About a Solidarity that is none
The Oxford Dictionary defines Solidarity as following: 'unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group' and gives the following example: 'factory workers voiced solidarity with the striking students'. That says it all.
The National Student Day of Action on February 1st was inspiring but short-lived and is maybe already forgotten? When I heard students jokingly say “see you next year”, it made me sad. With that attitude, how will we ever achieve our goals of cheaper- why not free – and non-corporatized education? While we were marching past the province house, Premier Darrel Dexter escaped unnoticed through the back door for lunch break. Knowing that the protest has no effect and only happens once a year, he probably did not care much. We were enough people to could have occupied the province house or at least make some politicians inside a little uncomfortable. When the protest was over, everybody went back home, feeling good that they went out and did something. And protests are important. But this one went by almost unnoticed by the mainstream media. Why not have a road blog or sit-in after instead? Out of experience I can say, it feels even more empowering when you know you get noticed.
The student revolt in Chile last year only came about because the students went marching every week, over and over again. At the beginning, nobody noticed them. After a couple of weeks, workers, unions and the occupy movement joined them and they became 80,000 people strong.
When I rode my bike past the Dartmouth Bus Terminal the other day I voiced my solidarity and support to the picketing bus strikers who were both surprised and happy that someone had a positive comment rather than trying to run them over. I feel sorry every time I'm riding by Grand Parade Square and see two lonely, cold and hungry transit workers picketing in the cold. Does not real Solidarity mean that we should stand tehre with them? Why can not more students do that?
Our spirits were high last year when Occupy Nova Scotia held rallies and everyone was inspired when union organizers said that they have 60,000 members across Nova Scotia who all support us. Great. What I wondered was: “Why are they not here right now then?”. When we proudly shout “So-so-so SOLIDARITY”, do we mean it? Now the Dalhousie Faculty Association might strike, so may the public water workers. Nurses, Air Canada employees and cab drivers are on strike watch. What would happen now if the Faculty and Student Unions united with the bus strikers and other public and private employees? Does not solidarity according to the above definition mean that we could all unite? Isn't our same interest higher wages, job securities, pensions, affordable education and a fairer system for all? Could we not achieve something then? Just imagine the streets of downtown Halifax filled with over 10,000 people shouting “ENOUGH”.
Derrel Dexter would not have the chance to escape. We would be enough to occupy streets, the Parliament House and the City Hall. Only then shall we be heard. Only when the Public and private transit system collapses, when the 1% realizes that we, the people make this system work and that it relies on us willing to continue it, only then, when the politicians get cold feet we may achieve something. Why not shut down the system, this is only way of making the oligarchy know we are there and care and they depend on us, the workers, students, the people. This is our time and an amazing opportunity. It is not too late.
Let's try it out.