Thursday, July 11, 2013

International solidarity is the heart of the fight of human justice

A distinct pattern emerges when people begin a retreat from left-wing politics--which regrettably often accompanies the aging process. The first stage of devolution is a retreat from international solidarity. All concern with working people in other countries becomes indifference & if retained at all, only in the form of sloganeering & expressions of pity. All activity in antiwar & international solidarity campaigns ceases; many deny there even is an antiwar movement.

An integral part of retreating from international solidarity is an acceptance of xenophobia & racism both in the US & around the world. You can see this clearest in the retreat from a critique of Zionism & refusal to actively or even passively support Palestinian solidarity. You can see it in Islamophobic rantings & denunciations, in denial of the US war on Black youth, & in refusal to defend undocumented immigrants.

The next stage in devolution is a retreat from feminism, flailing against identity politics, & trying to reduce this movement simply to a list of women’s rights which even the right-wing don’t deny.

The final stage of devolution (before political demise) is becoming an uncritical rah rah chorus for unions. There is no critique or analyses offered of how union officials refuse to work steadfastly to overcome the breach which has divided US unions into two warring federations; there is no discussion of their refusal to organize unorganized workers; there are no examinations of why they maintain a xenophobic, racist stance toward undocumented workers. There is only rah rah which doesn’t serve US working people one iota.

Such political decrepitude is not a necessary component of aging. The antiwar  movement in particular has been maintained with iron determination by veterans & antiwar activists of several wars going as far back as WWII. Immigration rights marches are filled with bald & graying heads still driven by justice & indignation.

The very heart of the international fight for human justice begins with international solidarity, with seeing others as our sisters & brothers, with carrying the banner “an injury to one is an injury to all,” & accepting no discount on that commitment.

(Mural by Mike Alewitz on exterior wall of Communication Workers of America union hall in Los Angeles)

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