Open discussion is at the heart of our Occupation and our decision-making process. The more people we can involve in our debates, the stronger and more representative the results will be.
Occupy London wants to operate and conduct our discussions in a safe anti-oppressive space – whether offline or online – that is welcoming, engaging and supportive.
The following are the two Safe Spaces policies that have been passed at each of the camps. The two statements are not mutually exclusive and are both works in progress.
OCCUPY FINSBURY SQUARE SAFER SPACES POLICY (RATIFIED BY GA 28/10/11)
- Everyone deserves and has the right to feel safe. This camp will not tolerate abusive behavior. Accordingly we ask that people treat each other as they would wish to be treated – with respect and tolerance.
- Never touch someone without their permission. If you are unclear whether you have permission or not, then don’t.
- Be aware of the connotations of your language. Many common expressions use discriminatory language so think before speaking.
- Do not make assumptions about anyone’s gender, pronouns, sexual preference, abilities, ethnic identity, survivor status, or life experiences. Do not be derogatory to anyone about these things.
- Be prepared to challenge hateful, discriminatory, or oppressive language.
- If you are challenged, do not become defensive, but listen and think and learn.
- Be aware of your own privileges when engaging in discussions. Others did not necessarily have what you did or the same life that you have had. Do not deny the validity of other people’s experiences.
- Do not film or video people without their permission.
- Do not speak over or interrupt other people.
- Take care of yourself mentally and physically. Know where to get support and identify where First Aid is available on the camp.
- Respect others’ need to safely negotiate the site. Keep access routes clear of rubbish and clutter so that people of all abilities can safely move through the space.
- The camp environment can be very intense. If you feel exhausted or stressed take time to take a break from the camp – go for a walk, visit a friend, or phone somebody close to you.
Please help us to maintain the camp as a place of safety and mutual respect. People who violate this policy may be asked to leave the camp.
OCCUPY LSX SAFER SPACES POLICY (RATIFIED BY GA 12/11/11)
In order to ensure this we feel it is necessary to establish some guidelines for participants. These have been agreed by the OccupyLSX General Assembly.
Please note that, as with all forms of direct democracy this policy is a work in progress and suggestions are welcome.
1. Racism, as well as ageism, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism or prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, gender presentation, language ability, asylum status or religious affiliation is unacceptable and will be challenged.
2. Respect each other’s physical and emotional boundaries, always get explicit verbal consent before touching someone or crossing boundaries.
3. Be aware of the space you take up and the positions and privileges you bring, including racial, class and gender privilege.
4. Avoid assuming the opinions and identifications of other participants.
5. Recognize that we try not to judge, put each other down or compete.
6. Be aware of the language you use in discussion and how you relate to others. Try to speak slowly and clearly and use uncomplicated language.
7. The group endeavors as much as is feasible to ensure that meeting spaces are as accessible as possible to the widest range of people.
8. Foster a spirit of mutual respect: Listen to the wisdom everyone brings to the group.
9. Give each person the time and space to speak. In large groups, or for groups using facilitation: Raise your hand to speak.
10. “Respect the person; challenge their behaviour.”
11. If someone violates these agreements a discussion or mediation process can happen, depending on the wishes of the person who was violated. If a serious violation happens to the extent that someone feels unsafe, they can be asked to leave the space and/or speak with a person or process nominated by those present.
12. Whilst ground rules are collective responsibility everyone is also personally responsible for their own behaviour.
13. Occupy London is an alcohol and drugs free space.