This article offers a theoretical and empirical exploration of a form of solidarity in which one group spontaneously mobilizes in support of another, unrelated group. It is a fleeting solidarity based not on shared identity but on temporarily aligned goals, one aimed less at persistence and more at short-term impact. We call this drive-by solidarity because of its spontaneous, unilateral, and unsolicited nature. We argue that it is a “thinner” form of solidarity in comparison to “thicker” forms usually conceptualized in the social movement literature. We examine the case of Anonymous's “Operation KKK” (#OpKKK), an online hacktivist campaign to expose Ku Klux Klan members carried out in support of #BlackLivesMatter protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in November 2014, and we use social media data to show that, while BLM and Anonymous networks temporarily coordinated during the protests, there is no subsequent evidence of long-term coordination.
Jared M. Wright is an Assistant Professor at TED University in Ankara, Turkey, and the Director of the Center for Digital Social Sciences (CDSS). He earned his PhD in sociology at Purdue University in August 2020. In 2019, he attended the Oxford Internet Institute's Summer Doctoral Programme. He is also a former Fellow with Wikipedia (2018) and the Purdue Research Foundation (2017). He specializes in digital sociology, new media, social movements, and political sociology. His dissertation titled “Digital Contention” analyzes evolving collective action dynamics in digital space among hacktivist networks. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaitlin Kelly-Thompson is a Part-Time Lecturer at Tufts University and completed her PhD at Purdue University in August 2020. Her dissertation “There Is Power in a Plaza: Social Movements, Democracy, and Spatial Politics” demonstrates how social movements create democratic spaces that advance inclusion and improve local democracy using the cases of the Gezi Park protests of 2012 and the 2017 Women's Marches. Email: email@example.com
S. Laurel Weldon is Distinguished SFU Full Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University and Co-editor of the American Political Science Review. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She previously held a distinguished professorship at Purdue University where she also served as Director of the Purdue Policy Research Institute, Founding Director of the Center for Research on Diversity and Inclusion, Vice-Provost for Faculty Affairs, and Provost. She was a founding co-editor of the journal Politics, Groups and Identities. Professor Weldon's work focuses on the role of social movements in influencing public policy; on violence against women; representation and public policy; women, work, and poverty; and comparative and international research that is global in scope. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Goldwasser is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Purdue University. His research interests include natural language processing, social media, political discourse analysis, and machine learning. Dr. Goldwasser completed his PhD in computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland. Email: email@example.com
Rachel L. Einwohner is Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, where she also has a courtesy appointment in the Department of Political Science. Her research interests center on the study of protest and resistance, especially social movement emergence, identity and social movements, and resistance under repressive conditions. Her work on these topics has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, and Mobilization. She is also the author of Hope and Honor: Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust (Oxford University Press). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valeria Sinclair-Chapman is Associate Professor of Political Science at Purdue University. She is an Americanist with expertise in legislative politics, minority representation and voting rights, political participation, coalition politics, and social movements. Broadly construed, her research examines the effects of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity on political institutions and engagement. She is author or co-author of several journal articles and book chapters, including an award-winning book, Countervailing Forces in African American Civic Activism, 1973–1994 (Cambridge University Press, 2006). She currently serves as a co-editor of the American Political Science Review, the nation's premiere political science journal, and is a founding director of the Institute for Civically Engaged Research (ICER) hosted by Tufts University. Email: email@example.com
Fernando Tormos-Aponte is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and a Kendall Fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He earned his MA and PhD in political science from Purdue University, West Lafayette, and a BA from the Universidad de Puerto Rico—Río Piedras. Dr. Tormos-Aponte specializes in social movements, identity politics, social policy, and transnational politics. His research focuses on how social movements cope with internal divisions and gain political influence. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org