Collective Support and Care Evening — Soirée de bien-être et de support collectif

– L’invitation en français ci-bas –

Collective Support and Care Evening

November 27, 6pm to 8pm
Center for Gender Advocacy (1500 de Maisonneuve West, office 404)
Metro Guy-Concordia

Off late way too many of us have been fighting the racist murders, hate speech and the rise of the racist right in Quebec. The racist and xenophobic Bill 62 and the cancellation in effect of the consultation on the systemic discrimination and racism by the Quebec government are signs as to how the state is not taking action about the rise of the right and in fact giving in to their pressures and demands.

While the racist actions and xenophobic messages have been growing, so is the grassroots opposition to them. Multiple existing and new groups are mobilizing in response in this toxic political climate. On November 12th, we were over 5,000 on the streets following the call put forth by over 160 organizations to resist the far right.

In fighting the systemic oppressions, however, we often do not have or take time to listen to our bodies, our limits and acknowledge the emotional toll of the activist work. We tend to stretch ourselves thin and not take time to care for ourselves and one another. These struggles add on to the existing struggles in various areas spanning from anti-colonialism to migrant justice to sexism. In the process a number of people around us continue to burnout, are depressed, or completely overwhelmed by political work but also by everyday struggles and family life.

Let us get together to take time and be present for each other and care for our fellow organizers by listening and making an attempt to understand each other and the feelings we have been going through. This meeting will be a space to talk about our emotions as we all deal with the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and trauma.

This will be an anti-oppression space with the intention of healing by sharing with peers and others who have played a support role in the past. We will be creating a safe[r] space that is anti-racist, feminist, anti-colonial and queer and trans friendly. The location is accessible to people in wheelchair, if you need more details about accessibility of the space, please contact us.
We’ll start the discussion off by sharing some food and taking care of our physical selves first.
If you feel like it, bring some food to share!

Politics & Care opposes systemic and intimate violences: racism, Islamophobia, colonialism, ableism, (hetero)sexism, transphobia, and all forms of hate encouraged by the far-right. We support a society without borders, based on solidarity and inclusiveness. We denounce capitalism and austerity, which are the causes themselves – not immigrants or people of colour – at the root of poverty and growing social inequality and insecurity. In addition, we believe that we, grassroots groups and activists, among others, need to integrate care in the way we fight the societal oppressions in order to assure physical, emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual well-being of the activists.


Soirée de bien-être et de support collectif

27 novembre 2017 de 18h00 à 20h00
Center for Gender Advocacy (1500 de Maisonneuve Ouest, burreau 404)
Metro Guy-Concordia

Récemment, plusieurs d’entre nous ont combattu les meurtres racistes, le discours haineux et la montée de l’extrême droite raciste au Québec. La loi raciste et xénophobe 62 ainsi que l’annulation de la consultation sur la discrimination et du racisme systémique par le gouvernement du Québec sont les signes de l’inaction de l’État quant à la montée des groupuscules d’extrême droite et, en réalité, répond aux pressions et demandes de ces derniers.

Alors que les messages et actions racistes et xénophobes se font de plus en plus visibles dans l’espace public, la résistance populaire s’organise et se fait entendre. Plusieurs groupes se mobilisent en réponse à ce climat politique toxique. Le 12 novembre dernier, nous étions plus de 5 000 personnes à prendre les rues en réponse à l’appel lancé par plus de 160 organisations dans le but faire front commun à l’extrême droite.

Néanmoins, en luttant contre les systèmes d’oppression, nous ne prenons pas toujours le temps pour écouter nos corps, reconnaître nos limites et les répercussions émotionnelles du travail militant. Plusieurs parmi nous avons tendance à nous surmener et à ne pas prendre soins de nous-même et de nos camarades. Ces points de tensions s’ajoutent à nos diverses luttes passant de l’anticolonialisme à la justice pour les personnes migrantes aux luttes contre le sexisme. Dans ce processus, bon nombre de personnes autour de nous souffrent d’épuisement, de dépression ou sont surpassés par le travail politique, mais aussi par les tracas de la vie quotidienne et de la vie de famille.

Il est temps de prendre un moment pour nous, c’est-à-dire être présent·e·s les un·e·s pour les autres afin d’écouter et de tenter de nous comprendre et de porter attention aux émotions que nous avons vécues au cours des dernières semaines. Cette rencontre sera un espace pour parler de nos feelings alors que nous devons faire face à la fatigue physique, mentale et émotionnelle ainsi qu’au trauma.

Ce sera un espace anti-oppressif ayant pour but de faciliter la guérison et de partage avec ceuzes qui luttes à nos côtés et les personnes qui jouent des rôles de support dans nos communautés. Nous créerons un espace bienveillant qui sera anti-raciste, féministe, anti-colonial, queer et trans friendly. Le lieu est accessible aux personnes qui se déplacent en fauteuils roulants, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous avez besoins de détails sur l’accessibilité de l’espace.
Nous débuterons la soirée en partageant de la nourriture et en prenant soin de nos besoins physiques. Si le cœur vous en dit, apportez de la nourriture à partager!

Politics & Care s’oppose aux violences systémiques et intimes tel que le racisme, l’islamophobie, le colonialisme, le capacitisme, (l’étéro)sexisme, la transphobie et toutes les forme de haine qui sont promues par l’extrême droite. Nous travaillons à créer une société sans frontières, basées sur la solidarité et l’inclusivité. Nous dénonçons le capitalisme et l’austérité qui sont les causes à la racine de la pauvreté et de l’insécurité sociale – et non les immigrants et les personnes racisées-. De plus, nous pensons que nous les groupes de la société civile et les milieux militants, avons besoin de tricoter le bien-être dans nos luttes pour combattre les oppressions systémiques afin d’assurer le bien-être physique, émotif, mental, psychologique et spirituel des activistes.


« Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare. »
Audrey Lorde


Des astuces bien-être collectif // Collective care tips

Voici quelques notes d’un de nos ateliers sur le bien-être collectif. // These are the notes from one of our workshops on collective care

From the images, in English:

Tips on collective care practices:

    – « How are you? » (integrating caring for people and not only their work; being in solidarity with each other)
    – Slow down, take time to care
    – Emotional labour is gendered, thus tiring/annoying; Building feminist practices
    – Develop emotional intelligence, particularly among men
    – Problems not personalized (thus easier to address them)
    – Not trivializing un need, a request
    – Take as much time as needed to analyse power dynamics (in your milieu)
    – Alternating speaking turns (between different power positions; see Safer Space post from March 2017)
    – Limiting speaker turns (ditto)
    – Take breaks
    – Take diversity of experience into consideration
    – Recognize and acknowledge privilege (in particular, senior people)
    – Writing down preoccupations (on post-its) so they can be discussed, and not accumulated
    – Have empathy (e.g., availability of food during meetings)
    – Bringing responsibilities to the forefront (so they can be shared)
    – Communicate and delegate certains tasks
    – Name existing hierarchies (when we say we’re non-hierarchical) and find ways to change & transforme things
    – Explicitly take time for trainings (to democratize expertise)
    – ^Allows for lowering workload of those who’ve taken on a lot.
    – Include people in activities and such so they feel part of the organisation etc
    – Inculcate intentional strategies to welcome and integrate new people
    – At the end of meetings, do a check out with everyone’s tasks (helps reliability and accountability)
    – Work on strategies to decentralize power, responsibilities and tasks
    – Ask and receive help
    – Connect with one-self
    – Active listening
    – Empathie (can’t emphasize enough)
    – Emotional Intelligence (various tools exists to help with that)
    – Committees or strategies of conflict resolution (deescalation as well as management)

Safer Space: respect, no judgment, confidentiality, collective responsibility, learning space, confront ideas and systems and not people in the workshop… (see the full article on safer space below).

Who Cares? : The Politics of Care in Radical Organizing

We are happy to share the August 2016 editorial of Upping The Anti journal, which analyzes how care has become individualized and what collective or community care can look like. The analysis in this editorial complements the (collective) care work that we do at Politics & Care.

* * *
In many of today’s social movements, a common framework is taken up with regard to “self care.” In many ways, it seems as though self care is commonly understood as taking some form of “time-out” from the stresses of daily life within capitalism and organizing, especially from spaces that cannot or will not offer care. It can refer to time taken or an activity done intentionally for one’s own personal well-being. Beyond the things we actively do to care for ourselves, self care can also mean not doing certain things: not attending a meeting or action or stepping back from organizing altogether for a period of time. We may need self care to cope with the draining effects of crisis-mode organizing, increasingly precarious work lives, or patterns of discrimination in certain organizing spaces. Self care might also be the activities one needs to simply survive – physically, mentally, emotionally – in a world that brutalizes certain bodies, races, and genders more than others. In any case, it is clear that self care has become a central concept and practice in organizing circles today – a ubiquitous prescription for the tired activist.
Lire la suite

Three Thoughts on Emotional Labour

avec Anne Goldenberg

A good piece on emotional labour by Clementine Morrigan in GUTS magazine:

« Emotional labour is a skill set. It is work that is supportive, that lifts people up and holds space when things are hard. Often invisible, emotional labour is always working behind the scenes. Foundational to emotional labour is the capacity to listen deeply without trying to fix things; to hold space for people moving through difficult feelings; to offer constructive feedback; to help people feel loved, valued, seen, and cared for. Emotional labour can look like remembering that people need to eat. It can look like making sure a space is clean and ready for work to happen. It can mean being available, showing up, holding someone’s hand, making space for someone’s pain. Sometimes emotional labour takes the form of educating others, of drawing on painful lived experiences to offer up important knowledge. Sometimes it takes the form of creating the conditions for others to speak their truth. For those of us who do emotional labour frequently, we can be very good at it without having ever articulated what it is we are actually doing. It is only when emotional labour fails to happen and things start to fall apart that we begin to notice how essential this work is.
Lire la suite

Caring About Thriving

We repost here our piece that was published in the Convergence Journal*, Vol.7, February, 2017.

Pushed by a society that is always running, too often we are trying to be everywhere at once and to maintain high standards of productivity while working towards social change. Another protest, an extra meeting, and why not a conference at lunchtime before facilitating a workshop?! We fight for social justice… until we break down. And even then, we feel guilty for not doing, and being, “enough”.

Rarely do we take the time to question our limits and the emotional involvement intrinsic to activist work. We tend to overextend ourselves without caring for one another. How many people around us have burnt out, are depressed or completely overwhelmed by our struggles and family life?
Lire la suite

Safer Spaces

Before we start our discussions and workshops, we create a Safe(r) Space to make the space accessible to everyone in various ways – this includes creation of a space where we can indulge in emotionally-charged conversations. We start with a general understanding that it’s ok to feel and express emotions. Another objective is to facilitate building of empathy and mutual understanding amongst participants. 

In order to create such a space, we lay down a set of basic guidelines for the group that can increase our levels of self-awareness as well as comfort and ease with the people with whom we are sharing intimate thoughts and issues, and sometimes matters in which we strongly believe.

In our discussions, while the facilitators bring forth some basic elements of safer space practices, the space is open for participants to contribute additional practices that would make the space safer for them to be able to share delicate and emotionally charged matters. 
Lire la suite

Politisation du « care » : vers un bien-être collectif


par blueprint depuis wikipedia

Captivé.e.s par notre volonté de lutter pour la justice sociale, on passe beaucoup de temps à mobiliser, à organiser des actions, des rencontres, des ateliers, des conférences, à aller manifester, etc. Malheureusement on ne prend pas assez de temps pour créer des espaces où l’on peut s’accueillir les un.e.s et les autres et réfléchir sur *comment* on organise et mène nos luttes : comment peut-on militer durablement sans se pousser vers l’épuisement, le burn-out, le découragement et l’isolement; comment peut-on renforcer nos intelligences communicationnelle et émotionnelle pour mieux gérer les inévitables difficultés et conflits dans nos collectifs ?; comment prendre le temps pour parler de nos émotions et besoins et mettre en lumière l’importance et l’aspect politique (et notamment genré) du travail affectif.

En plus des notions capitalistes intériorisées de productivité et des dynamiques internes des groupes, le manque d’espace, de temps et d’outils pour prendre soin de nous, ont un impact immense sur notre bien-être collectif et à leur tour, cela se répercute à long terme sur le travail politique que nous faisons.

Cet atelier vous invite à créer un espace d’échanges et de réflexion dans lequel nous tenterons de faire de la place au « care », de mettre du bien-être collectif dans nos vies en se donnant des pistes d’action pour se responsabiliser, personnellement et collectivement pour s’assurer du bien-être de chacun.e.

Camp de formation féministe de l’ASSÉ
21 octobre 2016, CÉGEP de Saint-Jérôme
Animé par Rushdia Mehreen et Anne Goldenberg, membres de Politics & Care.