on accountability

*content warning for discussion of potentially triggering subject matter*

in this very breath, we benefit from and are complicit with oppressive power structures that abuse, exploit, devalue and destroy the lives of humyns, animals and the natural world.
these entrenched relationships of violence manifest themselves in blatant examples of direct harm (military, police, prisons) and indirect harm (laws, regulations, socio-economic policies, behavior, language and passive “micro-aggressions”). these oppressions are all intertwined with one another – some more than others – and so any one power cannot be effectively challenged and undone without accounting for the other powers that intersect with it.

and so ELK subscribes to politics of anti-oppressive species-inclusive liberation. this can look like many things, but essentially always means that we aim to advocate for the interests of non-humyns while simultaneously advocating against mind-body ableism, classism (including that towards status of job titles and education) and capitalism, white supremacy and racism (including that towards migrant status, refugees and immigration), colonialism and indigenous repression, cis-hetero-normativity and patriarchy, policing and the prison industrial complex, non-inter-generational politics and ageism, body-policing and sizeism, anthropocentrism and speciesism. this is by no means an exhaustive list, and so we wish to acknowledge that people can and do experience oppression for other reasons not listed here.

with that acknowledgment, ELK recognizes that radical communities can and often do perpetuate these same dynamics of power, privilege and oppression. given the realities of mainstream animal advocacy arising within (and continuing to follow) privileged white, masculine, able-bodied-minded, cis-hetero, upper-class, colonial communities, we understand our own limitations at ELK to create and sustain anti-oppressive spaces and networks as we advocate for species-inclusive liberation. while we do strive to making our online resources and our event venues as accessible and non-triggering as possible, we are a grassroots collective dealing with common limitations – such as functioning on a by-donation budget and are own lacking community connections.

but nonetheless, we need to acknowledge that ELK has and continues to operate on stolen indigenous land. offering respect through voiced acknowledgements at our meetings and events, though important, remain woefully inadequate. we will continue to work towards strengthening our own relationships with our local indigenous neighbours and communities, and continue to offer our solidarity and support in their own struggles against ongoing kanadian colonialism and white supremacy. we recognize that we need to remain mindful of the fact that while we organize for liberation of all earthlings, we are presently participating in a multitude of settler privileges that come at the direct and continued oppression of indigenous peoples. as such, we will continue to listen, learn from, and the follow the direction of indigenous communities as leaders in this proud resistance. for species-inclusive justice to happen, for animals to become liberated, ELK will continue to respect the knowledge and efforts made by indigenous people against the organized theft, objectification, destruction and genocide of the ecologies of our Earth.

further, we will try to actively acknowledge that most of the insights and wisdoms that we plan to share here exist through the emotional & mental labours and lived experiences of others – many of which are from communities of colour and indigenous peoples, specifically womyn. the purpose of ELK’s website therefore is not to claim any idea or truth as our own, but only to share freely insights and wisdoms in hopes of helping others become conscious of more liberated ways of existing.

as well, it needs to be recognized that because we live in a violent society, many people have experienced and/or will experience violence and abuse. this harm can happen subtly during public interactions or more blatantly when absent the presence of witnesses. this harm also happen in different forms, including emotional and/or physical harm – either of which can occur as gendered and sexual violence. as a result of misogyny and sexism, this type of harm is a reality more often experienced and lived by peoples including (but not limited to): womyn, womyn of color, indigenous womyn, cash-poor womyn, womyn with disabilities, trans folks, gender non-conforming people, girls and children. and so living within a patriarchal rape culture, sexual assault can and does happen within radical communities, often without any community capacity being made available to support the survivor(s), nor to hold the perpetrator(s) accountable. and so we need to actively consider that the spaces we frequent when organizing against oppression are also potentially spaces where sexual assault and other forms of harm occur.
with this said, ELK wishes to highlight our stance that perpetrators of harm – who have not engaged in an accountability process to the satisfaction of the survivor(s) and to the satisfaction of our collective – will not be made welcome.

all our efforts at ELK are intended to continue to make space for honest accountability amongst ourselves as we organize against systems of hierarchy and domination, and organize towards defending the sovereignty that all humyns and animals have upon our bodies, minds and spirits.

love,
elk.

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