Solidarity in Practice
drafted in September 2001 in Washington DC; Revised 9/23/03
We are very different groups. We are not necessarily immediate allies nor are we each other’s greatest enemy. There are many things on which we do not agree. But, we will be in the streets together during the FTAA protests in Miami. We know that the police and media are trying to divide us in order to crush our movements. Solidarity is the way in which our diversity becomes our strength, we build our movements and we protect each othersâ€™ bodies, lives and rights.
We believe we have some things in common. We believe in basic human rights and the need to live with respect and dignity. We believe we must protect this planet, our air, water, earth and food or we will all die. We believe these global corporate and political institutions are serving only the interests of the rich. We all agree it’s time for fundamental and radical change.
As we take to the streets together, let us work to be in solidarity with one another. The following suggestions offer ways in which we can make our solidarity real.
- Challenge and critique other groups and individuals in constructive ways and in a spirit of respect
- Listen without getting defensive. Be open in thinking, not rigid in positions
- Donâ€™t make assumptions no matter what a person looks like or what groups they belong to
- Donâ€™t assume tactics are the only way to measure militancy or radicalness
- Refrain from personal attacks, even with people whom strongly disagree. (Focus on how you feel, not what they did.)
- Understand that even though we may disagree we have come to our politics, strategies and choice of tactics through thoughtful and intelligent consideration of issues, circumstances and experiences.
- Do not intentionally put people at risk who have not chosen it
- Do not turn people over to the police
- Do not let people within our own groups interfere with other groups
- Respect the work of all medics, legal observers, independent media people
- Share food, water, medical and other supplies
- Support everyone who is hurt, gassed, shot or beaten.
- Respect other groupsâ€™ rights to do a certain type of protest at certain times and places. If you choose to participate, do so within the tone and tactics they set. If you do not agree, do not participate in that protest or bring another protest into that time and space.
- Understand that our actions and tactics have repercussions that go beyond ourselves and our immediate groups. And that some tactics overrun the space of others.
- If you choose to negotiate with the police, never do so for other groups to which you are not a part.
- Do not denounce other demonstrators.
- Talk about your strategy, not others.
- Acknowledge other groupsâ€™ existence and role they play in creating change
- Acknowledge that we sometimes disagree about strategy and tactics.
- Avoid using the word violence
- Condemn police repression and brutality
- Share media contacts and do not monopolize the mediaâ€™s attention