Anti-Oppression Policy

"Be careful with each other so we can be dangerous together."

This is a living, evolving document, and is subject to revision.

In response to critiques of “safe space” and “safe(r) space” language & failures of implementation in radical communities, Wild Roots Feral Futures is pursuing the formation of “brave(r) space.” Brave(r) Space strive to create nurturing environments where we value accountable interactions while creating support for vulnerability and bravery where everyone can thrive. In pursuit of brave(r) space, Wild Roots Feral Futures is implementing an anti-oppression policy. We seek to keep perpetrators of sexual/physical assault out of our community and support survivors by respecting and supporting any processes of accountability they initiate. We emphasize accountability and use the language of brave(r) space (rather than "safe(r) space") in recognition that as long as the dominant culture stands, no space can ever be made absolutely safe for everyone, all of the time. Accountability processes, however, are tools, and like any tool, they can be used productively, or they can be misused, abused, and weaponized. This is something we must be equally aware of, and guard against. Primarily, we seek to avoid the pitfalls of "safe(r) space" that lead to little more than an avoidance of any and all possibly triggering subject matter, in favor of the cultivation of a brave(r) space where we feel comfortable being vulnerable with one another, and processing triggers when and if they occur.

Cis and trans womyn have full support of the Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers collective to establish spaces for themselves, including spaces that are only for people who are oppressed by sexism, people who are queer, and people who are trans. In solidarity against patriarchal violence, we support the formation of spaces on the terms of those forming them, and encourage a diversity of spaces to serve a diversity of needs. We recognize the need for these spaces because no matter how much we work on our privilege, as recovering hetropatriarchists still in the process of mental and psychological decolonization and recovery, we're still going to be bringing heteropatriarchy into the space. Dismantling patriarchy is a process, not a product.

Anti-Oppression Policy:

The Wild Roots Feral Futures organizers collective recognizes that the institutional, economic, political, social and cultural dynamics of hierarchy, power and privilege that define mainstream society also permeate radical communities. These dynamics are expressed in various interlocking systems of oppression (e.g., colonialism, racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ageism, ableism, speciesism, etc.), which prevent equal access to resources and safety, disrupt healthy communities and movement building, and severely—sometimes irreparably—harm our allies, our friends, our loved ones and ourselves.

Wild Roots Feral Futures offers a growing number of zines and other texts addressing the need to challenge these systems of oppression. This is a reflection of our understanding that implicit in our desire to stop the domination and exploitation of the Earth is a need to create communities that are free of oppressive social relations. We understand that failing to address oppressive behavior not only weakens our movement by alienating and further victimizing our friends and allies, it also calls into question our commitment to a better world and our qualification as a radical community of resistance.

For these reasons, we have drafted this policy of active opposition to oppressive behavior of all kinds within our group and at our events.

Definitions:

We define oppressive behavior as *any* conduct (typically along lines of institutionalized power and privilege) that demeans, marginalizes, rejects, threatens or harms any living being on the basis of ability, activist experience, age, class/income level, cultural background, education, ethnicity, gender, immigration status, language, nationality, physical appearance, race, religion, self-expression, sexual orientation, species, status as a parent or other such factors. Oppressive behavior comes in a wide variety of forms, from seemingly harmless jokes to threats of violence, from interrupting to verbal abuse, from unwanted touching to rape, from hitting to murder. Some forms are more extreme and irreparable than others, but all are unacceptable under our anti-oppression policy.

Goals:

This policy aims to:

•affirm and protect the personal autonomy, safety and well-being of all who participate in the group and events;

•empower all group members and participants to challenge oppressive behavior and provide them with skills and resources to do so effectively (including educational materials, response strategies, etc.);

•nurture a strong, safe, healthy, reliable, egalitarian and diverse community;

•make our group more accountable to ourselves as well as the greater community;

•support and promote anti-oppression principles and practices within the group and greater community;

•overcome barriers preventing cooperation and solidarity with oppressed individuals and groups who feel unsafe or unwelcome in the group; and

•combat the troubling legacy of oppression that continues to plague radical communities and our society as a whole.

Limitations:

We acknowledge the limitations of such a policy. Developing an anti-oppression policy is an ongoing process; this policy will undoubtedly need periodic review and revision. Additionally, this policy will not automatically make the group oppression-free, eliminate oppressive organizational structures and personal behaviors, or erase the grievances of previously oppressed and marginalized people. Realistically, our anti-oppression policy is only as strong as our commitment to addressing and confronting oppressive behavior on a regular basis.

Prevention and Education:

The best way to deal with oppressive behavior is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Therefore, we will ensure that all group members and event participants are familiar with this policy, with the understanding that all participants in the group are expected to abide by it. Additionally, we will support individuals who are unfamiliar with the terms and ideas used in this policy by making available more resources (e.g., zines, essays, books, websites and articles) on topics such as: building conflict resolution skills; promoting consent and mental health; dealing with sexual assault, animal abuse and other forms of violence; confronting male/heterosexual/white privilege; and supporting indigenous resistance, decolonization, anti-racist organizing, and border justice.

Toward a Restorative Justice Model:

Every instance of oppressive behavior is unique and thus requires a unique response. Moreover, different types of oppressive behavior demand significantly different reactions (e.g., the strategy for confronting someone who makes an anti-Semitic joke will be different from the strategy for confronting someone who commits a sexual assault). Nevertheless, there are some familiar patterns that often arise when challenging oppression. We believe that anticipating these patterns, avoiding counter-productive reactions and aiming for ideal outcomes will benefit nearly all anti-oppression processes.

(Adapted from the Earth First! Journal's Anti-Oppression & Safe Space Policy. Thanks!)



Sober Space & Substance Use Policy

In pursuit of fostering accountable, responsible, and safer space, all communal space is sober space, meaning specifically that substance use is not to occur in such spaces and substances are not to be in open view. Wild Roots Feral Futures is not a space friendly to belligerence, be it "sober" or "inebriated" in variety (not all sober people carry themselves in a bad way, just as not all inebriated people behave belligerently). If you attend, please keep this in mind. We seek to maintain a friendly space that's open & welcoming to all, including children and those dealing with substance abuse & recovery.

Our culture is dominated with substances. There are many opportunities for people to socialize in settings that involve drugs and alcohol. Restaurants, clubs, shows, bars, and even most events at private homes frequently involve drugs and alcohol. These environments exclude many demographics of people- people in recovery, underage people, people at higher risk for arrest, and people who are triggered by inebriated people. Creating a sober space is making a space that is safe for more people than are usually considered in our society. As anarchists we think it is important to be inclusive of groups that are often completely ignored and oppressed. Children need places to go that are safe and sober. People in recovery need places where they won’t be tempted by substances they are trying to stay away from. And people who are triggered by inebriated people need spaces they can go and not have to deal with that trigger. These are just some examples.

Our sober space policy is one of inclusivity, not exclusivity. We do not think it is asking very much for folks who are not sober to simply not consume substances in collective, designated sober spaces. Only a few event organizers and participants consider themselves sober. Everyone however agrees on the benefits of having a sober space. Folks who are not sober and are part of the event simply go somewhere else when they want to drink. We understand that people often use intoxication as a means with which to cope with a variety of issues, such as depression and social anxiety. We also understand that there are many people with chemical addictions to substances which make it hard for them to not be intoxicated. We are not trying to condemn any of these people, intentionally exclude them, or make them feel judged for their use or dependence on a substance.

If people want to experiment with sobriety, or coping with issues in a sober way, we encourage you to come be awkward with us. We would be lying if we suggested we are all full of social grace. However, we have had some beautiful friendships develop, when we are our honest, goofy selves.

We are not maintaining a sober space for the purpose of judging or excluding people who use substances. We hope that is not the impression you get.

One of the things that is really important to our collective is being accountable and respectful to the communities we live around or within (human and non-human alike). We have all seen many situations where non-sober spaces and non-sober events end up resulting in disrespect towards the bioregion or neighborhood they are located in. We are really happy that we don’t have to go around picking up beer cans. And we like not having to worry about one of our friends trying to leave intoxicated and drunk driving. The image that we are able to present as a sober space is more positive for the kids and community members we interact with. We are not trying to imply that substance use always results in these issues, we are just offering them up as examples of things that can become problems. This doesn’t mean we are perfect, or that not having intoxicants or intoxication automatically makes us have better relationships with one another, as well as the larger communities we're situated within. Those are the sorts of things that take years of work. But having sober space simplifies some issues and prevents us from having to deal with unnecessary problems.

There are probably reasons for having a sober space that we are missing in this statement. And different people in the organizers' collective have different reasons that make the issue more important to them personally. We invite you to please come have respectful conversations with us if you have any questions or concerns about our sober space. Thanks!

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