Collective care practices: why & how

Partial workshop prep notes, campaigning with care: How do we hold each other through organizing?

What isn’t working in our spaces? What frustrates us? What makes us gossip?
Our focus often is on action and reaction: organizing, logistics and such given the ecological and social crises. What space do we have to talk about our well-being, physical, mental, emotional; How we are feeling and doing, given that our energies are fluctuating between time and space – particularly given the pandemic and the sanitary measures?

Some reflections:
Capitalism brings an individualist vision of care, that it’s the responsibility of the individual (1). Focus is on productivity, perfectionism and performance.

Emotional Labour
Tasks that are often not counted or shared by everyone.
It is often seen as ok to pass on the know-how on how to carry out a direct action or organize a protest than to see and value active listening and de-escalation of conflicts as important skills to build collectively.
Living in our current world and surviving the oppressions calls for a lot of emotional labour. In our groups, the emotional labour is carried out mostly by those who suffer from systemic oppressions. Often there’s an inequity in terms of who carries the load of emotional labour.
A racialized or trans person or woman, for example, might face a lot of micro aggression and there aren’t many places, if at all, to address those issues. They would need to process it outside of the group; it’s one more task, which is also frustrating.

Embodiment of radical, Anti-oppression politics
Does our actions match our values? Besides making long grocery lists of our values and principles, how can we think about how we embody those values.

Power dynamics, hidden hiérarchies, reliability/accountability, lack of transparency are issues that are cumulative and have an impact on (collective) well-being. How often do we think about these as a group and work towards addressing them? What spaces do we have for them?

For instance, we can say we are against sexism and racism; it’s written on our website and mission: but how do we interact with women, Black, racialized, black and indigenous people, non-binary, trans folks? Other aspects include how marginalized people, are not listened to. Who has space to express something and who is heard speaks a lot. For instance, women in general are not heard but if men say the same thing it’s heard.

What collective care practices can we put in place? We can think of it in three main areas at the outset. Others can be more deeper and involved.

Pointers to reflect deeper upon integrating collective care in our organizing
* Have an intentional strategy for bringing new people into the circle;
* Check-in with people who are dropping out;
* Analyze power dynamics and work to balance power;
* Bring awareness to existing hierarchies (visible and invisible), that is when we say we’re a flat-non hierarchical organization, and work to transform them;
* Analyze the makeup of our teams and consider who is not here and why (work to open spaces for everyone, regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender identification, ability level etc. in particular those who are systemically marginalized);
* Be in solidarity and empathy with what others around us and what they are experiencing; – encourages people to open up in check-ins etc.
* Slow down and make time and space to rethink and reflect collectively – quality vs. quantity;
* Make responsibilities visible;
* Keep communications active and open, and share/delegate tasks;
* Take breaks; In general aim for marathon, not the sprint;
* Be aware of diversity of experience, and also of privilege linked to people’s experience and the monopolization of the proverbial mic;
* In the context of the movement, think about creating spaces where you can find respite, a listening ear, an activity that is not stressful, etc. In the past, different groups have created different spaces for this purpose, such as Maille à part, which organized creative activities such as creations using knitting and crochet etc, Stitch and Bitch, Yarn bombing, or workshops to learn knitting or crochet.


Part of these strategies were included in our De quoi le care article in 2019
Also see:
Caring About Thriving (a set of prompts/a checklist for collective reflection)
Be careful with each other: How activist groups can build trust, care, and sustainability in a world of capitalism and oppression Briarpatch Magazine
Collective care tips
(1) See, Who Cares from Upping the Anti

Campaigning With Care: How do we hold each other through organizing?

A workshop organized by The Climate Justice Organizing HUB and co-hosted by Politics & Care

March 29
4:00 p.m. PDT / 5:00 p.m. MDT / 6:00 p.m. CDT / 7:00 p.m. EDT / 8:00 p.m. ADT

By Zoom. Please register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIkdumorTIuE9MX9yFL4JsRwrSSHcRH7QtL

At our January 25 community care check-in, many of you spoke openly about the challenges and roadblocks of these past years organizing during a pandemic. We talked about how relationships are at the core of organizing and how we must be grounded in the community if we want to build power for transformative change. With these themes still fresh in our minds, we wanted to follow up with a discussion on concrete practices to incorporate collective well-being and community care into our campaign processes.

With momentum picking back up in the climate justice movement, how are we incorporating collective care into our group structures and strategies? We hope to hold space for us all to hone our care toolkits together.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1165619050931670/

Facilitated by Rushdia Mehreen and Caitlin Chan

Collective care practices: A selection

Partial notes from the workshop, <a href="https://politicsandcare.wordpress.com/2022/03/27/campaigning-with-care-how-do-we-hold-each-other-through-organizing/&quot; target="_blank" rel="noopener" campaigning="" with="" care: How do we hold each other through organizing?: What isn’t working in our spaces? What frustrates us? What makes us gossip? Our focus often is on action and reaction: organizing, logistics and such given the ecological and social crises. What space do we have to talk about our well-being, physical, mental, emotional; How we are feeling and doing, given that our energies are fluctuating between time and space – particularly given the pandemic and the sanitary measures? <a href="https://politicsandcare.wordpress.com/2022/03/27/campaigning-with-care-how-do-we-hold-each-other-through-organizing/&quot; target="_blank" rel="noopener" campaigning="" with="" care:Some reflections: Capitalism brings an individualist vision of care, that it’s the responsibility of the individual (1). Focus is on productivity, perfectionism and performance. Emotional Labour Tasks that are often not counted or shared by everyone. It is often seen as ok to pass on the know-how on how to carry out a direct action or organize a protest than to see and value active listening and de-escalation of conflicts as important skills to build collectively. Living in our current world and surviving the oppressions calls for a lot of emotional labour. In our groups, the emotional labour is carried out mostly by those who suffer from systemic oppressions. Often there’s an inequity in terms of who carries the load of emotional labour. A racialized or trans person or woman, for example, might face a lot of micro aggression and there aren’t many places, if at all, to address those issues. They would need to process it outside of the group; it’s one more task, which is also frustrating. Embodiment of radical, Anti-oppression politics Does our actions match our values? Besides making long grocery lists of our values and principles, how can we think about how we embody those values. Power dynamics, hidden hiérarchies, reliability/accountability, lack of transparency are issues that are cumulative and have an impact on (collective) well-being. How often do we think about these as a group and work towards addressing them? What spaces do we have for them? For instance, we can say we are against sexism and racism; it’s written on our website and mission: but how do we interact with women, Black, racialized, black and indigenous people, non-binary, trans folks? Other aspects include how marginalized people, are not listened to. Who has space to express something and who is heard speaks a lot. For instance, women in general are not heard but if men say the same thing it’s heard. What collective care practices can we put in place? We can think of it in three main areas at the outset. Others can be more deeper and involved.
<a href="https://politicsandcare.wordpress.com/2022/03/27/campaigning-with-care-how-do-we-hold-each-other-through-organizing/&quot; target="_blank" rel="noopener" campaigning="" with="" care:
Pointers to reflect deeper upon integrating collective care in our organizing * Have an intentional strategy for bringing new people into the circle; * Check-in with people who are dropping out; * Analyze power dynamics and work to balance power; * Bring awareness to existing hierarchies (visible and invisible), that is when we say we’re a flat-non hierarchical organization, and work to transform them; * Analyze the makeup of our teams and consider who is not here and why (work to open spaces for everyone, regardless of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender identification, ability level etc. in particular those who are systemically marginalized); * Be in solidarity and empathy with what others around us and what they are experiencing; – encourages people to open up in check-ins etc. * Slow down and make time and space to rethink and reflect collectively – quality vs. quantity; * Make responsibilities visible; * Keep communications active and open, and share/delegate tasks; * Take breaks; In general aim for marathon, not the sprint; * Be aware of diversity of experience, and also of privilege linked to people’s experience and the monopolization of the proverbial mic; * In the context of the movement, think about creating spaces where you can find respite, a listening ear, an activity that is not stressful, etc. In the past, different groups have created different spaces for this purpose, such as Maille à part, which organized creative activities such as creations using knitting and crochet etc, Stitch and Bitch, Yarn bombing, or workshops to learn knitting or crochet. — Part of these strategies were included in our De quoi le care article in 2019 Also see: — Caring About Thriving (a set of prompts/a checklist for collective reflection) — Be careful with each other: How activist groups can build trust, care, and sustainability in a world of capitalism and oppression Briarpatch Magazine — Collective care tips (1) See, Who Cares from Upping the Anti

Deux ans de pandémie et nos stratégies de care / Two years of pandemic, and our strategies of care

(English below)

*Deux ans de pandémie et nos stratégies de care* 
Mardi 22 février 2022
18h à 20 h par Zoom

La pandémie, ça a changé beaucoup de choses sur la façon de faire le care personnel ou collectif. Après deux ans, individuellement ou collectivement, nous avons développé des stratégies pour s’adapter. Mais, peut-être aussi qu’on a encore des difficultés.

Dans une ambiance décontractée et informelle, Politics & care vous invite à venir partager, célébrer nos réussites (notre « ressourcefulness ») pour passer à travers, et aussi nos difficultés encore présentes ou nos deuils à passer à travers. Échanger entre nous dans un safer space, c’est se donner un petit moment de care pour résonner avec les autres et pour que les autres résonnent en nous (selon votre préférence).

Nous allons limiter le nombre à 20 participant.e.s pour prendre le temps d’avoir des échanges.

** pour vous inscrire veuillez svp remplir ce formulaire: https://forms.gle/de9Ed65YhcRguB4g8 **

Le jour de l’événement nous vous ferons parvenir un lien pour vous connecter à la rencontre. 
Les discussions auront lieu en français et en anglais.
À bientôt! Collectivement,
Politics & Care

//////

*Two years of pandemic, and our strategies of care*
Tuesday February 22, 2022
6pm to 8pm

The pandemic required us to transform how we care for ourselves personally or in collectives. Two year later, we have been resourceful in finding ways to care, individually and collectively. On the other hand, we might still be struggling with some things.

In a relaxed and informal atmosphere, Politics & Care invites you to share resourcefulness with dealing with challenges but also our current difficulties and our griefs that are in progress. Sharing in a safer space is to give ourselves a little time to resonate with others and that others resonate with us (according to your preferences!)

We will limit participants to 20 to allow ourselves to have time to share.

** Please register by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/de9Ed65YhcRguB4g8 **

We’ll send you an email the day of the event with a link to connect to the virtual meeting.

Discussion will be held in french and english.
See you soon! Collectively,
Politics & Care


* À propos de Politics & Care *
Politics & Care est un espace pour tisser des liens entre le bien-être collectif, le care et la politique. Tout cela avec un peu de magie ! Nous sommes un collectif d’artistes-organisateurices communautaires (féministes intersectionnelles, indiscipliné-es !) qui se consacre à l’intégration du care dans nos politiques. Nous organisons des discussions collectives et animons des ateliers pour des activistes, groupes grassroots, les organisations communautaires et plus encore. Formé à Montréal lors de la grève étudiante de 2012, nous considérons le care comme un enjeu collectif.

https://politicsandcare.wordpress.com

* About Politics & Care*
Politics & Care is a space to weave links between collective wellbeing, care and politics. All that with a little bit of magic! We are a collective of artists-community organizers (intersectional feminists, indiscipliné-es!) dedicated to integrate care in our politics. We hold collective discussions and facilitate workshops for activists, grassroots groups, community organisations and more. Formed in Montreal during the 2012 student strike, we look at care as a collective issue.
image: rawpixel.com

Making a Case for Care in and Beyond These Times

Some excerpts of an article that includes reflections and contribution from Politics & Care Collective.

« When we are positioned to provide such care to students, what kind of care do we need for ourselves and in our shared spaces? 

….

« Politics & Care, a Montreal-based collective that cultivates “…spaces to interweave links between collective well-being, self-care, and politics” is one of many organizations that examines and cultivates collective care (2020). Collective care focuses on a specific group or given space and sees well-being for members as a shared responsibility of the group (Mehreen & Gray-Donald, 2018). In education, we often work autonomously and thus may be absorbing the impacts of our work with less opportunity to debrief about the challenges we are experiencing. When every person in a team, working group, or classroom is considering and showing care for each other, this provides a reciprocal form of care that benefits everyone in the given space (Mehreen & Gray-Donald, 2018). »

« different kinds of spaces within which connection and care can be nurtured have been explored:

  • Spontaneous connection (e.g. running into someone in the hallway);
  • Existing spaces (e.g. department meetings);
  • Intentional spaces (e.g. collective care discussion circles). »

Read the full article by Anuska Martins at https://voices.vaniercollege.qc.ca/making-a-case-for-care-in-and-beyond-these-times/

Image source: Picmonkey

Black Panther Party Seattle Chapter Captain Aaron Dixon « in Montreal »

En français ci-dessous

A Talk by Black Panther Party Seattle Chapter Captain Aaron Dixon
Monday November 16, 6pm
Online via Zoom

***Pre-registration required: https://www.facebook.com/events/370006314312637

Aaron Dixon is a political activist who established the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, and co-founded the Seattle Area Black Student Union (BSU) in 1967. His book, ‘My People Are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain,’ was published in 2012.

Aaron will speak about the Survival Programs that were launched by the Black Panther Party in 1970 when the economy was very weak following the Vietnam war. In response to the abject living conditions his poor people faced struggling to make ends meet.The Survival Programs supported, educated and uplifted the directly affected people. The objective was to work towards fighting for free medical care, food on every table, education for all and an end to discrimination and racism.

In particular, Aaron will cover the Free Breakfast for School Children program, free medical clinics and free food programs Aaron personally helped set up to care for people in arduous times. In My People Are Rising, Aaron emphasizes: « we were able to define all the tools of oppression that besieged our communities, then transformed those oppressions to the benefit of our communities. »

« All power to the people! » – Black Panther Party

Read more about Aaron here: https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/dixon-aaron-1949/

Co-sponsored by Hoodstock, QPIRG-McGill, AFESPED-UQAM, Vanier College Humanities Worldviews class, Well-Being: Who Cares?, Femmes Noires Musulmanes au Québec, QPIRG-Concordia, GRIP-UQAM, Solidarity Across Borders. Organized by Politics & Care.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Une conférence par Black Panther Party, Capitaine Seattle Chapter, Aaron Dixon
Lundi 16 novembre, 18h
Online, par Zoom

*** Préinscription obligatoire : https://www.facebook.com/events/370006314312637

Aaron Dixon est un militant politique qui a établie la section de Seattle du “Black Panther Party” en 1968, et a cofondé le “Seattle Area Black Student Union” (BSU) en 1967. Son livre, « My People Are Rising : Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain », a été publié en 2012.

Aaron parlera des programmes de survie qui ont été lancés par le Black Panther Party en 1970 lorsque l’économie était en mauvais état après la guerre du Vietnam. En réponse aux conditions de vie abjectes auxquelles les pauvres et marginalisés devaient faire face, luttant pour joindre les deux bouts, les programmes de survie ont soutenu, éduqué et élevé les personnes directement touchées. L’objectif était de lutter pour des soins médicaux gratuits, de la nourriture sur chaque table, une éducation pour toutes et tous et la fin de la discrimination et du racisme.

Plus précisément, Aaron discutera du programme de petits déjeuners gratuits pour les écoliers, les cliniques médicales gratuites et les programmes de nourriture gratuite dont Aaron était personnellement chargé de mettre en place pour prendre soin des gens dans les moments difficiles. Dans My People Are Rising, Aaron met l’accent sur « nous avons pu définir tous les outils d’oppression qui ont assiégé nos communautés, puis nous avons transformé ces oppressions au profit de nos communautés ».

« All power to the people! » – Black Panther Party

Pour en savoir plus sur Aaron :
https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/dixon-aaron-1949/

Co-présenté avec Hoodstock, QPIRG-McGill, AFESPED-UQAM, Vanier College Humanities Worldviews class, Well-Being: Who Cares?, Femmes Noires Musulmanes au Québec, QPIRG-Concordia, GRIP-UQAM, Solidarité sans frontières. Organisé par Politics & Care.

note: L’invité s’exprimera en anglais et l’interprétation vers le français sera disponible. Les détails seront affichés ici.

Comment ça va: Collective « deep check in » collectif


4 juin/June 2020
6pm to 8pm

Register / inscription: https://forms.gle/4Q5UnBKFVoebWjvZA
Evenement Facebook

— English version below —

Comment ça va? Non, mais comment ça va vraiment?

La COVID change la façon dont on prend soin de soi et qu’on prend soin de nous, collectivement. Des problèmes peuvent être devenus plus importants, on peut manquer d’espoir, on peut se sentir désorganisé.e…

Faire un « deep check in », c’est prendre le temps de s’écouter collectivement dans un espace plus sécuritaire. Le but est d’offrir un espace pour partager ce que nous ressentons en ces temps d’incertitude; explorer la pressions que nous pouvons resentir à prendre soin de soi de manière productive ou a être continuellement dans des réunions en ligne en essayant de combler le vide laissé par l’isolement social. L’idée est d’offrir un espace de parole pour celleux qui le souhaitent pour partager quelque chose qu’illes vivent. C’est de sentir la résonance de la parole des autres en soi dans un moment de partage de cette vulnérabilité qui fait de nous des humains. Nous ne sommes pas parfait.e.s et c’est tant mieux!

Si ça vous intéresse de vivre l’expérience avec nous, nous organisons un échange le samedi 30 mai entre 11h et 13h sur la plateforme Zoom. Afin que plusieurs personnes puissent s’exprimer, nous limitons la participation à 20 personnes;

** pour vous inscrire veuillez svp remplir ce formulaire: https://forms.gle/4h9qzca2pwS2U97o6 **

Jeudi matin nous vous ferons parvenir un lien pour vous connecter à la rencontre.
Les discussions auront lieu en français et en anglais.

À bientôt! Collectivement,

Politics & Care

*******

How are you doing? Ah.. how are you really doing?

COVID changed the way we practice self care, the way we practice collective care. Problems might have become more important, we might experience a lack of hope, we might feel all over the place…

To do a « deep check in » is to take the time to hear ourselves collectively in a safer space. The goal is to offer a space to share how we are feeling in these times of uncertainty, how we may feel various pressures to care for ourselves in a productive way, be busy with numerous online meetings trying to fill the gap left by social isolation and so on. It is to feel the words of others resonate with us and share this vulnerability that makes us humans. We are not perfect and it is better that way!

If you are interested in sharing the experience with us, we are organizing an exchange Saturday, May 30th between 11am and 1pm on the Zoom plateform. In order for everyone to have time to share, we will limit the participation to 20 people.

** Please register by filling out this form: https://forms.gle/4h9qzca2pwS2U97o6 **

We’ll send you an email the day of with the info to connect to the virtual meeting.
Discussion will be held in french and english.

See you soon! Collectively,

Politics & Care
https://politicsandcare.wordpress.com/qui-sommes-nous-who-we-are/

image: freepik.com

Collective Care and Gender: Building Collective Healing and Support for Women, Trans, and Non-Binary People

Collective Care and Gender: Building Collective Healing and Support for Women, Trans, and Non-Binary People
Wednesday, March 4th
Vanier College
821 Sainte Croix Ave, Saint-Laurent, Quebec H4L 3X9
Room: D-244
12 p.m.–1:15 p.m.

As women, trans, and non-binary people, we often have to navigate institutions, communities, and public spaces that uphold patriarchy. As a result, we are often overloaded, drained, and dismissed with emotional labour, and also experience backlash when we try to assert ourselves or address gender inequality. This workshop will be a space to explore the ways in which women, trans, and non-binary people can support each other, emotionally or otherwise, in a context where we experience burnout and backlash based on gender. We will collectively reflect on the practices of care, both self and collective, as well as brainstorm ideas for continued action such as creating networks of support at Vanier.

(NB: To sign-up for this workshop, please send an email to Alan Wong with subject heading “Collective Care Workshop” at wongal@vanier.college. Workshop open only to students, faculty members, professionals, and support staff who identify as women, trans, and non-binary).

Sarah Yiu is an English teacher at Vanier College. She has also been involved with New School at Dawson and the Politics & Care collective for Cegep teachers. Co-sponsored by Vanier’s RespectWorks office.

Podcast: Discussion avec Politics & Care

Intersection’elle
Saison 2 – Épisode 2 – Politics and Care
2019-10-30

« Le burn-out ou l’épuisement professionnel c’est un sujet d’actualité qui revient régulièrement. C’est aussi un sujet intimement lié aux luttes militantes, qui a souvent été nommé à Intersection’elle (comme lorsque l’on a parlé de charge mentale et à peu près à chaque fois qu’on rencontre des personnes marginalisées, en particulier lorsqu’elles travaillent au communautaire). Au-delà des solutions de « self-care » où l’on vous propose de prendre un bain ou de faire du yoga pour vous détendre et prendre soin de vous-même, nos invités cette semaines nous parlent d’un effort de soins collectifs, surtout au sein de la communauté activiste et engagée, pour en finir un peu avec le discours souvent culpabilisant du « self-care » neutre, qui ne prend pas réellement en compte les enjeux sociaux qui mènent à l’épuisement. »

Écoutez: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-3tr33-c53dc0

Atelier sur feedback et les conditions nécessaire pour ceci

(english below)

Donner et recevoir du feedback: Déballage de l’énigme
Mardi 4 février
18h30 à 20h30
Grand Atelier
Bâtiment 7, 1900 Rue Le Ber

https://www.facebook.com/events/585388148921461/

L’événement sera bilingue; la description en anglais est ci-dessous. (English description is below).

Dans le cadre de la programmation d’hiver du Bâtiment 7

Quelles sont les conditions qui nous permettent de faire des commentaires? Qu’est-ce qui fonctionne et qu’est-ce qui ne fonctionne pas? Pourquoi cela fonctionne pour les un.e.s et pas pour les autres? Qu’est-ce qui permet de donner et de recevoir des commentaires et qu’est ce qui entrave ce processus? Cet atelier propose un cadre de travail(framework) pour tenter à répondre à ces questions et à d’autres liées à la rétroaction.

À propos de l’animatrice :
Rushdia offre des ateliers sur le bien-être collectifs depuis plus de cinq ans avec Politics & Care entre autre. Elle est maintenant étudiante au doctorat à l’UQÀM et fait la recherche sur les dynamiques du pouvoir dans les mouvements sociaux.

En collaboration about Politics & Care.

Accessibilité

Il y a une rampe de bois menant du trottoir à la porte d’entrée. L’événement se déroulera dans le Grand Atelier, au deuxième étage, accessible par une rangée d’escalier en bois ou via le monte-charge. Les toilettes sont non-genrées et il y a des toilettes accessibles aux chaises roulantes (dimensions à venir). Écrivez à dani@batiment7.org pour toutes questions ou commentaires par rapport à l’accessibilité du Bâtiment 7.

Le bâtiment 7 est accessible par autobus (57 O ou 71 S) du métro Charlevoix (ou environ 20 minutes de marche).

/////////////////////

English :

Giving and Receiving Feedback: Unraveling the enigma
Tuesday February 4th
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Grand Atelier
Bâtiment 7, 1900 Rue Le Ber

https://www.facebook.com/events/585388148921461/

Winter programming at Bâtiment 7

What are the conditions that allow us to give feedback? What works and what doesn’t? Why it works for some and not for others? What enables giving and receiving feedback and what hinders this process?
This workshop proposes a framework to work through these and other questions related to feedback
giving and receiving.

About the facilitator :
Rushdia has been offering workshops on collective care and well-being since over five years with Politics & Care, among others; she is now a phd student at UQÀM researching power dynamics in social movements.

In collaboration with Politics & Care

Accessibility :

There’s a wooden ramp leading from the sidewalk to the front door. The event will take place in the Grand Atelier, on the second floor, accessible by a wooden stairs or via the freight elevator. The washrooms are non-gendered and there is a washroom accessible by wheelchair (dimensions to come). Write to dani@batiment7.org for any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of Bâtiment 7.

Bâtiment 7 is accessible by bus (57 West or 71 South) from Charlevoix metro (or about 20 minutes walk).