Solidarity

Solidarity is first of all an attitude and a value. It means the acceptance of the other’s humanity, and turns the other into an equal subject, independently of possible social, economic, political or other differences. But solidarity is also an active engagement – between individuals, within a community, or between different communities – for instance to defend or to reinforce a common good or a common interest. Solidarity often, but not always, expresses itself in a move  towards those who suffer or are discriminated against, i.e., in a voluntary action whose goal is to offer others material or symbolic resources (financial, natural, intellectual, organisational or social acceptance aid). This interaction distinguishes itself from charity by questioning differences in power, including those between donor and receiver.

In any event, solidarity contributes to creating or reinforcing links between certain actors and strives to liberate them from certain types of domination (contrary to charity which maintains the social order). In the globalised world dominated by merciless economical, political and financial powers, solidarity is one of the weapons of men and women fighting for more humane living conditions. And on a yet more general level, solidarity is the means to give more sense to human relations, to go beyond the mere fulfilment of basic needs, or manifold induced desires.