Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Tolerance & 'Safer Space Policy'

Northern Voices' Welcomes New Tolerant Approach by Manchester Anarchist Bookfair.

LAST December, a person with jewish ancestory, Barry Woodling, was expelled from the Manchester & Salford Bookfair this was done on the spurious pretext that he was 'anti-semite'.  This act carried out by someone calling himself 'Veg' brought the anarchist movement and this bookfair into disrepute and very nearly led to the owners of the venue banning future anarchist bookfairs.  Following this incident the regional organisation the Northern Anarchist Network issued a Burnley declaration condemning this kind of intollerance and censorious behaviour which is all too prevalent on parts of the British left.  Over one hundred and fifty people from all sections of the liberal/ left signed this declaration supporting Barry Woodling and disapproving of the actions of some so-called 'anarchists'.  In an earlier associated incident at the London Anarchist Bookfair, a bookseller had been attacked by a dozen members of the Anarchist Federation [AF] and trade union books were stolen.  Since then three trade union branches and one trade union council has condemned the violence and theft of trade union literature associated with these incidents.  It is now with immense pleasure that Northern Voices welcomes the new 'Safer Spaces Policy' announced by the organisers of the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair.

Safer Spaces Policy

We want the Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair to be a space where everyone can feel safe and have adapted the safer spaces policy of the OK Cafe/ 1in12 Club.

Photo by Iain Broadley
·Everyone has an equal right to be heard and an equal responsibility to listen (people who are used to talking may feel the benefit of listening more, and vice versa).
·Respect and look after the building as a physical space and a resource for all.
·However strongly you feel about a particular topic, resist abusive discussions.
·Any behaviour – physical or verbal – that harms others, or makes existing power imbalances worse, is not welcome.
·Identify your own privileges – the things that sometimes give you an easier ride than others – and actively challenge them.
·Be aware of the range of different identities (gender, race, orientation, class) that people may have, and avoid making generalisations, or assumptions about people.
·Be aware that anyone in the space could be a survivor of a particular form of oppression, for example, violence or racism.
·If someone is feeling uncomfortable, do not hesitate to raise this, if you think it would be appropriate to do so.
·It is everyone’s responsibility to challenge prejudice & oppression, and if we ignore it we are allowing it to happen.
This list does not cover everything and it is up to all of us to help create a space where everyone feels safe and included.
If you do have any issues or concerns please contact the Manchester & Salford Anarchist Bookfair Organisers.

1 comment:

barry said...

The organisers of the Manchester Anarchist Book Fair are to be commended for issuing a Safe Spaces Policy. Hopefully there be no repetition of attacks on any supporter of the Northern Anarchist Network.