“Solidarity” is a word that gets a lot of attention these days, but what does it actually mean? This wisdom from several Seattle anarchists of color gives concrete examples of how to support our comrades.
How often do you see yet another story about the current administration doing something devastating? If we are not personally the targets of bans, threats, and loss of protection, we know someone who is. It is unfortunate that much of what we see now was set in motion long before Trump. It has been communities and individuals affected the most – Black/African, Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, Middle Eastern, Asian, Disabled, Womxn, Queer, Trans, Nonbinary, Poor/Working Class, Unsheltered, Anarchist, etc. people, who have been calling from the margins to tell everyone that this has been happening and has been harming us for centuries. Now is the time for all to heed that call.
This work may seem intimidating at first, and it is understandable: we are all up against real probability of harm and death to many individuals and communities that have so much historical pain and trauma, as well as current fears and exponentially heightened present danger. Those who don’t experience these oppressions also may worry about showing up imperfectly, but please know that it is far better to try and fail and learn and try again than to give up before you even begin. This work is the most important, and truly the simplest. This work is acting with compassion and in solidarity, and not just in words. Words matter, but actions solidify the words and produce the material assistance that actually promotes survival. And make no mistake: lives are on the line.
What does solidarity actually look like?
- Make sure your friends and family make it home safely–especially if they’re at risk of hate crimes or if they’re not straight, cisgender men. A quick text doesn’t cost much and means a lot. Walk people to their cars or bus stops, too.
- Share food with your people. Cook for everyone if you have the time/money/energy. If you go out to eat with someone on a tighter budget than you, pay for their meal. Bring snacks and water most places, and offer them to folks when they mention they haven’t eaten or are thirsty. Bring a meal to a chronically ill friend when food is hard for them to get/make. If you don’t have any chronically ill friends, check out Seattle’s abled-disabled support group!
- Do the dishes. Or the laundry, or the sweeping, or the cat litter. Sometimes we get overwhelmed and daily chores can feel like too much–solidarity can literally mean doing housework so our friends can spend their energy doing things we can’t help them with. Help set up before, and clean up after rad events so that the people who did the organizing can network and answer questions.
- Offer people rides if you have a car. Schedule things in places that are easy to get to by public transit, at times when transit is running. Notice who has to commute the longest and reconsider locations, taking disability into account.
- Offer your couch or spare room to a friend who has insecure housing, who is fighting with a housemate, or whose home address was just leaked to neonazis (see: doxxing). If you don’t know folks struggling with housing, some people use couch surfing to make it between temporary homes without having to sleep on the street. Sign up and help out a new friend!
Read the full article here.