Building a community of resistance – transformative justice in the anti-fascist movement

The subject and contents of this article are undoubtedly a sensitive issue for many, including ourselves. Therefore, before the beginning of the article proper, we wish to make some things clear. In high-stakes cases such as these, it is important that we do our best to get things as right as we possibly can. The article below is the outcome of a lengthy drafting and editing process. As will be discussed later, it is an initial follow-up to an accountability process Plan C carried out over several months towards the end of 2020. We don’t take these issues lightly, nor do we intend to respond to them by reproducing a standard line. That being said, we don’t believe that our contribution is by any means perfect or complete. We are more interested in dialogue with the wider movement and welcome any comradely criticism or further discussion on what we’ve said here. Following the publication of this article we plan to work on drafting some proposals for movement infrastructure to deal with these issues more effectively.

With this in mind, we wish to make absolutely clear that this is not a ‘call out’ piece. We do, however, criticise certain behaviours of individuals within our movement. We believe that our criticisms are fair, and indeed we believe in general that criticism should be possible without condemnation or overstating a person’s culpability.

Given the circumstances, it is important to point out that those who brought allegations to Plan C and others are not themselves the survivors of the sexual abuse alleged to have taken place within the anti-fascist movement. This is an important detail about how things unfolded and informed our general approach. Whilst it does not mean that our perspective would be radically different if they had been, we would handle a case directly involving survivors with a different sensitivity. We are not proponents of the view that people should need to speak out ‘as survivors’ in order to gain legitimacy in conversations about how cases of abuse are dealt with. Our ultimate objective is to work towards the kind of infrastructure where those who are harmed can find justice and feel safe within our movement without needing to publicly ‘out’ themselves or talk openly about their personal experiences to get an adequate response. It is more than understandable that a survivor may feel very angry and shouldn’t be troubled with concerns about the welfare of the perpetrator in their own specific case. For this very reason it befalls those of us not in such a position to take upon ourselves the responsibility of putting transformative justice into practice, to not appropriate the indignation of survivors but to help them by working towards constructive, non-carceral resolution. Whilst this is by no means easy, and whilst emotions of anger, disappointment, and frustration remain valid even for those who are not directly affected, we maintain that our greater responsibility to survivors and to the development of a better model of justice must outweigh everything else. This informs both our criticism and our attempts towards a more constructive approach.

1.  A problem is brought to our attention

Over the last 18 months or more, there has been a serious conflict within the anti-fascist movement, particularly but not exclusively in London. In December 2019 this culminated in a hastily called ‘emergency’ meeting at which LAFA (London Anti Fascist Assembly) decided to exclude LAF (London Anti Fascists) from its assembly.  There have also been attempts to exclude LAF and others from various other spaces within the movement. Plan C comrades who are not members of LAF have been caught up in this and there’s been a lot of bad feeling and hostility, in part because it’s unclear how such an exclusion could be carried out in practice, other than by nominating someone as a kind of outcast, beyond an ability to transform themself.  We aren’t here to dismiss issues or to try and silence people, but we do think it’s important to remind ourselves of the political issues at the heart of this conflict.

Plan C found itself entangled in this when, in early 2020, a small group of LAFA members began to express in private conversation and via memes, that figures in Plan C London were somehow complicit in and enabled a culture of intimidation, abusive behaviour and violence, some of which was sexual. We investigated the accusations made against our members and, for reasons discussed below, found them to be without any basis.

It remains important, however, to ask how and why the issue came to light; and to try to understand the reasons why the conversation around it has developed in this way. The main criticisms raised concerned the behaviour of LAF (London Anti-Fascists) members, former members, and close friends of members. LAF had previously conducted several accountability processes (with the help of 3rd-party mediation) when allegations were raised. However these accountability processes have been challenged by LAFA comrades, who strongly reject that they were adequate. Although we were not asked, nor did we have the necessary information to speak on the adequacy of LAF’s accountability processes, we upheld the right of LAFA members to challenge them and offered to mediate a new process between ourselves and LAFA in an attempt to address and resolve some of their concerns. Unfortunately this offer was not taken up despite initial interest from LAFA, though we maintain in good faith that those who questioned LAF’s original accountability processes were motivated by valid concerns about the safety and welfare of everyone in our movement. This is not to say that LAF necessarily did act badly, only that if people had valid suspicion they were justified in bringing the issue to light.

However, we also believe that a fair process cannot be based on a starting assumption that those being accused are inherently toxic and beyond redemption. As a matter of extending the same good faith to all, we believe that accountability processes should be about specific behaviours rather than character generalisations. Where harmful acts or patterns of behaviour are deemed to have taken place, we should strive towards a mutually agreeable resolution which both enables individuals to feel safe within the movement, and allows those who have acted badly to work on and resolve harmful behaviours. In essence, our aspiration is to develop a model of justice centred on care, compassion, and understanding. This is how we understand the term ‘transformative justice’.

These elements – of anger and compassion – are almost like the two poles of life for the revolutionary militant – and we take ourselves, as members of Plan C, to be revolutionary militants.  Balancing these two elements, and keeping the aim of making a difference as our guiding light, we welcome the input from our comrades in LAFA, we welcome and acknowledge their anger, and we ask that they, along with every other revolutionary militant, also add compassion to their attempts to make a difference.

Were the processes in LAF inadequate?  We haven’t formally investigated the details of their processes, although some people in Plan C have inevitably talked about this quite a lot as part of this process. As far as we can tell, there is a statement from LAF that explains what steps they took.  The primary evidence for inadequacy appears to be a lack of confidence in the people in LAF who were carrying out the process.  The charge, in effect, is that any internal process within LAF is so mired in personal relations of support amongst some of the old guard of LAF as to be worthless.  If we had to paraphrase how we understand the general sense of the issue it’s something along the lines of “it was their friends being accused and they didn’t take the situation seriously – and now the rest of you old guard are doing nothing about it.”

Originally, allegations about Plan C  were made through back-channel communications, hearsay and public statements that passed off decisions made by a few individuals as the output of a considered and principled process. If you were just coming into this movement against fascism, seeing the urgency of political action, could you navigate in this world of ours? At the very least we need to make sure that the revolutionary can survive contact with the revolutionary movement, the anti-fascist with the anti-fascist movement.  We’re not sure that the way this complaint has been made has helped in this process of making the movement hospitable and that’s the thing we want to do.

There is, inevitably, baggage within almost any political movement. The question of enabling comrades to feel safe is not an unimportant one. There is too often an inter-personal psychic level of violence – people are too easily shitty with each other.  We know that the movements of resistance and revolution aren’t spaces of comradeship across the board. They are, after all, social movements, movements made up of flawed and traumatised subjects of capital. That being said, the aim of making our movements embody the kind of human relationships we desire to see in our future is a key part of our liberation work.  At present many of the means by which people can make themselves safe are fragmentary, informal and too dependent on interpersonal relationships of individuals rather than collectives of responsibility.  What do we mean by that?  Crudely, that too often hearsay substitutes for knowledge, and even more often there is little alternative to hearsay.  If someone hears something negative about a comrade, something that might concern them in terms of safety, what can they do?  If that person is in the same meeting as them, or likely to attend a space they will be in, or a demo they might be on, what can they do?

2.  How Plan C responded

In February 2020 a number of verbal allegations were made about Plan C members. In May, they were expanded and published as a meme, and we were told by London Anti-Fascist Assembly (LAFA) members that they (LAFA) wanted us to address these claims. From 6 June – December 2020, Plan C focused its Care and Justice (C&J) Group on investigating the allegations. The C&J Group was made up entirely of members outside of London, and led by women and non-binary people. It’s purpose was not in any sense to try and clear the names of Plan C members.

We have, for a number of years, developed our C&J practices in ways that are designed both to facilitate constructive resolution when serious problems arise, and to hold our members to account where necessary. We’re acutely aware of the ways in which ‘internal investigations’ can lead to abuses. Our process is in many ways informed by this very problem. We are committed to seeking resolutions which are constructive and transformative, rather than punitive, and we aim to treat all members and non-members involved in an equal manner. Nobody is considered to be above reproach, and indeed previous processes conducted by Plan C Care & Justice groups have resulted in sanctions on members which were agreeable to both parties. We are happy to discuss how the process in relation to LAF, LAFA and Plan C members was carried out, or indeed how we deal with accountability issues in general with anybody who may have further questions email .

In December 2020 the Plan C Care & Justice Group presented to the national organisation a report which responded in detail to a statement made by someone who we will call Tris. The questions that C&J addressed in the report were:

  • Are there Plan C core organisers?
  • Do they establish and operate front groups?
  • Are groups that Plan C organise riddled with toxic dynamics?
  • Do they provide a haven for ‘sex pests’?
  • Has Plan C colluded with abusers and orchestrated cover-ups?
  • Was Plan C LDN complicit in minimising, dismissing and covering up serious allegations of an abusive nature, some sexually violent, all the while continuing to organise and maintain friendships with those accused?
  • Were people who reached out to specific Plan C members dismissed?
  • Did the actions of these specific members put comrades at risk?

That’s quite a lot of things to look at, but this was in response to specific allegations made in the statement.  After 100+ hours of meetings, interviews and deliberation, the C&J Group concluded that these accusations didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Plan C doesn’t have core organisers or paid organisers, in fact, the absence of paid organisers is in many ways a key part of our ethos.  We don’t work in that way.

Plan C members are autonomous. We don’t have a party line, nor do we subscribe to the idea of party discipline. We reach decisions by consensus.

Plan C doesn’t, either individually or at an organisational level, establish or manage ‘fronts’. We don’t aim to recruit from any organisations we are involved with.  (Actually, we’re kind of shit at recruiting).  We do, however, seek to form alliances and assemblies with other groups and organisations but we don’t seek to control them – to do so would run counter to our political focus on autonomy.

Plan C is not an organisation riddled with toxic dynamics. We try to centre care in our organising spaces.  We take such things deeply seriously, as evidenced by the amount of effort we put into looking seriously at these accusations and conducting the investigation.  We are aware that such dynamics do arise in some political groups and when they do, they present significant problems. We don’t dictate procedures, protocols or processes other groups ought to adopt in order to deal with these, but we do hope to provide a positive example.

Plan C doesn’t, and never has, provided a haven for sex pests.  Plan C hasn’t colluded with abusers or orchestrated cover-ups. We acknowledge that there’s a problem within the wider movement and that people have attempted to address this.

Plan C London isn’t complicit in minimising and dismissing serious allegations of abuse. This claim relies on a grossly distorted misrepresentation of fact.  Survivors who reached out to Plan C members for support were supported.  No Plan C member put others at risk.

Summary of process from Plan C Care & Justice Group

Readers are welcome to request details of the C&J processes we adopted and the lengthy report that was produced. To avoid a confusing level of detail we have not included that whole report here. Some clarification about events may help though:

In early 2020, a member of Plan C London was approached by LAFA for not following the protocol LAFA had decided on at their Emergency Meeting of 15th December 2019.  Unfortunately, said Plan C member was unaware of this protocol and, when it later emerged exactly what the requirements of compliance were, Plan C as a whole did not subscribe to it.  We felt it had been decided undemocratically and wouldn’t achieve the stated aim, i.e. it wouldn’t dismantle or protect people from toxic organising cultures.  However, at the request of LAFA, via this same Plan C London member, we agreed to start a process that would attempt to mediate a resolution in a situation where communication and comradely behaviour had completely broken down.  Due to the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, and associated personal and collective difficulties experienced by many comrades around this time, we (both Plan C and LAFA) were unable to follow through on this intention until May.

On 28/05/20 LAFA members participated in the creation and publication of a meme which called Plan C ‘sex pests’ and accusing us of cover-ups (rape apology). In response to this, Plan C London contacted LAFA and other related groups asking them to remove it from their pages. On the same day Plan C London restated the offer for a process between the two groups and invited anyone with a such a serious complaint as rape apologism to share their experiences. This offer was made public on Plan C’s website on 29/05/2020 and is still there. No complaints have been made. In light of the meme and accusations being made about the organisation, the Care & Justice Group began to meet weekly from June 2020, entering into communication with LAFA on 03/06 2020.

After some time, it became apparent that communication with LAFA was not taking place, as we were initially led to believe, with a collective, but rather an individual. To protect their identity, we called/call this person ‘Tris’. This person sent C&J a statement on 15/07/2020. Based on the information in it and various associated documents (mainly screenshots) the C&J group decided to interview Plan C members specifically named. This revealed points of diversion between the narratives of Tris and those of our comrades and so we went to ask questions of LAFA to resolve discrepancies.  We remain unsure how many LAFA members participated in the communications that Tris made with the C&J Group.

On 11/09/20 Tris complained that C&J had asked about their views on transformative justice and accountability processes, claiming this was irrelevant and in bad faith. We believed this question was important, as (members of) LAFA had published material saying that they had no respect for this approach. Obviously, if this was the case, then it would have been very difficult for us to take the matter forward; any process we did follow would automatically be seen as unfit for purpose.

We had believed that the aim was to resolve conflict between LAFA, Plan C London and the wider anti-fascist movement. It became clear, however, this was not Tris’ aim. After C&J sent questions to Tris, Plan C London received several abusive and threatening messages via Facebook from a different LAFA member, claiming that Plan C as a whole, including specific members, were rape apologists, had ‘rapist mates’ and that they hoped our organisation ‘burned to the ground’. The message also claimed that LAF had made threats of physical violence towards LAFA members but that they (LAFA) would ‘like nothing more than hurting rapist scum’. Plan C London’s only response to these messages was to reiterate that those with complaints should contact the Care & Justice Group.

We had been accused of acting in bad faith, so C&J revised its questions to focus only upon specific complaints about Plan C members, rather than the wider situation regarding the exclusion of LAF by LAFA. At first, Tris agreed but in the following weeks did not respond, so C&J offered an informal chat, to calm tension and reassure them that we wanted to reach a common understanding for how to proceed. We received no reply, but on 30/09/20 an individual naming themselves Grace Green wrote an article on Medium, going public with the accusations against LAF and one Plan C member. ‘Tris’ and Grace Green are the same person, both are pseudonyms (the latter used by themselves).

Despite not being named directly in the article, members of LAF and other anti-fascists were identified in an insecure anti-fascist Facebook group which directly implicated them in the accusations made within the article. This ‘outed’ them as anti-fascists, thus compromising their infiltration of far-right groups, which we know LAFA were aware of. As a result, these individuals were exposed to fascists and put at serious personal risk. We consider this a major security breach for antifascism as a whole. As a result of this incident, alongside Tris’/LAFA’s lack of engagement, we decided to cease investigations in November 2020 and report to Plan C as a whole and other parties concerned.

Whilst we feel confident our C&J process was robust and we found no evidence Plan C members had acted in ways that were violent or abusive, there are important points that we and the movement(s) we consider ourselves a part of need to address.

There are, it is clear, serious problems of sexual and other forms of abuse, intimidation and harassment within the Left / Anarchist movement(s), and there does not exist adequate arrangements or support structures in place to provide an alternative to forms of ‘carceral justice’. We hope that Plan C can make a positive contribution to build our collective capacity to hold one another and ourselves to account, based on principles of and a commitment to effective transformative justice processes.

Carrying out this investigation has been a resource and energy-intensive process. Above all, it has caused a great deal of avoidable stress and anxiety to comrades including but by no means limited to those who were unfairly accused of perpetrating serious harm to others in the movement. Altogether, it has had a debilitating effect upon both individuals as well as anti-fascist/leftist movements as a whole. Miscommunication, misunderstanding and misinterpretation, partially attributable to political differences and related interpersonal animosities, seem to have combined to create a ‘bonfire of the vanities’. Gossip, undemocratic decisions and character assassination have all been tolerated. Given the problems we’re currently facing, both personally and politically, this is more than troubling.

3.  The wider problem

This conflict reveals a number of problems on the left. It would be simpler to decide that we have exonerated our members and call it a day. We could fall back on the explanations often offered for conflict, even violence, between groups: factionalism, confusions, individual ‘bad apples’. But we are serious about building effective and just organisations to make a world free from misogynistic and sexual violence. This means that we have to look harder at the context in which we are working.

Really, we should not be surprised that even left organisations reflect the violence and harm that are always present in capitalist society. Rather than just seeing sexual assault and abuse as problems of individual conduct, we recognise that they have a role of discipline and control under a heteropatriarchal system. This means that dismantling these tendencies in our own organisations is a task of the highest importance. We are failing, and our movements collectively bear the hurt. We can’t rely on punitive and exclusionary processes which attack individuals but leave tendencies and behaviours unchanged. We need processes of restorative and transformative justice to put this right.

A long list of prominent scandals makes us wonder sometimes if sexual violence is any less common in left groups then it is as society as a whole. This is a sobering question but really it doesn’t matter; any amount is too much. We can begin to explain this by looking outside and inside our organisations.

No-one can escape the influence of the injustice which we are fighting against. We are socialised into violence and traumatised by it. In this sense, it’s no surprise that our organisations reflect external tendencies. Sexual violence and its threat are simply the biggest sticks by which gendered oppression is enforced; lower on the scale we have all witnessed women being dismissed, overruled or ignored in meetings and relationships. Misogyny’s scope is so wide that punishment is sometimes felt even by the men and non-binary people who have a precarious claim on the privilege it can grant.

In our groups, there are dynamics which not only fail to fight sexual violence and harassment but in fact perpetuate it. Most of us come into the left as young people, often really just children. Lots of us look back on our early political years with something between embarrassment and shame. Despite our intentions, authority is often held by established members of the group: older, more assertive, rarely anything other than cisgender men. These power dynamics bear a striking similarity to those created by the patriarchal society we reject. Often political ties are by turns strengthened or jeopardised by the ups and downs of romantic relationships. Even outside partnerships, we have strong emotional ties to our comrades that show the heartfelt effects of shared struggle. At the best of times, we find that comradeship is something indistinguishable from love. On the other hand, these are dynamics that can often lead to harm, sometimes to abuse; dynamics that complicate the process of group discipline, accountability, justice. In this environment of high emotional tension, personal disagreements can lead to lasting hostilities between individuals and groups.

As anti-fascists, we recognise that anti-fascism has a particular difficulty. In certain forms of organising the valorisation of the masculine is more prominent and dangerous. Anti-fascism is the most prone to this fault, perhaps only excluding armed revolutionary struggle. The reality of this struggle means confrontation, intimidation, maybe violence, secrecy and perhaps a little paranoia. When anti-fascism isn’t allied with feminism in a real way, this both attracts and creates a certain type of comrade, in drawing out certain tendencies.

Perhaps we might say that anti-fascism can bring out aggression in people which can harm our own comrades if it’s not controlled or directed properly. One of the achievements of the recent anti-fascist struggle is breaking this worn-out mould. The methods we use in our militancy shape the kind of militant we become; this reveals the importance of being a ‘whole militant’. Opposing macho adventurism means taking a fair share of all the social labour which a liberated society requires: productive as well as destructive. A healthy and powerful movement has to have care as a central goal, not just an afterthought for when things go wrong.

We should talk cautiously about the (mis)uses individuals make of abuse. We need processes for investigating abuse, but if these processes are ill-defined or ad-hoc they can be abused. Similar arguments have been used to discredit or silence survivors. But there’s no denying that the strong bonds inside groups, and the antagonisms between them, have led some people to unacceptable action.

Sections of the left are rife with careerism and factionalism – perhaps the worst example is student politics. For many militants, this early experience determines their lifelong attitude to inter-movement disagreement. If a ‘by any means necessary’ attitude is a good habit when opposing fascism, the state and capitalism, perhaps it needs an extra will to prevent this same attitude against groups seen as rivals or renegades. It is ultimately in the interest of survivors to have clear and consistent processes to deal with allegations of abuse. Forms of vigilante justice are prone to misuse and political point-scoring, to the detriment of survivors above all.

More often, however, we have seen the damage caused when groups close ranks to protect a powerful abuser. A strong group mindset is a foundation for class unity and organisational power, but we need to guard against doing the wrong things for the right reasons.

The solution is not to feel like we have to interrogate the ‘truth’ or ‘reliability’ of allegations. Instead, we should develop a method for dealing with abuse that not only takes away the benefit of exploiting the process but much more importantly creates a true prospect for transformative justice. We have to be driven not by scepticism and a juridical desire to find the ‘facts’, but by solidarity and comradeship. These are the same qualities that motivated us to start organising in the first place. Too often accountability processes fail in practice, causing further trauma to the survivor and being unable to count on the cooperation of the offender. But until we have built robust processes with mutual consent from across the movement, we will continue to find that ‘justice’ is coerced by means of rumours, moralising outrage, and unaccountable backroom decisions.

So, there are factors both inside and outside our relationships (militant and social) that mean we can’t just wish away misogynistic violence, nor abolish it by statements. We have to critically assess the relationships themselves as a factor in any justice. In this particular case, we were faced with the common claim that even associating with abusers was enough to be considered complicit: an accomplice or an apologist. We are all entangled with each other. Our processes have to take this into account and use these entanglements as a tool.

In a transformative justice model, it is often friends and close comrades who are best-placed to help an abuser change their behaviour and make amends. Guilt by association ends this possibility: anyone in any contact with an abuser suffers the same exile. Too often the socially-isolated abuser is simply able to move into another circle of acquaintances and continue their harmful actions. This means that we need processes that extend, in an appropriate way, beyond just the individuals and small groups involved. In Plan C we have documented a past C&J process where an abuser essentially evaded the agreed process by simply moving away.

We have made it clear where our organisation stands on forms of justice. Just as we are socialised into violence, we are also socialised into a certain sort of solution to violence: shunning, exclusion, anathema: in short, punishment. The tendency is half carceral (hide the offender away) and half vengeful (make the offender feel the pain they’ve caused). Punishment has been a poor cure for violence in capitalist society; it looks to be having the same success in left movements. In Mark Fisher’s words, the exclusionary tendency is ‘doing capital’s work for it’. There’s no reason to expect left movements or a liberated society to be miraculously free from interpersonal violence. If we accept that harm is going to happen then our focus has to be healing: justice that is restorative, transformative, that fosters the autonomy of the wronged. This means making space for learning, growth, and even reconciliation.

4.  Towards solving the problem

Plan C has been developing its Care and Justice work along the lines of transformative justice since we began as an organisation nearly a decade ago.  When we asked Tris what they understood by such a thing as transformative justice they found this question antagonistic, which is unfortunate for us as we honestly want to know what people think transformative justice is.  We aren’t experts or some authority here.  We have listened to other comrades in the movement speak about transformative justice, we have learnt about it in our own work, and it seems to us this is the basic strategic approach we need.

Transformative justice means, we think, developing the capacity for justice autonomously from the state.  This concept was developed by black and queer feminists in America over the last twenty years or so, arising from within oppressed communities for whom the state was never a solution to the violence in their lives (note 1, see below).  It connects with the history of working-class solidarity and revolutionary militancy at this point, in rejecting any positive role for the state.  Calling the cops never helps and generally makes things a million times worse.  Communities of resistance to the cops and the state – which includes the anti-fascist movement – therefore have to develop other ways to both care for themselves, make themselves safe and find some sort of justice.

We assume that the comrades agree with the basics of this, the idea of being able to resolve issues autonomously.  What we don’t know is how this works in a day to day setting, particularly within a disparate community of many parts.  Within our own space, we have from the first had a Care & Justice working group within Plan C, one that has dealt with issues and thought about the framework within which its practice takes place.  We aim to continue and deepen such work as an organisation but we also think that it’s no longer enough for us all to just do things our own way, in our own little space.  Somehow we need to collectively develop our communities’ knowledge and capacity to deal with violence.  In this case, we’re talking about the communities of revolutionary militants and anti-fascist activists, but we don’t see such work as disconnected from similar work we might do within our other communities.

We think we need to find a way to rebuild trust in each other and in practice this means rebuilding trust amongst and between organisations and collectives.  Perhaps this means some sort of ‘conflict council’ between organisations, where different groups can talk to each other about problems. Perhaps it means developing a wider, deeper understanding of transformative justice practices within the movement.  Perhaps it means changing the way we communicate with each other.  Perhaps it means all this and more but crucially it needs to be focused on building our capacity through autonomy without avoiding the pain that comes with justice.  At the heart of justice is a kind of confidence in each other, one that is not given but that we have to create in our practice.

Over the coming months, we intend to develop some of these possibilities for an alternative way of doing things.  We will be looking more closely at transformative justice as a concept and a practice and intend to think about this deeply as we think it is a key part of any future society we want to build.  It’s part of the ‘pre-figuration of the future’, which is a kind of jargon way of saying that we build the future we want in the here and now.  To paraphrase the late David Graeber, we act as if we are already free because only in this way can we begin to know what being free looks like.  At the heart of such freedom is dealing with the ways we fuck up as well as the ways we succeed.

We also intend to discuss with others in the movement practical means by which we can build an infrastructure of transformative justice within the wider revolutionary movement.  As we all know, the state will use any means to attack and destroy us when it wants to, including sowing dissension and distrust, and we need to be able to deal with this.  It’s not just that we want to be able to care for each other, we also want to ensure that the toxicity of capitalism is not allowed to fester within our movement.  Our capacity to succeed in building a future free of oppression depends upon our capacity to survive and heal the violence inflicted on us.  Only in this way can we become free.


Notes: (1) As we were thinking about transformative justice and what it was for this article we listened to Mimi Kim and Shira Hassan from America talk about ‘The modern roots of transformative justice’ over on YouTube here from the Barnard Centre for Research on Women:  We also watched the workshop on ‘Sexual Violence and Transformative Justice in Abolitionist Times’, with Mimi Kim, Shira Hussan, Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.  You can find that here: (TRIGGER WARNING discussion of sexual violence).  We read adrienne maree brown’s book “We will not cancel us and other dreams of transformative justice”, and have taken inspiration from the work of Cindy Milstein.  There are many voices involved in this discussion of transformative justice, but these can be some good starting points if you’re unfamiliar with the concept or unsure what people mean when they use it.