Thinking through solidarity organizing, with an eye to how we can better live the change, as well as how we often slip in to colonial patterns when working together across distance and difference.
Apr 23, 2011
solidarity across sameness or difference?
Lately I've been thinking about how international solidarity draws on both models of Christian and Labor solidarity. To super simplify it, it seems to me that Christian solidarity often talks about connection across difference, whereas labor solidarity emphasizes sameness, as do some other forms solidarity, like youth or black solidarity.
So how then do groups like School of the Americas Watch negotiate these different traditions? Thinking of our different takes on solidarity in this way sheds new light for me on the thinking I published in this article.
No quick answers yet, but for the record, my experience with folks who do Christian solidarity (eg CPT) is that it is not just about solidarity with Christians, and can be decidedly more radical than CSW. I'm looking forward to reading Jon Sobrino's work on Christian solidarity. All the more so now that the Vatican has officially said they don't like it!
International solidarity is “not an act of charity but an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives.” - Samora Machel
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In general, there seems to be a delicate balance, living in the tension between sameness and difference. Recognizing our basic sameness as human creatures, and particular kinds of sameness in experience, formation, perspective, helps us to access a real understanding of shared humanity. But we can't allow the sameness to blind us to real, significant, and often enriching differences, which need to be honored as well. Others are not only valuable and worthy of my solidarity, friendship, and interest insofar as they are like me. They are also valuable in their particularity and in their otherness itself, the things that make them different.
I'll be interested to see how you articulate some of your new thinking, Sara!
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