Solidarity January 05, 2021

Towards Transformative Solidarity: Reflections from Amnesty International’s Global Transition Programme

Sarah Jackson
Emory International Law Review

Sarah Jackson examines the impact of Amnesty International’s Global Transition Programme (GTP) on its internal practices of solidarity, and what that tells us about practicing transformative solidarity in general.

Jackson presents the concept of transformative solidarity—which is based on acknowledging agency, rather than acting another party’s behalf—and details the ways in which Amnesty International could further embrace a humble, collaborative, and transnational approach to its human rights work.

Besides offering great insight into the myriad questions and tensions surfaced amidst any organizational transition, we also wanted to share this paper because of Jackson’s focus on transformative solidarity. At the outset, Jackson establishes a ‘solidarity spectrum’, placing ‘unidirectional solidarity’ on one pole, where members of the Global North see victims or survivors of human rights abuses in the Global South as ‘objects’ of their solidarity; and ‘transformative solidarity’ on the opposite pole, where activists take campaign actions with affected groups in order to support interconnected struggles. She emphasizes the importance of recognizing power asymmetries at the outset of any well-intended solidarity action, and underlines the importance of leveraging collective and inclusive strength in any struggle.

Jackson goes on to discuss how transformative solidarity has been informed by the work of trade unions, race struggles and feminist scholars, again emphasizing that ‘organizing requires a mandate from the community’. If you are looking to deepen your understanding of solidarity, and how to ‘act with’, rather than ‘act for’, we encourage you to dig into this paper.  Featuring the voices of over forty activists, practitioners and scholars, Jackson has made a valuable contribution to the field of human rights by taking the time to explore new models of collective solidarity and struggle.

Full article made available by Emory International Law Review.