The house is run in a non-profit, non-consumerist d i y – Do It Yourself – spirit. So even if some people have taken the initiative to open up this space in the city, and have taken care of some of the renovations, organized infoshop and café etc, we – the users of the space – are all responsible and have to take care of it and the people in it. This includes everything from getting involved in organization to taking care of everyday cleaning and atmosphere. The aim is to get away from hierarchies and cliques, and to get to a space where everyone feel they can easily participate and feel a sense of belonging. So if it’s the first time you enter the house, just pull the sleeve of someone and ask what you can do, if you can’t figure something out by yourself.
You can also contact and join the different groups that are active in the house.
Another way of getting involved is to join a house meeting (there are different kinds, try them all out, and see where you feel you fit in). The idea is to create an atmosphere where everyone feels cared for and make space for everyone to get heard. In order to make this happen, we try to connect with each other through consensus culture, taking in to consideration the needs and feelings of everyone taking part in the meetings.
We have facilitated meetings where we use hand signs and have formalized (rotating) roles and forms of discussion to make them as inclusive and efficient as possible. This way we also avoid recreating the usual societal status games we do out of habit in our everyday lives.
There are several groups functioning in the house. With different goals and aims and ideals. Bigger meetings are arranged every three months in order for these groups to coordinate and make decisions where everyone feel they take part in the life at the Social Centre.
Decision making for larger groups is done like this
>The flower – a decision making model. One big group breaks into smaller discussion groups. Proposals are made in the smaller groups and then shared with the larger group through a spokes person (a person chosen to speak for the group). The spokes persons of the groups sit in a circle with their affinity group sitting behind them. The affinity groups have a possibility to break in and correct or add information if needed. When the proposals have been made, the large group breaks into the smaller affinity groups once again to discuss the different proposals, and then back again to share proposals with the larger group through spokes persons. The process continues the same way until consensus can be reached.
>Affinity group. Is a group of people that share common ideals, interests and needs. If people do not have an existing affinity group or prefer to work with people they do not already know some attempt will be made to create a space for forming temporary groups for the purpose of the spokes council.
>Consensus. Means to agree, to compromise until everybody can agree on something. It’s a method to practice direct democracy. It doesn’t mean that everybody should be of the same opinion. It simply means that it’s possible to agree on a decision that everybody can accept.
Oppressive Realities & Showing Sensitivity.
Oppression is an everyday thing, so expect it to be an everyday topic at the Social Centre. For the privileged: Try to listen to and take in criticism of behavior not as an attack on your character, but more a guideline and help towards understanding what you can do in order to create a safer and more caring space for your comrades. To truly change the power structures, you need to not only get confronted, but also to confront yourself. Self-reflection and awareness is our way to liberation. For the oppressed: Our reality is most often denied and met with a defensive reaction. It takes courage to speak. Don’t be afraid to express anger, frustration, fear and sadness. It’s not up to us to educate our oppressors. It’s worth risking the disapproval of comrades, friends and lovers; we need to love ourselves enough to believe we deserve respect and equal participation. For all: Dealing with this is highly emotional. Make sure you take time to take care of yourself and heal.
Examples of objective structural power positions:
privileged: Human, Adult, Man, White, Able-bodied, Hetero, High Class, Meat-eater
oppressed: Non-human animal, Child, Woman, Non-White, Disabled, Non-hetero, Low Class, Vegan
SARCASM / IRONY brings about confusion in environments with a lot of new information (culture, language , political ideals etc). keeping it simple makes it easier for us to get to know and understand each other.
PC world. At the Social Centre we have a great opportunity to learn from each others political sensibilities ( = experiences from life and the issues we care for). Striving towards being Politically Correct (PC) is not about judging and finding faults. None of us is perfect. But we can sure as hell make an effort to be nice.