Update – written statement for dec13

i’ve asked (pushed! and pleaded) for people who can’t attend the meeting dec13 to write some statement.

here’s Jules:

From Jules
Hi all. I want to contribute a bit to the discussion on the
conflicts in the hki social center movement involving Milla
Ahola, although i can’t be there on saturday 13th.

Summary (if you’re too tired/lazy to read it all):
I’m really reluctand to take stands in these (or any) conflicts: It
feels like everyone is just taking stands all the time
and no-one is actually trying to discuss or figure out what reality
the other person comes from. Bohoo, i’m a sad hippie.
No-one dies of being attacked with criticism. Your strengths are
often your biggest weaknesses as well.
EF! magazine has a good-looking anti-oppression policy, have a look
at it:
http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/section.php?id=6
I also recommend everyone to read this easy-to-understand text on
victimization:
http://archive.tamaracksong.org/view.html?page=Victim%20One,%20Victi
ms%20All.htm&title=Victim%20One,%20Victims%20All

Milla, you have been acting in unrespectful ways towards many
persons; which you have aknowledged at least in
part. You have just not gotten away with it in the way others have.
This shows that there’s clearly a sexistic power
imbalance in the ‘scene’. The people might not be consciously
sexist, but the structure created by this imbalance of
tolerance & power is clearly sexistic, and needs to be dealt with.
Ultimately, conflict resolution cannot be prioritized away (and
even less antisexism) as “less important”.
Both of these are things that Milla has expressed interest in
helping with, providing models for and educating about;
but if you don’t like her (or someone else’s) approach, then that’s
a reason to do some own research and self-education. This concerns
everyone! This concerns you!
I’m not able to criticize because i would be better than somebody
else, but because anyone can. I’ve made some attempts at doing
something about these conflicts, but i’ve never been consistent in
any way. This is something i project on the process in general, the
scene in general, and the people involved. Maybe someone else can
deem
how much it is true, but i think it might well be, at least partly.
I think it is unrealistic to think that this one meeting is gonna
get very much sorted out (it might easily wind up being quite
frustrating), so it needs some continuation. It would be good to
lay out a structured plan for how the process will proceed, who
will do what when etc. Easy for me to say when i’m far away from it
all…
End of summary.

I’m really reluctand to take stands in these (or any) conflicts: It
feels like everyone is just taking stands all the time and no-one
is actually trying to discuss or figure out what reality the other
person comes from. Bohoo, i’m a sad hippie. I see a lot of things
as consequences of the state of constant confusion that the social
center/squat/whtever scene is in. It is an aspect of this
‘movement’ that is a strength, and over the years i’ve come to
appreciate it,
although it can be frustrating sometimes. But your strengths are
often your biggest weaknesses as well (“whatever way you turn your
ass is always backwards”: ), and this also applies on the personal
level. Just for everyone to think about.
I think there is lots that could be done better with the help of
more structure in the “pseudocommunity” of this scene, including
dealing with conflicts, also these conflicts. Maybe there’s a limit
to how much structure it’s good to have in this project. Personally
i believe more in culture than in structure, but this scene/project
is maybe not stable enough for a strong, functional, healthy
culture to grow, or to create structure “spontaneously”. Anyway,
although there might be limits to how much structure it’s good to
have, there already is some, and there’s also clearly some not
working stuff in the structures. Also, in the loopholes there are
clearly informal structures that are not outspoken or analyzed. I
have heard people small-talking before meetings about the need to
“see to that the meeting goes in the right direction”, and in
general i think there’s a slight phobia (though it has gotten
better over time) towards opening up discussion over goals,
strategies or tactics.
i’m not sure i want to name people. That is because there seems to
be a slight phobia towards criticism as well. Although i can
understand it, i think it still needs to be worked on. No-one dies
of being attacked with criticism. Especially not heterosexual white
males.
If all this talk about structure is a bit vague, what i mean is:
how to as a group deal with conflicts like these ones in a
constructive way? How to as a group deal with sexism and other
forms of oppression? With power imbalances? With emotional
frictions?

I think it’s good for everyone to actively read up on these stuffs
themselves, there’s lots of good material out there, even though it
might take a little searching and effort. Workshops and discussions
with others would also be good, so that people develop an
understanding of each others’ thoughts (this would in general be
great to see more in the ‘scene’).

I think one major imbalance in the ‘scene’ is that new (& old)
initiatives tend to become the work of a few people that also are
dedicated to a lot of other things, not the least their own lives.
It would be great in general if some less occupied people could
take the initiative, acquire the resources they need and make
something happen.
This is not necessarily rewarded by the structure/culture of the
scene, so i hope it would be rewarding in itself. I have no
blueprint for how to make the culture support people to learn and
take initiative. maybe a good beginning could be for people to get
to know each other and each other’s ideas more, to build up trust
and connection. If this is only done with your close pals (the
usual situation), it doesn’t make sense to do inclusive projects
with more people than your close pals!

i just found this anti-oppression policy from the Earth First!
Magazine. Since the whole squat/social center/whtevar project seems
to be in need of tools for anti-sexism and anti-oppression work,
please have a look at it:

http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/section.php?id=6

I recommend everyone to read it! It’s easy to understand, i think
it could easily be adapted, it has lots of great points and could
be a good starting point. Sadly i don’t have anything more concrete
i know to work, and i don’t know if there’s any method without
drawbacks. But there’s lots written about these subjects, so go
find out!
Search words: restorative justice, conflict resolution, community
response to sexual assault, anti-oppression work, you get it.

Ultimately, conflict resolution cannot be prioritized away (and
even less antisexism) as “less important”.
Both of these areas of community work are things Milla has
expressed interest in helping with, providing models for and
educating about; but if you don’t like her (or someone else’s)
approach, then that’s a reason to do some own research and self-
education. This concerns everyone! This concerns you!

I also recommend everyone to read this easy-to-understand text on
victimization:

http://archive.tamaracksong.org/view.html?page=Victim%20One,%20Victi
ms%20All.htm&title=Victim%20One,%20Victims%20All

Nonviolent Communication is also very useful to read up on, i
recommend the book with the same name by Marshall B. Rosenberg.

As i said, i don’t like to take stands in these conflicts, but i
suppose i can’t just run away from it, so here’s some personal,
subjective opinions of mine:

-Micke, i think, regardless of what you feel (which you are
entitled to), you tend to act defensively/martyrically in your
interaction with Milla. Milla, i think you have disrespected
Micke’s boundaries an awful lot. Being mad or alcoholic doesn’t
justify it, or anything else.

-Milla, you have been acting in unrespectful ways towards many
persons; which you have aknowledged at least in part. You have just
not gotten away with it in the way others have. This shows that
there’s clearly a sexistic power imbalance in the scene.
You tend to act aggressively towards people expressing differing
points of view (cutting off, labeling, not listening); regardless
of if you’re right or wrong, i feel alienated by it (also when
witnessing it from the side, which is what i’ve mostly done). This
might also describe what others are feeling.
I think it would also be good for you not f.ex. post 20 long
messages in one day to a mailing list: it’s not practical for
anyone, it might not be the purpose of the list, it’s overkill and
it doesn’t exactly foster reciprocal discussion. Long texts are
better published on a blog f.ex.

-re: the “solidarity call and response: The main problem with The
Response is that it’s colored with personal interest (i.e. it’s
defensive). The solidarity call was alright, and pointing out that
Milla’s actions are controversial & that there are other views is
also alright, but to make it into ‘Milla vs. Scene’ is
unproductive, and assumes one person can speak for the “common
will” of the scene.

-I’m ultimately not interested in ‘what really happened’.
Addressing the involved people’s feelings is more important.
And this should be done on an individual level – there isn’t a
“consensus of emotions”.

-So far, the ‘Conflict Resolution Process’ has gone forward only
because Milla’s been pushing & working on it all the time. The
Conflict Resolution group would need a clearer vision & process,
and more dedication, preferably from people not overworked with all
the other stuff. See above.
I think it is anyway quite unrealistic to think that this one
meeting is gonna get very much sorted out (it might easily wind up
being quite frustrating), so it needs some continuation. It would
be good to lay out a structured plan for how the process will
proceed, who will do what when etc. Easy for me to say when i’m far
away from it all…

-Yakup, i think you would benefit from adopting a less self-
righteous & self-glorifying attitude. Your interaction with Milla
seems to be characterized by an inability to consider that you
might be wrong on anything.

-Aleksi, i think you have a tendency to get frustrated and cut off
discussion quite fast, in many areas. It’s quite alienating, and
suppresses the stuff to boil under the surface instead, which isn’t
exactly constructive.
I’d really want to help you deal with facing your personal issues,
because i see some of them as quite problematic, but i don’t
really know where to start. You can contact me if you want to. I
don’t wan’t this to sound like ridiculing or psychologizing. I’m no
fucking therapist, i’m just me.

-There are lots of people ‘in the scene’, from the center (which it
has!) to the fringe, with lots of issues or ‘political
incorrectness’ – but they are tolerated. Milla, but not only Milla,
is seen as too dangerous to also be allowed this, for some reason.
Antifeminism, and persons with such views, are not seen as
dangerous, and tolerated. The behaviours tolerated range from
domineering behavior, to disrespect for unprivileged persons, to
violating of people’s personal boundaries. These are all typical
expressions of patriarchal power, and perpetuate sexism. The
persons might not be consciously sexist, but the structure created
by this imbalance of tolerance & power is clearly sexistic, and
needs to be dealt with.

This text has become rather long.
I’m not exactly impressed with how the social center
pesudocommunity has handled this conflict. I’m not exactly
impressed with how i’ve handled it myself either (I’m not able to
criticize because i would be better than somebody else, but because
anyone can.). I’ve made some attempts, but i’ve never been
consistent in any way (in thought, in
action, in accountability, in communication, in criticism, in
initiative, in accountability. Yes, i wrote accountability twice),
so it hasn’t helped much. This is something i project on the
process in general, the scene in general, and the people involved.
Maybe someone else can deem how much it is true, but i think it
might well be, at least partly.
My opinion right now is, that to deal with these conflicts in a
restorative way, might need consequent, strong facilitation of the
process, holding both parts in any one conflict accountable.
Because nothing such is gonna fall from the sky into my hands, this
will demand Time, Energy and Resources, a lot. In other words, it
will be ‘uneconomical’, or ‘costly’. But whether one does anything
or not, the only way to make a conflict like this pay back even a
bit, is to learn as much as you can from it. It doesn’t pay back to
avoid it.

Love & Anarchy,
Jules

End

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One Response

  1. […] >> Ignored !! ;  Jules >> Ignored !! ;  Zagu >> Ignored […]

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