A Little Solidarity


Colin Kaepernick is no longer playing in the NFL because wealthy team owners decided collectively to silence his protest. Merrick Garland remains on the DC Circuit Court because millions of Republicans, who can't stand Donald Trump, voted for him anyway to get tax cuts and more conservative federal judges.

A little solidarity goes a long way.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, unchanged since 2009, largely because middle-class folks won't fight for low-wage workers. As Michelle Alexander laid out in The New Jim Crow, one of the reasons mass incarceration became national policy is because leaders of legacy civil rights groups were focused on issues that impacted their children, like affirmative action in college admissions. Police killings continue unabated, at over 1000 per year, because polite white folks don't think it's their problem.

A little solidarity goes a long way.

I tend to avoid Wiemar Germany comparisons, but if you want to sell to me that we're living through pre-Franco Madrid or pre-Mussolini Rome, you'll have my attention. What is happening today is not normal. Separating kids from their parents as a form of political brinkmanship is not normal. Revoking citizenship from naturalized citizens is not normal. Equivocating between violent white-supremacists and the people who rally to oppose them is not normal. Ethnic paramilitary forces euphemistically calling themselves “Western chauvinists” and holding rallies is not normal. We can't become numb to it.

Earlier this week, my dude James Ford shared a video of Latinx factory workers walking off the job en masse in support of two colleagues. They shut their entire factory down because they were united, in solidarity. I often think about the Spanish Civil War. When Franco rose to power, he did so largely because the political left in Spain was divided over how to oppose him, until it was too late.

The aforementioned video, there’s some NSFW language here, just warning you

It's easy for us to get tunnel vision around our own issues. It would frankly be easier for me to stick to class size, teacher salaries, and school funding. But now more than ever, people who desire a more just and equitable society must show solidarity. I'm not a Marxist, but I speak the language. Capital and power seek to distract and divide us, but we're often too willing to do that work for them. Our lives are all improved by the contributions of immigrants to the cultural milieu. We were all birthed by mothers who deserve equal rights, pay, and treatment. We're all threatened when law enforcement operates unchecked in our communities. We're all harmed when the LGBTQ+ population has their humanity questioned or lives threatened. We're all worse off when Black lives don't matter. But, none of these struggles is more important than the other.

A little solidarity goes a long way.