Keys to Building Solidarity Across Our Differences

“Binary decision-making processes like referendums reflect positions on one issue at one point in time, not whole people with complex lives. Simplistic versions of events can become entrenched, leaving us stuck in different silos. How can we become unstuck? How do we foster solidarity between people who could be allies for radical change but who view each other with suspicion and anger? These are questions that concern us at Skills Network, a women’s cooperative in Lambeth, south London. The two of us founded the organization in 2011 as a space for women from diverse backgrounds to share concerns, receive training on supporting children’s education, and undertake research on issues affecting local families. We wanted to dispense with top-down approaches and work as equals, hoping that radical ways of tackling problems would emerge over time. Our group includes professional women, women who have never been to school or who left early, lifelong Londoners, recent immigrants, women on benefits, women in low-paid work, ex-prisoners and victims of domestic abuse.” In the wake of Brexit and other polarizing world events, the founders of Skills Network offer up insights on what undermines solidarity and what builds it.

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