What’s the problem we’re noticing?
All over the world millions of people are already responding positively to overlapping ecological and socio-economic crises. Despite their extraordinary energy, passion and commitment we are a very long way from seeing proportionate or sufficiently urgent changes.
We believe the crises of our time are inextricably interconnected, yet we see them being addressed largely by single-issue movements working on isolated pieces. The scale of mobilisation and action needed to address accelerating unravelling has not been reached and is not, we believe, possible from a position of fragmentation.
When working in silos and in isolation there is no benefit from the multiple perspectives, experiences and knowledges which will help us find good solutions. Synergistic learning, creativity and opportunities to understand and repair historic and current injustices are missed. Silo working encourages competition for resources and funding, and scarce resources being invested in similar and separate work.
We see a clear and urgent need for fostering cultures of solidarity rooted in relationship, compassion and pluriversitality, synthesising, spreading and accelerating the positive changes already underway at different levels within communities and movements all over the world.
What’s our response?
We propose that, to unleash the rapid systemic changes so far missing, we need a range of cultural changes. A key questions we’re exploring is:
Is there a horizontal framework within which those acting in very specific and/or localised contexts can recognise and feel their commonalities and, in solidarity, overcome differences to bring change that impacts at a systems level?
How are we doing this?
Solidarity Matters seeks to create cultural shifts by supporting activist conveners and facilitators in co-creating and adapting ways of increasing their and others capacity for fostering solidarity, collaborating across diversity and shifting cultures. Together we are developing, sharing, spreading and iterating trainings, practices, processes and resources, and supporting the adoption and adaptation of these in a range of settings, contexts and cultures.
All change begins with people, and we believe that how we relate to each other is at the heart of what needs to spread and accelerate. Solidarity Matters focuses on activists and change makers rather than the issues they are working on. Evolving out of a pilot with a small group of activists delivered over 6 months during 2019, our strategy has been to continue developing and spreading processes, curricula and approaches to specifically increase capacity for fostering qualitatively different relationships between activists, organisers and conveners. This approach to enabling solidarity and collaborations across difference remains emergent and adaptive.
We are currently collaborating with Courage of Care, a US based collective of relational facilitators, in developing an online and networked space for hosting a growing (and increasingly global) community of practice. This community space is for facilitators, movement leaders, organizers, activists, educators, and community-builders seeking to build and strengthen a culture of care and connection – or what we call relational culture. The shared purpose of all in the community is to overcome separation and fragmentation in service of building solidarity within and between movements for justice and liberation.
During 2023 we are also collaborating with activist facilitators from within this community located in Latin America, South East Asia and India piloting approaches to establishing localised ‘hubs’ of solidarity practitioners. They will be adapting methodologies and practices from Courage of Care and Solidarity Matters, fusing these with their own practices, wisdoms, ways of knowing and being and communicating.
The focus of these emergent methodologies will be on the importance of nurturing processes, practices and narratives that centre healing, life, relationality and building solidarity within each context. In addition to becoming localised communities of practice, deepening and spreading capacity for solidarity within each setting, hub leaders will also be sharing their methodologies, skills, learnings, practices and challenges within the growing global online community hosted by Courage of Care.