Camp Anarchy Safer Spaces Policy

39 posts / 0 new
Last post
bounce's picture
bounce
Offline
Joined: 29-10-12
Feb 13 2013 06:54
Camp Anarchy Safer Spaces Policy

The organisers of camp anarchy have implemented a safer spaces policy, which I think is a good sign that they are taking violence and harassment within anarchist spaces seriously and are committed to addressing it.

Camp Anarchy is a Safer Space

In designating this event a safer space, we are making an explicit political decision to prioritise the voices of people who are experiencing oppression at the hands of another person so that they feel empowered to participate and feel supported by a radical community. We are not a judge and jury, we are not the cops; but we are a community with shared ideals about the rights of people to feel free of oppression.

People attending this conference are asked to be aware of their language and behaviour, and to think about whether it might be offensive to others. This is no space for violence, for touching people without their consent, for being intolerant of someone's religious beliefs or lack thereof, for being creepy, sleazy, racist, ageist, sexist, hetero-sexist, trans-phobic, able-bodiest, classist, sizist or any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression.

Abuse and discrimination will not be tolerated at Camp Anarchy; nor will targeted harassment, assault, sexism, homophobic or racist behaviour. Everyone who attends Camp Anarchy is expected to engage with respect, adhere to, actively create and enforce if necessary the creation of a space that contrasts with the sexist, racist, oppressive norms of mainstream society. There will be a no-tolerance policy for sexual or physical violence, persistent harassment, or threats of sexual or physical violence. Anyone violating this may be asked to leave and will not be welcome at the event.

This process is not easy. Please question in advance your capacity to deal with being asked to leave the space if necessary and how you would react in a progressive way if you or a friend of yours was called out for abusive behaviour.

Alcohol and other drugs are not an excuse for bad behaviour. Everyone can expect to be held accountable for their behaviour regardless of the effects of alcohol or drugs. For this reason we ask that you be aware of your capacity to remain in control of your emotions, actions and reactions when consuming alcohol or other drugs.

Things we all need to do to help create a safer space:

Respect people's physical and emotional boundaries.
Always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing boundaries.
Respect people's opinions, beliefs, and different points of view.
Be responsible for your own actions.
Be aware that your actions do have an effect on others despite what your intentions may be.
Take responsibility for your own safety and get help if you need it.
Look out for children and try not to leave anything around that could endanger them.
Be mindful of how children are interacting with each other (ie: bullying dynamics).
Keep the conference space and all workshops alcohol, nicotine and drug-free until the evening, and be aware of and responsible for your actions under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Respect designated substance-free spaces at all times.
Be aware that raising your voice or other aggressive body language may be understood as abusive behaviour by others.

Attending Camp Anarchy means agreeing to behave in a manner that is compatible with the safer spaces policy. Any group or individual engaging in violence (including sexual violence, threats and harassment) may be asked to leave at the discretion of the survivor, other affected persons and the organising and grievance collectives.

Our safer spaces policy includes supporting survivors by asking that people who have perpetrated sexual or physical violence not attend this event, or that they amend their behaviours at the event (ie: not drinking alcohol), at the discretion of those harmed and the grievance collective or other affected persons. We see this as a political stance in amplifying the empowerment and inclusion of survivors and challenging an oppressive culture.
Need Some Assistance?

Camp Anarchy will have a grievance collective set up with people on-hand to help with possible conflict, mediation, support and enforcement of the safer spaces policy.

If you experience or witness any behaviour that crosses your boundaries or makes you feel uncomfortable or if you are feeling like you would like to talk to someone confidentially about anything please feel free to talk to a member of our grievance collective. These people will be readily identifiable and will not breach your confidentiality without your permission.
Conflict resolution

There may be conflict during the time that we are at this conference and the organisers have designed a basic process for dealing with this. This process is based around the principle that a resolution deemed positive to all parties involved should always be sought first, but that a survivor’s right to feel safe and empowered is the key priority.

If any conflict arises that anyone feels cannot be resolved without some help, they should seek the assistance of one or more members of the grievance collective or the organising collective. If the harmed person in a conflict (ie: survivor of abuse or harassment) is not satisfied with a proposed resolution, they have the option of taking the issue to the whole conference to make a final decision on what action needs to be taken.

In dealing with conflict, the grievance and organising collective will be survivor-centred, meaning that the survivor's rights will always be prioritised.

NOTE: If any survivors want further support in making this event accessible to them, they can contact the grievance collective at campanarchygrievancecollective[AT]gmail.com

http://campanarchy.org/safer-spaces-policy

Rats's picture
Rats
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Feb 13 2013 15:36

Good stuff, but, no Classism?

How am we meant to go about harassing the rich kids who think they know more about the struggle than us, if not to rip into them for going to really expensive schools, and then accuse them of probably drifting away in a year once they realise The Revolution will actually mean they get less in life?

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Feb 14 2013 00:06

Good point Rats. When anarchism is reduced to simply a position against the perpetuation of 'oppression' completely outside of the context of class privilege this is what you get.

It makes as much sense as 'reverse racism' which denies a particular privileged position.

The organisers of Camp 'Anarchy' like to boast of being one and the same that organised the 'Anarchist Book Fair. The same bookfair that had a stall staffed by the trotty Communist League and a stall by a commercial enterprise known as Polyester Books and Records.

'Anarchy' can mean anything you want it to mean, man! Consequently, 'anarchy' means nothing with the clear implication that only the State has meaning.

Any attempt to define anarchy meaningfully is 'authoritarian', man!

Against those who would say "Hey, man, my anarchy is just as valid as yours!" I would say that anarchy can be defined as one can point to the history of the theory and practice of anarchism that is entirely collective character and nature.

Anarchism always was and always will be a working-class movement on the simple basis that it is the working-class has the most to gain from it.

Imagine the bourgeosie attempting to appropriate something associated with working-class history and culture then processing and refining it until it becomes suitable for bourgeois consumption!

caterpillar
Offline
Joined: 5-09-12
Feb 14 2013 00:41

This is a safer spaces policy not a platform.

Rats's picture
Rats
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Feb 14 2013 02:27

The 'anti-classism' is the only point I'm contesting, the rest of this policy is solid and necessary.

Lifestylist politics may be present at CA, and I disagree with such presence, but it's easy enough not to attend those workshops, put on better ones and attract people to those.

And all the debate about book stalls at the bookfair is pretty silly. Who cares if the polyester is a commercial venture? I think there are bigger problems in the Australian anarchist millieu.

And so what if some trots or sparts had a book stall - i'd rather have them there than the 'Christian anarchist', the Sea Shepherd, or the other handful of stupid stalls of far more questionable political groups than some trots. And trots generally tend to have better and more relevant books to class struggle in Australia.

I don't mind if people throw around a bit of critique of people who are actually standing up and organising, but at least if you're going to do it, do something of value yourself so people can see an alternative - cos MAC hasn't done anything in years.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 14 2013 02:28

The part about ableism is a joke.

caterpillar
Offline
Joined: 5-09-12
Feb 14 2013 02:51

I think by classist it was meant mote as discrimination against people from a lowe ecconomic status. But I take your point we should probably fix that in future.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 14 2013 03:33
Rats wrote:
I don't mind if people throw around a bit of critique of people who are actually standing up and organising, but at least if you're going to do it, do something of value yourself so people can see an alternative - cos MAC hasn't done anything in years.

Amen. Those who howl the loudest from the safety of the internet about the real or perceived shortcomings of others also tend to do the least themselves as far as I can tell.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 14 2013 03:44

You don't have to particularly like anarchism or have any interest in the anarchist tradition to be welcome at Camp Anarchy anyway so the whole discussion seems a bit moot, especially to the extent that anyone with an axe to grind can invoke the 'you're either with us or with those who are creepy, sleazy, racist, ageist, sexist, hetero-sexist, trans-phobic, able-bodiest, classist, sizist or any other behaviour or language that may perpetuate oppression' fallacy and everyone who hates any of the above will fall into line lest they fall afoul of the anarchy police.

bounce's picture
bounce
Offline
Joined: 29-10-12
Feb 14 2013 07:47

I read classism as being discrimination against people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, so I'm happy that Caterpillar clarified that that is what it means. I think criticism of the class system and acknowledging that it gives some people advantages, like private schools where you get connections etc, is a valid and important conversation. I have noticed a fair bit of casual classism in leftist (not specifically anarchist) groups, mostly just little stuff like getting told I was a capitalist because I shopped at coles, even though it is the only place to shop in my suburb and I can't afford and don't have the transport to shop elsewhere. I think things like that are not really helpful and while individually each thing might not be much I think it is good to address and challenge people's preconceptions about these things.

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Feb 14 2013 08:10

There is an amount of risk inherent to this kind of open space, particularly when anarchism is undefined and unorganised. People will have all sorts of positions inconsistant with anarchism as a philosophy. The dilemma with the approach Camp Anarchy is taking is that it sets up barriers for the kind of people who should be learning about anarchist ideas. FWIW, this particular policy is better than previous ones I've seen, but it could go further.

Middle-class people tend to have very progressive attitudes and are generally aghast at discrimination. Working class people are somewhat more likely to have divisive individual attitudes like racism or sexism – although the typical workplace is far more diverse than the typical anarchist group. Of course the middle-class are more likely to have advantage under institutionalised discrimination, which is why they prefer to focus on uncouth attitudes over how they manage to so easily say the right thing in educated company.

In these kinds of 'safer spaces', it practically means that strangers with incorrect positions, more likely to be working class and presumably wanting to learn, are frozen out silently with a nodding approval, while those who like the same music, dress alike and socialise together are more likely to be given space to learn if they do something in error.

Careful organisation is required to prevent these informal hierarchies from developing. Any decent policy should take this into account. It's not about prejudice or privilege, but goals and organisation.

A supplement to declaring the space to be safer (a desire, not the reality) is to acknowledge the risk that participants are expected to face, the benefits for transformation in such a space whilst ensuring that such attitudes are challenged directly. There has been a bit of good writing critical of safer spaces. They should Google it.

If someone actually does something like intimidate, harass or assault and it has not been resolved, the matter is much more straight forward. Remove them, outlining reasons why with grounds for appeal at a date that is close to the time of removal.

Rats wrote:
cos MAC hasn't done anything in years.

Wait, what? MAC has done lots. If you want to measure events and numbers, MAC has undoubtedly been the most active explicitly anarchist group in Melbourne, as well as being Australia's largest as far as I can make out.

Relevant to this thread, it has spent a lot of energy developing and implementing strategies around conflict resolution and dealing with unacceptable behaviour, all from learned experience. I consider this to be doing something.

Members are expected have good conduct inside and outside the group consistant with the task of creating an anarchist society, for example, and we expect the same from anyone wishing to cooperate with our group. Can other groups in Melbourne say the same?

MAC has amongst its members the experience of dealing with this kind of problematic behaviour that can be used as examples and built upon. They have been documented, discussed and subjected to appeal. This is something worthwhile but can't be quantified in the same way as a bit of spraypaint on a building, so it is usually dismissed.

On a side note, this kind of sniping comes from individuals who declare that MAC should be this or that kind of group, or that given MAC's resources they should run it differently; usually from activist types who want it to be a trot-lite party, chasing issues and marching militantly with placards. MAC is fulfilling its function very well, prioritising sustainable long-term participation. It can not be all things to all people, but to state that "MAC hasn't done anything for years" is simply nonsense.

I'll be the first to admit MAC looks great because there isn't much else for comparison. I'll also be the first to state that what we need is more anarchist groups who are willing to federate, not just a bigger and better MAC.

caterpillar
Offline
Joined: 5-09-12
Feb 14 2013 09:05

http://zinelibrary.info/betrayal-critical-analysis-rape-culture-anarchist-subcultures

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Feb 15 2013 01:34

Re-reading what I wrote, I think I need to give some tl;dr clarity and expansion.

Firstly, the policy seems okay. I have some issues with it, but not entirely.

In my experience, it was a better outcome if we prepared to challenge chauvinist attitudes rather than rely on exile. Hardline attitudes against discriminatory language, and conflating it with assault and the like, has been used to effectively freeze out people who are undesirable but did little to nothing in preventing problems.

I support wholly banning people so a stated task can be carried out (such as free and open discussion, in line with supporting someone who has been assaulted over a perpetrator). Obvs, I support the organisers in doing this as they see fit.

The lived experience of these policies is their uneven application and an extreme reluctance to enforce effectively, but I recognise that they are an attempt to counter the usual alternative:

Quote:
In my experience, the kind of uncritical, DO SOMETHING!!!1!! responses I hear most often are along the lines of “why don't we just kick his head in?”… to the milder “why don't you just go public and make sure no one works with him again?”, or combinations of the above. Tempting as these may be, they don't solve anything. And besides, no one's head ever gets kicked in, and attempts to excommunicate people never quite seem to come off either.[my emphasis] Our responses remain inadequate and abuse continues, often unchallenged. Source.

For example, "Abuse and discrimination will not be tolerated at Camp Anarchy; nor will targeted harassment, assault, sexism, homophobic or racist behaviour." The reality is always that some is tolerated from particular people, and some more than others. A similar policy was posted in Barricade until one of their members said something egregious that couldn't be ignored. "Will not be tolerated" was quietly modified to "requires reeducation on the topic until they become a proclaimed expert". Such charity was not extended others.

This informal flexibility has allowed the worst perpetrators to continue unchallenged – they are usually in the right social network, do hard work or say progressive things in meetings and act under this cover. I doubt the policy does much to hinder them.

I'm not questioning the policy so much as doubting its ability to be carried out effectively by a loosely defined group that relies on social networks and open meetings. It's always telling that some groups or individuals are invited (inevitably after conditions have been set) while others are not, and much discussion happens between meetings. The informality makes it likely that known people will be given license that unknown people are not.

Here's an uncomfortable suggestion: the happy-clappy organisation behind events like Camp Anarchy and the Book Fair and "networks of affinity" or its variants are unsuitable ways to organise if you want to address these problems, and policy is not the issue. Perhaps such organisation creates exceptions of any stated policy through overriding friendships and social priorities, and this enables predators to manoeuvre in ways that formal organisation, a clear basis for association, conditional membership and limited mandates make more difficult.

I doubt that will ever be put on the table for discussion, though.

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Feb 15 2013 00:21

Couldn't agree with Lumpen more with regard to the last paragraph. I think it highlights the central issue; organisation.

@Rats; what would prompt you to make such a bizarre assertion that the MAC hasn't done anything for years? Anyone who had troubled themselves to do a google search would know that this is demonstrably false.

Aside from meeting fortnightly and opening the infoshop once a week, the MAC has most recently held a fundraiser for Freedom Books UK (MAC is donating $500) with one half of Canadian anarchist hip-hop duo 'Test Their Logik' performing as well as holding a public discussion about indigenous struggle hosted by Gary Foley. Not to mention film nights, fund-raising discos, reading groups, fringe theatre and kung fu classes in just the last year or so.

If this is the MAC not doing anything, what would constitute doing something? Perhaps, Rats, you and/or the organisation you are a member of are doing so much more? I'd be curious to know about it.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 15 2013 01:12
Lumpen wrote:
A supplement to declaring the space to be safer (a desire, not the reality) is to acknowledge the risk that participants are expected to face, the benefits for transformation in such a space whilst ensuring that such attitudes are challenged directly. There has been a bit of good writing critical of safer spaces. They should Google it.

An unusually well thought out and argued post; I agree with everything said, the part about challenging attitudes directly especially. While anyone who opposes any kind of discrimination could hardly dispute the intent behind the safer spaces policy, it makes no account for potential abuse. How are people to be excluded, on what basis, and who decides?

As a white male it's clearly not my place to decide how women of any colour decide the nature of their own oppression as victims of sexism and misogyny, just as it's not the place of anyone who hasn't experienced a long term illness in the form of schizophrenia as I have to decide for me how I am affected by ableism within or without of the anarchist ghetto. This is true not least where the social stigma attached to schizophrenia is concerned - which for the record most definitely exists within the anarchist ghetto, which remains as willfully ignorant of it as the rest of society and makes even raising the issue as much of a fight, if not in fact a great deal more so.

The process of excluding or ostracising those of us deemed undesirable seems either to assume or imply malicious intent without having to provide anything in the way of supporting evidence; in addition to leaving the door wide open for abuse in terms of the aforementioned 'you're either with us or you're with the enemies of social justice' fallacy and all that that involves in terms of sewing fear of the consequences of contradicting the anarchy police, not to mention forcing an interpretation of events that those with the power to define the meaning of the word 'undesirable,' it assumes an unwillingness to learn or to hear other points of view.

This latter aspect in and of itself is hardly a particularly positive, constructive or proactive way to approach dispute resolution in general to the extent that it demonstrates precious little in terms of good faith, especially where a willingness to leave a door open should the 'undesirable' element ever change their minds (assuming no issues with the process that leads to the marking of undesirables in the first place), or even simply to throw a dog a bone if not also to display some capacity for maturity and self-restraint in terms of not painting the situation in wholly absolutist terms of 'them bad, us good.'

This fails additionally to take into account situations such as those where the person deemed undesirable might have been willing to engage in mediation and to listen to the concerns of people they are alleged to have wronged and made requests for mediation that were knocked back. Who's to say they would even be interested in going in the first place? Asking someone who had decided not to go and might have even made it known to others that they had no interest in going not to go hardly resolves but rather serves to highlight the aforementioned potential for abuse, not least because it neglects addressing reasons that someone might not want to be involved in supposedly anarchist activities but may even misrepresent a situation such that the 'undesirable' is made out to be a lot of things that they are either not or not in the way described in order to establish a pretext for not having to acknowledge or engage with their reasons for not wanting to attend in the first place.

caterpillar
Offline
Joined: 5-09-12
Feb 15 2013 02:35

This isn't meant to be a solution to everything. Camp Anarchy is not an organisation but one event. The policy is just meant as a practical response to this year's event. I totally agree that there needs to be more organisation etc. I think dealing with abuse has to be an ongoing process and has to be challenged at all levels.

Last year's policy was basically just writing with nothing to back it up. This year there is a collective that is prepared to put in a lot of work to think through and enforce the policy. I'm sure there are many ways it can be improved in future and welcome constructive criticism

Quote:
"In my experience, it was a better outcome if we prepared to challenge chauvinist attitudes rather than rely on exile."

The collective is having discussions about what behavior it considers to be zero tolerance, and what other responses can be taken. Maybe this was not clear in the policy but there are definitely no plans to ban people over trivial matters. We have only considered banning individuals for very serious behavior such as rape, assault or persistent harassment.

Quote:
"The informality makes it likely that known people will be given license that unknown people are not."

The policy is to give the benefit of the doubt to the survivor and to give them the say over what action should be taken to make them feel safe. This goes for both strangers and friends. Any system can be abused and it is possible that this could become a problem as you say, but you still have to work with what you've got.

BTW I'd be interested in more specific explanations of what procedures MAC uses to resolve disputes, or concrete ideas you had for how the policy could be improved?

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 15 2013 02:41
caterpillar wrote:
I think dealing with abuse has to be an ongoing process and has to be challenged at all levels.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story I always say.

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Feb 15 2013 04:16
Quote:
BTW I'd be interested in more specific explanations of what procedures MAC uses to resolve disputes, or concrete ideas you had for how the policy could be improved?

A few years ago there was a group that met for a little while about anarchist approaches to disputes (can't remember what they called themselves). We took a lot of their recommendations on board after being beset with conflict for quite some time. I should see if I can dig up the documents… from memory they were really good. I do remember this text being passed around at the time, too. I used it a bit.

There was a period of experimentation and examples of things being done badly!

So this was incorporated into the general culture of the group; deal with things quickly, have grounds for appeal, set an end to the process. The more recent examples of dealing with conflict and problematic behaviour in our group were good ones, I thought. I'm pretty sure it was incorporated into the constitution, but I don't have a copy handy. The biggest contributor to improvement was clarity around the purpose of the group and basis for association.

The way the IWW recently dealt with things would be an example of marked improvement and one we would be well served to learn from. Taking this onboard, an area for improvement could be to transfer conflict resolution to a disinterested third party, rather than organisers or members of a group.

Lumpen wrote:
The informality makes it likely that known people will be given license that unknown people are not.

What I meant is that known people are given more leeway, whereas someone who is unknown (or unpopular) is more subject to rules than others. TBH, it's rarely an official process; doors silently close, calls stop being made, and they are defriended from social networks.

It wasn't in reference to creating conditions where someone should be able to participate – I agree that the risk of abusing process is exaggerated. Good process will uncover this in any case.

While I recognise the benefits (and fun) of temporary organising for events and sticking with people you get along with, this form is the rule and not the exception. As I suggested above, it contributes to a lack of accountability. The policy is not a bad one but taken to its logical conclusion it requires ongoing organisation to effectively implement, and relies on ongoing organisations to identify and deal with problematic individuals between events. There is a contradiction, in my opinion, between the form chosen to organise these events and the desire for accountability and good process.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 15 2013 04:47
Lumpen wrote:
The way the IWW recently dealt with things would be an example of marked improvement and one we would be well served to learn from. Taking this onboard, an area for improvement could be to transfer conflict resolution to a disinterested third party, rather than organisers or members of a group.

Good joke. Good to learn from if you want to undo any constructive organising work you've been able to accomplish, make your group or organisation a laughing stock and keep the anarchist ghetto miniscule, ineffective and totally irrelevant maybe, good to learn from as a heinous series of gross errors never ever to be repeated maybe. Comments like that demonstrate not only a total ignorance of inconvenient facts but a willing one as well.

I totally agree that conflict resolution should be transferred to a disinterested third party rather than organisers or members of a group, but the fact that the complainants in the recent debacle that engulfed the Melbourne IWW rather than embracing this process strenuously dodged it wherever possible goes not a small way arguably towards explaining why not much of it remains. I'd be inclined to consider that a precedent and warning to other groups personally.

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Feb 15 2013 05:54
Quote:
I totally agree that conflict resolution should be transferred to a disinterested third party rather than organisers or members of a group

That's all I was referring to. I don't think we should rehash that discussion again – I probably should have spoken in the abstract rather than referring to examples and that one in particular, so my apologies. My hope was to point out that there is recent experience and institutional memory that can be drawn from.

caterpillar
Offline
Joined: 5-09-12
Feb 15 2013 08:31

@Lumpen, if you can find any documents etc I'd be interested to read them. In particular I'm curious about dealing with things like sexual assaults which (unlike harassment) often leave no evidence.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 15 2013 10:16

Yeah that's definitely one of the many extremely unpropitious aspects of sexual assault - and true about harassment incidentally. I have about 35 pages worth of it.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 15 2013 23:41

http://anarchalibrary.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/against-separatism-anarchism-and.html

Rats's picture
Rats
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Feb 17 2013 01:26

This wasn't an appropriate place for me to bring up issues I see with MAC, sorry everyone.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 17 2013 14:35

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Feb 17 2013 21:44

I don't think it's fair to characterise the issues Rats raises as demonising or ostracising the MAC.

Making nonsense statements without any basis in fact might be careless but it's hardly demonisation. And as the statement is lacking in anything remotely resembling any evidence, it can be safely dismissed as having no credibility. Let's not forget, we're all entitled to our opinions however gaseous.

If Rats has issues with the MAC of any substance, then is at liberty to create an entirely new topic.

With regard to this thread, I think it is fair to say the MAC has demonstrated its capacity to deal with harassment justly and effectively.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 18 2013 00:04
Lugius wrote:
I don't think it's fair to characterise the issues Rats raises as demonising or ostracising the MAC.

Making nonsense statements without any basis in fact might be careless but it's hardly demonisation. And as the statement is lacking in anything remotely resembling any evidence, it can be safely dismissed as having no credibility. Let's not forget, we're all entitled to our opinions however gaseous.

What makes you assume I'm dong that? How does it apply to the issues raised by Rats given the context of this thread? You would either have to be stupid or dishonest to suggest that it does, and while you may be a lot of things stupid isn't one of them.

At any rate, interesting comments coming from someone who wouldn't appear to be able to operate on any logic other than 'those who are not for me give aid to the enemies of anarchism' to save themselves, especially where those who fail to worship their interpretation of what it means to be an anarchist with the requisite level of awe is concerned.

Point the finger at someone else first and reflect on your own conduct second I always say.

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Feb 18 2013 03:16
Quote:
This wasn't an appropriate place for me to bring up issues I see with MAC, sorry everyone.
Quote:
Quote:
With regard to this thread, I think it is fair to say the MAC has demonstrated its capacity to deal with harassment justly and effectively.

The second post followed the first post 69 minutes later. The first refers to 'issues', the second to 'resolve disputes'. Re-reading it, it is probably not as clear as it should be. Be that as it may, I might have conflated 'issues' with 'disputes'. But not knowing clearly what Rats issue is, it's hard to say.

Quote:
Point the finger at someone else first and reflect on your own conduct second I always say.

Indeed, you do! But isn't that where the problem lies? I would consider a useful first step to basic problem-solving would be arriving at an accurate description of the problem. Without a doubt, some measure of insight and thoughtful reflection would greatly assist in this process.

Gee whiz! The issue being addressed is harassment. Harassment is the problem in the first instance. Added to this is the far more serious issue of sexual assault. No civil society will tolerate this.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 18 2013 08:25
Lugius wrote:
Indeed, you do! But isn't that where the problem lies? I would consider a useful first step to basic problem-solving would be arriving at an accurate description of the problem. Without a doubt, some measure of insight and thoughtful reflection would greatly assist in this process.

Gee whiz! The issue being addressed is harassment. Harassment is the problem in the first instance. Added to this is the far more serious issue of sexual assault. No civil society will tolerate this.

Lol. Irony deficit. Also i got first call, the difference between making an observation grounded in reality and using things as sticks to beat your enemies with regardless of whether they're warranted or not. Don't let that stop you though, I know you can't.

Civil society, right. You mean like the one where you assume that people are either for you or they're for the enemies of anarchism, that merely to not revere the self-appointed anarchy police is to be guilty of whatever they choose to accuse you of, and to do that while pontificating about other people's real or supposed bullying and harrassment?

Or do you mean the one where you go down on record as caring about harrassment and bullying primarily as a stick to beat your enemies with only after attempting to harass and bully someone yourself and threatening to 'denounce' them for sexual harrassment when they suggest they might write a critique of your organisation? Maybe it's the one where you conveniently ignore/forget that they were a member if the organisation of which you are a prominent member immediately prior to the alleged incidence of harassment, which if anything would seem to point back to the actual culture of bullying and harassment in your own organisation. Maybe that explains why it has such a massive turnover of membership and as many members as it has had congresses.

At least one of the members of the Camp Anarchy grievance committee feels that this kind of conduct is perfectly consistent with the ideals of the safer spaces policy, if her posts on Kieran's Review are anything to go by. This seems like a pretty selective application, which could well be indicative of, I don't know, ableism?

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Feb 18 2013 11:55

Right, so a potentially good and productive discussion has been derailed. Again.

That probably points to the discussion needing to take place offline or under better rules of conduct. Personally I use this forum to help sharpen ideas, and exchanging (worthwhile) resources and points-of-view is a good way of doing this before I take it to such a meeting. It would be nice if people showed self-restraint.

@Caterpillar: Don't know if you want to continue in this thread (I'm pretty reluctant), but I think you've put a very good challenge when you asked about "dealing with things like sexual assaults which (unlike harassment) often leave no evidence."

Clearly groups like the ASF, MAC & IWW are ill-equipped to take an evidential approach to something like sexual assault, and and I can't see the utility of wanting such an approach anyway. The situation we typically face is dealing with the aftermath of an assault (or other grievances).

The failure has been adequate systems of support and response, and the problem is not one of conducting trials to determine guilt. Therefore we should have an adequate system of support and response.

The reason why I don't think Safer Spaces policies cut it, is because they absolve those in positions of responsibility of accounting for organisational decisions. I think we agree that these decisions have lead to repeated failures. Safer Spaces concentrates on individual conduct that hasn't had much impact or relevance on the more serious situations (both here and overseas). Responsibility and calls for support dissipates into a non-existent 'anarchist community', with no-one in particular to blame when not much is done.

Structures of support and resolution require time and energy that may fall outside of the limited basis for association – MAC, I would guess, does not want to be a society in microcosm.

If you took local examples, groups like MAC, IWW and the ASF could have an agreement on definitions, appropriate responses and an understanding of our scope for dealing with certain things. All it requires is a proposal and initiative. Oh, and the will.

Practically, this would probably mean an agreement to mutually enforce bans, agreeing on a good set of protocols for response and maybe a list of resources. I don't think you can predetermine the responses as the needs of survivors (or others) would probably vary considerably, and it'd be laughable if we had the Delegate for Emotional Support. More likely it would mean collectively making a decision amongst groups when asked for a collective response from someone who has (for example) been sexually assaulted by someone likely to go to our events, meetings or are members of our groups.

This does avoid what we should do when one person accuses another of assault when the other party denies it, and refuses to abstain from meetings and events. I don't think that's the most pressing issue, although it would be good to hear ideas!

P.S. I'm seeing one of the people who wrote the conflict resolution documents this week, so I'll ask her if she still has any. She's pretty good with these things, so she might have even more relevant stuff.

ites's picture
ites
Offline
Joined: 10-02-11
Feb 18 2013 13:08
Lumpen wrote:
Right, so a potentially good and productive discussion has been derailed. Again.

I know what you mean, I too hate it when people keep interrupting with the facts. You could always try reigning in your glorious captain and king once in a blue moon.

Maybe you can work on your shitty dispute resolution processes at the same time - in the case of ASF in particular, try implementing some (I suggested one possible model in a different thread). Adopting a general strategy of talking to people rather than about them and initiating mediation with impartial third parties in lieu of proceeding straight to formal complaints might also help the anarchyist ghetto to avoid becoming so chaotic that it turns into a parody of itself.