All over the world millions of people are already responding positively to the E4 crises. Despite this extraordinary energy, passion and commitment being manifested, we are a very long way from seeing proportionate or sufficiently urgent changes.
As the scale of the existential challenges we face grows, many are wondering how to spread and accelerate positive changes already underway at different levels within communities and movements all over the world. Often localised and contextualised in nature, is there a horizontal framework across which those acting in very specific contexts can recognise and feel their commonalities and, in solidarity, bring change that impacts at a systems level?
We propose that, to unleash the rapid systemic changes so far missing, we need a range of cultural changes. Solidarity Matters seeks to create cultural shifts by connecting many people across diverse issues based on their commonly held intrinsic values and shared recognition of the need for systems change.
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 delivered in 2019, in 2020 we iterated an approach to fostering qualitatively different relationships that could enable solidarity and collaborations across difference.
This second phase involved 22 participants and five facilitators from five continents, meeting as two groups every fortnight for over six months. The feelings, thoughts, and ideas of those involved in this experience point to key elements that seemed important to enabling solidarity across difference:
- Holding of safe spaces over time
- Bringing together diverse groups of people
- Community of practitioners
- Community of facilitators
- Support for implementing similar processes in a range of settings
- Access to funding
- Access to expertise
A fuller exploration of participant’s experience of Phase 2 can be downloaded below (PDF).
We (Anthropocene Actions) envisage phase 3 as a decentralised and localised expansion and cascade of this approach, drawing on learning, feedback and other insights. In particular feedback from phase 2 was a clear desire for processes with greater intentionality in exploring the complex, messy, difficult aspects of solidarity, including dynamics of privilege and power.
To get clearer on what this looks like we commissioned 19 designers (including previous participants in Solidarity Matters), all committed activist practitioners, working in different ways on varied issues, bringing their individual and collective experience and knowledge to the process. Working in small teams they planned and scoped a distributed and decentralised Network that could support people in building and sustaining solidarity, with tools, resources and trainings to support different levels of engagement whilst addressing barriers to solidarity, all within a process of learning that could be fed and sustained by an ever growing community of practice. An overview of the scoped/planned Network (PDF) can be downloaded below.
The intention now is to implement aspects of what is proposed and catalyse the emergence of an ever more decentralised framework, helping to connect and strengthen solidarity between activists, organisations and movements operating at different scales around the world. If you would like more information please do email us.