by
on October 25, 2017 on 10/25/17

Part 1: What is solidarity anyways?

I have been reflecting a lot on solidarity lately. What it means, what it looks like, what it does and doesn’t do. This is coming from a place of hopelessness, a place of privilege, of confusion, and a deep sense of sorrow at the injustices of the world, which it feels like I am drowning in as of late. Seeking solace in those wiser and more well read than I, I thought back to Chandra Mohanty’s book “Feminism Without Borders” and her discourse around solidarity. She writes:

“I define solidarity in terms of mutuality, accountability, and the recognition of common interests as the basis for relationships among diverse communities. Rather than assuming an enforced commonality of oppression, the practice of solidarity foregrounds communities of people who have chosen to work and fight together. Diversity and difference are central values here to be acknowledged and respected, not erased in the building of alliances. It is the praxis-oriented, active political struggle embodied in this notion of solidarity that is important to my thinking…”

And still, I flounder. What does it mean to choose to work together and what constitutes fighting? How does solidarity work across difference; on different scales, trans-national, cross-cultural? Where is my role? I, in knowing and unknowing ways contribute to systems that perpetuate the injustices I find so harrowing. I own things made of silver, I am traveling around the world accumulating what some may think of as a “carbon debt,” I live in a country that actively engages in support of oppressive forces, I spend money in systems that are built on the exploitation of explicitly working women of color. And yet while I digress into some existential pit of in-action, communities and people continue the struggle.

Every day across the world people mobilize and resist against injustice. People fight for water, for the right to love who they wish, to have a better future for their kids, to save their culture and way of life, for access to resources, against white supremacy and patriarchy, for dignity, for their lives. Against visible and invisible structures of power and money that were never meant to include them or accommodate them or listen to them or respect them. So for right now, I am going to start here. The most revolutionary and counter-hegemonic of it all, the self-liberation of the oppressed.

The following two blogs will highlight events/communities that we have learned about thus far in Morocco in the hopes that spreading awareness can be a first step in figuring out what solidarity looks like. It is in these communities that I, and hopefully you too, find hope.