Solidarity Ottawa’s Basis of Unity

Solidarity Ottawa (formerly Solidarity Against Austerity) is an Ottawa-based organization founded on the belief that a world beyond capitalism is possible.

We aim to contribute to building such a world; one which is based on cooperation rather than competition, equality and human rights rather than inequality and discrimination, and an ever deepening democratization of our economic and political life.

We understand capitalism to be an exploitative and oppressive economic system that concentrates wealth and power in ever fewer hands.

Capitalism poses a constant threat to the well-being of the working class, and particularly those who are subject to other forms of oppression, to meaningful democratic practices, as well as the broader environment upon which all life depends.

Our organization is composed of political activists from labour, community, ecological, peace and social justice movements. In 2012, we initially came together to lead a mass, May Day mobilization against austerity in its current manifestations. However, as this crisis endures and deepens, it has become clearer that we need not only alternatives to austerity as a particular set of regressive public policies, but alternatives to capitalism itself.

Building Solidarity

Our goal is to create an organization that can bring together all those negatively impacted by austerity and capitalism.

We believe in a pluralistic approach to our work. We accept that there are groups with different approaches to understanding the history of capitalism and resistance to it and will attempt to find common ground.

We seek to build solidarity by developing a collective understanding of the concrete circumstances that confront us, that can guide our political work and is open to revision in light of our actual experiences. Rather than seeing other groups on the left as competitors, or even enemies, we will attempt to find common ground and to provide mutual support and solidarity.

At the heart of developing a force for transcending capitalism is building a culture of solidarity. This can only be done through actively opposing all forms of oppression locally and globally, and developing a broad understanding of the need to combat the pressing threats to the sustainability of our natural environment.

Reflecting this understanding, we acknowledge that we in Ottawa live and work on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory. We are committed to uprooting colonialism, as an integral aspect of the fight against capitalism, working in solidarity with our Indigenous allies.

Our Practice

Solidarity Ottawa is based on a practice that recognizes the need for political discussion and debate to develop our understanding of the world in which we live. We do this so as to enhance our capacity to constructively engage in struggles to change it. We initiate campaigns independently or with others and support the struggles of other workers, oppressed groups and other social movements to achieve immediate reforms. In all cases we seek to find ways to develop the links between specific struggles and locate them within the broader struggle against capitalism and all forms of oppression.

We seek ways of working bilingually, and of actively collaborating with our Qu├ębecois comrades.

Organizing Ourselves

Solidarity Ottawa is an independent, membership-based organization committed to being financially self-reliant. We welcome the involvement of non-members in our meetings and political discussions as well as in our concrete activities. We encourage open discussion and respect for political differences among all those involved in the organization. All major decisions are made at general assemblies of the full membership of Solidarity Ottawa. While we are committed to actively searching for ways to maximize consensus, ultimately our decisions are based on a majority vote of our members.