Local Organising

Posted on 14 Jun 2018

Arika’s Local Organising programme involves ongoing collaborative relationships with grassroots groups and community organisers in Scotland and abroad. Specifically in Scotland, since 2015, we have worked with groups who are active in the struggle against violent racist borders, poverty and the criminalisation of sex work. We partner and co-operate to create events initiated and chosen by the groups, for which they would not otherwise have the resources, such as workshops, community gala days, fundraising club nights etc. 

These relationships of solidarity and friendship are connected, in part, by a shared desire to end the systems of brutality and hierarchy that currently shape so much of our world. Events we organise, such as the Episodes, are directly nourished and informed by the multiple insights generated by these activities. 

The vast majority of the Local Organising programme is directly initiated by the local groups and over the years has involved projects such as: Sex Worker Festivals of Resistance, health workshops, social gatherings for and by Glasgow’s recent migrant and asylum-seeking communities, digital security workshops, collective meals, art projects with LGBT+ asylum seekers self-led support group, public panel discussions, fundraising club and live performance nights, public meetings bringing together speakers from around the UK and the world, international organising gatherings for decriminalisation of sex work, health and wellbeing days for self-run migrant women’s groups, live performance art by sex worker artists, herbal medicine workshops and much more. A concrete example of such events is How to Ally with Sex Workers on Decriminalisation of Sex Work

Occasionally, we also initiate events in response to needs and concerns that we hear raised by the local groups as we listen to them. An example of this is a workshop series entitled Politics of Experience that focused on contemporary understandings of trauma and how this interrelates with being active in organising against oppression. Together we explored psycho-emotional health and ways to support it both individually and collectively.

Our projects abroad also emerge out of long standing collaborative friendships and relationships and have resulted in projects such as I wanna be with you everywhere and a Sex Worker Festival of Resistance at MoMA PS1. 

Many of our international projects have grown out of Local Organising, or used a similar approach, listening to groups we are in solidarity with and opening up resources to be managed and used by radical grass roots communities with our support and collaboration.
 
I wanna be with you everywhere was curated by a steering group of artists within disability community to create a disability justice festival with Performance Space New York.
 
All of the events within the Sex Worker Festival of Resistance at MoMA PS1 were organised with prominent sex worker organisers, artists and allies. 
 
Master Ballstar Weekend emerged out of our ongoing collaboration with the Arbert Santana Freedom and Free School, a pedagogical movement within the House | Ballroom community in New York. 
 
Decriminalised Futures is led by organisers and artists from SWARM (Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement), in partnership with Arika and supported by the Institute of Contemporary Art London. Events include public exhibitions, workshops, artist meet-ups, mentoring sessions, and an ongoing reading group. The project will culminate in a multi-day conference, bringing together all the work, ideas and knowledge produced over the next four years from 2019 to 2022.

 

SOLIDARITY STATEMENTS

Arika believes the most important way to exchange solidarity is in practical tangible ways – ideally on an ongoing basis. We try to do this via both our local organising and public programmes. Local Organising involves long term partnerships with grassroots groups in which we co-operate to make events of their choosing happen. Our public events are always underpinned by a desire to explore processes that hold the potential to bring about an end to oppression and create a society based on love and respect. Other statements of solidarity are also held here

 

SEX WORKER SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
 
As part of Arika’s beliefs and specifically in conjunction with our Local Organising programme we want to extend solidarity to sex workers via the following statement. Those most directly affected by a specific oppression are those best placed to develop methods to overcome it. Sex worker led organisations in the UK have consistently sought:
 
Decriminalisation of sex work
 
Unionisation of the sex work industry
 
Recognition that sex work is work (like other all work it can bring both fulfillment and suffering dependent upon circumstances)
 
An end to the social stigma connected to sex work
 
We support all of these aims. We are clear that change on a profound level is necessary for this to occur that would entail the end of patriarchy, capitalism and white supremacy. This would involve collective re-organisation of society on a mass level and equitable redistribution of resources and decision-making powers. 
 
The process of struggling for these changes – both long term and immediate – is complex and takes place in challenging circumstances. We recognise that the people best placed to develop effective strategies and guiding visions are those with lived experience of the industry.  We know that these approaches and ideas are in a constantly evolving process – our aim is to be alongside this process in solidarity as best we can, not to shape it. 
 
 
MIGRANT SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
 
As part of Arika’s beliefs and specifically in conjunction with our Local Organising programme we want to extend solidarity to migrants via the following statement. Those most directly affected by a specific oppression are those best placed to develop methods to overcome it. Migrant led organisations in the UK have consistently sought:
 
A priority of movement for those fleeing war, torture and abuse
 
Recognition that the experience of poverty is in itself a form of violence and can prompt relocation
 
An end to detention
 
Provision of necessary means for a dignified, healthy, autonomous and fulfilled life
 
An end to the violence attending the maintenance of national boundaries
 
We are clear that change on a profound level is necessary for this to occur that would entail the end of white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy. This would involve collective re-organisation of society on a mass level and equitable redistribution of resources and decision-making powers. 
 
The process of struggling for these changes – both long term and immediate – is complex and takes place in challenging circumstances. We recognise that the people best placed to develop effective strategies and guiding visions are those with lived experience of migration.  We know that these approaches and ideas are in a constantly evolving process – our aim is to be alongside this process in solidarity as best we can, not to shape it. 
 
 
ANTI-POVERTY MOVEMENT SOLIDARITY STATEMENT
 
As part of Arika’s beliefs and specifically in conjunction with our Local Organising programme, we want to extend solidarity to people experiencing poverty via the following statement. Those most directly affected by a specific oppression are those best placed to develop methods to overcome it. Organisations in the UK led by people with lived experience of poverty have suggested a variety of approaches to bring about its end. Drawing upon these we advocate:
 
Provision of necessary means for a dignified, healthy, autonomous and fulfilled life to all
 
Access to free universal healthcare of a high standard
 
Collective control of our workplaces and the fruits of our labour
 
Restoration of land, non-residential buildings and items manufactured by conglomerates to collective ownership
 
The development of truly collective decision making on a societal wide level
 
We also recognise that the following reforms would reduce suffering and save lives:
 
Provision of a universal basic income – replacing all means tested benefits
 
Recognition of and appropriate support for the specific needs of people with disabilities and/or ill health
 
Rent caps on all rented property and an end to winter evictions
 
An immediate end to homelessness via the reallocation of unoccupied built property into collective ownership
 
Re-nationalisation of public transport
 
Payment of reparations by wealthy nation states to those they colonised and enslaved
 
Cancellation of all international debts
 
We are clear that change on a profound level is necessary for this to occur that would entail the end of capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy. This would involve collective reorganisation of society on a mass level and equitable redistribution of resources and decision-making powers. 
 
The process of struggling for these changes – both long term and immediate – is complex and takes place in challenging circumstances. We recognise that people with lived experience of poverty are the people are uniquely placed to develop effective strategies and guiding visions around its eradication. Our intent is always to be especially mindful of the approaches and ideas recommended by people with lived experiences of poverty. However, the process of ending capitalism and replacing it with a society based on principals of mutual aid and equitable distribution of resources is inherently a matter of collective responsibility to which we can all directly contribute. 
 
 
Capitalism is a global economic system where the means of production are owned by a minority (the capitalist class) and the majority (waged workers) sell their labour in order to gain means of survival. The goods and services produced by those who sell their labour are in turn sold for profit by the minority who own the means of production.
 
Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. It supports the tendency of fathers (or father-figures) to hold authority over women and children within the domain of the family.
 
White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of exploitation and oppression of continents, nations, and peoples of colour by white peoples and nations of the European continent, for the purpose of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power, and privilege.