OCCUPY WALL STREET COMMUNITY AGREEMENT

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Working Group (if applicable) : _Safer Spaces_________
Contact Email:

This is a Proposal for:      Spokes Council 02.20.12

OCCUPY WALL STREET COMMUNITY AGREEMENT

Proposed to OWS Spokes Council by Safer Spaces Work Group revised as of 02.20.12;
to be made available in multiple languages

I. Statement of Intention on Entering the Space

I enter each OWS space with a commitment to:

    • mutual respect and support
    • anti-oppression
    • conflict resolution
    • nonviolence
    • direct democracy

I:

  1. support the empowerment of each person to challenge the histories and structures of oppression that marginalize some, and divide us all .  These may include racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, religious discrimination, ageism, and ableism, among others.
  2. commit to learning about different forms of oppression.
  3. understand individual freedoms are not above our collective safety, well-being, and ability to function cooperatively; individual freedom without responsibility to the community is not the OWS way.
  4. accept the decision of the community if I am not able to follow the agreements below.

II. AGREEMENTS

            A. Commitment to Accessibility, Consent and Anti-Oppression

We will:

  1. provide physical and language access to OWS spaces, and make resources equally available to all.
  2. not use physical or verbal violence or threats.
  3. get clear permission before touching other people or using their things.
  4. not use substances in our spaces that may attract the police and cause harm to our community.
  5. acknowledge that some people in our community are more vulnerable to police or hospital interaction*, and accept that calling the police or an ambulance is a decision to be made by the person most affected; this does not apply when someone is in critical condition or unable to give permission.
  6. respect each person’s expressed name and identities and their choice of whether to share that information. We will do our best not to make assumptions about identity–race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, abilities, or class, among others–based on a person’s appearance.
  7. be aware of how prejudice and structures of oppression affect our speech and actions, including the ways power and privilege are related to race, gender, physical ability, immigration status, wealth, and/or sexuality, among other identities.
  8. show compassion and respect to our comrades, especially those who have experienced trauma, abuse, or oppression. We will not shout people down, dismiss oppression, or engage in other dominating or aggressive behavior.
  9. respect diverse styles of speaking, learning, and interacting that may not align with the dominant culture and make space for all to communicate.
  10. acknowledge that each person comes to our space with different experiences. So while we may not intend to hurt other people by our words or actions, this can still happen. We agree that it’s an act of solidarity to listen and not reply right away when a person or group of people say they feel oppressed by our words or actions.
  11. not tolerate police informants who intend to undermine OWS goals, and we will not accuse others of informing or otherwise working for law enforcement agencies to undermine OWS without concrete evidence.

* because of race, documentation status, immigration status, gender, economic situation, age, criminal justice  or medical history, and experience of police violence.

            B. Commitment to Conflict Resolution &  Accountability

We will:

  1. do our best to hold ourselves and each other accountable to these agreements.
  2. express concerns about violations based on how they affect us or others, without judgment of intent.
  3. participate in a conflict resolution process when asked to by the community, and develop transformative ways to address harm.
  4. be guided by decisions of the person harmed while providing all involved the chance to change the cycles of abuse and violence.
  5. agree that sometimes a situation is important enough to stop a meeting immediately to address concerns.
  6. make every effort to understand and be open as a community to change.
  7. put in place an OWS de-escalation process if anyone disrespects these agreements. We may choose to remove the person(s) from the meeting or other OWS space until the harm has been addressed.
  8. remove people who have committed sexual violence or abuse and let the survivor decide the conditions for their return. We understand that they may not be able to return.
  9. understand that people who have committed harm in or outside OWS that prevents the participation of others may need to leave until the harm has been addressed.
  10. work to coordinate with organizations chosen by our community to assist individuals who have committed abuse or violence, or those who want to overcome addiction.
  11. begin each meeting with a reminder of these agreements

6 Responses to “OCCUPY WALL STREET COMMUNITY AGREEMENT”

  1. sumumba

    great idea…i just wonder how the ‘TEXT BOOK PC/BLOCKER’S CAUCUS’ will try to block it… :(

    • Sean McKeown

      Aeparate point was added on sharing proof of safety concerns. Not entirely sure snitchwire covers exactly our interests and concerns whole cloth.

  2. Melanie

    To clarify, WOW was not blocking this proposal. We are ecstatic that it passed. However, the last minute amendment to one of the bullet points was improperly introduced, and consensus was forced with no time to discuss this. The bullet points now read as follows:

    mutual respect and support
    anti-oppression
    conflict resolution
    nonviolence TOWARDS EACH OTHER
    direct democracy

    The members of WOW who were present that evening stand behind our block. The block was based on perceived intent to compromise the principle of nonviolence by the addition of the words “towards each other”, and the way the amendment was made by being inserted without time for any discussion whatsoever. We felt this was an inappropriate way to introduce an amendment since no conversation was possible before the space closed for the night. Shutting down discussion is not what consensus is about.

  3. fengler

    I can speak for Safer Spaces in saying that we encourage discussion about all topics in the Community Agreement to continue. The only way it will become practice is if we ALL continue the discussion. We would like to see many of these topics workshopped and are in the process of reaching out to other groups to take on some of that responsibility.

    I speak for myself when I say that nonviolence is addressed in Part II A. #2 and also by taking the document as a whole. I feel the intent is clear when you don’t isolate a bullet-point. Bullet points have been added, removed, and edited with every version of the document. I’d say that there wasn’t much time to discuss any of the friendly amendments and we tried to use temperature checks to at least get a feeling from the room on almost every point. I don’t think any of the amendments changed the tone of the document.