Solidarity – in my mind the word forms in smoke letters, circling up from the cigar of a Cuban revolutionary in the 1960s. It is also our ticket to the 2060s, if we want to make it there in one piece. Let’s pick apart this solidarity concept for a second.
The omniscient Internet says solidarity means: ‘the fellowship that arises from common responsibilities and interests’. It’s clear that as a global community, we have a few of those. Our common responsibility is to protect our commons – air, ocean, water, climate, soil, rights of humans and other forms of life. Our interest is that the planet we belong to still wants us on it.
But the more fellowship we need, the more divided we seem to become. The extreme right is finding fertile ground. Racism costs tears, frustration and lives. Money fools us into believing that those who have it deserve more than those who don’t. We seem absorbed by our own toxic fabrications, while our shared responsibilities and interests lie await.
Are we so afraid to lose, that we got lost?
I see a softer path, starting with a subtle shift. Softness of the revolutionary type. What would happen if you, inside yourself, are able to consistently choose openness, trust and kindheartedness? If you would weigh fellowship in your daily decision making? Whenever I manage to do that, I notice it spreads. People start doing it back.
If we would be able to bolster (through our politics, economic, culture) such a shift towards solidarity, I believe that some of the systems that we experience as hard as stone, would start to unravel. Because they feed purely off of competition, fear and strife.
Put simply, an attitude of strife and competition will shove us along on our immature path of destruction and exploitation, until there is little left to compete for. An attitude of solidarity would open new mental windows, behind which may lie a more realistic path. It might help us uncover basic truths – that separation is an illusion, that a life well lived honors that of others, and that we’re all in this together.
P.S. Maya Angelou said it so well:
From “A Brave and Startling Truth”
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear
When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it
This blog originally appeared on AMID's website, where Lynn gave a keynote speech to celebrate their 20th birthday.