Reimagining American Community

Think of Solidarity Hall as a hospitable old hostelry, a mental oasis in the deserted landscapes that surround us.

We no longer have the coffeehouses of eighteenth-century London, where Samuel Johnson and his friends said more of substance in an hour than our blogs today could manage in a week. Nor do we have a local culture of pubs such as Chesterton’s Old Cheshire Cheese, where friendship could flourish easily, even amidst clashing opinions.

And please don’t bring up Starbucks, where laptop solipsism mostly rules.

So where can we champions of the commons convene, at least in a virtual sense, snugly out of the big media weather? We’re tempted to feel that a kind of mental poverty and lack of moral vision afflict almost every neighborhood.While public discourse is in many places becoming less civil and sane, we hope to be a beacon of civility; where the cult of technocracy reigns, we hope to be the advocates of an humble personalism; where small-scale solutions to neighborhood problems are ignored, we hope to be their champions.

Thus we see our project, to begin with, as that of rethinking several of the big words we use: community, work, neighbor, history, imagination.

Like the Polish trade union remembered in our name, we are pushing back against another wall—that of ideological blindness—built jointly by camps representing the State on one hand and the Market on the other.

Like the Solidarity movement, we desire nothing less than to change public perceptions of our social condition—and then, in our own lives and our own communities to act.

If your aim is to become a real citizen and a true neighbor, walk through our open door and join us.