Event:2014/09/27 Challenging Dominant Cultures

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Revision as of 13:04, 27 September 2014 by Yar (talk | contribs) (copy from pad)
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what does CDC do?

new requirement to say what we do

delegates decided this 2 meetings ago: http://wiki.omni-oakland.org/w/Event:2014/09/18_Weekly_Delegate%27s_Meeting#clarify_working_groups

"standing committees that are empowered to make any decisions autonomously should have a clearly defined scope for their responsibilities and operational leeway by October 1st, containing at minimum these 4 parameters: 1) what the group is tasked with, 2) what the group is empowered to do autonomously, 3) what the group is not empowered to do autonomously, 4) how the group cooperates functionally with other OOC organs"


  • let's start with what we're not gonna do. we're not gonna be arbiters of ideological purity. or counselors. or judges.
    • we're gonna get free training from BANVC though
  • we WON'T write policy for the entire omni without seeking approval from delegates
  • we could create reading lists
  • or more generally, lists of resources - shelters, clinics, etc
  • what decisions need to go to delegates? any policies that would apply to everyone.


  1. what are we tasked with? keeping omni true to its values
  2. what are we empowered to do autonomously? nothing
  3. what are we not empowered to do? we don't make policy without delegate consensus. we're not judges or arbiters.
  4. we view the OOC as a body without organs. we want our work to infuse every corner of it.

what we wrote before

We wrote this back in April: http://wiki.omni-oakland.org/w/Working_Groups#Challenging_Dominant_Culture_Working_Group

"Exploring bias and issues of diversity and inclusion in the space. Challenging dominant cultural influences and developing projects and relationships more in line with values of social justice, safe space, radical commoning, and anticapitalism."

what is the omni?

Yar wrote this about the omni to be read at the critical resistance event.

The Omni Oakland Commons is many groups who've come together to turn this building into a community center. Our core values:

  • radical common-ing of space and resources
  • liberation of knowledge
  • transformative justice
  • supporting struggles against capitalism, racism, transmisogyny and other forms of violence

We will have a hackerspace, free school, science lab, food not bombs kitchen, bookstore/cafe, dance troupe, print studio, and more. We're always seeking rad co-creators. Please join us!


  • discussion of diversity vs difference. people prefer the latter. scott mentions "plurality"
  • yar: We're about keeping the omni true to its values as stated in our founding document and statement of solidarity.
  • niki: what do we mean by it though? what do we mean by challenging dominant culture?
  • we could make a chapbook
  • what about organizing more mutual aid events like helping people out, getting them a new bike, etc?
    • kathleen: but where do you draw the line? buying someone a new car?
  • yar: "keeping omni true to its values". 6 words.


  • we've got an hour of the delegates' meeting's time.
  • we should encourage everybody to go to this meeting!
  • this will give us an opportunity to have these conversations with people who don't normally engage
    • who take issue with our priorities
    • who don't like our name
    • who don't think CDC is important
  • dk: one goal is to not be intimidating
  • niki: i like that sometimes our group meets and just has conversation. would be nice to have a more facilitated & casual conversation. still a very large group on thursdays.
  • sarah: maybe breaking out into small groups so people can just talk for a few minutes and then report back
  • scott: name a vibe reader. also a new hand signal for somebody feeling triggered?
  • dk: maybe each CDC person could lead a breakout session?
  • niki: could we provide prompts? like "why do we need to CDC?"
  • chris: why not just be a bunch of people who get together and talk?
  • jose: gotta be careful, maybe it won't go anywhere
  • scott: these topics are very emotional & subjective. could potentially be a traumatic, polarizing event
  • yar: what's our goal for this meeting? to just connect with people, or to pass a safer space policy?
  • dk: maybe not try to pass it this meeting but collect important feedback at least
  • jose: maybe at least make people read it in small groups. a lot of people aren't even reading it.
  • chris: which parts of the policy are still a problem for people?
  • niki: a couple things.
    • some people object to naming a "rape culture".
    • some object to us saying "reverse racism doesn't exist". this seems to be the biggest sticking point.
  • chris: let's define rape culture as capitalism. capitalism rapes the world, destroys entire people.
  • niki: this is why we still need to define racism ourselves!
  • sarah: at the beginning of the convo we should provide definitions of racism, sexism, rape culture.
  • chris: ppl tend to see these as "civil rights" or "human rights" issues instead of functional. might be good to try to explain that.
  • jose: or bring it back to concrete policies
  • dk: you can use sociological definitions for the things they think racism is, like "what you're thinking about is prejudice, not racism". so you're only redefining peoples' experiences, not invalidating them.
  • scott: maybe half hour of small groups, half hour of big group?
  • niki: do we want to make a list of terms to define?
    • 1) prejudice
    • 2) power
    • 3) racism / white supremacy
    • 4) systemic / structural
    • 5) rape culture
    • scott: racism == centuries old system of oppression designed to benefit white people

what is racism?

  • long discussion about what racism is. gets a little tense. lots of potential tangents.
  • most important goal is that people understand the difference between racism & prejudice. that's foundational. perhaps in future sessions people can talk about the details.


8:00pm brief intro including glossary of terms and what our goals are 8:05pm breakout groups 8:30pm large group discussion