Google spreadsheet listing them here:
Post in this thread about currently existing solidarity networks, their level of activity and what they have won. It would also be good to find out what solnets failed to get going or disbanded, and why.
Forest City Solidarity
Forest City Solidarity Network, London (Ontario). We've just started, so no cases as of yet. Started postering about two weeks ago and gotten some interest, but we've not decided on a case yet. Will update when we start our first case.
There's a solnet in Hamilton as well (Steel City Solidarity), which have had four cases I think (IIRC 3 of them successful, 1 still ongoing).
I know a couple of folks
I know a couple of folks trying to start one in Portland.
There are nominally existing
There are nominally existing Solidarity Networks in Boston and Chicago...however I can't find any info online about their activities. A few comrades I know were postering for the one in Boston but I don't know any more than that. I assume if there were any successful actions by these groups they would be publicized? Or is this a silly assumption? There is also a solidarity network in Modesto, CA that has won at least one fight. Info available here:
and there is a video on youtube of their first action.
we've have a solidarity
we've have a solidarity network in providence rhode island and are very good friends with the boston solidarity network and two new solidarity networks starting in connecticut.
we've been planning ours since 09 and started in fall 2010, but still have not had any media worthy successful cases. we've empowered a few people to take their lives into their own hands and actually talk to their landlords about stuff and get some repairs. and one family (though conscious radicals) fought off their very famous neglectful landlord and eventually got a house of their own, after saving money not paying this guy rent for a few months. we didn't hear this until after they had come to us. so that has been interesting.
mainly though we've had mostly cases that come to us word of mouth from our own social networks and not from posters. our posters don't really bring in calls and when they do it seems callers expect it to be some service agency. our biggest problem has been agitating to build the initial conference we get a lot of people mad enough to come to us, but not enough to go further and fight, even with some of the most winnable and ridiculous cases that you'd think someone would fight (like being owed 10,000 over years, they even have documentation!!!)
but alas that is where we are at. also other activist shit always just seems to get in the way of the organizing.
Regarding the solidarity
Regarding the solidarity network in Glasgow, Scotland. It looked liked a couple of fights might have developed through people we know, so we concentrated on them. Someone we know was not paid by the Abby Cleaning Comapny, but they have decided not to pursue it further beyond creating some bad publicity. Someone else we know is having problems with their landlady, but they are still a tenant with them, so that fight is on hold.
Therefore tomorrow we will be discussing exactly what to put on stickers, posters etc to develop fights from people we don't know. We will probably target areas where most of us live that have a lot of private landlords. We may target areas where there are a lot of students being employed by agencies, but there may be a problem of students on very short employment terms not wanting to fight over a few days lost pay.
sabotage wrote: mainly though
Maybe you should redesign your posters? The new Portland Solidarity Network got 5 calls after only having put up posters for 3 days...
I think a big reason why some solidarity networks haven't gotten off the ground very much (not saying that's true in your case) is "other activist shit always just seems to get in the way of the organizing" - e.g. in the case of the original PDXSol, the founders spent too much time on various other projects they were involved in...
There are two in NZ - The
There are two in NZ - The Wellington Solidarity Network and the Otautahi Solidarity Network. I think both have been a bit sluggish to get off the ground although I can't say exactly as I haven't been able to stay involved with the Wellington one. Also the people involved with the Otautahi solnet (in Christchurch) have obviously had their hands full with other stuff since the earthquake earlier this year.
Anyway that's another two to add to your list.
yeah. we tried a redesign
yeah. we tried a redesign cause our first looked very much like a typical activist poster, so we figured that might have been the problem. now our last one is probably too simple.
also i agree 100% too much activist bullshit getting in the way.
We've got a group here in
We've got a group here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There was one victory against a case of wage theft earlier in the year. Now we've got some good fliers focused on workplace issues. We didn't feel we had the experience with housing to take on those battles, but that's next.
I feel like it's a matter of getting the word out, and then taking on the right cases.
Quote: I feel like it's a
Exactly. I kind of think of it like fishing; throwing as many lines out as you can and just trying to be methodical, consistent and patient until you begin to get some bites.
Yeah, was surprised/pleased
Yeah, was surprised/pleased to see a PDXSol poster at the end of my street. One of the tabs had been taken too. Best wishes.
Quote: Also the people
Yep! But besides that, the Otautahi Solidarity Network has just been formalised with an excellent meeting of 25 people last week (and not just activists/anarchists too). Developing a poster, flyer, and logo as we speak. Website has gone live: http://otautahisolidaritynetwork.wordpress.com/
There were divergent ideas on what the network will do (ie is it a mutual aid network, fighting network, or both), but it was clear that everyone was inspired by the SeaSol intro movie and have an eye on direct action around achievable issues. Watch this space.
Yep well said. Not many people are used to collective action, so as a new groups, having a few wins behind it would be a good way of creating awareness, so that when peeps see a poster they actually act on it
This is more of an
This is more of an retrospective than just an entry in a list, so if you don't feel like reading the short summary is that the network in San Diego is struggling, but also going forward with hope and resolve.
San Diego Solidarity Network started up January, 2011. It took several meetings before we got on the same page, but our first action came quickly: one of the initial organizers had her deposit stolen by her landlord. The first demand delivery was very successful, we got 40 people to show up. But over few months our fight fell apart. This landlord is an very old woman who lives in the same house and rents out apartments there - she had no job, no other properties and not much social activities. We postered her neighborhood for a while, but very gradually gave up on it.
To find fights, we had been postering regularly (once or twice a week) at bus stops and in other busy pedestrian areas (San Diego is not a pedestrian town) with this poster: http://sdsolidarity.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/poster-bilingual.pdf. We've started receiving a good number of calls, especially after repeatedly postering the same areas few times. Unfortunately none of these calls had turning into fights. Most of these were landlord problems, workplace problems were very few. People would call us, kind of pissed or just curious (we didn't get much calls from people thinking we were lawyers). We would meet with them, gradually they would lose their resolve and move out instead of fighting. It's possible that our own lack of confidence (due to lack of experience) discouraged them from thinking we could win. Sometimes we were moving too slow (like waiting a week before scheduling next meeting) which we realized didn't work either. We're now more resolved to act quickly. San Diego is a pretty conservative city, which hinders us too. For example, we have an organizer from Seattle who tell us that in Seattle seeing a picket or a protest is nothing extraordinary - here it is much less common.
Seeing our lackluster success with landlord cases we redesigned our posters for employer problems only. After that we starting receiving far fewer calls. Fortunately we've still managed to find a case: currently we're organizing with an employee in a Mexican restaurant (who has had many hours of work stolen, but has a wait-and-see attitude).
Also, despite lack of success, over these months our group has solidified a lot - it feels like we're all on the same page and everyone understand what needs to be done. This is a challenge when new people come in (we're always getting some interest from activist, anarchist milieaus, friends of organizers and more rarely random people) but it hasn't been a real problem. Our weekly meetings have seen anywhere from 3 to 12 organizers show up with 6-8 on average. We were pretty demoralized last month or two because we had no cases and no success despite months of works, but over the last month our spirits picked up after few more organizers who happen to be Spanish speakers joined us and then starting to organize with two new contacts.
Today, we just did our second demand delivery. This was for tenant who has serious repair problems, including toilet being broken for months. This man contacted us after he already had refused to pay rent until the fixes are done. We only had two days between talking to him and the landlord threatening to kick him out (the landlord is a slumlord with cash for no receipt rent, no paperwork and empty intimidation). The demands delivery was organized in a very emergency way, but it worked out well and we got 15 people to show up. Unfortunately, the house manager, whom the landlord left in his place, managed to see our group coming around the corner. He quickly jumped into his car and bolted. We might have to post the demand or the tenant will hand them personally. The situation now looks like the owner might just disappear entirely - the landlord doesn't have an office and refuses to tell his tenants how to reach him in person. He seems pretty afraid, in part because his operation looks very illegal. The tenant wants to squat there without paying rent (at least until the repair are done) so we will continue to support him. Few member of our group with necessary skills are helping him install new locks to prevent the landlord from coming inside the apartments freely like he's used to. It's not a clear victory (certain doesn't feel like a loss), but it means the man will get free rent and feels good to support someone against threats and intimidation.
We'll continue postering and organizing and hopefully inspire workers and tenants to fight instead of quitting, moving out and accepting getting screwed over. Finally, we've made contacts with a local legalistic non-profit (union funded) worker rights center who are also supportive of direct action and are willing to send us people who could benefit from mutual aid more than from the court system. They have far larger profile and this would help us a lot in finding cases.
Google spreadsheet listing
Google spreadsheet listing all the groups:
Can someone explain to me
Can someone explain to me what the defining characteristics of a Solidarity Network is?
I ask because this sounds like the stuff that LCAP has been doing for years, albeit LCAP has since then moved away from a 'case work' model to a 'mutual support' model. (i.e. activists don't do case work, people bring their problem to the group and the group helps one another - activists no longer play as central a role as they did).
I find this whole thing pretty odd because people in London are getting excited about SeaSol when a, no offence, better example is on our doorstep. The only real difference seems to be that LCAP now exists almost entirely outside the 'activist ghetto' and the people who are getting excited about SeaSol exist, despite their protestations, almost entirely within it. And perhaps the other issue that LCAP almost never advertises what it does and what its successes are.
So I want to know what a solidarity network is so that I know if my suspicions are correct.
(Just for clarity, what I've read about SeaSol makes me think its great. I just don't see how its better than or significantly different to what LCAP does or did before it moved away from a case work model.)
Quote: (i.e. activists don't
That's what SolNets do as far as I know. The Sol Net won't do anything for anyone; the person brining a fight to the SolNet must participate in their own fight and also commit to at least be on the phone tree for future actions.
Can you expand on how LCAP operated and operates now? I have never heard of the organization, though it sounds like the various coalitions against poverty in Canada (and the idea for SeaSol as far as I know came from the Ontario CAP). So maybe it's really the same thing, but with different names?
Quote: And perhaps the other
It would be great if it did... I've often perused the LCAP and OCAP sites, but never been able to get a clear idea of how they went about things, in comparison to how SeaSol does things, although I certainly didn't comprehensively read their websites.
This is good, this is kind of what I thought was one of the main differences between LCAP and SeaSol, but I wasn't entirely sure. Sounds like they are more similar now. People in other CAPs have previously expressed frustration on these boards at effectively becoming social workers.
Looking at LCAP's website
Looking at LCAP's website now, it seems very different from a solidarity network of the SeaSol type. It calls itself a coalition of groups, one of which just deals with housing, one with welfare etc. The main activities seem to be aimed at government agencies and policies. These are major differences from the SeaSol model. In the past when LCAP were more "case work" oriented, I remember the website saying that the group was founded by advice workers, which seems to be a type of social worker (not 100% sure since it's not a term we use in the U.S.). Anyway, I'm not trying to put down LCAP, but from a superficial outside view it appears to be very different from a solidarity network, whose main function is to fight private capitalists to win specific demands via direct action campaigns.
On another note, I'm a bit confused about "activists not playing a central role". Once someone becomes an active and committed member of a social movement organization, are they not then an activist? Isn't that what the word means?
Atlanta Solidarity Network is very active. We have regular flyering and are now in our second fight since forming earlier this year. Our meetings are regularly 15-ish people and our last demand-letter delivery was ~30 people. This campaign has been met with large, diverse, participation.
ASOL is in our second fight.
We have a phone blast Saturday Sept.24 from 11:30am-1:30pm
Call each number and leave a message for the owner, JJ, to please pay the Olivia's Cafe workers the money they are owed.
STOP the phone calls at 1:30pm exactly! We want to make him feel that we are in control - that we can make shit uncomfortable, and then whenever we decide we can make it fine again.
There is flyering and other stuff going on during the phone blast.
Hi, I am an organizer with
Hi, I am an organizer with SeaSol. If the landlord owns the building you should be able to find a lot of his info in public records and other places online. This often leads to addresses connected with voting records. Have you folks had much success researching this or other targets online?
This is something we try to do a lot before we even vote to take on a fight in order to try to avoid the sort of situation you described where you couldn't beat the small time landlord because she wasn't really targetable. Would you like any help researching this dirtbag? We also have some pretty handy people who could probably share our research techniques with you via skype or something sometime if you were interested. Would also love to chat more sometime about getting people pumped up at first meetings and the pros of cons of landlord fights if you were interested.
Edit: meant to PM this to Ludd in San Diego, sorry
Should say that I'm not
Should say that I'm not involved with LCAP. My girlfriend is so that's how I know stuff about them but I don't really know enough to say what they do exactly. Sorry! And I don't think anyone involved with LCAP reads libcom so I doubt answers will be forthcoming.
Sorry whats wrong here? Being a coalition, having a focus, or dealing with the state as opposed to private capitalists? Should they restrict themselves to confronting private landlords and not fight over council housing?
Is the defining characteristic of SolNets that they focus exclusively on "private capitalists". They don't take up cases of benefit payments or social housing?
Err maybe. I mean yeah obviously understanding people active in 'social movements' whatever they are are activists. It is meaningful to talk about tea party activists, BNP activists, pro life activists, church activists etc. But I think that what I am referring to is kind of obvious. Its 'the left'. So for example, there was an attempt by some activists to set up a South East London CAP (SelCAP) and it was mainly activists - I never went to a meeting but I know who pretty much everyone involved was because they are all lefty activists, (i.e. they go to left events, are in other lefty groups, talk about lefty theory history and a major part of their self identity is their political identity etc.) I know nobody involved with the CAP in Islington because they are not lefty activists. They are obviously on the left and are politically active so they are of course activists, but they are not 'activists' in the same way that members of SolFed, AF, the commune, ALARM, the IWW (-the cleaners branch), Bloomsbury Fightback etc are.
Blarg did not say anything is
Blarg did not say anything is wrong with LCAP or that they should do anything differently.
I do not think SeaSol has a defined narrow focus on fighting private capitalists forever, they are just the most feasible targets with our current capacity.
knotwho wrote: We've got a
Was Heisenberg having trouble with his boss again ?
Colorado Solidarity Network -
Colorado Solidarity Network - based in Denver and some members from surrounding areas. No fights yet, but working on our first.
Quote: knotwho wrote:
I don't get it. Who's Heisenberg?
Quote: I don't get it. Who's
It's a reference to the AMC TV show 'Breaking Bad'. Heisenberg is the assumed name for a meth cooker working for a drug dealing don.
This is a spammy comment so
This is a spammy comment so skip it if you aren't interested. But its an email I got from LCAP saying 'forward widely'. So I'm sticking it up here to give people a bit of an idea what they are up to.
LCAP is making a difference!
Last week Hackney Housing Group secured housing for four families living in appalling conditions (so bad the council had placed a Prohibition Order on living there) when twenty members of the group visited Hackney Housing Office. On Wednesday the group returned to the office and all remaining tenants have been rehoused!
In the last month, Welfare Action Hackney have challenged benefit sanctions for two of their members and won!
Corporate Watch has this week exposed that Newham Council and Matalan among others benefited from people being made to work for their benefits – at far below minimum wage. (An issue first brought to their attention by LCAP groups).
There is loads happening in the next month. Get your diary out and come and lend your support...
This Friday 30th September: Atos shouldn't be allowed to recruit doctors to throw people off sickness benefits!
12 noon – 2pm, Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1
Wednesday 19th October: Demo at the Welfare to Work convention - no to forced labour!
1pm, Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1
This year’s Welfare to Work Conference will bring together politicians and private companies making millions from the welfare to work industry. The agenda reads like a who’s who of welfare abolition. Join us to make sure the conference doesn't go as smoothly as planned!
Thursday 20th October: Public Workshop, Thrown out of Sick - and Sent to Find a Job!
7pm, at the Forester Hall, part of the Tricycle theatre. Hosted by Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group. Free entry.
Saturday 22nd October: Film screening of “A day's Work, a day's pay”
10am-11am at the Anarchist Bookfair. Come and see this moving and revealing film about claimants being forced to work for their benefits in the US.
Saturday 22nd October: Workshop “Resisting Welfare Abolition”
3pm-4pm in room 3.26 at the Anarchist Bookfair.
Sunday 23rd October: A National Meeting of Defend Welfare network
11am-5pm, Somers Town Community Centre, 150 Ossulston Street, NW1 1EE (5 minutes walk from Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross stations) Wheelchair accessible
Join us for a meeting with like-minded people to share ideas and strategise to stop the government's attacks on welfare.
Saturday 29th October: London Coalition Against Poverty monthly meeting
Venue and time tbc.
You might also be interested in these actions and events organised by other groups...
Friday 7th October: The struggle for human rights for South Africa's shack dwellers
Sunday 9th October: Block the Bill
The government is just weeks away from destroying the NHS forever. This is an emergency. On Sunday October 9th, join UK Uncut on Westminster Bridge and help block the bill. Get to the middle of Westminster Bridge shortly before 1pm.
Last weekend in October: Fuel Poverty Day School – more details to be published soon.
Can you help out this month?
Come and support one of the demos or events above.
Volunteer on our stall at the Anarchist Bookfair on 22nd October. Email [email protected] if you can help out.
Email [email protected] if you can help out at the national Defend Welfare meeting on 23rd October.
Come along to one of our group meetings and get more involved.
Get involved in an LCAP group
Hackney Housing Group
The group meets every two weeks to give and receive support on housing problems and campaign for better housing. Contact 07931 698 438 to join our text list – exact meeting times and dates are sent out by text a few days before the meeting.
Welfare Action Hackney
Note new venue: Drop-in session every Thursday at 12-1pm, at Aspland & Marcon Community Hall, Amhurst Road (2 minutes walk from Hackney Central or Hackney Downs). Contact [email protected] or 07932 241737
Islington Poverty Action Group
Meeting about problems with the benefits system and anti poverty campaigns on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 12.30pm at HNG Old Fire Station, 85 Mayton St, N7 6QT. Contact [email protected] for more details.
Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
Meetings are 3pm Thursdays, Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Road, London, NW6 2JH. Contact 0770 993 2267 or [email protected]
Or take part in the
Boycott Workfare campaign
Get involved: discuss strategies for stopping work-for-your-benefits schemes in their tracks.
Next meeting 5th October at 7pm at 11 Goodwin Street, N4 3HQ. Contact [email protected] / http://www.boycottworkfare.org .
Maybe this should go up in
Maybe this should go up in announcements instead (or as well)?
georgestapleton wrote: Sorry
I'm not saying anything's wrong with LCAP. I'm just saying it looks like there are some differences between LCAP and SeaSol, which is the prototypical solnet, in terms of the way the groups spend most of their time. My purpose was just to counter the earlier suggestion that the two are for all practical purposes the same.
Yeah I get your meaning. Sorry, I was sort of being deliberately obtuse there. I just wish this (increasingly common?) usage of the word 'activist' would go away, along with all the other confusing redefinitions of terms, such as 'democracy', 'insurrection', 'work' etc etc. Lets let the words mean what they mean in the dictionary! Then we can communicate with others.
Solidarity in Aotearoa New
Solidarity in Aotearoa New Zealand existed for three months in 2010. Auckland members, who drove the proto-network "merged" with an unemployment group called Auckland Action Against Poverty. People from Auckland, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, New Plymouth, Napier and Palmerston North were involved . A solidarity group in Hamilton and the Wellington Solidarity Network also helped in their area.
The group organised pickets at a non-unionised fast food franchise around the country in support of a Unite union member who was fired under a new 90 day "fire at will" bill. Unite union blockaded their worker's store and got national tv and got the ball rolling. The threat of the action around the country (and the two stores in Sydney) was enough to win the reinstatement of the worker (who didn't want to go back), compensation and the removal of the 90 day clause in the company's nationalwide individual agreements.
The action was succesful because organisers were known for getting results (the threat had meaning), action was known to hurt the bottom line (a 2 hour picket at lunchtime on a Saturday is a huge percentage of their business), customers actually turned away, the company relies on a cool funky brand which would have been damaged by the action. In other words - we had real leverage (i.e. not symbolic.)
The core group was too small, key people already over committed elsewhere and a lack of campaigning skills meant the proto-group couldn't go anywhere else.
Sorry I don't have my own
Sorry I don't have my own profile on libcom or read the forums so am gatecrashing George's profile (as he drew my attention to this thread as we talked about the fact that LCAP doesn't advertise its successes on the Left in the same way as the IWW does for example). I'm part of the Hackney Housing Group which is part of LCAP (and an anarchist).
I don't really think there are any differences between the way LCAP organises or SeaSol.
Really the Hackney Housing Group for example is very grassroots. We organise through group meetings. We don't do direct-action-casework in any of the local groups now. If you come with a problem then the expectation is that you become a full participant in the group. We found that with the direct-action- casework model it wasn't that people didn't want to engage politically or support other people but that this individual way of working discouraged this. We stopped the direct-action-casework model nearly two years ago.
We would tend to deal with housing problems by taking direct action which normally involves going down to the housing office in a big group. The fact that we also use the law is probably more to do with the fact that when you are engaged with a housing/ workplace issue if it helps you to win to also use legal tools then you do it... I don't think having an abstract ideological objection to using the expertise of lawyers etc. is very useful provided doing this doesn't contradict your aims. And I know OCAP will use a legal framework as well as disruptive action if it is useful.
I don't see a difference politically between pressurising an employer through a self-organised group and taking direct action and pressurising the housing office or the job centre. The call for more social housing relates directly to people's immediate needs. It isn't a final aim - it is similar to workers within the Post Office for example calling for the Post Office to stay public - why? Because they know that they will have more control over their lives at work if it remains a public sector body. Equally people in the housing group know they fare better under a council rather than a private landlord - so we consider it a useful political demand to make. Frankly however we don't do very much "calling for more social housing" - perhaps it might be worth us doing more!! Certainly being in a group where most people's first language isn't English means that any media work is quite hard for us to do.
I know in the Hackney Housing Group which I am part of we don't advertise very much on the Left. This is something I would hope to change but has more to do with the fact that most people do not define themselves as being on the Left (despite the fact that the way in which we organise and take action could be called anarchist).
If this is something people are interested in I could post up a talk I have at a Cophenhagen anarchist conference about it on here. Would that be useful? It is a bit out of date but I think reading this thread that people's perceptions of LCAP are even more out of date! So might be worth me putting it up.
I'd like to read/see that
I'd like to read/see that talk so please post it up.
Just found this (but sabotage
Just found this (but sabotage did first) - Tyneside Solidarity - http://www.tynesidesolidarity.org.uk/
They are more openly anarchist (discussion about this happening on WSA email lists right now, thanks to syndicalist for finding this group)
888 wrote: Just found this
Actually, thanks to Sabotage for finding the group! I just stumbled across them reading
I bet he found it here: http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/new-anarchist-initiative-launches-tyneside-20112011
Atta boy Sabotage for paying attention!
There is a new one in Ontario
There is a new one in Ontario too called Forest City Solidarity or something like that.
sabotage wrote: There is a
In Hamilton, it's called Steel City Solidarity: http://www.steelcitysolidarity.com/
members of the anarchist-communist group Common Cause are active with this Solnet.
georgestapleton wrote: We
Well, thats a pretty big difference between, at the very least, the Seattle Solidarity Network and LCAP. Although SeaSol doesn't call it's fights "casework," its what 100% of the activity is focused on. Out of curiosity, what are the actions you mostly focus on now, if not direct action casework?
Thats another pretty big difference - SeaSol only uses lawyers to defend itself when it is being sued. Other than that, its been fully powered by us regular, non-lawyers. Nothing against lawyers, of course - I've known a few who are really great. I'm just not particularly convinced that letting a lawyer take on your opponent for you is particularly empowering.
I don't think anyone has any problems with LCAP taking on fights against government agencies. Not to speak for Blarg, but just to reiterate what he wrote earlier - he was just mentioning some differences between the two groups, not attacking the politics of it.
The Iowa City Solidarity
The Iowa City Solidarity Network dissolved
From their Facebook:
Looks like most on this list
Looks like most on this list at least in North America are in active. If you are part of an active Solidarity Network, give a shout here?