Solidarity Networks

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Solidarity Networks
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I was just going over an old article on the Solidarity Federation and Anarchist Federation documents released last year, which contains the following text:

For us, if the workers' struggle in general needs to break through boundaries between sectors and enterprises, then the most militant workers need to follow the same logic when they form discussion groups or groups to agitate within the class struggle.

. . .

The workplace is where the working class is concentrated as a class, and also where it has the potential to use its power. Of course, the class struggle has to go beyond the individual workplace and come out onto the streets, incorporate the unemployed, take up housing and other issues

This is a more or less accurate description of a type of organization that is springing up globally and with growing frequency- the Solidarity Network.

From the website of the first such group, the Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol):


Q: Who or what is Seattle Solidarity Network?

A: We are a network of volunteers, open to workers both employed and unemployed, active and retired.

Q: What have we done?

A: Some examples include...

 ➢    Bert got his rental deposit stolen.  He and a group of Solidarity Network supporters visited the property manager at her home one morning, and within a few days she paid up.

 ➢    Jorge was owed $892 of wages, and the boss adamantly refused to pay. Jorge and a group of other workers visited the boss’s house, then leafleted the boss's church twice on Sunday mornings. After that, the boss agreed to pay Jorge every cent.

➢    Stephanie, Yvette and other long-term motel residents demanded relocation assistance when they were ordered out of their homes at short notice.  Organized with the Solidarity Network, motel tenants and supporters defied eviction threats, visited the landlords’ neighborhood and launched an online and on-the-streets boycott campaign. Within a month the landlords met all our demands, paying 3-months’ rent per household to all residents who got involved.


Q: Why are we doing this?

A: Each of us at some time has suffered from unjust treatment by employers, landlords, or other wealthy people who hold power over our lives.  We've learned from experience that the only way we'll be treated fairly, equally, and with dignity is by being prepared to stand up to such people and defend our rights.  It's hard to do this alone.  That's why we've come together, and we're seeking out other local people with similar problems who feel the same way.  Together we can find ways of dealing with abusive bosses, greedy landlords, and those who would deny us, our friends, families, neighbors and co-workers the right to a decent life.

This thread on Libcom lists a number of Solidarity Networks from around the world that are following this model:

What are the positives and limitations of this kind of organizing?