Founded by self-identified “revolutionary socialists” in 1986 to combat “the ascendancy of Reaganism,” Solidarity today seeks, by means of “activist work,” to “build a revolutionary socialist movement in the working class and allied sectors of the oppressed.” Foremost among the oppressed, in Solidarity’s estimation, are nonwhites who suffer the sting of the ubiquitous racism that creates “poverty and misery for millions” of Americans. To counteract such institutionalized bigotry, Solidarity supports “the struggle for affirmative action” and other compensatory measures designed to help “people of color” to “figh[t] for dignity and power and self determination.”
Solidarity identifies women as a second “oppressed” demographic who, as a result of conservative misogyny, not only are paid inordinately low wages for their labor, but also must ward off constant attempts to deprive them of their “reproductive rights.” To address these alleged problems, Solidarity fights for what it terms “women’s liberation” and “women’s equality.” Beginning in the early 1990s, Solidarity was part of the “clinic defense” movement that “pushed back violent attacks against women and healthcare workers, and mobilized with others against the physical blockades of reproductive health clinics.” Today the organization supports “equal-pay” legislation giving female plaintiffs greater latitude to seek legal restitution for alleged workplace discrimination.
Solidarity also supports “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) liberation,” on behalf of this third broad category of the “oppressed.” Specifically, the organization condemns “the existing heterosexual family system” that “forces children into a rigid, heterosexual mold, and oppressive, limited definitions of masculinity, femininity and sexuality.” Further, says Solidarity, homosexual partnerships should be granted “equal recognition and support with married and unmarried heterosexual couples”; lesbians and gay men should have “full rights to custody of their children”; and “the unjustified bias in adoption and foster placement toward ‘traditional’ or ‘normal’ households must be eliminated.”
By Solidarity’s reckoning, the aforementioned demographic groups are among the many inevitable victims of capitalism, “an outmoded social system now deep in crisis.” “Humanity will only be freed from the barbarism of war, environmental devastation, poverty, unemployment and declining living standards for millions,” Solidarity says, “when capitalism has been displaced by a rational, planned, democratic, and participatory economic system: socialism.”
Solidarity rejects both the Republican and Democratic parties as “capitalist” entities that are “fundamentally anti-working class, racist and sexist”—i.e., insufficiently radical. Consequently, the organization opposes “any form of participation in, or support for, these parties.” Rather, “we call for the working class and its allies to form a new, independent political party that fights for their needs.”
Not restricting itself solely to issues of domestic politics within the United States, Solidarity describes itself as an organization of “internationalists” who “support movements for self-determination and national liberation throughout the world and the struggles of workers for better living standards and social and political power everywhere.” Specifically, it “fight[s] against U.S. aggression and imperialism” in such far-flung places as Central and South America, Indonesia, Iraq, the Balkans, and “Palestine,” among others. In a related endeavor, Solidarity likewise opposes “the buildup of the U.S. war machine”—calling for “unilateral disarmament in the U.S.” while supporting “the independent peace movements of Eastern Europe.”
To promote its values and agendas, Solidarity encourages all of its members to: (a) contribute to the online discussion bulletins on the organization’s website, and (b) attend Solidarity’s retreats, workshops, and “Summer Schools” that focus on strategy, theoretical development, and “big picture” political and economic analysis. Some Solidarity members are organized in a caucus supporting the Fourth International, which has sections in numerous countries.
Solidarity also produces Against the Current, a bimonthly magazine featuring articles by members as well as revolutionary activists and intellectuals from social movements around the world. The publication’s most notable advisory editor is Noam Chomsky.
Solidarity has at least 22 local and regional branches in the United States, based in such major cities as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Baltimore, Boston, Ann Arbor, Detroit, New York, Cincinnati, Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Portland (Oregon), Philadelphia, and Providence.
The Solidarity website provides links to a number of ideologically aligned organizations, including the AFL-CIO, American Jews for a Just Peace, the Black Commentator, Change to Win, Electronic Intifada, the Green Party of the United States, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, MEChA, Military Families Speak Out, the National Organization for Women, United for Peace & Justice, U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, and Veterans For Peace.
For additional information on Solidarity, click here.