Backing up solidarity in a nebulous group

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(Redact this story as necessary.) Telecomix: loose network of people trying to do the same stuff.

Working as as a group, we got media coverage as a group. But we had no backup, no supervision. Burnout and dealing with this. Being constantly under attack from the Internet while needing to support each other. Individuals have/had support, but not everyone in the group.

Another time: Hashtag activism in which many people joined in, but attacked the three women who started the hashtag. As a group, we tried to attract the negative attention from them, and to provide other support.

Third example, of refugees in Germany. Providing support attracted attack -- real attack and threats -- with no network or backup of support.

Visibility of instant networks, but no roots for them, so lack of stable support.

Goal: to talk about those things (and in relation to safe spaces) -- how can we cope with the situations where there is no chance to back people up.


discussion: considering force vectors. Sometimes you don't know if someone wants help, vs. sometimes people don't know how to defend or who to go to for help. an example: if a man is being sexist or attacking, getting another man to challenge them (sidling up)

"knowing how to use the privilege sword" -- things I might be able to do that someone else couldn't

informational (ops) support vs physical support

spaces of trust

the privilege of being in a position w here your story is not questioned or challenged.

can of worms: organization problem: when you're reaching out in a broadcast method, there's no [.... ] of trust.

Affinity groups: an affinity group is a group that comes together for a specific defined task. People come in by invitation or by request. The affinity group has a thing that it does: often a direct action or political action. Limits of how far people are willing to go (means) of achieving that task and means they will not do. Establishing code words, ways of reaching decisions. ( Direct actions can be made by multiple affinity groups. )

ed sees a lot of potential in that structure, achieving common goals. Overlapping groups: you now have a distributed network of trust, a few groups you're a member of, and a web of trust. If you are under attack in one group, hopefully you can reach out to the other affinity groups to call for assistance. (Reference to "taxonomies" in Drupal: issues and orthogonal tagging of tactics and of skills.) a lot of potential in formal systems organization of these things.
Tom: challenge to that: it seems likely there are latent not-organized affinity groups, or in-the-moment action (like a hashtag)
  • just-in-time backup. ("Derailing derailers")
  • There are known things you can tell someone you only sort of trust and some things you need existing trust. How an affinity network might already exist.

whitney: what if I'm not considering that while I am safe, I do not have the safety and defenses I would need to actually support or provide for someone. Bringing someone into a place that isnt as tactically safe as I thought.

ed: having a checklist of skills that are needed in case: knowing You need someone who knows threat modeling for example. Knowing what you need and people who have those skills.

tomate: people become activists by accident and they have no idea what they are doing or how they should handle threats for example. When the response is tremendously larger than what you expect.

nicole: something that's in the air is the scale of support. The initial support of being in a March or leaping into a situation. But the. There's also support for the supporters.

  • the immediate need for triage: seeing that someone is in a horrible situation and pulling the, out and hearing and helping. Need a map of scale and time here.

Whitney: could we model this on a hospital?

Nicole: or witness protection?

Tomate: no process for taking over support from one group, with the history

more than one shift, taking shifts.

Arthur: for some kind of help, all of the people are needed all of the time.

Tomate: the scale of attack is growing. The official response is not happening.

Whitney: is there a way to turn supporting activists into its own cause. That that's the kind of activism you do. The mission being to coordinate and support. For example: anything

Coming to sandy to rebuild homes, an org whose work is rebuilding homes in disaster areas. That is their focus, the place changes. Making something like that?

Arthur: Being psychological support. Specifically...

Max: ref the aclu and hospitals as examples of existing support structures with established procedures.

Tom: in order not to duplicate work. zoe Quinn and someone are building a "so you've been doxxed (* www.crashoverridenetwork.com )

Tomate: lawyers must be paid in Germany, as a note

question from toms: a wish for how/ what should exist?

whitney: opportunities for trainings

Ed: tools and familiarity for tools of discovering affinity support networks

tom: a list of yes/no questions [for triage] of who someone knows and what they can offer in support. Binary questions

arthur: there are people who want to help and some people who are open to help and some people who are invisible to those who can help or (specifically in mental health for activists) don't even know/see they need help

nicole: clear guides and documentation around this stuff. Having something to share with people who care