On Solidarity

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On Solidarity

The idea of solidarity has its roots in the history of the workers’ movement, and as this is usually excluded from conventional tales of human endeavour, it is seldom understood.

Europe, the very idea is a series on the philosophical notion of Europe and what reflection upon it can lend to the sphere of concrete politics.

On the idea of solidarity many bien-pensant authors have written a great deal. Like ‘fraternity’ and unlike liberty and equality, it is considered soft and fuzzy, a matter of leading articles on national holidays and solemn anniversaries. As if it were not a concept.

But it is.

In a famous study, Jeremy Waldron has shown how the universalist notion of human dignity has its historical origin in the not very universalist – to wit, feudal – idea of ‘rank’, the dignity attached to status.

The idea of solidarity has its roots in the history of the workers’ movement, and as this is usually excluded from conventional tales of human endeavour, it is seldom understood.

What has ‘solidarity’ meant for the workers’ movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?

Looked at from the outside, the workers’ movement was a set of organizations for and of an exploited, oppressed and politically unrepresented class which was trying to improve its lot.

Read more here

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