By the way !
All kinds of people will be attending this conference (in matters of gender, geo-political origins, appearance, age, abilities...). These differences will make the meetings all the more interesting. But we're also potentially going to be faced with all kinds of relationships of power and exclusion: racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, abilism, agism...
The PGA hallmarks clearly reject all forms of domination and discrimination, including patriarchy, racism and religious fundamentalism. However, it's not enough to just state that we are against sexism or racism. We can't possibly believe that we're just going to dump all forms of domination that have been ingrained into us regarding how we relate to one another at the front door of the conference and in any activist events.
Sometimes, in radical scenes as in our society in general the norms inducing relationships based on power and domination aren't acknowledged nor debated, and therefore end up having a lot more violent consequences. It's important in order to confront ourselves with these norms to make oppressive behaviours more blatant and explicit, to analyse and to challenge them.
So here's a piece of advice (but not some kind of rule) inspired by our experiences and our ideas as well as from anti-racist and feminist reflections about the way personnal matters relate to political ones.
Producing such a document caused intense debates and will probably be strongly discussed. To put things in a nutshell and in a rather blunt manner: some people felt it was necessary to set up a frame about the way we should relate to each other, so as to create a space where relationships based on power are seen as a matter of concern. Some people wanted to raise awareness regarding some specific problems without necessarily wanting to define solutions. For other people, stating which behaviours are suitable and which ones aren't just result in creating new norms and control phenomenoms. These people believe that it's a very dangerous thing to do...
Within this conference we'd like people to be able to express opinions, choices, and tactics which might sometimes be very different depending on the persons. For this to be possible, we'd like to always let a space and time for listening, debating and confronting ideas so as to take into account the diversity of the people attending. The prejudices we all have may anger people or make them uncomfortable. We all (re)define ourselves in very different ways. It's a delicate thing to do to just assume soemeone's gender, sexual orientation, origins, political opinions, or actually anything about someone's identity. We'd like to smash a lot of norms, in matters of behaviors, sexuality and politics so as to promote "differences". A lot of people who are here are involved in struggle against social restraint and claim subversive and uncommon identities, fight for being "different". However if some of these "differences" just reproduce structures based on domination, we'll not "respect" them based on an ideology of tolerance which is more appropriate to "human-rights" or "social democrat" groups
"We're going to have a great time". Yeah, for sure. However, we know that during such gatherings, just like anywhere else, all kinds of attacks and abuse can take place, and make life dreadful for some people.
Within intimate and sexual relationships, it's most important that consent between the people involved is clearly stated. Consent is based on explicitly expressing your feelings, on whether or not there's reciprocity, on making decisions together and on the boundaries the people involved wish to set up. The relationships of power should be taken into account. "No" always means "no". Just because someone has wanted or agreed to do something once, doesn't necessarily mean they will want to do the same thing again. You should always ask before taking anything for granted. The limits people establish when it comes to physical contact or personal space can be very different, and vary from one person to another. Almost all of us feel attracted to different people, at different times. Sometimes we notice that someone is trying to avoid us, not making eye-contact, looking bored or not responding to things we say or do. Despite all the misunderstanding that might exist when it comes to relationships, even if things vary a lot depending on the people, their culture and the circumstances, body language and attitudes can be clues. They might mean that a situation is arising in which someone ends up dominating someone else, and invading their personal space.
You shouldn't intimidate, manipulate, or pressure people to try to gain their consent. There cannot be consent if the person is asleep or passed out. And it's important to question yourself about it if you see that someone's really exhausted or obviously under the influence of drugs, or if there's a strong social difference in terms of power between the people involved (origins, gender, age...) And remember...drink positive or don't !!!