Joint statement by MAC and ASF (Melbourne) regarding sexual assault within Melbourne anarchist milieu
JOINT STATEMENT BY MAC AND ASF-M REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT WITHIN THE ANARCHIST MILIEU IN MELBOURNE
Since 2010, the question of how an anarchist group can respond effectively and fairly to sexual misconduct by men against women has been the subject of debate and action by the MAC and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation Melbourne.
By sexual misconduct we mean the spectrum of conduct from low level sexual harassment through to opportunistic or predatory sexual behaviour.
This misconduct is a fundamental challenge and threat to our anarchist goals of a free and equal society. In the absence of an effective anarchist justice system we are ill-equipped to respond.
For this reason, we want to put on the public record our support for the right of women to choose the appropriate avenue for redress when wrongs are committed against them. This includes the criminal justice system.
An injury to one is an injury to all. Our anarchist community must develop its sophistication in making that axiom real for women who suffer injury from men.
Endorsed at the 27 October meeting of the MAC
Subsequently endorsed at the assembly of the ASF Melbourne
For the record, an open letter to Channel 9 News:
Dear Channel 9,
Re: Cook’s Cottage spray-painted again
We received a message through our Facebook page on February 6 asking for "our side of the story" regarding graffiti on Captain Cook's cottage. It was written in such a way that it was difficult to take seriously. We have pasted it below.
Later that day, we received a more professional message. At that late stage, we determined we had nothing to contribute, even if the contact was genuine. We don't know anything about the graffiti other than what we saw on the news.
We have made no statements or offered any indication that we took responsibility for the action. We are capable of spelling the word "thief" if necessary. Inclusion of our building at 62 St Georges Rd in Northcote in the footage is likely to give your viewers a false impression. We have already received messages (example) indicating that some of your viewers think we conducted the action based on your news item.
We understand that we gave no statement, but we also did not expect silence to be taken as confirmation of responsibility, especially based on the available evidence. As you might imagine, we are a small group ill equipped at responding in a way that your news cycle might demand.
The Melbourne Anarchist Club would appreciate it if you amended the news item to reflect the fact that people claiming to be anarchists have said on the Internet that they wrote the graffiti. The Melbourne Anarchist Club has not claimed or suggested it has claimed responsibility for writing the accurate statement on Captain Cook's cottage. It seems to us that removing footage of our building would be the easiest way of communicating this.
Frankly, there was some debate in the club that Channel 9 news was capable of accurately reporting this news and this contributed to our silence. If you could provide 6 good examples of your accurate or balanced reporting around political action by non-parliamentary groups from the last 3 years, that might go a long way to persuading our group to quickly respond to poorly constructed Facebook messages in the future. We were unable to find a single example of such reporting in our brief search.
–The Melbourne Anarchist Club.
The Melbourne Anarchist Club condemns the recent firebomb attack on Freedom Bookshop in London and extends the hand of comradeship in solidarity. As a gesture of our support at our last meeting it was decided to donate AUD500 to assist in the ongoing repair and recovery of the premises.
TOUCH ONE, TOUCH ALL!
We note with interest the reference to the 'Melbourne Anarchist Club' (MAC) in Philip Dorling's article 'Nothing short of anarchy' (The Age, November 14, 2012).
For the record, we have not been contacted by ASIO, will always refuse to provide any information to it if requested, and advise others to do the same.
The MAC exists in order to promote anarchism in Melbourne. We do so by organising public meetings, musical events, social functions and film screenings; attending public rallies and events; producing and distributing propaganda; and otherwise publicising our views.
Our aims and principles may be found on our website. In brief, they comprise a commitment to individual freedom, economic and social equality and working class solidarity. We seek to realise our aim of a classless, non-hierarchical society through education and organisation and the construction of a social movement capable of dismantling capitalism, the state and other forms of exploitation and domination.
For further information on MAC, please feel free to contact us or to attend the Club during our regular opening hours (Sunday, midday to 5pm) or by attending one of our public events.