Solidarity networks working together

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Uncle Aunty
Joined: 18-09-11
Sep 27 2011 20:33
Solidarity networks working together

It's exciting to think of the potential of solidarity networks working together, fight bosses and landlord from multiple cities. I'm eager to see how we begin to do so. I think these questions will best answered through our actual organizing and practice, but would like to hear peoples initial ideas.

- what are the pros of us working together in the future?
- what are the possible cons?
- what would effectively working together look like?
- what would be some barriers to working effectively together?

SeaSol has organized a handful of actions in support of fights in other cities - and in one at least instance have played a fairly important role. Overall I think it is a great development, and personally hope we do more so in the future. Winning specific fights is great - and so is the chance to bring new people in through every action and fight. We seem to have a general recognition that mobilizing for fights in other cities is a great way to keep our groups energy and momentum going. If we have a slow couple of weeks, it's always handy to know a few fights in other cities we can mobilize for. It can give new folks a chance to plan the actions, and it just keeps us sharp as a group to stay active.

The flipside to this is there is of course no substitute for winning fights in your own town and building up a solid base of local organizers. There is strength in us working together, but our individual groups should be able to hold their own as well.

Please share your thoughts!

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Joined: 14-03-06
Sep 28 2011 01:23

random thoughts:

- Pros: solidarity. the whole point! i know in the SolFed Office Angels conflict, the threatened support of the IWA across Europe was decisive. SolNets can presumably exercise similar mutual aid.

- Possible con: less active SolNets could end up being de facto activist groups doing solidarity for others, rather than developing conflicts of their own. this may reproduce all the familiar problems with activism (specialists acting on behalf of others etc).

- What would it look like? A call-out, answered? libcom and this forum specifically could serve as a hub for this. each SolNet would only need one person delegated to keep an eye for solidarity appeals.

- barriers: lack of targets (for local capitalists); busyness with local struggles inhibiting solidarity actions; communication problems

Joined: 10-03-09
Oct 1 2011 20:07

Obviously we're already used to one group requesting one-off actions from groups in other cities. But yeah, in some cases we should go beyond this and actually have fights taken on jointly by groups in multiple cities.

Based on some (more or less traumatic) experience I've had with running joint campaigns between multiple groups, I'd say the main problems to watch out for will be friction and dysfunction due to lack of clarity between the different groups about how decisions are going to be made, whether and how we'll communicate with the boss or landlord, what exactly are the facts of the conflict, on what conditions will we end the fight, etc.

To minimize the trouble, here's what I'd propose:

- One solnet should initiate the conflict, decide and deliver the demands, and map out a general strategy for the fight (including on what conditions the fight might be ended), BEFORE asking other solnets to commit to it. Then the initiating group should present a clear request to other solnets that they join the fight on those terms, take it or leave it.

- If the other solnets don't like those terms, aren't convinced the fight is winnable, or aren't sure they can spare the capacity, they should politely decline, maybe offer to do a one-off action here and there instead, and there should be no hard feelings.

- If they accept, then they're in it til the end, and when it's won it's their victory too.

- In the course of a joint fight, all communications with the enemy should be left/referred to the initiating solnet.

- Each solnet should carry out actions more or less autonomously, without trying to micro-manage each other.

Anyway however we end up doing it, the key is having maximum clarity among all parties about what the groups expect from each other. Without such clarity we'll end up with confusion, dysfunction and resentment.