OCCUPY WALL STREET COMMUNITY AGREEMENT
Proposed to OWS Spokes Council by Safer Spaces Operational Working Group.
Approved by OWS Spokes Council 2/22/12
I. Statement of Intention on Entering the Space
We enter each OWS space with a commitment to:
- mutual respect and support
- conflict resolution
- nonviolence towards each other
- direct democracy
- support the empowerment of each person to challenge the histories and structures of oppression that marginalize some, and divide us all . These may include ableism, ageism, classism, heterosexism, racism, religious discrimination, sexism, transphobia, xenophobia, and among others.
- commit to learning about different forms of oppression.
- 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.
- accept the decision of the community if we are not able to follow the agreements below.
A. Commitment to Accessibility, Consent and Anti-Oppression
- do our best to provide physical and language access to OWS spaces, and make resources equally available to all.
- not use physical or verbal violence or threats.
- get clear permission before touching other people or using their things.
- not use substances in our spaces that may attract the police and cause harm to our community.
- 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.
- 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–abilities, age, class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or among others–based on a person’s appearance.
- 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.
- show compassion and respect to each other, especially those who have experienced trauma, abuse, or oppression. We will not:
- shout people down
- dismiss oppression
- engage in other dominating or aggressive behavior.
- respect diverse styles of speaking, learning, and interacting that may not align with the dominant culture and make space for all to communicate.
- 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.
- 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 age, criminal justice or medical history, documentation status, economic situation, experience of police violence, gender, immigration status, and race.
B. Commitment to Conflict Resolution & Accountability
- do our best to hold ourselves and each other accountable to these agreements.
- express concerns about violations based on how they affect us or others, without judgment of intent.
- participate in a conflict resolution process when asked to by the community, and develop transformative ways to address harm.
- be guided by decisions of the person harmed while providing all involved the chance to change the cycles of abuse and violence.
- agree that sometimes a situation is important enough to stop a meeting immediately to address concerns.
- make every effort to understand and be open as a community to change.
- put in place an OWS de-escalation process to engage with anyone who disrespects these agreements. We may choose to remove the person(s) from the meeting or other OWS space until the harm has been addressed.
- 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.
- 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.
- commit to keeping each other informed about known and documented safety issues within the OWS community.
- 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.
- begin each meeting with a reminder of these agreements