Solidarity means actively supporting those who share some of our ambitions, or are striving for basic standards of freedom and equality. Of all the basic principles of anarchism it is the most challenging, as it requires action on all our parts. Unifying our interests demands that we understand the needs of others and that we actively seek to redress imbalances between groups. There is no point expressing solidarity with a group if we are still involved in actions or purchases which aid in their repression, or we continue to promote types of behaviour that contribute to the problem. It also requires awareness of how we in the west live much more privileged lifestyles and take many choices for granted.
It is not just about one-to-one relationships, but about the society we all individually help to shape and about how that society relates to others. In terms of green anarchism it is a powerful tenet, if often unacknowledged, which underpins much of our campaigns and political actions.
Common interest is only the starting point of what solidarity means. Anarchism means demonstrating active solidarity with other groups seeking equality, even though they may have different interests from ours.
Thus it is not enough for men to acknowledge the need of female liberation, but to actively support it and challenge their own prejudices. Likewise, in situations where a group is fighting for self-determination we should generally support their efforts and calls for help, even if there is no apparent link between us and them.
Solidarity helps build the wider networks which keep society strong, healthy and self-examination. Expressing it contributes to letting trust develop and can prevent descent into more selfish groupings.
Unfortunately, the logical conclusions of solidarity are often over-looked in favour of focusing on particular issues or put to one side as being impractical or too difficult. Solidarity is supporting others challenge the inequalities and abuses of power in our society, even though they might not be our struggles or through recognizing our own roles in perpetuating them. It also stops groups remaining single-issue in nature. In it is a recognition that only by us all standing together that we remain strong, even if there are some disagreements.
However, there are problems where the struggle of an oppressed group do not entirely align with our own positions. For example what does it mean to support workers in an arms factory? With such discussions we can explore the nature of green anarchism, and the healthy divergence of opinions in it.
Like much that makes up anarchism, we need to work at solidarity and continually question our concepts of our relationship with the world.