More obvious examples occur, of course - 'commonality', 'mutuality', 'collectivity', among others.
But I think love is a much-neglected intimate of the term, suggesting a close coupling of ideals, values and consideration for each other.
Love as solidarity invokes feelings of care, safe-keeping and protection, a sharing spirit, a desire to hold dear, to cherish that which supports and enhances the common good. From kind friendship to being there in times of sickness and adversity, it's a bonding of hearts, minds and souls. These are universal human attributes which inform all situations, from social communities to personal partnerships.
It's the manifesto for a true politics of love. Whether it's state relations or intimate relations, politics is about power and how we choose to exercise or restrain ourselves from its misuse. From the cabinet room to the war room, the board room to the newsroom, the living room to the bedroom, we face moral choices about how we regard and treat each other. Do we idolise profit and greed or idealise sharing and generosity? Do we trust our leaders or ourselves? Do we support unholy war or foster 'holy' love?
Deep down, I believe that people are more inclined towards the peace, love and solidarity end of the social and emotional spectrum. It's the self-interested market system which keeps people atomised and mercenary. Divisive competition inhibits us from evolving in more altruistic ways. The capitalist disorder has no use for 'romantic' notions of love as solidarity. Instead, we're urged to see our lives as a set of privatised 'goals'. We even come to regard our partners as market commodities to be discarded or 'upgraded'.
It's part of the crude individualism that constrains feelings of solidarity and love. For the power elite, love as solidarity is an uncomfortable impediment to market desires. And the corollary to that is the language of hostility, conflict and hate.
This week we learned about the kind of 'solidarity' urged by George W Bush as he rallied the troops in Iraq:
"Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!"Or how about this in the same spirit of belligerent 'solidarity' from the faltering Hillary Clinton:
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president we will attack Iran...In the next ten years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."So much for reaching out in a spirit of dialogue, tolerance and engagement. Clinton's brand of 'tough love', amplifying her eager solidarity with Israel, is of the exclusive 'us' variety. It's also, as with her political peers, the 'solidarity-speak' of corporate America.
Heading homewards on an overnight train from Barcelona last week, I had the interesting experience of being berthed alongside two pleasant young American lads on their first trip to Europe. And, of course, the chat turned to politics. Rather sheepishly, they confessed their support for John McCain, at least aware of the relative antipathy to that kind of allegiance this side of the Atlantic. It seemed not to occur to them that their Republican hopeful and his new proto-hawks are concerned only with a grasping love of power and a quest for imperial domination over others.
What interested me more, though, was the insularity of their understanding, some of it, in this case, the apparent product of how 'political science' is taught in US colleges. Their main 'worldview' seemed fixated on how America will deal with its own global 'problems', not about the wanton killing and chaos it is visiting on other people and places. Their thoughts were not overtly hateful. Quite the contrary. But they registered a kind of imbued indifference, a desensitisation, to 'external' suffering, as though the province of political life can only be about power, brinkmanship and gain rather than a praxis of solidarity and love.
Wandering the seductive streets of Paris later that day, a more hopeful sense of solidarity came to mind, conjured around the iconography of 'liberty, equality, fraternity' - and, yes, romantic love. It all rests on a set of heady ideals, of course. But - in optimistic contrast to my train-travelling McCainites - it still encourages the enduring belief that we are ever-capable of something much more giving, much more caring, much more loving.
And, sitting reflectively at the Seine, a little piece of special verse came back, reminding me of how love speaks as a kind of solidarity in all its life-experiencing facets:
"To hold her in my arms against the twilight and be her comrade for ever - this was all I wanted so long as my life should last...And this, I told myself with a kind of wonder, this was what love was: this consecration, this curious uplifting, this sudden inexplicable joy, and this intolerable pain." (Anon.)In the perennial spirit of love as solidarity, past, present, future.