Solidarity is Strength sticker

Solidarity is Strength sticker

Solidarity is Strength.

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1d1. What is Workers' Solidarity?

Solidarity is simply a recognition of the fact that other people are in a similar social or economic situation to yourself, and acting accordingly. The principle is perhaps best illustrated by the old IWW slogan, "An Injury to One is an Injury to All."

Clearly, there are different types of solidarity. Solidarity amongst the ruling class takes various forms, one example of which is the blacklist, where employers create lists of troublemakers (that is to say, labour activists) and share them with other employers in the same industry, making it difficult, if not downright impossible, for that person to find work. This type of solidarity stems from the recognition of the fact that if a troublemaking labour activist can organise in one workplace, driving up wages and lowering profits, she or he can also do it elsewhere. And that simply will not do.

The kind of solidarity we are concerned with, workers' solidarity, involves a recognition of the fact that all workers are subject to the same system of exploitation (that is, wage-slavery), based on the same institution of monopoly and dispossession (that is, the institution of private property, with its protection via the violent forces of the state). Workers' solidarity is merely an expression of the understanding that any attack by bosses on workers anywhere, besides being an evil in itself, has follow on effects everywhere else, driving down wages and working conditions and, in some cases, setting particular precedents that can encourage other bosses to follow suit.

Being concerned with real, tangible foundations for a common identity such as class (as opposed to mystical abstractions such as nation, hiding behind which are only the vested interests of economic and political elites), the principle of workers' solidarity crosses national boundaries and unites workers across the entire planet. It forms the basis of anarcho-syndicalist Internationalism. Workers' solidarity is completely pivotal to the anarcho-syndicalist movement. It is the glue that binds the libertarian labour movement together. It is the guiding force motivating individual workers to act collectively.

At a less abstract level, the adoption of workers' solidarity as a central tenet of anarcho-syndicalism is based around an understanding of the power politics of capitalist society. While capitalists are powerful insofar as they control vast amounts of wealth, workers are powerful insofar as they are the productive element of society, insofar as the smooth running of the capitalist system relies on their complicity and cooperation. While an individual worker is powerless against the resources available to the capitalist, particularly considering the million of unemployed who can take the place of anyone not prepared to shut up and do what they're told, multiple workers united together on the basis of workers' solidarity cannot be replaced so easily. Workers united classwide and worldwide on a similar basis could conceivably be unbeatable.


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