Solidarity (U.S.)

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Solidarity
Founded 1986
Headquarters 7012 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48210
Ideology Revolutionary Socialism
Political position Left-wing
Colors Red
Website
http://www.solidarity-us.org/

Solidarity is a revolutionary socialist organization in the United States, associated with the journal Against the Current. Solidarity is an organizational descendant of International Socialists, a Trotskyist organization based on the proposition that the Soviet Union was not a "degenerate workers' state" (as in orthodox Trotskyism) but rather "bureaucratic collectivism", a new and especially repressive class society.[1]

Solidarity describes itself as "a democratic, revolutionary socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization."[2] It comes out of the Trotskyist tradition but has departed from many aspects of traditional Leninism and Trotskyism. It is more loosely organized than most "democratic centralist" groups, and it does not see itself as the vanguard of the working class or the nucleus of a vanguard. It was formed in 1986 from a fusion of the International Socialists, Workers' Power and Socialist Unity. The former two groups had recently been reunited in a single organization, while the last was a fragment of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). Solidarity's name was originally in part an homage to the Polish Solidarność — Solidarność had been an independent labor union which in Solidarity's view had challenged the Soviet Union from the left. As of the 2011 convention, Solidarity is a sympathizing organization of the Fourth International. [3]

History[edit]

From the beginning, Solidarity was an avowedly pluralist organization that included several currents of Trotskyism, socialist-feminists, and veterans of New Left groups. Solidarity sought to "regroup" with others to create a large revolutionary socialist and feminist organization. They hoped to initiate a broad regroupment that would include, for example, some of the fragments of the disintegrating New Communist Movement and many more socialist-feminists and New Left veterans. Discussions of regroupment and "Left Refoundation" have been initiated between Solidarity and other left groups of varying tendencies from the 80s to the present, but these have not yet led to broader fusions.

Smaller-scale regroupments have occurred, however. During the 1990s, two organizations fused with Solidarity—the Fourth Internationalist Tendency (a group expelled from the SWP) and Activists for Independent Socialist Politics (a Socialist Action split that had previously worked in Committees of Correspondence). In 2002, members of the Trotskyist League joined Solidarity.

Strategy[edit]

Solidarity members work in various unions for shop-floor militancy and rank-and-file democracy, and some have played key roles in maintaining and providing staff for Labor Notes magazine and Teamsters for a Democratic Union. Solidarity members have worked in many other mass movements in the US, including the anti-Apartheid, reproductive rights, LGBTQ, Central American solidarity, Free Mumia, anti-war, and Global Justice movements, as well as the Green Party and the Labor Party. Since the inception of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy in other cities in the Fall of 2011, Solidarity members have been deeply involved. Solidarity prides itself on a "non-sectarian" approach to building these movements, and traditionally has prioritized the movements over building itself: "Too often socialist groups have seen the development of a movement not for what it is and can become, but only what it might offer in the way of recruits. We reject this conception and affirm the need for an effective class movement in and for itself, which requires new forms of action, thinking and dialogue rather than repeating the known formulas." -- Regroupment & Refoundation of a U.S. Left, [4] Solidarity publishes a bi-monthly left journal, Against the Current,[5] which is produced by an editorial board including Solidarity members and independent socialists.

In 2000, Solidarity endorsed both the Green Party's Ralph Nader and Socialist Party USA's David McReynolds for President (Solidarity permits joint membership in the Socialist Party USA). In August 2004 Solidarity again endorsed the candidacy of Ralph Nader. In 2008 Solidarity endorsed Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party.[6] In the 2010 midterm elections, Dan La Botz, a member of Solidarity, ran for a seat in the United States Senate under the banner of the Ohio Socialist Party[7][unreliable source?] and received 26,454 votes, or 0.69% of the total vote.[8]

While continuing to assert the importance of building an independent alternative to the Democratic Party, Solidarity members recognized Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign as an opportunity to engage with voters and union members who were invested in Sanders' idea of "political revolution"[9] against the billionaires and party establishment. Their 2015 convention document approved by Solidarity members, "On Bernie Sanders' Campaign," reads:

"We should seize this potential organizing opportunity, reaching out to people excited by the Sanders campaign with the message, 'Let’s not waste this moment where folks are coming together around an anti-corporate, anti-austerity program by ending with the whimper of voting for Clinton and calling it a day. Let’s build up our power.' The tragedy would not be so much people pulling the lever for Clinton, but dissipating and disbanding this mass outcry, having nothing to show for our bottom-up efforts."[10]

While orienting toward the grassroots campaign to secure the Democratic Party nomination for Bernie Sanders, Solidarity maintained its longterm support for the Green Party in the general election in an "open letter" to Sanders' supporters: "As supporters of independent politics, we urge you to check out the Green Party presidential campaign of Jill Stein. When Bernie Sanders’ campaign is over and done, Jill Stein and the Greens will still be there, running on a program for a Green New Deal that puts people and our planet ahead of profit."[11]

Basis of Political Agreement (2013)[edit]

Solidarity members adopted this "Basis of Political Agreement" by majority vote during their 2013 convention:[12]

  1. We oppose the capitalist system and its destructive impact on humanity and the planet.
  2. Another world is possible, socialism: a system that is democratic, international, and ecologically sustainable.
  3. Our strategic goal is revolution‒led by the working class and oppressed‒that shatters the foundations of patriarchy, white supremacy, settler-colonialism, and capitalist rule.
  4. In the labor and social movements, we call for political independence and a break from the two-party system.
  5. We see organized labor as a central part of the working class movement; within it we organize for greater solidarity, internationalism, democracy, and militancy.
  6. We fight against all forms of racism and support the right of self-determination against national/racial oppression.
  7. We are a feminist organization that fights for the liberation of all women.
  8. We fight against homophobia, heterosexism, and the compulsory gender binary and support sexual and gender self-determination for all people.
  9. We are internationalists: we oppose the imperialist domination of the world by the United States and other rich countries.
  10. United by these principles, we are committed to building an organization of socialist activists and a broader anti-capitalist movement within the borders of the United States.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lichtenstein, Nelson (2003). Labor's war at home: The CIO in World War II (pdf) (second ed.). Philadelphia PA: Temple University Press. p. xxiii (footnote 2). ISBN 1-59213-196-4. 
  2. ^ Solidarity | A democratic, revolutionary socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization official Web site.
  3. ^ [1] Web site.
  4. ^ [2] Web site.
  5. ^ Against the Current Web site.
  6. ^ "A Campaign with Issues", Against the Current editorial, July/August 2008 (accessed 24 July 2008).
  7. ^ "Dan La Botz, Cincinnati School Teacher, Socialist Party Candidate for U.S. Senate". CincinnatiBeacon.com. February 18, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.  This is a news release published on a community forum.[unreliable source?]
  8. ^ U.S. Senator: November 2, 2010, Amended Official Results, http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/Research/electResultsMain/2010results/20101102senator.aspx
  9. ^ "How Bernie Sanders’s ‘political revolution’ would change the nation". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  10. ^ "On Bernie Sanders' Campaign". Against the Current. Solidarity. November–December 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  11. ^ "An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders Supporters from Solidarity, a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization". Solidarity. September 10, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Basis of Political Agreement". Solidarity. 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 

External links[edit]