by Milla (May, 2008)
i’m banned from – in the following order- : a mailing list, forum,
conflict resolution group, the house.
in the helsinki, finland, squatting movement.
because of speaking of sexism.
woke up this morning. crying again. the evening before i had spent
outside in the chilly finnish soft-green spring. waiting outside the
squat during the house meeting. waiting for an opportunity to speak
with my own words. i was there for the third time.
two persons mediating on my part. about five persons inside at the
meeting blocking me from going in to say something. the usual: of
people speaking for the persons who feel angry and upset about me, and
that they should have a right not to see me. and the usual strange
statements about what i had done or said, without me having any
possibility of responding directly. no opportunity to neither
apologize nor correct any wrong. there were persons upset about the
fact that i was waiting outside and still could not get in to say
anything myself. and this felt good. there are others looking for a
when hearing that a person from the conflict resolution group actively
had voted for me to not have my own say (when i in a mail, had urged
the persons from the group to support me in this). and well the whole
business of there not being clear original reasons for why i got
banned, and that there are just new vague statements and reasons being
made up all the time. no direct contact. a protective bureaucracy:
working for actual individuals responsible for dominant authoritarian
behavior, clear incidents that can be addressed, but are not talked
about. it doesn’t seem to matter what actually has happened, and who
did what. i was even told by one person that it didn’t matter if i’m
right or wrong. that he thinks that i’m usually right about things.
two persons have encouraged me to just walk in. and having all belief
in just and fair treatment crumbling (i gave it 3 shots! several hours
in the cold.) the politics kept up by – whoever calls themselves a
part of this community – is not what i want to represent. several
persons seeing the same thing happening. some vague intention towards
democratic decision making, backfiring miserably.
i felt a great sadness. and leaving, i made the decision, to walk in
the following day. i wanted to see what would happen, i also wanted to
bring the type of politics i wish for this place, in to the house.
also that i have as much right to be there as the persons responsible
in creating this conflict. (the person banning me from the mailing
list, all the persons working actively and aggressively against
dialogue, the persons silencing me.)
so. waking up. crying. trying to call a supportive person to come with
me, but the phone not working. so. spontaneously grabbing the
megaphone. walking to the squat. sitting on a rock outside the entry.
starting to speak. a group of ten persons or less came out. i was
speaking randomly about how i felt. and the distrust i had in the
political process of the place. i talked about trauma, and crying. and
a belief in that there is a will for something different in the
persons hanging around and working and hopefully caring for one
another in this place. that it’s not just some youth culture, but
something… i don’t know. great. i talked about being tired of not
having the right to speak. about standing outside the house meeting 3
times without having an opportunity to speak for myself. how i had
experienced isolation and bullying. that i was tired of the shit talk.
i also said that i didn’t really know what i was going to do. maybe a
naked demo. maybe try to get inside the house.
and i sat some minutes in the sun. then i just walked in.
i had a look around. and then tried to speak with a woman who had been
supportive before. but she wasn’t comfortable speaking with me, so i
asked if she wanted me to leave her alone, and she did, so i walked
i took my clothes off. took a pen. made a heart on my chest. wrote
“peace” on my stomach. and wrote “right to speak” on one leg. and
“wanting dialogue” on the other.
one woman came to me and said i should leave. she didn’t have anything
personally against me, but said she was speaking for the community. we
talked for a while. i stated that the bans were unjustified. and
talking about the lack of democracy.
later. two persons came and said that either i walk out, or i get
carried out. that it’s my choice. i suggested we could dance instead.
and danced a little. they carried my clothes outside. and then tried
to drag me out. but i wriggled and turned. and then they left me lying
on the floor. i got up and danced a little more. one of them turned
the music off. so i started stretching a bit instead.
they got the people in the house together. telling me that i should
leave. that the house meeting have made decisions. i stated once
again. that i had no trust in the decision making processes of the
house. that they are only there to protect dominant figures. that i
had been bullied for a long time. and that i want the right to speech.
that my demonstration was about that.
one of the persons who tried to drag me out, said that i was just a
big problem, not being able to work with anybody, making problems for
everybody who are trying to solve the conflict. my point of view was
the impossible bureaucracy, and the unfairness of the bans. when i
talked about trauma. this person said “we” don’t care. two persons
stated “i do”. which felt good to hear. i also talked about the hard
work i’ve been putting in to getting a conflict resolution going, but
that it just wasn’t working when persons from the conflict resolution
group are working against me. and that this issue is not about me.
it’s about internal group oppression, and that i’m facing a lot of it,
but that it’s a structure that’s there for everybody in the group.
something making everybody conform to it. that it’s a serious group
problem. i also told the person who said he didn’t care, that i had
been contacting the conflict resolution group in hope of getting help
with dealing with several conflicts. one of them concerning him and
his dominant behavior. he said this information was confidential. i
said it was not. because it’s my information, and i can share it with
well. in the end. i got one woman to take my phone number. there’s a
lot of new people in the house. lacking opinion. and having
difficulties making up their mind about the matter (especially since
i’m not allowed to speak for myself) so she said she would talk to
more persons. and they could come over to my place and hear my point
which felt really nice.
otherwise: i liked the way the house looked. it seemed to be a
after exchanging phone numbers with the woman, i walked out and put my
i felt better. so. i’m happy i did the demo. very unprepared and
spontaneous. like regular everyday life.
ps. i did a naked demo, because i thought it would decrease the risk
of violence and aggression. i don’t know if it made any difference.