WHAT IS SOLIDARITY AND WHERE DID IT COME FROM?
Solidarity is an independent socialist organization dedicated to forming a broad regrouping of the U.S. left. We include activists from many long-standing socialist traditions, as well as younger members from newer movements. We do not attempt to put forward a monolithic platform which we all have adapted to; rather, we rely on the richness of our traditions and the creativity and newer experiences of our younger members to foster and develop a forward-looking socialist thought.
Solidarity was founded in 1986 by revolutionary socialists who stand for "socialism from below," the self-organization of the working class and oppressed peoples. We are feminist, anti-racist, and democratic. Within our group, we are trying to foster cultural diversity, flexible practice, and straight-forward socialist politics.
We are activists in many grassroots movements. We are members of unions, where we oppose corporations as well as bureaucratic "business unionism." We are involved in solidarity with the people of Central and South America, Indonesia, Iraq, the Balkans, Palestine, and many other countries, where we fight against U.S. aggression and imperialism. We work for reproductive rights and other feminist demands. We fight for an ecologically balanced society. We support the struggles of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists. We include activists of color and we work in solidarity with people of color organized independently fighting for dignity and power and self determination.
In these movements, we try to build broad coalitions, organize the unorganized, activate the apathetic, develop ties between movements and strengthen the rank-and-file democracy.
We argue against participation in the Democratic Party, which has been the graveyard of radical movements, and promote the idea of a new, independent political party.
We see Solidarity as a contribution to a new U.S. left, one neither sectarian nor reformist. We advocate a new, creative politics with an attitude of openness and collaboration.
Solidarity's politics are summarized below in our 12 Points of Agreement (also found at the back of the Founding Statement).
BASIS OF POLITICAL AGREEMENT
(as amended in 2004)
- Capitalism is an outmoded social system now deep in crisis. This crisis is producing a declining standard of living and an escalating drive toward war. This crisis is the unavoidable outcome of capital's most basic drives. Humanity will only be freed from the barbarism of war, environmental devastation, poverty, unemployment and declining living standards for millions when capitalism has been displaced by a rational, planned, democratic, and participatory economic system: socialism.
- Socialism is the political and economic rule of the working class, in which the means of production are under the social ownership of the working class, which democratically plans economic life. The working class organizes its political and economic rule through councils of workers and popular representatives, freely chosen among a variety of organized working class and popular parties.
- Socialism can only be achieved by a revolutionary mass political movement of the working class which ends the political rule of the capitalist class and private ownership of the means of production.
- The aim of this organization is to build a revolutionary socialist movement in the working class and allied sectors of the oppressed. Membership is open to all who share our principles and work toward achieving them.
- The capitalist parties, especially the Republican and Democratic parties, are fundamentally anti-working class, racist and sexist. We oppose any form of participation in or support for these parties. We call for the working class and its allies to form a new, independent political party that fights for their needs.
- The capitalist crisis has set in motion an employers' offensive that necessitates national and international labor solidarity as well as organizing the unorganized. The labor bureaucracy for the most part acts as a brake on labor action. We therefore support all efforts to transform the unions into militant vehicles, including rank and file groupings within the unions as well as coalitions against concessions and strike support committees.
- Racial and national oppression divide the working class and create poverty and misery for millions. We join in the fight against racism, such as the struggle for affirmative action, and support the efforts of oppressed national minorities to organize independently for their liberation.
- We fight for women's liberation, and for women's equality today. The oppression of women within the family and in society divides the working class, keeps women's wages low and burdens women unequally in the task of social reproduction.
- We are supporters of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) liberation, of their struggles for civil rights and against all forms of bigotry. We support, as with all oppressed groups, the efforts of LGBTQ people to organize independently for their liberation.
- We are internationalists. We 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. Whatever may be our differing theoretical analyses of any particular struggle, we are unconditional defenders of movements for genuine trade unionism and workers' democracy
- We actively oppose the growing drive towards war, whether that be in the form of intervention in Central America, the Middle East or elsewhere, or the buildup of the U.S. war machine. We fight for unilateral disarmament in the U.S. and, at the same time, we extend our solidarity to the independent peace movements of Eastern Europe.
- Toward these ends we are committed to building an effective revolutionary socialist organization in the U.S. capable of acting together without presenting a monolithic face to the world or engaging in pretenses of being "the vanguard."