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Solidarity in Deed: Poor People's Organizations, Unions, and the Politics of Antipoverty Work in Ontario



This article explores the possibilities and challenges of building working-class solidarity by offering an anthropological perspective on the relationships between poor workers’ organizations and formal trade unions in Ontario, Canada. I examine two community-based, poor people's organizations, ACORN Canada and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, in order to document their recent struggles and examine the nature of their linkages with labor unions. The intersections of poor workers’ organizations and unions illustrate key ways solidarity can be and is being put into practice, but also suggest the need for broadening and deepening how solidarity is understood and pursued given the material conditions of poverty and poor people, and the current cultural and ideological terrain.