Thinking international solidarity in Dublin

Gavin and Helen are speaking in Dublin tomorrow at a one-day conference about International Solidarity.  The event “International Solidarity: practices, problems, possibilities” has been organised by the Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin.

Our paper, ‘Practices of solidarity: opposing apartheid in the centre of London, draws on ideas developed in our recent paper in Antipode.  We argue that,

International solidarity is frequently presented as an asymmetrical flow of assistance travelling from one place to another. In contrast, we theorise the more complex, entangled and reciprocal flows of solidarity that serve to enact social change in more than one place simultaneously. The international campaign against apartheid was one of the most widespread, sustained social movements of the last century. This paper examines the spatial practices of the Non-Stop Picket of the South African Embassy in London (1986 – 1990). Drawing on archival and interview material, we examine how the Picket produced solidarity with those resisting apartheid in South(ern) Africa. We argue that how the need for anti-apartheid solidarity was framed politically cannot be understood in isolation from how it was performed in practice. The study of solidarity is enriched by paying attention to the micropolitics of the practices through which it is enacted and articulated through key sites.

The paper focuses on the City of London Anti-Apartheid Group’s solidarity work on and around the Non-Stop Picket.  We have resisted the temptation to explore how City Group developed links with, and offered solidarity to, the Dunnes Stores Strikers in Dublin in the mid-1980s, who refused to handle South African produce in solidarity with those resisting apartheid in South Africa.  Nevertheless, as we have written previously, those links did exist.

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About Gavin Brown

Lecturer in Human Geography University of Leicester
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