In my last post I contrasted the leftist and the traditional concepts of solidarity. Leftist solidarity is based on the idea of identifying with the most "other" or marginalised or oppressed group in society. I gave an example of how this doesn't lead to solidarity but to disunity. The University of Sydney women's collective has been in the throes of an argument between "feminists of colour" and white feminists. The feminists of colour, upset about the wearing of bindis by white women, have claimed that they are being oppressed by the privileged, racist white feminists within the collective. They want something like a capitulation from the white feminists, in which the white feminists agree to a loss of moral standing within the group.
That's led me to what is, I suppose, an obvious thought. The leftist understanding of solidarity cannot work for a particular reason, namely that there is no reciprocity or mutuality involved. If I am a leftist, then I can express solidarity by identifying with the most othered or oppressed group. So there is a one-way act of solidarity coming from me. But what of the people I am making this gesture to? Why should they feel solidarity with me, particularly when the very reason I am expressing solidarity is because I believe that they are being mistreated by the group I belong to. It is understandable, given the logic behind my act of solidarity, that the "othered" group should build up a sense of anger, resentment and grievance (and a heightened sense of otherness) - just as the feminists of colour have done within the Sydney collective.
So my gesture of solidarity as a leftist begins and ends with me. It doesn't create loyalty, trust and fellow-feeling between the two parties involved.
The traditional understanding of solidarity was based, in part, on particular forms of relatedness. This gave rise to group loyalties and identities which did have the reciprocity and fellow feeling lacking in the leftist understanding of solidarity.