Solidarity (1960-1977)

Presentation [1]

The Solidarity group was born out of both a tradition of direct action trade-unionism expressed by shop stewards and the militant anti-nuclear movement. This background allowed it to have contacts with a lot of people and influenced it at least as much as its formal ideas. Although it expressed ideas close to those of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group in France it was this contact which allowed it to have an important influence on social struggles during the years of its existence.

“The evidence for Solidarity’s importance for the ultra-left in Britain is the fact that the British communist left all have their origins in Solidarity" and that in the 1960s and 1970s, the pamphlets and articles it published were widely discussed in far-left circles.

The two most central figures throughout Solidarity’s existence, and two of the founders of the group, were Ken Weller, who was expelled from the Trotskyist Socialist Labour League in May 1960, and Chris Pallis who left this group shortly thereafter.

“Pallis first met Cornelius Castoriadis in [the 1950s], through his friend Georges Petit who, ‘tore [Pallis] to pieces’ during their discussions on Trotskyism, whilst he was in France. Castoriadis and the Socialisme ou Barbarie group would have a profound influence over Pallis and consequently Solidarity.” the rest of the article.

Solidarity (London) publications

Regional Solidarity group publications

Discussion bulletins

Publications in relationship to Solidarity

Other material:

For further reading

  • Master’s thesis : Solidarity History
  • One of the best – if brief – introduction to Solidarity, and a reflection on the ideas behind the group, through the writings of one of its leaders: chapter on Christopher Pallis in David Goodway’s book: Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow (pp. 288-308).

Links: webpage. The webpage has offered both the London and the regional Solidarity group’s documents for several years. You can find the Solidarity (London) magazine, both PDF and text format pamphlets.
We have borrowed certain issues that we didn’t have such as Solidarity (South London) in order to centralize these materials on one single webpage. As we state in the text presenting our webpage: "our way of doing things seeks to be complementary to that of similar projects...and not an expression of competition". It’s for this reason that we would like to take the opportunity to call out to these comrades in order to work together, especially concerning their request about converting PDF to text.

The Internet page of the Radical History Network of North East London, a group which was born in 2006, is ’broadly libertarian socialist in outlook’ and the slogan of which is ’celebrate our history, avoid repeating our mistakes’. A number of its members are former members of Solidarity and the group has dedicated a number of conferences and posts to the history of Solidarity. You can find at the above address the posts directly related to the history of Solidarity, among which the first two chapters of the book on the history of Solidarity by John Quail. Other posts on the blog relate to a number of events in which members of the group were involved (the Spies for Peace in 1963, the occupation of the Greek Embassy in London in April 1967...). The articles are all very well documented and comprise photographs of archives.

The vast majority of this material was donated to us by Henri Simon who, as a former member of ICO and later Echanges, had close relationships to different members of Solidarity.
We were able to find a few missing issues thanks to a comrade (R. H.) who also generously helped us to sort through all of this material.
All of this material has been digitalized by us.

Notes :

[1The following text is made up almost exclusively of excerpts taken from a 2011 dissertation, except from the parts in italics which are ours. This Master’s thesis named Solidarity History was sent to us by a former Solidarity member. We have removed the notes. We don’t know who wrote it. If you should happen to know please contact us so that we can attribute credit to the author. If you would like to have a look at it we have it here as a PDF file (with the notes).