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In today’s highly interconnected world, intersectional solidarity serves as a light of hope and a powerful call to action. It forces us to recognize the common link between various struggles, such as Palestinian freedom, women’s rights in Iran, LGBTQ+ equality, and indigenous land and rights. All these movements share a core element: the resolute resistance against oppressive systems.
Coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, “intersectionality” acknowledges that individuals often endure multiple layers of discrimination due to their intricate web of social identities: race, gender, sexuality, disability, and socioeconomic status.This framework shows the significant interconnectedness of social issues, making it challenging to address one aspect of inequality without addressing its broader implications.
Despite the unique characteristics of each social/political/environmental struggle, they all aim to dismantle structures perpetuating injustice. The Palestinian fight for freedom mirrors the global fight against colonialism and racism. Palestinians experience both physical and structural violence within their homeland.
Solidarity is essential in this collective struggle. Allies, regardless of their experiences and background, can empathize with those sharing their stories of hardship. Angela Davis recognized the Palestinian and Black American movements as natural allies in their shared struggles for freedom (Atshan & Moore, 2014).
Intersectional solidarity shifts from “othering” to connecting, by acknowledging that oppression and violence exist across various contexts. Rooted in human connection and friendship, it’s a mutual understanding that the fight against any oppressive system benefits all. According to scholar Fred Moten, the feminist and queer critique of ownership demonstrates how such notions help to build barriers, privatization, and formation of nation-states that preserve the rights of some people at the expense of others, as in the case of the state of Israel.
Robin D.G. Kelley and Fred Moten in conversation, about intersectional solidarity
Indigenous communities have long practiced intersectional solidarity, connecting their fights for land sovereignty to larger social and environmental issues, in order to reveal the links between various oppressive systems and make clear the fundamental mechanisms of power and control.
The ژن ژيان ئازادى, Jin Jiyan Azadî, Woman Life Freedom movement stands as a powerful example of global empathy, offering unwavering support to Iranian women and girls in their determined fight for rights.
The solidarity gaze challenges us to look beyond our individual concerns and acknowledge the power of building bonds of friendship, empathy, and shared resistance. Intersectional solidarity transcends borders, empowering us to collectively address enduring global injustices. It remains a guiding light, illuminating the path toward reshaping socio-political landscapes through unity.
Article by Rebecca Routman with contributions by Adam Broomberg and Mariia Vydrenko on behalf of Artists + Allies x Hebron (AAH). AAH is Issa Amro (Hebron) & Adam Broomberg (Berlin).
Chapters of this month intersectional solidarity: