Political Solidarity

Political Solidarity

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Political Solidarity
    Book Description:

    Experiences of solidarity have figured prominently in the politics of the modern era, from the rallying cry of liberation theology for solidarity with the poor and oppressed through feminist calls for sisterhood to such political movements as Solidarity in Poland. Yet very little academic writing has focused on solidarity in conceptual rather than empirical terms. Sally Scholz takes on this critical task here. She lays the groundwork for a theory of political solidarity, asking what solidarity means and how it differs fundamentally from other social and political concepts like camaraderie, association, or community. Scholz distinguishes a variety of types and levels of solidarity by their social ontologies, moral relations, and corresponding obligations. Political solidarity, in contrast to social solidarity and civic solidarity, aims to bring about social change by uniting individuals in their response to particular situations of injustice, oppression, or tyranny. The book explores the moral relation of political solidarity in detail, with chapters on the nature of the solidary group, obligations within solidarity, the “paradox of the privileged,” the goals of solidarity movements, and the prospects for global solidarity. _x0000__x0000_

    eISBN: 978-0-271-05497-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction Why Solidarity?
    (pp. 1-16)

    When I was in college, I took a one-credit course in sociology called the “Urban Plunge.” The course took about a dozen students and two professors from a lush, suburban campus that sat on a bluff overlooking the Willamette River to downtown Portland, Oregon. For three days, we stayed on the smelly, hard floor of an upstairs room of a church. Downstairs, in the basement of the church, was a homeless shelter for men. Each day our intrepid crew marched out into the rainy Portland weather to experience life on the street—or, in the rhetoric of the course, “to...

  5. ONE Solidarities
    (pp. 17-50)

    The term “solidarity” is used variously to mark the cohesion of a group, the obligations of civic membership, the bond that unites the human family, shared experience, expressions of sympathy, or struggles for liberation. As a moral concept, solidarity has been interpreted as a virtue, a duty, a feeling, a relation, and a conscious choice. Solidarity is used to describe a particular type of community and it is used to describe the bonds of any community. Solidarity is a feeling that moves people to action and it is an action that invokes strong feelings. Although there are times when different...

  6. TWO Toward a Theory of Political Solidarity
    (pp. 51-70)

    In this chapter I take up a bit of the challenge left in the previous by sketching a theory of political solidarity, many of the details of which will be worked out more completely in subsequent chapters. No theory of political solidarity can be entirely complete, of course, because it takes a great deal of its content and means from the cause that inspired it. Political solidarity cannot be separated from a particular situation. Nevertheless, a broad outline that articulates a basic moral and political structure of the social movement can be presented and unpacked a bit. This chapter marks...

  7. THREE The Moral Relations and Obligations of Political Solidarity
    (pp. 71-112)

    Starting a social movement is no easy task. Often what appears as a spontaneous social movement has been decades in the making. The different commitments of the members of the solidary group account in part for the sustaining force of political solidarity. Some people will work diligently and systematically to chip away at what they perceive to be a system of oppression or injustice. Others will suddenly find themselves united by a passion for a cause or incensed by a current injustice. The unity that forms among actors might be close-knit and coherent or quite amorphous and fluid. Regardless of...

  8. FOUR The Solidary Collective
    (pp. 113-150)

    Solidarity is a moral relation that creates a unity among peoples, but how does that unity come about and what is the precise nature of the unity that distinguishes solidarity from “community,” “society,” “organization,” “association,” or “party”? Ontologically and morally, the solidary group differs from these others and some might even question its status as a group altogether. I argue that we can continue to call that which forms for political solidarity a group or collective in spite of the fact that it does not resemble other types of groups united around a common identity, shared attribute, common history, or...

  9. FIVE The Paradox of the Participation of the Privileged
    (pp. 151-188)

    As we have seen, the solidary group is somewhat fluid; perhaps we might even call it disorganized. Formal decision-making structures generally do not exist, though, of course, factions within solidarity may organize and establish formal structures and procedures. The women’s movement for liberation is a very useful example in this regard. The social movement is quite amorphous, but within the political solidarity of social activists opposing sexist structures, institutions, and practices, there are subgroups or organizations. While it would be difficult to attribute a particular decision-making procedure or power structure to the entire solidary group, it is possible to describe...

  10. SIX The Social Justice Ends of Political Solidarity
    (pp. 189-230)

    All forms of political solidarity involve activism, but not all forms of activism constitute political solidarity. There is something special about that form of social change—even beyond the uniqueness of the relationships between members. Political solidarity is a response to injustice, oppression, or social vulnerability. That is, it ispoliticalin the broad sense of that term. Activists in solidarity seek not just any form of justice: they seeksocial justice. They unite their collective efforts to alleviate their own suffering or the suffering of others brought about through human action or inaction.

    Patricia Hill Collins tells a story...

  11. SEVEN On Human Solidarity and the Challenge of Global Solidarity
    (pp. 231-264)

    Article 2 of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide understands “genocide” as

    any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    Killing members of the group;

    Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (UN...

  12. References
    (pp. 265-274)
  13. Index
    (pp. 275-286)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 287-287)