Solidarity is an idea that is often invoked in progressive political and labor organizing contexts. But where does this idea come from? What does it mean, practically speaking, to be “in solidarity” with a cause? And what would it take for us to realize solidarity in our relationships, our communities, our social movements, and our governments?

In their new book, Solidarity: The Past, Present, and Future of a World-Changing Idea, Leah Hunt-Hendrix and Astra Taylor argue that solidarity doesn’t just emerge spontaneously. Rather it’s the product of considerable effort, organizing, and a willingness to reimagine just about every facet of a social structure that rewards the few while sowing division among the many. The authors are uniquely positioned to write on the topic. Hunt-Hendrix not only wrote her dissertation on solidarity, she also leveraged her own position—as an heir to the Hunt oil fortune—to found Solidaire, a network of philanthropist organizers focused on resourcing the frontlines of social justice movements. Taylor, a writer and filmmaker, founded the Debt Collective—the first debtor’s union and the organization responsible for pushing debt cancellation to the forefront of contemporary political discourse. Drawing examples from their own experiences as well as solidaristic social movements over the last two centuries, Hunt-Hendrix and Taylor weave together the intellectual, economic, and political histories of solidarity, explore the thorny territory of us-versus-them social dynamics, and outline a vision for solidarity as the guiding principle for government, both domestically and internationally.

Hunt-Hendrix, Taylor, and I discussed Solidarity at a public event at Stanford University on April 18, 2024. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

Read the full article about solidarity by Aaron Horvath at Stanford Social Innovation Review.