Collective Agreement on Guidelines for Community Safety and Well-Being

October 16, 2011
By

This proposal passed with 4 amendments on October 16, 2010.

Background information can be found in the comments.

PRINCIPLES of SAFETY, WELL-BEING, and SOLIDARITY
  • Acting in solidarity with the Occupy Movement, we pledge to recognize our responsibility to our community, which means occasionally putting personal freedoms second for the safety and well-being of all.
  • We are a weapons-free zone.
  • We are nonviolent and we will not tolerate verbally aggressive or physically violent behavior, including unwanted touching. We pledge to resolve any conflicts that arise in a creative and nonviolent manner.
  • In communal areas, no recreational drug or alcohol use. We recognize that a safe space is needed for card-carrying medical marijuana patients.
  • We respect the rights and privacy of our fellow occupiers and our neighbors. We will not create unnecessary disturbances.
  • Degrading ethnic, racist, classist, sexist, or homophobic remarks are not acceptable.
  • We cannot permit open flames or other hazardous activities.
  • We agree to direct all cigarette smoking to the corner of SW 4th and Main and will provide rain shelter for those who wish to smoke.
  • We encourage everyone to follow health and sanitary recommendations throughout camp.
  • By entering Occupy Portland, you agree to abide and uphold these guidelines.

ACTIONS

  • Create signage to be posted at every entrance and throughout camp showing guidelines and safety information. Recruit and promote the presence of greeters and educators who will provide information on these guidelines and help create awareness on community safety and wellness issues.
  • Educate, promote, and train all Occupy Portland members on these guidelines and conflict resolution.

STEPS for DEALING with THREATS to SAFETY and WELL-BEING

  1. If you observe a threat to the safety and well-being of Occupy Portland (a disregard for any of the guidelines), assess your personal safety and decide:

A) If the situation is safe for you, know that you are empowered to tell the person to kindly stop the behavior and inform them of these community agreements as well as offer alternatives.
B) If the behavior is unsafe for you and you do not feel comfortable intervening, call safety by mic-checking “PEACEKEEPER”.

  1. If you approach the person and the threat continues, ask for community support (2-3 others, not a mob) in re-approaching the person posing the threat. The focus is to address the behavior.  Repeat the request kindly and continue to offer alternatives.
  2. If repeating the request does not stop the behavior, as a group, consider resorting to collective chanting “leave now”. This can create non-violent social pressure.
  3. If the threatening behavior continues or escalates, call safety by mic-checking “PEACEKEEPER” until a safety volunteer arrives.
  4. While providing support, allow the safety volunteer to de-escalate the situation and use their discretion.
  5. Our community empowers and supports our safety volunteers in deciding if police need to be called in.  We cannot allow trauma or tragedy to happen in our camp.
  6. If the threatening behavior continues to disrupt the safety and well-being of our community, the person will be asked to leave the camp. For this we will act together as a community and nonviolently escort the person out.
  7. If a person repeatedly acts to disrupt or disregard the guidelines for the safety and wellbeing of our community, the person will be barred from accessing the kitchen, coffee shop and any participation in the activities of the camp.
  8. Everyone is welcome at Occupy Portland, but individual freedoms are not to supersede our collective safety and well-being. That is what much of the 1% is doing.

*We define “communal” as any space shared with others or affecting others.
*Right 2 Dream Too, a project of Right 2 Survive: http://right2survive.wordpress.com/

15 Responses to Collective Agreement on Guidelines for Community Safety and Well-Being

  1. Astrid on October 17, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Thank you!! This is a great start! I’m grateful and very proud of our community tonight!

  2. julliannr spratt on October 17, 2011 at 8:10 am

    No one dies from 2nd hand smoke. Triple blind studies all over the world show that the chemicals in your couch kill more people than 2nd hand smoke…….the actual number is .012% out of a million…..not an actual number. More people smoke at occupy than dont. The one percent want the masses to give up freedoms so they are more comfy……this is what YOU ARE DOING. Feeding into propaganda and lies…..juat like cannabis causes a mexican to go crazy or a black man to look at a white woman with lust…….this is why cannabis is no longer available.. At meeting when people are cramped together yes smoking should not be in the center of the circle ….but is this a health movement or a revolution?????????????? I have beem with this movement since the beginning…..now people are getting power and usurping it.

    • OccupyPDXfood on October 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

      You’re welcome to bring amendments to the G.A.

    • Ace on October 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      This is about 99% (All different aspects of life and different viewpoints) being involved in the same physical space. The guidelines they are offering are not laws; they are a form of organized thought that much of the 99% can see as a good idea and support. Communally supported behavior is different than law. Although social pressure does become involved, it’s still impossible to protect 100% of freedoms for 100% of the population.

  3. danielpdx on October 17, 2011 at 9:17 am

    By defining this as a weapons-free zone, we are creating extreme dependence upon the police for any serious protection. The only people who will respect this – or even know about it – are the good natured people who care deeply about the camp as a community.

    The people who currently ignore our drug policy, or who steal people’s belongings will not care in the slightest. Do you really think that people who have pulled knives on other people are going to give a rip about a general assembly resolution?

    We are giving up freedoms for an illusion of safety, just like we do at airports, just like the Patriot act. The reality here is that if some violent person comes along with a knife or gun, we’ll be helpless until the police arrive to bail us out.

    • OccupyPDXfood on October 17, 2011 at 10:35 am

      You are welcome to bring amendments to the G.A.

    • Xplo on October 17, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      If some violent person comes along with a knife or gun, you are most likely helpless whether you are armed or not. Knife fights typically don’t have winners and losers, only people bleeding out at different rates. Most people who carry guns are not capable of accurately placing shots under combat stress. No amount of personal armament will protect you if you’re already neutralized by a surprise attack before you can effectively respond.

      Even the police can do nothing to prevent such an attack; in what way would the occupation become dependent on police for a service they don’t actually provide?

      At the same time, I’m not sure you appreciate the power of nonviolent social pressure to modify behavior, or the ability of a large, determined group to overpower a single attacker, if it should be necessary.

      Smart, survival-minded people seek first to avoid trouble. If you don’t feel safe within the camp without being armed, the proper response is to leave. I support the Second Amendment and would defend your right to go appropriately armed within public space not appropriated by the occupation.

      …with that said, I’m curious how this will affect the use and possession of knives. Unlike guns, which have no legitimate nonviolent use inside a public park (you’re not going to be hunting or target shooting!), knives serve as both tools and weapons – and this is generally true *regardless of which purpose they appear more fit for*.

      As an example, I own and keep sharp (though do not routinely carry) two nondescript folding knives with sturdy 3″ blades. Either one is more than adequate to slit someone’s throat, puncture a vital organ, or inflict other serious wounds. They also do a good job of cutting twine and sandwiches.

      For this reason, I support knife rights and object to any blanket classification of knives as dangerous weapons or their users as hazards to the community.

  4. OccupyPDXfood on October 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

    BACKGROUND:

    There are safety issues that affect us all, as a movement and as a community.
    There have been cases of people pulling knives, fighting, intimidation and other behaviors threatening the safety of camp.

    The Occupy Movement is not about policing. It’s about changing our corrupt system. Here at Occupy Portland, we are creating a way of life that is safe and supportive of everyone.

    This proposal has been crafted through many hours of public meetings, feedback from outside and inside of Occupy Portland, the collective wisdom and experience of Right 2 Dream Too*, and ultimately crafted out of love for this camp to ensure the safety and well-being off all participants.

  5. ThatGuy on October 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I am very proud of Occupy PDX for making this tough and perhaps controversial decision. The verbiage and actions shown in these guidelines reflect the amount of time and thought put into this decision. I know this was a tough consensus to reach but these guidelines add credence to the overall movement and will help dispel the myths about this movement. On a personal note this will now better enable me to brings friends, family and coworkers down to the occupation and help educate them as to what this whole movement is about.

  6. henrik on October 17, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I like hearing that there are more smokers than non-smokers at the camp… it’s a good thing that the unemployed are keeping the big corp smoke factories in business! Keep on smoking!

  7. Ace on October 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Great job on putting together safety and basic guidelines for the community. It’s put together well based on physical protection and mutual respect of space.

  8. Heff on October 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I’m really glad this proposal passed and people at the camp are taking a more proactive stance to deal with these safety issues. I know it’s in it’s formative stages yet, but I just wanted to share some ideas. I used to work with the downtown homeless youth population, and while we did not have a “zero-tolerance” drug & weapon policy, we did the following few things which may or may not be helpful for OP:

    1)While guests were allowed to be under the influence, they had to “maintain”. No hate speech or verbal abuse, no puking everywhere or instigating arguments. Drug use inside the space was not tolerated.

    2)If we needed people to leave, we used a broken record technique: we repeated our request word for word, over and over, and they would leave. I personally never had to repeat myself more than 4 times. We had a “no touch” policy and simply standing our ground and respectfully and firmly telling people to leave worked 95% of the time.

    3) weapon check-in upon entrance. All weapons were clearly labeled with person’s name (we used masking tape), and kept in a lock box. People checked them out when they left. **While I haven’t been able to spend much time @OP in person, from what I can gather it seems many safety issues may be stemming from the street population. Streets are violent; weapons are thought as necessary for personal protection. However, if people entering the park feel and know that it is a safe space, it may be surprising how easy it is to have them voluntarily give up their weapons while they are there. This may be difficult to set up @ OP — people would have to be trusted to approach the weapon safe-zone on their own and turn in their property, but I just wanted to put the idea out there. Also, weapons included knives, “smilies” (padlocked chains), lead pipes, etc.

    I will try to attend a safety meeting or approach the committee in person this week. Best of luck to everyone there! You all are doing a great job and I for one appreciate all your hard work and dedication.

  9. Evelyn on October 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I am so proud of the work you are doing.
    A minor – but to many significant – addition to the “collective chanting ‘leave now’”: “PLEASE leave now”

    Thanks.

  10. angryman on October 17, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    you are welcome to bring amendments to the G.A.

  11. Syd on October 17, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    “We agree to direct all cigarette smoking to the corner of SW 4th and Main and will provide rain shelter for those who wish to smoke.”

    ~~~~
    I have to say my piece here on this. Sure, I believe it’s good to have a space for the smokers especially because it makes it nicer for those who do not smoke in so many ways.

    But, really… there seems no better time to me for those who smoke to consider what they are doing. There’s been a lot of talk about banks, and fees, and such yet what is more direct funding of corporate slavery than smoking itself? Being a smoker is little different than putting the ring in your own nose and giving it to someone to yank on while paying for the privilege to be enslaved while others slave to grow, pick and pack the product that enriches those such as Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds not to mention big pharma who benefits off the illnesses caused.

    There are so many other reasons to quit but the very soul of the Occupy movement gives a huge one.

    Seriously, find the nicest house in Portland, knock on their door then offer them half your income this year in exchange for their dirt and stench and garbage. Oh, and offer to pick it all up for them too whenever they want no matter the time of day or night. All they have to do is yank your chain. That’s just the beginning of the stupid that is smoking. Maybe add a big ass tattoo across your forehead that says, “DUMBASS!” and roll around in dog poo to simulate the smell which is a spent cigarette that clings to clothing, hair, carpets, curtains, cars, etc. Oh wait, forgot about the ruining health thing… :(

    Erm… maybe I should just sign off here now that I’ve become a bit confrontational. But, I speak from having been there. If I am able to quit, everyone is able, they just need to do it. And of course, stop funding the machine, the corporate masters.

    Alternatively (and this is what it’s all about, eh?) then perhaps there can be a corner of Chapman Square for the big banks and mortgage officers to collect some fees for no good reason too? Maybe put a bucket out for them also?

    Another corner for the illicit political donations and Wal-Marts?

    Just something to think about. When one removes his or her money from Citibank, it might be prudent to consider another withdrawal, that from nicotine as well.

    Who is in charge of who? Become your own master.

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