Occupy Wall Street Community Agreement (Jan 11, 2012) Proposed by Safer Spaces

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OCCUPY WALL STREET

COMMUNITY AGREEMENT

Proposed to OWS Spokescouncil
by the Safer Spaces Working Group January 9th, 2012 and revised for January 11th;
it will be made available in multiple languages

I. Statement of Intention Upon Entering the Space

 

I enter this space with a commitment to mutual respect, mutual aid, anti-oppression, conflict resolution, nonviolence, and direct democracy.

I recognize that I may still have a lot to learn about types of oppression and I commit to learn.

I support the empowerment of each person so that we can challenge the histories and structures of oppression that marginalize and divide us all, including racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, transphobia, religious discrimination, ageism, and ableism among others.

I hold myself accountable to community decisions and acknowledge that individual freedoms are not to supersede our collective safety, well-being, and ability to function cooperatively. Individual freedom without responsibility to the community is the way of the 1%.

I agree that if I violate any of the community agreements listed below, I will accept the decision of the community regarding my violation through a peace council or grievance process and may be required to remove myself from the physical space.

 

II. AGREEMENTS

   A. COMMITMENT TO ACCESSIBILITY, CONSENT,
AND ANTI-OPPRESSION

We commit to making OWS spaces physically and linguistically accessible to all.

We commit to making resources equally accessible to all.

We do not engage in violence or threats of violence, including verbal aggression.

We get explicit consent before interacting physically, or using others’ belongings.

We affirm that consent is not just the absence of a “no,” but the presence of a “yes.”

We acknowledge that different people in our community have different vulnerabilities to police or hospital interaction, due to their race, documentation status, immigration status, gender, economic situation, age, criminal justice or medical history, and experience with police violence.

We will not use substances inside this space that may attract the attention of police and risk harm to our community.

We affirm that in the event that a person is harmed, it is their discretion to involve the police or not. The decision to call an ambulance is also theirs.  This does not apply when someone is unconscious, their life is in immediate danger, or they are otherwise incapable of consenting.

We respect everyone’s names, preferred gender pronouns, and expressed identities.  We make no assumptions about someone’s identity, be it race, gender, age or class based on their appearance. We also understand that no one is required to share information about their identities.

We  commit to an ongoing awareness of how prejudice and the structures of oppression, including the ways unearned power and privilege (that accompany race, gender, physical ability. legal status, wealth, and/or sexuality, among other identites and forms of privilege) in this society affect our actions and decisions.

We recognize that certain behavior—such as shouting someone down in a meeting or dismissing experiences of oppression—can be triggering for survivors of sexual assault and/or those who have been on the receiving end of different and multiple forms of  oppression or abuse.

We commit to hearing each other and creating opportunities for all voices to be heard, especially those that have been historically marginalized or silenced.

B. COMMITMENT TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION
AND ACCOUNTABILITY

 

We accept a shared responsibility to hold one another and ourselves accountable to these agreements.  If we feel that an agreement is not being respected, we will express that concern without violence, judgment, or assumption of intent by others.

As a community, we commit to developing creative and transformative ways to address harm. When someone is harmed, we affirm that the experience and decisions of the person harmed will guide our responses and next steps, while allowing all parties involved to transform the cycles of abuse and violence.

Each meeting will begin with a reminder of these agreements, and reference will be made to them as needed.

We agree that issues may arise that take priority over the meeting agenda and space needs to be given to address them immediately. Such priority is needed to create and support an anti-oppressive space.

If an individual disrespects any of these community agreements we are empowered to collectively implement the OWS De-escalation Process or require the individual to participate in the OWS grievance process (once it is agreed upon). Either process once followed may result in an individual being asked to leave for a set or indefinite period of time, or until agreement has been reached about conditions for return. Refusal to respect either process and leave when asked could result in the individual being removed from the space.

Those who have committed harm in this space, or who have committed harm in the past and whose presence limits participation of others in this movement, may be asked to leave until the person has completed or is in compliance with an accountability process. We will work to coordinate with organizations that assist individuals who are overcoming addiction or who have committed abuse or violence.

 

 OWS De-escalation Process

(This 6 step process was designed by the Safety Cluster to address conflict
in the Zuccotti Park encampment.)

DISCOVER – any person sees what’s going on

CALM – Neighbors / friends step in to initiate dialogue

SUPPORT – Call out for support/security/medics—group members approach as team, support and safer spaces go in first, de-escalation backs them up, steps up if need be. These groups can help address basic comfort needs, or encourage person in distress to get medical support.  If can’t be resolved, go to next step.

DE-ESCALATE – de-escalation/security

PEACE COUNCIL –  1-2 reps each from de-escalation, safer spaces, medical, & support–assess for things like danger to self or others and responds appropriately.
(Harmed person or people will guide actions taken, and group makes decision together.)

ACTION – Strategies for accountability other actions decided on by the peace council (including community-wide awareness raising, community direct action, or options of ejection, and as last resort of EMS or off-site police involvement.)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES and READINGS

Community Accountability within the People of Color Progressive Movement by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence: incite-national.org/media/docs/2406_cmty-acc-poc.pdf

“Feeling for the Edge of Your Imagination: Finding Ways Not to Call the Police” by Imagine Alternatives: imaginealternatives.tumblr.com

Learning Good Consent zine: http://www.phillyspissed.net/node/32

NYC Coalition for Safer Spaces: saferspacesnyc.wordpress.com
“Rape Culture 101” by Melissa McEwan: shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html

The Revolution Starts at Home edited by Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, zine: incite-national.org/media/docs/0985_revolution-starts-at-home.pdf and book: http://www.southendpress.org/2010/items/87941

Support zine: phillyspissed.net/node/18

“Supporting a Survivor of Sexual Assault” by UBUNTU: iambecauseweare.wordpress.com/supporting-a-survivor-of-sexual-assault

“Taking the First Step: Suggestions for People Called Out for Abusive Behavior” Deal With it Journal (originally in Clamor Magazine): fruitiondesign.com/dealwithit/02wispy.php

Towards Transformative Justice by GenerationFIVE: generationfive.org/downloads/G5_Toward_Transformative_Justice.pdf
“White Supremacist System” by AWARE-LA: awarela.org/models/white-supremacist-system

 

 

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