Awareness _

Awareness at the People’s Summit 2024

We strive to create a conference where people feel comfortable. It is important for us that we treat each other with care, respect and solidarity. Unfortunately, we cannot take for granted that we always succeed in doing this. We are all shaped by the world that surrounds us. This also means its bad sides: Discrimination, oppression, domination, inequalities,... Our experiences are diverse and different and strongly dependent on how we (can) move in this world.

We have formulated an awareness consensus for the conference. Which means that we want to communicate before the event how we want to treat each other and what we (can) do if this does not play out the way we wish. The conference will have an awareness team, we will explain more about their role later on in this text.

If you have any questions or comments about the consensus you can reach us at: peoplessummit@systemli.org

Awareness as collective responsibility & respectful handling of differences

The People's Summit strives to create a collective space for discussion, connection, and alternatives. "To be aware" means to inform themselves, to be conscious and sensitive to issues that might arise. We understand awareness to be critical of power structures, a collective and common responsibility, to position ourselves against discrimination and behaviour that crosses limits, and a call to support affected persons.

All of us were raised in a society that is shaped by inequality and power imbalances. Violence and discrimination happen on many levels. We have structural and institutional violence (e.g. in the form of societal norms, ascriptions and attributions to certain societal spheres) engrained in us and reproduce these in our actions and relations.

We come together with our individual experiences, affectedness, concerns and knowledge in the context of discrimination. All of this is not always visible from the outside. It is important, that we are aware of our own societal positioning and that we treat other participants respectfully.

We come together from different movements, cities, spaces, perspectives and foci. We want to create a space, where can dare to ask questions and voice their opinions. At the same time there should be a possibility to change one's opinion and voice critique.

At the People's Summit we want to openly and constructively critique sexist, racist, antisemitic, homo-, trans-, and queer-phobic, ableist or equivalent statements and behaviours - also in our closest environment. Awareness as a collective responsibility is a task for all conference participants.

Deliberate and aware speaking behaviour

A pleasant and safe discussion atmosphere means that as many people as possible feel encouraged to speak. We therefore call on people to observe and question their own speaking behaviour in group discussions: depending on how we speak, other participants may feel uncomfortable or certain perspectives may be excluded from the discussion. So-called "dominant speaking behaviour" includes, amongst other things:
·      long, self-congratulatory monologues
·      (repeatedly) interrupting others,
·      comments while people are making a point,
·      discriminatory language
·      dominant communication patterns that do not directly attack others verbally, but nevertheless secure their own (privileged) position in a discussion. This can be, for example, the (sometimes unconscious) occupation of space by cis men who lecture others (especially women, lesbians, inter- and trans people, but also otherwise marginalised people), ignore their criticism and who consider their own contributions to be more important.

 Help to support and implement good interaction with one another!

Anti-racism at the People's Summit against EGC

(this paragraph is mainly aimed at white people)
In this primarily white climate justice and anti-gas movement in Austria, we want to encourage and empower participants of the Summit to engage with the backgrounds of cultural appropriation (e.g. white locks), othering, tokenism, white supremacy and white fragility. The counter-conference is a space in which we want to encourage each other to break down white sovereignty of interpretation without passing on responsibility for anti-racist practice to those affected. Brochures and texts on the topics will be available at the conference. We will shortly be providing a few useful links to familiarise yourself with the topic and get an initial overview.

The role of the awareness team

It is the task of all of us to ensure that we treat each other with care, respect and solidarity. We want to critically point out it to each other when we fail to do so. However, there may also be situations where this is not enough or where people need support. Boundary violations, assaults or discriminatory behaviour cannot be ruled out at the conference as it is an open space. In such cases, the awareness team is there for you as an partial and confidential support structure. You can contact the awareness team at any time if something is too much for you or is bothering you.

If situations arise that cannot be resolved directly and together, or you feel uncomfortable for other reasons, get support! You will find out how to recognize and contact the awareness team in good time before the conference. There will also be an awareness room at the conference, that can give you space to retreat if necessary.

Confidential, partial, affected person-oriented
The awareness team works in a confidential, partial and victim-oriented manner. Confidential means that nothing you say will be passed on to others unless you want it to be. Everything you say remains between you and the team. Even the information that you have sought support from the awareness team will not be passed on. Partial means that your perceptions and needs are taken seriously and that the awareness team is 100 % on your side. Affected person-oriented means that it is only about you and your needs in the situation. What do you need right now? How can the awareness team best help you? This can range from "just listening" to support in situations that are difficult or hurtful for you.

Instead of focusing primarily on the consequences for the perpetrator of violence/assault, the awareness team focuses on the needs of the people who contact the team in order to enable them to continue participating in the Summit. However, this can ultimately also mean the exclusion of the perpetrator of violence/assault as a consequence, as we want to ensure that those affected are not ousted.

Limitations of the awareness team
At this point, we would like to point out that the awareness team does not always have own experience or knowledge of discrimination. This can be both good and not as good. On the one hand, it is good if it relieves people who are themselves affected by the discrimination in question of having to provide support. On the other hand, it is less good if those affected do not feel well or sufficiently understood due to the lack of knowledge of the contact person. We recognise the need if those affected prefer to talk to people who share their experiences. As an affected person, you can raise this directly with the relevant person from the awareness team and we will try to find another person of contact if possible.

People from the awareness team have their (emotional, psychological) limits. They are also not psychotherapists, doctors or similar, but a team of volunteers. If they cannot support you, they will refer you to experts. The awareness team is not responsible for reprimanding problematic speech behavior, for political negotiation processes, moderation or psychotherapeutic interventions. The awareness team should not be seen as a controlling authority or security service, nor as an expert body.

At the conference itself, there will be a feedback box at the Infopoint for feedback and criticism of the content, the procedure or other points. The conference team will also endeavor to be personally available for criticism. We can be contacted by e-mail both before and after the conference: peoplessummit@systemli.org

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