Solidarność Über alles

(Is solidarity contagious?)

Posted on March 31, 2020

People used to occupy wall streets, universities and city streets in yellow vests or with umbrellas – all they were saying was give equality a chance. Viruses are great equalizers – they hit also rich, powerful or famous. The don’t care about race or education. Viruses are not perfect – they seem to answer the feminist prayers. They strike more old men than young women. But generally speaking they contribute to the end of the new gilded age.


Viruses take more liberties than they give. The Chinese collective surveillance grid helps control mobility and contain disease. In Europe an individual mobile phone app helps control everbody’s mobility and keep track of all contacts all day long everywhere. Useful in case you need to identify, and isolate – let’s say quarantine. Walls and bars do not a prison make. Will tracks be kept longer, after viruses go to sleep?


Liberty and equality are under attack, but they are not forgotten yet. Fraternity and sorority have less luck. Solidarity with brothers, sisters and undecided in-betweens requires a leap of faith above and beyond even the largest data bases. Bottom up – like in Gdańsk shipyards in August 1980. Top down – like in Berlin in November 1989. What happened to these two sparks of solidarity?