This week the nation remembered the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks' momentous decision to refuse to give up her bus seat to a white passenger, a moment that propelled the growing Southern civil rights movement — and then-unknown 26-year-old minister Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — into the national spotlight.
Since the mass solidarity (outlined in this article) and success of various US social justice movements in the 1950s thru the 1970s - most importantly the Civil Rights movement, but also the women's movement, peace movement, environmental movement, and others - developments in media, entertainment, academia, and in the organization of the workplace in the USA have been designed to produce individuals who do not feel a sense of solidarity with others. (Of course such engineered divisiveness goes back further, see Century of the Self by Adam Curtis.)
It is solidarity which enables brilliant achievements such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Going back another generation, it was solidarity which enabled the Union movement to challenge the wealthy and fascistic elites of the 1920s and 1930s. (Note in this article that veterans and leaders in the Union movement were key in imagining and organizing the bus boycott and the Civil Rights Movement.)
For all the achievements of those movements of two, three and four generations ago, the overall crisis of social, ecological and economic injustice that we face today is far more dire. The web of life on Earth is in a process of dis-integration and mass extinction, while elements of naked fascism, military rule and world war are falling into place. A fundamental necessity for effective new movements - including the inspirational and still young Black Lives Matter movement, the Climate Justice movement, the Fight for $15, and others - is to break this engineered lack of a sense of solidarity.
How do we communicate with each other, with our friends, families, neighbors and co-workers, about the nature of the challenges we face? How do we imagine our futures together? Can we build a sense of true solidarity - not just in the USA but internationally - which enables us to focus on a goal, and struggle through hardship, to break the hold that predatory elements in society and the economy maintain over our lives? What do we need to throw off, and what do we need to embrace, in order to build solidarity into our consciousness, our lives and our communities?
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