I stand in genuine, informed, educated and active solidarity with a particular group of people I learn, I develop, I grow, and my humanity is increased. Nothing is taken away from me, but I gain perspective, increase my humanity and learn to demonstrate an active and fierce loyalty to concepts of justice, equality and freedom in return. Because of this, no matter how difficult it may be, effective and informed solidarity is a necessary aspect of changing the world; whether you are an anarchist, feminist, environmentalist, socialist, etc. Solidarity that is not informed, that does not listen, that silences, and speaks over oppressed people is not solidarity. This is not solidarity, this is increasing and adding to the oppression of marginalised groups in the guise of solidarity.
People are really confused about what Solidarity means. Don’t be confused. Solidarity should increase our collective humanity. If it is not the explicit use of checking privileges, and the use of our specific privileges and the associated platforms that we have access to to increase the voices of the oppressed group, to end their dehumanisation, and to end their oppression then it is not solidarity.
So what kind of a solidarity are you practicing? engage in the self reflection, in the hard work necessary so that in your ignorance and misinformed state you do not increase the oppressions imposed on already marginalised people. Solidarity is hard work. Do the work until you know what Solidarity really means and involves.