Concerning the accusations we already addressed in our former statement (link: http://www.radikalecker.org/en/radikalecker-statement/ ), we have some news about the processes in the collective. We were contacted in November 2017 by a person outside of the collective who stated that they experienced violence from one of our members. As explained before, this person was seeking the immediate expulsion of our member. However, we work as a collective that makes decisions consensually and every topic has to be discussed until a consensus is reached, which can often times prove to be a lengthy process. The member directly involved was not expelled but temporarily and voluntarily suspended from participation in the collective.
To make sure we handle this matter in the best possible way, we sought professional mediation and counselling help. Unfortunately, it took longer than expected to find a group that could have time for us. We recognize our short-comings in dealing with this subject in a time-sensitive matter but due to our thorough and consensual decision making, the process as well as the speed of the system were prohibited. The counselling sessions helped us to reach a collective decision that we want to inform you about in the next lines.
Definition of power vs. presumption of innocence?
We stand behind the idea that the power to define a situation such as sexual abuse has to be with the affected/the person who has experienced violence. We think the legal treatment of people who experience sexual violence still has to be strongly critized and reformed. But for us this doesn’t necessarily mean that all achievements of the civil right system, like presumption of innocence and the right of defense, are to be rejected. We believe that there should be the possibility to be heard even as an ‘accused person’, and as the case may be, to defend themselves. This does not entail questioning the validity of the individual or a disproportionate emphasis on finding ‘evidence’.
Exclusion from the community
We don’t believe that excluding people out of political and social contexts is always and forever the best decision. We think there is a need to address the question of how a person can learn to behave differently and to socially reintegrate themselves. We, as a political collective, but also we as a community that criticizes the ruling system of power, have to find instruments and concepts that allow us to discuss individual situations AND exceed the civil law at the same time.
In our view excluding an individual doesn’t allow a perspective on how to prevent sexual assault from happening. To find out what the structural contexts are – in which sexual assault is happening in the society and as well in the left and queer community -, and to find perspectives to fight this, we have to remain able to speak about solutions other than only isolation and social stigma.
- We would like to make clear that we never shared any private or sensitive information of the person that stated that they experienced violence with the collective member in question or any other 3rd party.
- The person that contacted us was approached by our counselling person and made clear that they were not interested in participating in counselling or mediation.
- As a collective with a majority of women*/queer/non-binary people and a black queer woman*, it has been a hard process for us to deal with the topic as there are survivors within the collective, and this triggered emotions and traumatic memories.
- Contrary to what has been claimed in social media, Radikalecker has not been banned from any venues. Furthermore, the collective is not yet a business of any kind and we don’t employ people. We are all volunteers, driven by our ideals and not getting a single dime for almost 4 years.
We will never know what happened in the personal relationship between the individual concerned and our collective member. We acknowledge the experience of the person who contacted us. After we spoke with our collective member, since we believe that the ‘accused person’ should get the possibility to be heard, in addition to crucial information that we received from a number of sources, we decided to keep her in the collective.
Moreover we decided to educate ourselves further on the topic of sexual violence and we plan as a collective to attend a workshop that addresses this issue. We see it as an ongoing learning process that will for sure not be finished after we have had the workshop. Furthermore it is very important for us to learn how to deal better and faster with complex issues like this one in the future. We want to try to make sure that we as a political group do our best to understand the structures that lead to sexual violence. We want to emphasize our continued commitment to safer spaces and sexual justice for all.
We would like to thank the people who supported us through this difficult process, and all the people that offered their insights and advice as well as their time to discuss, explain and listen.
If you have further questions, please just contact us. We are open to a dialogue and constructive argumentation.