Solidarity is an attitude and a value. It means accepting a common humanity with “the other”. It means seeing “the other” as a subject as we are, deserving respect and care regardless of socio-economic, cultural, physical or other differences. But solidarity is also an active engagement— among individuals, within a community, or among diverse communities— to defend or reinforce a common value or concern. Solidarity often, but not always, expresses itself in relation to those who suffer or are discriminated against, in a voluntary act of offering material support (food, shelter, warmth, financial resources…) or non-material support (human sympathy and curiosity, honest debate, time to share ideas and plan and act together…). This interaction distinguishes itself from charity by questioning differences in power, including those between donors and receivers.
Solidarity always contributes to creating or reinforcing a bond among individuals and human communities and strives to liberate them from unwanted dominations (contrary to charity, which maintains the social order). In a globalised world dominated by merciless economic, political and financial powers, solidarity is one of the key weapons of men and women who want more just, humane and intelligent living conditions. On a more general level, solidarity is the means to give sense to human relations, the means to create communities much beyond the mere fulfilment of basic needs, or manifold induced desires.