This space is dedicated to
- peace: non violence, promoting respect for individuals, their health and well-being
- challenging the oppression of women, animals and nature, as a principle root cause of violence
- promoting positive alternatives to this oppression, including ethical veganism, intersectional feminism, and holistic nature ethics (i.e. vegetarian ecofeminism), to deliver liberation and social justice
It aims to do this by:
- sharing information about campaigns (e.g. petitions, information, awareness-raising)
- promoting and reporting actions being taken in support of these goals (e.g. demonstrations, direct actions)
- providing support and encouragement to activists and organisers, and supporting networking and intersectional understanding between them.
This space grew from an increasing desire to make peace activism, especially activism challenging violence and oppression, more effective.
We live in a culture which forces us to specialise and focus to earn a living. However, when this culture is applied to activism, we lose the connections between different movements. Not only does this lose allies and fellow-fighters for our causes, it can mean that activism in one area can even work to oppose activism in another.
The links between feminism and animal rights have been well established by the works of writers like Carol Adams, Lori Gruen, Greta Gaard and Marti Kheel. Over time, these authors have successfully been able to make concrete links between these causes and environmentalism, critiquing it from a vegan, ecofeminist perspective, to create a modern nature ethics.
There is increased understanding of the links between the rights of women, and of environmental pressures, on conflict and war. Although still sketchy, the links between animal exploitation and armed conflict are growing clearer, whether it is the animals in labs at Porton Down, or the cattle wars of East Africa. Tolstoy’s phrase, “While we have slaughterhouses, we will have battlefields”, has never seemed so apt.
So, it seems time to draw these issues closer together: the cause of women, of animals, of nature, and of peace. While remembering the triumphs and the needs of each movement, to strive to make solid links between them.
At minimum, let nobody be able to say to an animal rights campaigner, “why don’t you care about people?”.
At most, let us imagine how the future could be. A world at peace, with abundant food, water and clean air, enough for all who live here, with nobody oppressed because of their species or their gender or for any other reason. Imagine what we could create in such a world.
A Safe Space
This space is a part of the wider peace movement, aimed at liberation and social justice, and is categorically opposed to violence and oppression in all its forms.
We welcome everyone who enters this space as an equal participant in our movement. We believe each of us has something to contribute and something to learn. We are a collective based on trust, respect, and taking responsibility for our actions.
We consider any behaviour which demeans, marginalises, threatens or harms anybody as oppression, and we commit to challenging it.
Everyone has an equal right to be heard and an equal responsibility to listen
We do not tolerate violence, intimidation, harassment or unwanted sexual contact. Anyone responsible for such actions will be excluded.
We will challenge any oppressive behaviour or language, regardless of intention (eg telling an oppressive joke, using unspoken privilege to interrupt someone, or actively advocating the torture or killing of humans or other animals). Providing a safe and welcoming space is everybody’s responsibility, it is not only the duty of those subject to oppression to challenge that oppression. We ask all participants to challenge attitudes and behaviours in a way that is responsible and constructive.
Be aware of the range of different identities (genders /races/ classes/ sexualities/ abilities) that people may identify with, and avoid making generalisations or assumptions about people. Please be aware that this is also a trans friendly space. Do not assume use of pronouns. Ask people what names they want to be known by.
Identify your own privileges (eg class, gender) and actively challenge and work against them (eg. if you identify as a man and notice that men are dominating a conversation, actively make space for people of other genders to make themselves heard). In particular, challenge your privilege as a human being and consider how you may give voice to animals and other forms of life whose concerns and interests may otherwise go unheard.
If you have any questions or concerns, please get in touch.
(credit: based on the Stop the Arms Fair Coalition and the Sparkles Not Shrapnel safer spaces policies)