Well perhaps it wasn’t entirely new, but reclaiming the word ‘solidarity’ as a twitter hashtag became the rallying call for a whole generation. Apart from the dictionary definition, it took on an emotional meaning to those who used it to communicate with strangers from all over the country – safe in the knowledge that these people were their brethren in arms, ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with one another as that police line came crashing towards them. Young and old, engaged and disengaged, student and lecturer- everyone was ready to stand together and there in lied the strength of the whole tuition fees demonstrations.
The rallying call would not simply end there however. A generation had been awoken and it was ready to stand up against all forms of ConDem regressive policy. Solidarity meant the global political awakening that was WikiLeaks. Solidarity meant supporting Jodie Mcintyre in his struggle for justice against the police officer who assaulted him. Solidarity meant the UKuncut campaign against tax avoidance. I was proud to see that solidarity even extended to remembering the Gaza war on December 27th. Regardless of your cause, solidarity was a symbol that you were not alone by any means.
On many of these occasions the mass media chose to ignore the issue as if they were not important (What could be as important as the snow after all!) or if it was covered, the sympathies were quite clearly not on the side of the annoying students that had been so mean to the police. Whilst children (amongst others) sat in the cold streets of London – hungry, cold, in need of toilet facilities, suffering from shock and possibly injured from examples of police force or the crush of the kettle – the British media labelled them as yobs and ignored the actual struggle they had the guts to be a part of. But it was okay, because solidarity was there to get the message out.
We have been warned however, if we though 2010 was a tough year, think again! ConDem is planning further policy points that will be tough and require “heavy lifting”. (Watch out those of you falsely claiming disability allowance, I think this is a test!) But we can still rest assured, because whoever you are, however the socially regressive regime is effecting you, we will always be together with solidarity.
What documents are important in Westminster? You have Magna Carta, probably the most important document in this countries history, and then there is the death warrant of King Charles I. These documents are famous because they show the fight against oppressive rulers that ignore the will of those they are meant to represent. ‘#Solidarity’, one word – yet the petition for the entire struggle, was just that and I hope it will one day find its place in the Palace of Westminster royal gallery along with the other historical symbols of governance and accountability. (They’ll have to figure out how to put a hashtag into one of those glass display cases…)