From the Editors: On Solidarity and Birthdays
It has been said that desperate times call for desperate measures, but moreso they call for principled and global solidarity. For all victories over imperialism have been based in solidarity.
The changes initiated post-Sept. 11 – already well in the making before – have only intensified in recent months. Anti-terrorism laws and repression have grown domestically and abroad, in an increasingly more open fashion (p. 5). The rise in right wing parties and populist movements, especially in Europe, India and the United States, has been united around ethnocentrism, anti-immigration, religious fundamentalism and consolidated state power (p. 1, 6). Perhaps now more than ever we need to be paying attention to world events, increase our understanding of fascism and white supremacy, and increase our organizing and international solidarity.
Much of the current international political climate centers around Israel-Palestine. Arab and Muslim communities, already under attack in post-Sept.11 hysteria, are made even more vulnerable with the backlash against so-called Palestinian terrorism. Anti-Zionist organizers and groups in the U.S. have been kicked off college campuses, harassed and arrested. Israeli soldiers refusing to fight are also being harassed.
Yet the situation is not black and white. Anti-Semitism has also been on the rise, including in radical circles. In fact, anti-Semitism has sometimes masked as Palestine solidarity, a dangerous trend if we are to accomplish anything positive. Anti-Zionist Jews have often been at the forefront of organizing against Israeli aggression, and solidarity must be lent to those of us who face an increasingly hostile and scared Jewish community. The complexity of the situation must be understood if we are to act strategically and in line with our politics.
We need to understand colonialism and have a thorough commitment to fighting imperialism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism. We hope this issue’s centerfold (p. 10-11) will help introduce the situation to those unfamiliar (p. 13), but also push the movement forward in a principled and strategic manner. We need to rethink what “solidarity” means and follow through.
But the world is not so glum. The U’wa victory over Occidental oil is an important and inspiring example of indigenous resistance and international solidarity (p. 3). As with recently independent East Timor; an inspiring victory but by no means the end of the struggle (p. 1).
True solidarity happens everywhere, not just in struggles removed from our daily lives. Indeed, if we’re not active in our communities, we’re not expressing true solidarity. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty has been winning victories with Canada’s poor and oppressed people for over a decade. Their organizing strategy offers promise to anarchists, which is why we put OCAP in our ‘organization spotlight’ (p. 1).
Solidarity also demands that we constantly rethink the ways we organize and the impact we have (p. 12). It means listening to those outside of our comfort zone or even our political framework. In short, it means challenging ourselves and willing to be challenged (p. 14).
This issue marks our second year of publishing. We’re touched by the support we’ve received globally and hope it continues to grow. A lot has changed in the world and in the movement since ONWARD started, but supporters throughout the world have continuously complimented us for our coverage and for the movement-wide discussion forum we provide.
In the coming years, we want to expand our distribution and make the paper increasingly self-sufficient. There are many ways you can help. Consider distributing the paper. Also, we’re always looking for more authors and more artists. Please get in touch to help in these or other areas.
Thank you for your support.
In Solidarity and Struggle,
Dan Berger, ONWARD