To whom and where are we declaring solidarity to nowadays? This crisis is shaking the grounds of our collective political practices, the forms and methodologies of our labour processes and is rapidly disfiguring the conciliation mechanisms and support networks that we have been so fiercely building over the last decades. In the lines that follow, I draw attention to at least two points in what I understand to be an urgent task of re-calibrating Solidarity, its mechanisms and logics, within the challenges we are facing today.
First, there is a need to theoretically dispute the conceptual framework in which Solidarity has been inserted according to the empirical experiences that we are encountering. How can we learn to compose answers to crises across a range of social domains in a time traversed by social distancing and the impossibility of mobility? How are we to operate when Solidarity is currently oblique to choose illegality or exist in the grey areas of the law in order to be organized? How are we to re-conceive Solidarity in a moment in which protection means enclosure and care is socially divulged from a military protective rhetoric?
Second, those bodies and subjects with whom we were precisely entangled in the search for strategic forms of Solidarity are today an embodied danger with whom we communicate through highly monitored digital tools. Jean-Luc Nancy called for a “desire to discover or rediscover a place of community at once beyond social divisions and beyond subordination to technopolitical dominion” (Nancy 1991). On a similar line, one could say, Paul B. Preciado has encouraged us these days to “use the time and strength of confinement to study the tradition of struggle and resistance among racial and sexual minority cultures that have helped us survive until now. Let us turn off our cell phones, let us disconnect from the internet. Let us stage a big blackout against the satellites observing us, and let us consider the coming revolution together” (Preciado, 2020). And yet, I wonder, are we prepared to do so? Do we have the mechanisms to disconnect from the internet, to declare a blackout against satellites, and collectively consider the coming revolution? How to keep supporting peer-to-peer knowledge, collective intelligence, collaborative activism and open source philosophy without enslaving ourselves into eternal zoom meetings, google class rooms or Instagram lives that keep us sitting on the same uncomfortable chairs in our domestic spaces for 10h a day? Actually, who is able to do so? Who is able to be fully and day-long connected when home-schooling is now the rule, day centres for elderly care and recovery centres are closed, and affective support networks are strictly limited to operate now within a mononuclear family structure? Are we being solidary to ourselves and to the others going entirely digital as if our bodies today would not urgently keep demanding forms of conciliation that places the sustainability of life at the centre?
Ultimately, how to conciliate peer-to-peer knowledge production and European collaborative activism for Solidarity with the sustainability of life in our current times? Which methodologies are there nowadays to keep us connected yet without going back again from where we wanted to go out? If our bodies cannot meet, touch, feel and affect and be affected, what other mechanisms besides the digital are we able to imagine today for the reconfiguration of a tomorrow in which Solidarity is practiced but by putting care and the sustainability of life at the center?