What Does Solidarity Mean?

Celebrating International Human Solidarity Day

27 November 2020

With International Solidarity Day coming up (more on that later), we’ve pulled apart the meaning of solidarity and what it really stands for.

Here at the Army Cadet Force, we strive to create a solidaric environment that thrives on teamwork and caring for one another. Learn more about what solidarity means and why there is a day dedicated to it.

Solidarity meaning

The official definitions of solidarity are:

  1. Union or fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests, as between members of a group or between classes, people, etc.
  2. Community of feelings, purposes, etc.
  3. Community of responsibilities and interests.

The word comes from the French language and was derived from a Latin word that meant sturdy, firm and undivided. It has been around in France since the 16th century and had a very similar meaning to what it does today.

Examples of people being in solidarity with each other is if they’re united behind a common goal, often politically. For example, a group of people protesting about a certain issue would be in solidarity, as would people signing a petition on a certain topic.

How to show more solidarity

It’s easy to show empathy to people in need and then do nothing about it. Showing solidarity comes when you put this empathy into action and support people or organisations. Seeing others as a member of your team – as companions as opposed to competitors – is showing true solidarity.

Ways to practice solidarity

  • Spend time with those different from yourself – understand varied points of view and make an effort with those outside of your clique or friendship group.
  • Treat everyone as equal.
  • Show up for people or causes that need support.
  • Be mindful of how others feel and what’s going on around you.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.
  • Be generous – share household chores or lend money to friends when they’re struggling.
  • Work with others to overcome an issue – e.g. staying at home during lockdown to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

International Solidarity Day

International Solidarity Day takes places on 20 December every year. In 2005, The United Nations recognised solidarity as a fundamental value that should be adopted universally to build relationships and limit suffering.

We celebrate International Solidarity Day to focus on the Sustainable Development Agenda. This list of goals was created to improve the lives of humans everywhere – lifting people out of poverty and disease and protecting the planet. There are 17 goals altogether, and global cooperation and solidarity must be fostered to achieve them.

International Solidarity Day:

  • Celebrates our unity in diversity
  • Reminds governments to respect international agreements
  • Raises awareness of the importance of solidarity
  • Promotes the Sustainable Development Agenda and ways to achieve it
  • Encourages new initiatives to eradicate poverty

To help tighten the growing gaps between rich and poor, tell your friends and family about International Solidarity Day and the importance of unity. We can all practice solidarity, whether it’s through donating to a worthy cause or becoming a part of the community.

Getting involved with an organisation like The Army Cadet Force (ACF) means you will meet people from all walks of life that want to achieve similar things. Whether you’d like to join as a cadet to make new friends or take part in new adventures, or you’re over 18 and want to volunteer to inspire young people, being a part of the ACF is a way to practice solidarity and have a great time.

Learn more about the Army Cadets, or find your nearest detachment to see how you can get involved.