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The evolution of the International Solidarity concept
The core of this paper is the idea of the international solidarity and its revolutionary aspects; this is the result of two complementary concepts, a gradual and long-term revolution and a particular evolution of the term internationalism. The exposition also comprises of two different moments, firstly a previous and fundamental comparison with some bibliography considered helpful to redefine theoretically the argument of this study; secondly, we will describe the development of the internationalization of solidarity action.
The aim of this work is not just to address the concept of “International Solidarity”, starting from the Socialist political movement, to which is owed the coinage of the term “internationalism”, but try to examine a broader concept of international solidarity, which allow us to go beyond the narrow origins of the idea of internationalism based on a proletarian internationalism, as a Marxist social class theory concept.
Although the origins of the international solidarity are contemporary to the explosion of the Bolshevik Revolution, the paper is not going to be focused on its official footing but on the diffusion of a huger solidarity’s net which had a crucial role as an active and connecting network during the 1920’s and 1930s’, especially throughout an important international aid organizations: the International Red Aid (I.R.A.), founded in 1922 in the Soviet Union.
Despite the fact that the I.R.A. and many others auxiliary organizations were a product of the Comintern policy, these constituted at the same time the witness of a huger evolution of the solidarity action in spite of its political origins. Our focal point is the wide spread of international relief, as well as its social, cultural and political repercussions around the world.
Moreover, before start describing this relief’s “red net”, it is necessary to examine the theoretical framework of the concepts of revolution and internationalism as they are employed in relation to the idea of solidarity. The idea of revolution is based on a gradual not impulsive change, as a product of a collective revolutionary subject that participates on pacific actions. A kind of social or political change not provoked by a violent action or by a cut of the historical course but as a moment of an important socio - historical construction . Revolution is a tool of the acceleration of the historical time and of the globalization of the mutation, a long-term transformation, as Koselleck said.
To sum up, the concept of revolution, as is it used in this paper, it could be defined for its long duration, for its revolutionary and deep action and finally for its quickly internalization. Solidarity is a product of a individual and collective human action and we could say that the stress of its revolutionary action it could be individuated on the “movement”, as the organizational moment, much more than on the immediate change . The most relevant revolutionary aspects on the internationalization of solidarity it seems to be the action more than the immediate effects.
After the outline of the idea of revolution, it is considered crucial to examine, always in relation to the definition of international solidarity, how we make reference to the term internationalism. The nucleus of internationalism could be founded on the idea of “internationalist spirit” as its own part. If we look backward we could discover the ancestor of it on the “universal spirit” that inspired the American and French revolution, it was what encouraged the hope for a universal history, as a tool for the revelation of the truth, that is, a " universal spirit” . A concept retrospectively linked, even partially, with one of the most significant characteristic of the Enlightenment patriotism: the universalism . Nevertheless, it was in front of the building of the national policies states, when the idea of a universal policy and history get weak, even if it remains as the most durable concept of the French revolution.
The universalism of the history reappeared with the socialist internationalism during the nineteenth century. This paper starts from the socialist idea of Internationalism as the negation of national border . However we will depart from the socialist internationalism because I consider it limited by another kind of barriers, which it is the bipolar order of society, because socialist history is considered as a class struggle at a global level. Therefore, the exclusion of national borders according to the socialist interpretation of internationalism didn’t mean the elimination of the social and political barriers. The foundation of the Third International is the demonstration of the big limit of the socialist internationalism because it was born as a contrast to another conception of internationalism expressed by the Second International.
Despite this bureaucratic and official internationalism, as a product of the Third International, there was a contemporary spreading around the world of the internationalization of the solidarity. Thought solidarity organization like as IRA was conceived by the Comintern, international solidarity doesn’t act with the same type of revolutionary actions and it’s not a product of a world proletarian action which as Aron said: “it is could be enough to understand that there isn’t a world proletarian class, neither a world common proletarian cause” .
The description of the internationalism process of solidarity and how it has managed to produce a revolutionary changes it’s the goal of the second paper’s part. Firstly the international solidarity action was as a human history much more than a political one, as usually understood, it had a positive roll as a “producer” of relief, hopes, and as a symbol of common good and sacrifice. The solidarity net assisted a huge part of the people who lived the hardest defeats during the period between the to World War, for instance during the Spanish Civil War when the I.R.A. had a lot of members and it was a great tool of medical, social and political aid and it was also a crucial net for organizing food supply and the evacuations of refugees to others countries.
The international solidarity worked developing several action embedded between solidarity and revolution: for example international campaigns to organize aid and to mobilize people internationally. The I.R.A. set up huge opinion’s campaign not only towards political actions on defense of representative persons (Sacco and Vanzetti, Gramsci, Ernesto Thaelmann, Ana Pauker) but also campaigns directed to natural catastrophes (for instance the earthquake in Japan in 1923, the Irish dearth 1926) .
The international solidarity was also a cultural revolution thanks to the huge and deep implication of the intellectual world into many solidarity actions at an individual and collective level. The two international Congress of Antifascist Writers hold in Paris in 1935 and in Valencia in 1937 , also organized with the help of the IRA, was the most explicit expression of this extensive action. Moreover, the commitment of the artists and writers in Mexico like as the painter Diego Rivera, the writer John Dos Passos, during the 1920’ was quite significant. The photographer Tina Modotti was, for instance, the expression during all her life of the international solidarity, she worked for the IRA in Mexico, Europe, Soviet Union and especially in Spain during de Civil War.
Furthermore, another revolutionary aspect of this solidarity net has to be related even with a slight evolution with gender history. Women covered several and decisive roles in this international work, not only because they were considered as the most suitable subject in the relief field, but also because women were the most active subject in the rearguard action and in another’s dangerous field. The important roles covered by them helped to redefine female identity, more than the two World War have produced with its usually temporary and limited changes. The international solidarity action helped to reconstruct the female role in the public sphere, it left to them new aspirations and new perspective which women transformed in new political and social attitudes during their life. These changes made women more self -confident of their role outside the tiny familiar space, more participative of the political life even, the limit was that their relief’s work did not provoke institutional changes but only a strong mutation in their new behaviors and consciousness. We will see what international solidarity meant trough a real life of a woman who lived this revolutionary process working as a member of IRA.