A culture of Solidarity

Solidarity implies structural changes that transform our society and open before us a sustainable future. We attain it when we commit our life, our time, our knowledge and our will to change a society we dislike for one that is more human and more just.
Just like that the crumbling of the Berlin Wall surprised experts and media professionals, it is possible that this new revolution is taking place even if we do not perceive it.
The most important events in favor of human dignity, such as important religions or the workers’ movement were initiatives of volunteers with solidarity who risked their lives and vowed for a utopia with no charge and with a total devotion to others. What drowned their signs of identity and their capacity to attract others was political or ecclesiastic bureaucracy. The recovery of their origins requires recreating volunteering and reinventing those processes that in the labor tradition were called militance and devotion, like García Roca says in “Solidarity and Volunteering.”
This form of social volunteering, compared to different ways of helping others that are equally valid, is born out of experiencing solitude and of the awareness of social injustice that leads towards responsibility with solidarity. The Welfare State weakened the tradition of volunteering by pretending that public powers were the only subjects of social life, that the labor relation was the only reputable one and that specialists displaced competent actions that should emerge from the iniciative if the citizens. Everything remained under the control of the Administration or the Markets.
When the State considers that it is more than an instrument that serves society, the latter suffers the intrusion of the former and a risk that the citizens’ natural rights that do not emanate from any institution, but that are rather inherent in the person, comes into place. What involves the State’s administration organs is its own acknowledgement, promotion and safekeeping in front of others and of itself. That is why the development model that attributes social welfare to the State is injust and is no longer sustainable. It is necessary to look for models that are alternative to the “savage capitalism” or the “State socialism” false dilemma. The right to resistance becomes an obligation where the structures are not fair. Not doing so makes us witnesses of the consequences.

José Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 01/24/2005