Global or local solidarity? That’s the wrong question


Global or local solidarity? That’s the wrong question: relationality, aspiration and the in-between of feminist activism in Southeast Asia

Published by Globalizations, Taylor & Francis, 2020.


Author: Felix Anderl (Peace Research Institute, Frankfurt & gloknos, CRASSH)

Global solidarity has increasingly been criticized, particularly in postcolonial-feminist theory. Mohanty exposed ‘global’ sisterhood as a shallow cosmopolitan category based on white/Western feminist experiences that is in danger of erasing difference. Building on her critique, scholars have criticized feminist solidarity across difference itself, preferring ‘local’ activism. Taking seriously the critique of cosmopolitanism advanced by post-colonial feminists, this article investigates how solidarity projects could reach across difference without undermining it. I argue that sharp dichotomies (global/local; general/particular) are unhelpful, because solidarity is a process that sits uneasily between them. Drawing on interviews with the World March of Women in Indonesia and the Philippines, I show that solidarity across difference is possible because their analysis and practice is both: place-based and situated, as well as aspiring to the generalization of solidarity. The global in that way ceases to be a descriptive category and becomes a normative horizon for collective aspiration.