*******, white cis queer man, 20, uk
"The point is never to apologize or accept, neither to reconcile nor to compromise, only to take up whatever obstacles we can find and sharpen their edges." – Evan Calder Williams
And how hard is it to land even a minimum-wage job? This year, the Ivy League college admissions acceptance rate was 8.9%. Last year, when Walmart opened its first store in Washington, D.C., there were more than 23,000 applications for 600 jobs, which resulted in an acceptance rate of 2.6%, making the big box store about twice as selective as Harvard and five times as choosy as Cornell. Telling unemployed people to get off their couches (or out of the cars they live in or the shelters where they sleep) and get a job makes as much sense as telling them to go study at Harvard.
A little rumination on Weird Al’s violent reactions against “bad grammar” raises deep and longstanding questions of social equity regarding class, education, race, age, ethnicity, gender, and how these relate to languages, dialects, and social registers. There is ample research on these issues (which any sociolinguist could point you to), but the upshot is that the notion of “Proper English” typically serves to prop up the already-privileged speakers whose native language variety it is (sort of) based on. This puts speakers whose native language variety does not approximate “Proper English” at an immediate disadvantage in society, the same way that privileging Whiteness puts those who are not White at an immediate disadvantage in society. It is not the linguistic differences themselves that do this (just as it is not the racial/ethnic difference themselves that determine privilege), but the *attitudes* about them. This is why many linguists are having a hard time laughing with Word Crimes: to do so feels like complicity in an ongoing project of linguistic discrimination that intersects with class, race, and other kinds of discrimination.
— Lauren Squires, “25 Questions for Teaching with Weird Al’s ‘Word Crimes’" (Language Log)
Closing Statement for Accountability Process
*Trigger warning: The following statement contains references to abuse & harassment*
Closing Statement for Accountability Process
We are a group of individuals facilitating an accountability process with Kaden Fillis (see link to original statement). We regret having to take this course of action but we feel compelled to put this out. We have given a lot of time and emotion to this process. Even though this accountability process has been running for a comparatively short period of time, we have given all our patience and we are left exhausted, frustrated, and deeply saddened.
At this stage, due to his continued lack of co-operation and extremely problematic behaviour we feel we can no longer carry on liaising with, or providing direct support to Kaden. We feel he needs urgent professional help which we can not provide ourselves. We have however left Kaden with everything we can in order for him to begin to help himself when he is finally genuinely ready. Also we leave him with an offer to be able to re-engage with the process once he has taken his own proactive steps and kept to the requirements set by the survivor.
Since the beginning of the process Kaden has continued to breach the requirements put in place by the survivor who called the process. His behaviour has been manipulative, deflective and at times abusive, harassing and aggressive to those of us facilitating the process as well as the survivor. He has lied and made multiple excuses. Recently he has begun to start trivialising his actions towards the survivor.
From the outset we categorically stated he must make no contact with the survivors of his abuse. Kaden has repeatedly broken this fundamental requirement. This has made the survivor feel unsafe and scared, has slowed our ability to move forward with the process and shown Kaden is unable to co-operate with these basics of an accountability process. Most recently, despite our frequent reminders not to make contact with them, Kaden left a note for the survivor where he knew they would find it. More recently still he sent them two text messages and finally left a message on the website Tumblr where we presume he hoped they would see it.
Since the start Kaden has gone through waves of abusive and aggressive behaviour when he has not got what he wanted or not been able to control the situation. This mirrors his behaviour in past intimate relationships. Most recently he has been persistently contacting a member of the facilitation group with barrages of text messages, day and night, despite being told to respect their requests for peace and seek professional help.
We have repeatedly asked Kaden to seek professional help and have provided him with a range of contacts for different groups, organisations and courses available, yet Kaden has refused to contact them, or refused to provide decent evidence he is in contact or has otherwise been evasive or shifted the blame about why he can not contact or use them.
Throughout this process we have witnessed and experienced first hand Kaden’s manipulative and abusive behaviour. It has had a directly damaging effect on the survivor and the facilitators. In essence, he has continued to be abusive. This, together with the fact this process has essentially collapsed due to Kaden’s lack of co-operation means we are very concerned for the safety of people who may enter into relationships with him in the future. We are aware this is not an isolated incident and have already been contacted by several other survivors of his behaviour. We are not doing this out of malice or for character assassination but because we have a duty of care to attempt to keep our spaces and communities safe. None of us could forgive ourselves if he abused someone else because we failed to make this information public.
Our concerns also lie in the virtual world where on various website, particularly Tumblr (where he is herbivorexvx and dirtysquatter, and in fact met the most recent survivor), where he is able to craft a polished identity which in many ways is at serious odds with his real world actions. He has even been able to use this process to continue to manipulate people’s views of him, by suggesting on Tumblr that he is doing the right thing by asking for counselling, when in truth we have already provided him with all this information to get professional help and he has not used it.
Even in the real world we have found him to be highly manipulative and able to create a persona with behaviour and values that do not correlate to his actions towards his partners behind closed doors, and this is deeply worrying for us.
In some ways this process has become a problem within itself. Kaden has been using the process as a vehicle to communicate with the survivor and perpetuate his behaviour.
We feel we have hit a dead end and cannot continue until Kaden shows he can honestly, genuinely and properly engage with the process, and fulfill the following requirements:
1) To never directly or indirectly contact the most recent survivor whom initiated this process.
2) To never contact the facilitators of the process regarding it.
3) To read and reflectively write about power and abuse.
4) To recognise and take responsibility for his behaviour.
5) To seek and maintain getting professional help which includes both counselling and enrolling in a course for perpetrators of abuse.
We fully expect a backlash and various attacks from Kaden on either the process and/or the individuals involved and his survivors. We want to make it clear we will not respond to this or be entering any dialogue until he has shown us he has completed these demands. We will be checking his progress on a monthly basis with a view to restarting the process in six months from now (January 2015). After six months we will be willing to revisit the option of restorative justice. This six month period is different from an ongoing accountability process. Let us be clear, the process has failed. It has failed because Kaden has failed to properly engage, we have had to stop due to his persistent abuse, harassment, manipulation and deflection during the process and his continued harm to the survivor despite our best efforts and intentions.
We recognise the seriousness of putting out this statement and certainly do not take the decision lightly. Unfortunately, we feel we have not been left any other option. We are putting out this statement and taking this action to show that actions have consequences. In this case his repeated breaking of the no contact requirement plus his continued abuse and manipulative behaviour drives us to make it publicly known that he continues to make his survivor feel unsafe and attempts to hold power over this important process in anarchist communities by disrespecting it and harassing the people who are genuinely trying to help him. Despite all this, it is not and will never be our intention to villify Kaden or present him as some monster. We still believe that he can make the necessary changes to his behaviour but it will take serious effort and honest commitment.We continue to hope that we can move forward positively to a restorative justice solution to this in the future.
The Facilitators – 15/07/2014
1) For survivors of abuse, those experiencing abuse or those triggered by the above we recommend contacting:
– National Domestic violence help line – 0808 2000 247
– Samaritans – 0845 790 909
– The Men’s advice line - 0808 801 0327
2) For those who need to contact us about the above or who have further information please do not contact the survivor or those you think may be involved directly. Instead please e-mail us at Ashley25@riseup.net and we will get back to you.
3) For perpetrators, make the first step by contacting the following:
– Respect phone line - 0808 802 4040
Reed College refuses to divest.
But is anyone surprised? In the 1950s, at the height of McCarthyism, the Reed administration tried to fire three Reed professors who were suspected of communist sympathies, & only the opposition of the faculty & the student body saved two of those professors from losing their jobs. In the 1960s, when Reed established its short-lived black studies program, it was the students who saw the need for such a program in the contemporary political climate & campaigned for it despite opposition from the school administration & numerous faculty members. In the 1980s, it was the student organization Reed Out of Apartheid, not Reed itself, that wanted Reed to divest from companies that upheld the racist social order in South Africa.
(a) Despite owning a copy of Comrades of the Quest, I’m not as familiar with Reed’s institutional history as I would like to be. (b) I acknowledge the danger of conflating attitudes prevalent among the Reed faculty with those of the staff or the board of trustees. (c) I acknowledge also the numerous transformations Reed has undergone since the 1940s.
With these caveats out of the way, it seems obvious to me that Reed students have always been more progressive than Reed as an institution. That’s quite damning. What is even more shameful than Reed’s historic cowardice re. matters of broad political significance, however, is the willingness the college has exhibited, time & time again, to co-opt/exploit the political resistance of its students for its own PR purposes. Reed is very adept at feigning moral fiber after the dust has settled & its students’ once-transgressive position has become the only socially acceptable statement on a given issue. (See also the writer James Beard, expelled for being gay in 1922, vis-à-vis Reed’s recent attempts to incorporate him into its alumni pantheon &, more generally, its attempts to pose as collectively gay-friendly during Portland Pride. But we wouldn’t want to
stick our necks outget political, now would we? No, never that! How fortunate, then, that there’s nothing controversial riskypolitical about being gay-friendly in Portland, OR, in 2014. Presumably homophobia was not a political issue in the 1920s either, of course; Reed is never political, even if its decisions and non-decisions appear awfully politically inflected to the casual observer. It simply glides from one dominant social paradigm to another without ever taking responsibility for the shift, or admitting such a shift took place at all.)
My point is, don’t worry. I’m sure in a couple of decades Reed will have divested from fossil fuels so decisively it will seem like it was never invested in them in the first place. There will be no American college more vociferous about its deep, abiding & absolutely apolitical commitment to clean & sustainable energy. Because in a couple of decades the world will be so obviously fucked you’d seem crazy, or completely evil, not to take such an objective, ‘apolitical’ view. If there’s anything Reed cares about, it’s appearances.