Jo and I watched Pride at the County Theatre in Doylestown this afternoon. This film could’ve easily been a pat-ourselves-on-the-back-we’re-so-progressive-now-after-school-special movie, but it wasn’t. It said something solid about solidarity.
Pride is a dramatization of the relationship between the London chapter of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners and a Welsh mining town during the 1984-85 miners strike. LGSM founders recognized the brutal treatment of the miners by the police, government, and press. They decided to help the miners. The relationship didn’t start well, as you can imagine. But, by the end, as in the real events of the 1980s, miners of the village and the National Union of Mineworkers as an organization came out to support gay rights, both in marches and in legislation.
Here’s what Pride teaches us about solidarity.
Solidarity demands discomfort. It demands of us that we engage, usually face-to-face, people who make us uncomfortable. In Pride, LGSM and the NUM members were equally uncomfortable. But, in their solidarity, they came together regardless.
Solidarity demands risk. It demands of us that we risk the censure of the people most like ourselves as we cross boundaries to join with others. It demands of us that we risk the same dangers as those we stand with. In Pride, both groups suffered police attacks, tabloid smears, and government crackdowns.
Solidarity demands mutual respect. There is no room for pity or condescension in solidarity. The experience of solidarity humbles us as we recognize the qualities, humanity, and power of those we choose to stand with. Pride had a great scene in which the LGSM members stood dumbstruck by the extraordinary beauty, toughness, and hopefulness of rural, working-class men and women rising up to sing together a labor song in their union hall when they had little reason for optimism and suffered real hardship.