Safer Spaces Invitation

SSI word doc. download

Welcome to Black Rose, an anarchist library & social centre

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation as the traditional custodians of this land and challenge the privilege we have as occupiers. We stand in solidarity with struggles historical and ongoing against the violence and repression of the white colonial state.

 We live in an oppressive, hierarchical society. We are part of this society, but a part which wishes to challenge and improve it, starting from our spaces. This is our Safer Spaces Invitation. We want to express in this document the kind of culture we work towards creating in the space and invite you to be a part of it. We would like to foster an inclusive anti authoritarian space which is a safe environment for all. This means actively challenging dominating, exclusionary or oppressive behaviour, including but not limited to transphobia, queerphobia, sexism, racism, ableism, whorephobia, ageism and prejudice based on appearance, language ability, asylum status, class, or lifestyle. If you’re unsure about what any of the ‘isms’ or other concepts listed above exactly mean, that’s fair enough. If you don’t make an effort to find out though, and to challenge the indirect (or direct) ways you perpetuate those oppressions, that’s not fair and you risk alienating some people from the space. We all (to varying degrees) reproduce patterns of domination and hierarchy through our behaviours, unless we challenge them and try to find ways to deal with them. Broadly, safety is about having our personal boundaries respected- this includes physical and emotional boundaries. If you are unsure about approaching someone physically or otherwise, seek active consent. We fully encourage people to raise concerns with others whose behaviour they see or feel as unsafe in any way, whether it directly affects them or not. Challenging people’s behaviour can help make our spaces safer and better, especially done in a constructive manner (eg. with humour, having a one on one chat, opening up a discussion, recommending a reading). If someone doesn’t feel up to doing this, or that they are uncomfortable in a situation that arises, they can look to Black Rose collective members and others for direct support, or raise concerns at another time (in persyn, in a letter or by email). We ask people to remain open minded if others raise concerns with them. Being open to challenging our attitudes and beliefs and being sensitive to the experiences of others are important skills for us to develop. Remember, having your behaviour challenged does not make you evil, it means we all have something to learn. It is often an opportunity to grow. We ask everyone who participates in the space (whether its once for coffee, every week for a discussion, whether they’re a collective member) to take responsibility for themselves in engaging with the points made here and to respectfully help people around them to do so. At the same time, we ask people to be mindful of the limitations to this project. Black Rose is currently conceived of as an entry point into radical politics. It is also a shop front on a busy street, meaning all different kinds of people come through here, all at different places on their radical/political paths. We realise that conflict will ultimately arise, and learning how to deal with it in a way that is healing and meets the needs of those affected is one of the most critical skills we have to develop as a social centre and as a community. If a conflict arises (depending on the wishes of the persyn/people affected) a discussion or mediation process is encouraged. If a serious violation happens, the perpetrator can be asked to leave the space.Heavy intoxication is not welcome in this shared space. On sexual violence The current Black Rose collective is not a political organisation and generally does not take representative positions on things. That said, the issue of sexual violence and community response (or lack thereof) is a major part of why spaces are not safe for many and as a visible part of the radical community, we find it necessary to state our position on sexual violence clearly and openly. As a political stance, we will believe and listen to survivors of sexual assault. We commit to communicating with survivors, mediators, or friends and to following where possible their recommendations as to the steps the radical community should take to help with the healing and/or continued participation of those involved. Furthermore, we see education around consent, rape culture, gender violence and sexual assault as critical. We will promote events run on these issues on our social media and in the space, and make the space available for community members to host such events. * This document was inspired by the past few months of organising this space and other Safer Spaces Invitations. Giving this stuff meaning in practice is the hardest part. By accepting this invitation, we expect you will continue to think about and engage with the points made here.