European Dissent Accountability Statement

Date Published: 
June 29, 2006
European Dissent Accountability Statement
Draft in Progress  6/29/06

We intend this to be a living document, as a guide for work, and to be reviewed to reflect changes as our work progresses.
Accountability of Whites to European Dissent Organization
We accept the fact that each of us has individual racism and we understand we have privilege because we are white.  With this in mind, we have made a commitment to undo racism.
1.    All members of European Dissent will have attended a two and a half day “Undoing Racism” training with The People’s Institute, or will have made a commitment to attend one in the next six months.
2.    We agree with the statement of purpose (European Dissent Mission Statement).
3.    We collectively and individually agree to work on our own personal and cultural racism and will take an active, public stance against institutional racism and report back to the group with our progress.
4.    We agree to be honest with each other.
5.    We agree to respect each other.
6.    We will support group decisions.
7.    We will create a liberated zone where individuals can and should say what is on their minds without fear.  This also means that we will speak to the group, rather than outside of the group, if we have a problem.  We will create the space where we talk with each other rather than about each other.  This means that we will bring up problems about process, group maintenance and individual involvement in the liberated zone.
8.    Each member will take responsibility for continuity of the organization through the following:
Attendance, staying current on decisions and activities of the group; following through on tasks we have agreed to; maintaining structure in the organization; holding meetings regularly, including committee meetings; everyone being involved in some way beyond attendance; nurturing new members.
9.    We agree to develop and maintain trust.  We should be able to trust that the group will be with us and support us when we step out against racism.
10.    We will have a commitment to struggle.  We will commit to push one another to another level.  We will be committed to being challenged on a personal, cultural and institutional level.
11.    We will commit to sharing information, events, and resources.
12.    We will have a commitment to being responsible to the next generation.  We will educate our young people.
2.      Accountability of Whites to Other Whites
1.    We commit to anti-racist work within our families, with friends, in our jobs, and our community work.
2.    We recognize that European Dissent neither invented nor owns white anti-racism, but instead is part of a national network  of anti-racist whites. We have much to learn from this network and seek to create an accountable community of individuals and organizations who do this work.
3.    We believe it is our responsibility to work with and organize other whites, especially those in social justice work and those whose activity significantly impacts communities of color. We accept our responsibility to work with whites, even when we don’t agree with them.
4.    We will commit to the appreciation of the whole of each other’s personhood.  We will respect each other’s culture, class and religious differences.  We will identify gender perspectives.  We will be sensitive to each other’s family situations.
5.    We will commit to do anti-racist problem solving with each other.  We will not write each other off.  We will question without a sense of one-upmanship.  We will resist arrogance.  We will be willing to share our weaknesses.  We will question each other’s accountability.
6.    We will commit to create and promote an anti-racist culture and learn to work our culture in with other cultures in a non-intrusive, non-imposing and respectful way.

3.      Accountability of Anti-Racist Whites to People of Color
1.    We will commit ourselves to informing and checking with people of color about our work both personally and organizationally.  We will listen to what they say and what they are not saying.  We will make a commitment to use European Dissent as a sieve, so that we can filter out some things before taking the discussion to people of color.  We will share minutes and major decisions with people of color.  We will share our accountability statement with them. 
2.    We will engage in the struggle as anti-racist whites side by side with people of color.  We will be committed to becoming a visible ally.  We will be committed to action and taking public anti-racist positions.  We will help build a multi-racial, anti-racist movement. 
3.    We will accept Black leadership and the leadership of other communities of color.  We understand that, because of the unique assignation of white as “superior” in the race construct, we, as anti-racist whites are bound to accept Black leadership specifically, in order to counter-balance to the “superior/inferior” polarities of the race construct.  At the same time, we recognize the potential damage that can be done by whites focusing only on the duality of black/white – that we can divert and ignore the histories and oppressions of other peoples of color by defining our work as exclusively a reaction to this polarity.  Without a recognition that the race construct has oppressed other peoples of color in equally dehumanizing, unique manipulations in order to reinforce the duality of the race construct, we discount the human losses those manipulations promote.     
4.    We will learn not to blindly follow leadership because it is of color.  Instead, we rely on PISAB principles of indigenous leadership that include embeddedness in community. In this way we will be accountable to leaders who are in turn accountable in their own communities. We recognize that we need to continue to deepen our understanding of these principles.
5.    We will learn to know when we are relying too much on people of color to do the work we should be doing.
Mission Statement of European Dissent, New Orleans
We are persons of European descent who recognize that our varying ethnic histories have been forged into a common “white community” in order to nurture and sustain racism.
We work in consultation with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national multiracial network of organizers who do training workshops in leadership development, community empowerment, and Undoing Racism.
Our goal is to be a visible force in the creation of a multiracial network of people intent on building working relationships between the white community and the communities of color in the struggle for a just society.
We actively look at, analyze, change and help other whites to change the ways we as whites participate in racism personally, culturally, and institutionally.  We have made a commitment to undo racism personally, in our families, social life, work places, churches and community work. 
To achieve this goal we feel it is our responsibility to articulate and demonstrate dissent in our communities by organizing other whites to oppose and undo racism.
We do this by organizing training seminars in conjunction with The People’s Institute, through study and education; by expanding our membership and base of support; by engaging in public actions and community struggles which expose and combat racism; and by supporting one another in our efforts to undo racism in our personal and work lives.