Philly Socialists is a political organization dedicated to building a more just, democratic, and sustainable future.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Adopted June 14, 2015

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to protect the members of Philly Socialists from unwanted sexual advances, harassment, contact, and violence. In order to ensure our members' trust and sense of safety, Philly Socialists does not tolerate any form of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Violence as defined in this policy.

Philly Socialists seeks to create a culture that models the just and equal future we hope to build, and, in doing so, discourages sexual violence/abuse. In addition to promoting safety for everyone, the intent of this policy is to create an accountable and respectful environment where people have the opportunity to learn to be be allies of those who suffer violence, abuse and discrimination of a sexual nature­­values and skills which are so lacking in both mainstream and radical left cultures of today.

DEFINITIONS

The definition of Sexual Violence includes the illegal activities of rape, incest, child sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and voyeurism, and are under no circumstances tolerated.

Additionally, Philly Socialists does not tolerate Sexual Harassment because it is a form of sex discrimination. The definition of Sexual Harassment expands beyond illegal activities relating to sex. Sexual harassment includes unwanted physical, verbal, or written advances, sexual threats, insinuation of sexual acts, and any unwelcome behaviors which cause a victim to feel uncomfortable, intimidated, unsafe, voiceless, or helpless. Please bear in mind that Sexual Harassment can be explicit or implicit.

STATISTICS

  • 1 in 3 American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. (WOAR)
  • 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. (WOAR)
  • 1 in 8 lesbian women and nearly 1 in 2 bisexual women experience rape in the their lifetime. (NCLR)
  • 4 in 10 gay men and nearly 1 in 2 bisexual men have experienced sexual violence. (NCLR)
  • 64% of people who identify as transgender have experienced sexual assault. (NCLR)
  • Approximately 80% of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. (RAINN)

TENETS

  • Sexual violence is never the fault of the victim/survivor.
  • Being an ally is central to being a socialist.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Philly Socialists members and anyone attending Philly Socialists’ events, including non­members. This policy does not replace police or legal intervention.

ACCOUNTABILITY

  • It is the responsibility of all members to act with compassion towards their comrades.
  • It is the responsibility of all members to protect their comrades, intervene when necessary (and safe), and to report troubling behavior immediately after witnessing it, ideally, or at very least in a timely manner after the behavior has been observed.
  • It is the responsibility of the leadership of Philly Socialists to take action when issues arise. This includes the Central Committee, branch leaders, project leaders, and arbiters.
  • Philly Socialists will not protect offenders from appropriate actions/expulsion.
  • Claiming to have no negative intent does not alleviate an individual from an accusation.
  • Accused persons do not have the right to apologize privately or publicly. It is up to the accuser if and when they want to receive an apology. It is up to the Arbiter (in communication with the accuser) if and when the accused will be given a platform topublicly apologize.

INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS

The following activities are inappropriate and constitute as (but are not limited to) sexual harassment regardless of whether or not they are illegal:

  • Sexual "joking" and "teasing"
  • Use of sexually suggestive language or word choice
  • Unwanted sexual flirtations or advances
  • Sexual propositions (verbal or written)
  • Repeated requests for (denied) dates
  • Verbal or written comments about an individual's body, sexuality, appearance, or sexual-orientation
  • Using sexually degrading words to describe someone
  • Unwanted discussion or questioning about sexual desires, fantasies, experience
  • Unwanted sharing of sexually explicit or suggestive objects, cartoons, photos, etc.
  • Any physical contact which the receiver considers to be unwelcome, including hugs,pats, pinches, brushing up against someone, etc.
  • Unwanted nonverbal communications, such as gawking, whistling, catcalling, etc.
  • Inappropriate sexual or degrading gestures
  • Inappropriate innuendos
  • Unwanted electronic contact­ social media, text messages, etc.
  • Any sexual contact without consent (drunk/otherwise incapacitated persons cannot consent to sex)
  • Coercive sex
  • Drugging/pushing alcohol or drugs with the intent to have sex
  • Pushing physical boundaries/physical intimidation; this includes groping, violating someone’s personal space intentionally, and other forms of non­consensual physical contact

CULTURE

Women are often on the receiving end of unwanted contact and members should not further this issue. Members should act to maximize the agency and empowerment of regularly minimized groups.

Unacceptable behaviors should be called out. Silence is complicitness.

Efforts must be made to decenter men/maleness/masculinity from the culture of the group.

PROCEDURE

Philly Socialists will respond to all accusations and complaints within one week of being notified.

When in doubt, the account of the accuser will be believed over the account of the accused.

In the case of sexual violence:

  • If a sexual assault/rape is reported to anyone within the organization, the confidante should, notify the Arbiter(s) of their choice.
  • Together, the Arbiter(s) and accuser will determine subsequent actions, based on the wishes of the accuser.
  • Potential actions include: going to the police; the accused being thenceforth not invited or welcomed to future events, meeting, and gatherings (but not explicitly warned about their behavior); the accused being expelled from Philly Socialists.
  • The Arbiter will take all steps necessary to protect the identity of the accuser.
  • Once an accuser comes forward, doing nothing is not an option, as the accused could harm other members in the future.
  • The Arbiter will let the Central Committee and Branch leaders know that there was an accusation against the accused and the course of action that the accuser decided upon.
  • The accuser will let the Arbiter know if they want the Central Committee and/or Branch Leaders to know any details of the accusation.
  • The Central Committee may issue a public announcement disassociating the organization with the accused individual, and explaining why; this would both warn other activists as well as inform members and non­members that this individual is not allowed in movement spaces.

In the case of sexual harassment:

  • If unwanted attention/personal contact is reported to anyone within the organization, the confidante should, notify the Arbiter(s) of their choice.
  • Together, the Arbiter(s) and accuser will determine subsequent actions, based on the severity of the issue and the wishes of the accuser.
  • Potential actions include: the accused being given a warning and notified that continued inappropriate behavior will result in expulsion from the group; the accused being thenceforth not invited or welcomed to future events, meeting, and gatherings (but not explicitly warned about their behavior); the accused being expelled from Philly Socialists.
  • The Arbiter will take all steps necessary to protect the identity of the accuser.
  • Once an accuser comes forward, doing nothing is not an option, as the accused could harm other members in the future.
  • The Arbiter will let the Central Committee and Branch leaders know that there was an accusation against the accused and the course of action that the accuser decided upon.
  • The accuser will let the Arbiter know if they want the Central Committee and/or Branch Leaders to know any details of the accusation.
  • The Central Committee may issue a public announcement disassociating the organization with the accused individual, and explaining why; this would both warn other activists as well as inform members and non­members that this individual is not allowed in movement spaces.

FURTHER STEPS

  • An anonymous tip line will be added to the Philly Socialists website so inappropriate behavior can be reported without fear of retribution.
  • An allyship training will be offered before the end of 2015; all leaders (project, branch, Central Committee) and arbiters are required to attend, and it is suggested that all members attend.
  • A guide of supportive resources will be created.
  • At every meeting involving new members, there will be a short explanation of Philly Socialists policy and expectations for all members; this will include an explanation of the safe spaces we are creating, what that entails, a brief list of obvious unacceptable behaviors, the existence of our policy, and who to turn to when someone exhibits inappropriate behaviors.
  • Three (3) arbiters will be elected to handle increased duties due to this policy, and to mitigate burnout.

Anti-bullying Policy

Adopted February 13, 2016

SUMMARY

Bullying is not tolerated in Philly Socialists, and is a behavior that is a serious threat to democracy. Those who bully other Philly Socialists members or participants, and do not cease the behavior once asked, may be temporarily or permanently expelled from the organization.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to protect the members of Philly Socialists from intimidation, harassment, trolling, threats, aggression and physical harm.

The intent of this policy is to create an environment where all Philly Socialists members and participants can express opinions, make decisions, and do work in the organization without fear of malicious treatment.

Moreover, this policy protects Philly Socialists as an organization where collective and individual actions are made through a democratic decision-making process based on our shared values, not through coercion.

PRECEDENTS

The Constitution currently reads, under section J (“Sanctions and Appeals”), subsection 3 (“Sanctions against individuals function in the following ways”):

  • “3. Expulsion - Expulsion means the person is kicked out of the organization. Expulsions can only be decided by the General Assembly. This is only done if someone has undertaken a serious breach of the organization’s values. Serious breach of organizational values includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Taking bribes or corruption.
    • Financial chicanery for personal gain.
    • Engaging in espionage against the group.
    • Practicing harassment or bullying based on, though not limited to, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religious affiliation.
    • Undermining in a serious way the trust of the masses in the organization.”

DEFINITIONS & EXAMPLES

Bullying is generally defined as systematic, annoying, and continued actions which include threats and demands; creating a hostile situation by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct; in order to intimidate someone and establish dominance.

There are three types of bullying: verbal, social, and physical.

Verbal bullying includes (but is not limited to):

  • abusive teasing
  • verbal intimidation
  • trolling: unwarranted, excessive, and hostile private communication in person or via electronic communications
  • threatening, and yelling at comrades in meetings or outside of them
  • consistent ignoring or interrupting of a comrade who is trying to speak
  • personal attacks, such as: put-downs, inappropriate references to individual's personal background, insulting an individual's intelligence, or ad hominem criticisms which attack the person rather than engage with an argument, etc.

Social bullying includes (but is not limited to):

  • spreading lies and/or malicious remors about other members
  • work interference (sabotage) which prevents work from getting done
  • intentional public humiliation
  • stalking

Physical bullying includes (but is not limited to):

  • intentionally causing any physical harm
  • threatening to cause physical harm
  • spitting
  • damaging someone’s personal property
  • invasion of someone’s personal space

In addition to these examples, bullying is also considered conduct that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the organization's legitimate activities.

Bullying should not be taken to mean:

  1. Publicly or privately expressing disagreement or dissatisfaction with the organization, organizational direction, membership, or leadership. Examples might include: Complaining about something related to the group with other members or individuals outside the group, criticizing the leadership in public forums at a group meeting or over social media or email, venting to friends about an individual one disagrees with, recommending a change of policy to address perceived organizational problems real or perceived, etc.
  2. Publicly or privately advocating for or expressing disagreement with any given political line, tactic, policy, or strategy. Examples might include: Criticizing decisions taken by the group at a meeting or on social media, advocating for and attempting to persuade others to adopt a policy or strategy even if it is unpopular, speaking out and/or voting for or against a policy, etc.

However, private expressions of any of the above toward individuals may constitute bullying when the individual in question feels the expressions are unwelcome, hostile, and/or excessive. If any individual feels they are being contacted in a repeated, hectoring, or intimidating manner, they are strongly encouraged to initiate a rectification process in the manner outlined in the "Procedures" section.

STATISTICS

  • 27% of American adults have experienced workplace bullying.
  • 60% of workplace bullying targets in the U.S. are women.
  • 33% of Hispanic individuals, 33% of Black individuals, and 33% of Asian individuals in the U.S. have been bullied in the workplace, compared to 24% of White individuals.
(Source: Workplace Bullying Institute, 2014)

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Philly Socialists members and anyone attending Philly Socialists’ events, including non­members.

PROCEDURE

Individuals who feel bullied can put forward a formal request to tell the individual to stop correspondence with them via email or in person, or request an intervention by the Arbiter.

Ideally, this request should be given via email, text, or Facebook since it leaves an electronic trail. The language could be along the lines of "I am requesting you no longer speak to me privately outside of meetings, and I will not reply to further correspondence."

If the bully continues to pester the target they should notify the Arbiter(s) of their choice.

The Arbiter(s) will offer the bully anti-bullying materials and training opportunities.

Together, the Arbiter(s) and target of the bullying will determine subsequent actions, based on the severity of the issue and the wishes of the target.

Potential actions include:

  • Giving the bully a warning and notification that continued inappropriate behavior will result in expulsion from the group
  • Temporary or permanent ban from Philly Socialists Facebook discussion group and listserves
  • Temporary ban from Philly Socialists meetings and events
  • The bully being thenceforth not invited or welcomed to future events, meeting, and gatherings (but not explicitly warned about their behavior)
  • Expelling the bully from Philly Socialists.

At the target’s request, the Arbiter(s) will take all steps necessary to protect the identity of the target as much as possible.

The Arbiter will let the Central Committee and Branch leaders know that there was an accusation against the bully and the course of action that the target decided upon.

The Central Committee may issue a public announcement disassociating the organization with the bully, and explaining why; this would both warn other activists as well as inform members and non­members that this individual is a bully.

The Arbiters will also strive to provide trainings on bullying behavior, empathy, etc. for the membership at large.

Branch Survey

Some branches ask potential members to fill out a short survey in order to become a branch member. If your branch participates in this process please fill out this Branch Survey and email it to the head of your branch.

Branch Guiding Principles

This branch is founded on a commitment to feminism, diversity, equality, and safety for all members. Due to the predominance of white, straight, cismen in activist and socialist spaces, the focus of this branch is to empower and promote women, POC, and queer members and leaders. Philly Socialists is a political organization dedicated to doing political projects. Thus, the main goals of this branch are to: effectively run a political project, to recruit a diverse membership, and to create a safe space for women and traditionally underrepresented minorities on the Left.

To that end, the structure of the branch is as follows (unless voted on by a majority of membership to be changed):

Membership

Prospective members must complete a branch survey form and be voted in by 2/3 of voting members. Members can be recalled by a majority vote at any time.

Membership in the branch is separate from membership in Philly Socialists at large. If not admitted into the branch (due to the quota being met or unaligned goals), prospective members are welcome to become an at-large member of Philly Socialists, or pursue membership in a local or university branch.

Members who are accepted into the branch must begin paying dues (if they are not already doing so) to complete membership process.

Voting

Only non cis-men (self-identified) can vote on accepting or recalling members. All dues-paying members of the branch can vote on all other branch matters that require a vote.

Quota

No more than 1/3 of the total branch membership will consist of self-identified cis-, straight, white men.

When the quota has been satisfied, interested members will be placed on a waiting list. Once there are open spots in the branch, members will be accepted from the waiting list in the order in which they were originally added.

Project work

The main goal of the branch is to engage in project work. All members must support the branch project, whether by involvement in project or taking on other supporting tasks such as making calls, planning meetings or socials, flyering for events, tabling, etc. On a monthly basis, this could include any of the following: 2 project volunteer hours, 5 phone calls, 1 flyering run, planning 1 social event, attending 1 tabling event, etc. This requirement is flexible and takes into account other responsibilities/commitments of our members.

Policies

All members will abide by existing Philly Socialists’ policies, including the Sexual Harassment Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy.

Communications

A branch email list will be established for communications about logistics and practical planning only. It will not serve as a space for political discussion or debate. Members will have access to the existing Theory and Strategy/Policy/Projects email lists and may pursue discussions there.

Branch meetings

The branch will have an informational meeting no more than once per month unless there is a specific reason for an extra meeting. Projects may require their own meetings, to be called at the discretion of the project leader/members. Branch meetings will not serve as political education events, though those may be planned to take place on a separate date, at the discretion of the branch.

A facilitator may manage conversation/discussing during branch meetings, with consideration to those who do not usually speak, and may ask others to keep their comments brief. Sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise hateful language will not be tolerated and will be called out.

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