Solidaritea Story: Jonathan Nash


What does it even mean to be in Solidarity?

I reflect on this question often. There doesn’t seem to be a simple answer. Perhaps the question shouldn’t even be answered—in full, anyways. Maybe it’s meant to hang in the background as a reminder that solidarity never means completion or perfection.

Solidarity is a project that requires a lot of work. As such it can be tiring for some people.

One is never completely in solidarity or finished being in solidarity. I think to be in solidarity itself means to be working towards community. I mean to say that if one i"s to be in Solidarity, then one is always working towards solidified community. It is never good enough to simply say you’re in solidarity because it is work.

The work of solidarity is not the same for every person. I am a white man, therefore need to put in the work—but my work is different. As a white man who works towards solidarity, I should relieve the work of those around me. I should never make them work more in the way white men often do. "Tell me how to be a better ally. Disclose to me all your experiences so I can be a better ally. What do you think of this hardship that makes me feel awful? How should I feel?"

Asking these questions may seem innocent or good-spirited—as an act of solidarity—but it adds to the work of those around me. I am making them work and not working myself. The way I should be working instead is to work on myself and to work on/with those in my community.

But more importantly, these questions demand the community works on me, to do the work for me. Something which is antithetical to the project of solidarity because it never is about me—especially me the white man.

Working is the hardest task of Solidarity because the work never ends.

Biographical Note:
I am a Graduate Student pondering the greatest mysteries of the literary canon. Was Kafka a philosopher by night and a story-teller by day? Who would triumph in an arm wrestling competition: Dostoyevsky or Freud? In the real world, I care for an indoor garden of orange trees and chase my beloved ferret-son, Rudy. I also read as much as possible. In conversation, I am known for missing critical consonants and forgetting vowels that make words work

Trout Taylor