Camp Anarchy Safer Spaces Policy

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caterpillar
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Feb 19 2013 02:31

Lumpen, I am finding this discussion quite useful, so for now I'm just going to ignore attempts to derail. Whenever discussions around this issue take place publicly there are a lot of deliberate attempts to derail. I think this is often a political backlash against dealing with gendered violence and that it's important to continue having the discussions anyway. However if you have a suggestion for a better place for this discussion to happen that would be good. There will definitely be more discussions at camp anarchy, but I don't who will be attending that.

I'm still not quite understanding your criticism of Safer Spaces. To me the purpose of this seems fairly clear, which is to enable survivors to take part in specific events. On a personal level there are at least 3 people (2 of whom thankfully seem to have left the scene entirely) who I would be too scared to turn up to any event which they attended. It's not about broader community support or accountability for me, but simply to be able to attend such events. If there was a broader system in place that would be awesome, but in it's absence a good Safer Spaces policy like much better than nothing.

I have personally had on more than one occasion fight tooth and nail to be believed and against campaigns by perpetrators to bully me out of the movement. So has pretty much anyone I've ever known who's been subjected to gendered violence. To me being in a situation where survivors are simply given the benefit of the doubt and their right to participate prioritised is incredibly empowering.

I agree that it would be useful to have some kind of agreement between groups like MAC, ASF and IWW to deal with people who skip from group to group. However in my experience this isn't really the first problem that comes up. I feel like people taking abuse seriously, treating it as a political rather than personal matter, believing survivors, not covering for perpetrators and being willing to take any action at all are things that most groups/individuals just aren't willing to do yet.

I have not been involved in MAC or ASF so I don't know what they are like, but if they have gotten beyond these problems then they are way ahead of any other organisation I've come across. Which means that before they start making agreements with other groups those groups have a lot of catching up to do. Having said that, if groups were to start working on some kind of project like that it might help to challenge internal culture as well. So long as it didn't become a cover for groups who refuse to take responsibility for members who have perpetrated violence etc.

Anyway I would definitely like to the conflict resolution documents etc if you get hold of them.

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ites
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Feb 19 2013 03:01

admin: off topic attack on an individual removed. Form guidelines state people should play the ball, not the person

ites's picture
ites
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Feb 19 2013 04:15

admin: personal attack removed. Do not do this again

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bounce
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Feb 19 2013 03:47

Having ites attempt to make every thread about him is getting a little old. It would nice to be able to have a discussion on here that wasn't trolled by him.

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ites
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Feb 19 2013 04:30

Hey, I'm in the room. I was busy doing organising work until you all decided to have me expelled. It's not my fault you can't take any responsibility for your shitty handling of this whole situation. I never asked either to be involved or misinformed, and whether it's convenient for you or not I'm still here. Sorry for existing.

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Lumpen
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Feb 19 2013 08:01
Caterpillar wrote:
I'm still not quite understanding your criticism of Safer Spaces. To me the purpose of this seems fairly clear, which is to enable survivors to take part in specific events.

I'm not opposed per se. As a strategy for maintaining a participatory space I've never seen it work or do the things it is supposed to. There is a lot of agreement on what behaviour is unacceptable, but not of self-reflection on organisation and its role.

The actual effect of trying to maintain "zero tolerance" has been to police people out of spaces that don't fit in while avoiding an accountable process (I thought this was especially bad at The Wake a few years ago). It also devolved into an insistance that difference of opinion can be oppressive, especially in the absence of real problems to deal with.

Secondly, the strength of the policies depends on the organisation behind it. Generally speaking, the policy replaces organisation1 , but I have heard incidences of both (the article I linked earlier by Romana about the NYC bookfair seemed like a good example).

The aims of the policy are worth supporting. Not being privy to the organisation but in a position to take an educated guess, I doubt alternatives have been seriously considered. I don't have any interest in Camp Anarchy2, but inasmuch as good strategies would be useful to anarchist groups, I'd like to hear how their effectiveness can be measured and what critical thinking has been applied either here or elsewhere.

Thirdly, it doesn't seem useful to conflate behavioural expectations with responding to the needs of participants.

Caterpillar wrote:
It's not about broader community support or accountability for me, but simply to be able to attend such events.

Yep, I hear you. I'm not arguing for an absence of strategy. My eyes are on the future and looking at effectively addressing these problems in the long term. Hopefully this is not in conflict with addressing participation in the short term. Being critical of Safer Spaces doesn't mean I'd try blockade CA or anything. Just don't reckon it's the best solution. I'm open to the argument that it's part of the mix of the solution. Undoubtedly there are good elements, and this particular one is better than others I've seen.

Caterpillar wrote:
have not been involved in MAC or ASF so I don't know what they are like, but if they have gotten beyond these problems then they are way ahead of any other organisation I've come across. Which means that before they start making agreements with other groups those groups have a lot of catching up to do.

I wouldn't say that! There has been improvement, though. The solution and approach probably will not be contained in any one group, but through agreements amongst groups of permanent standing. Naming the problem would be the first step.

  • 1. Ah, but what do I mean by organisation? I mean individuals permanently accountable and answerable to a group. As I said earlier, these temporary events are often assumed to be inherently good or benign.
  • 2. An open invitation to anyone with no definition of anarchy, no clear aims or methods for achieving them and all at an isolated site with limited means of escape? I once had a nightmare like that!
PierreLaporte
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Feb 19 2013 11:36
bounce wrote:
Having ites attempt to make every thread about him is getting a little old. It would nice to be able to have a discussion on here that wasn't trolled by him.

Long time reader first time poster, just wanted to say I agree. I think this entire sub-forum has been derailed at this point.

dicegeorge
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Joined: 18-02-14
Feb 18 2014 15:13

We've 'borrowed' almost all of these words for http://www.rainbowcircle.co.uk/safer-space.html , thanks!
[George]