Apology – 「警察と収監」”Policing and Incarceration”

Thank you again for joining in the discussion and actively sharing your views and opinions in the event which took place on 28th June.
I think there is a lot to be reflected upon with regards the problems which arose from this discussion and I would like to first apologize to each of you.
I would like to apologize for creating an unsafe environment and perpetuating a structure of violence which was supposed to have been under critique.
I would like to first state that the premise under which this event itself was organized had particular issues from the start. I as an organizer was not a person directly impacted by the events in the US, and am not a direct victim of police violence or incarceration, and am a white person with of course white-privilege. This in itself was problematic. Although we could have asked friends who are directly affected by these issues to get involved, a logic ensued that this could be dangerous for them and could also lead to their objectification (a problem we have previously experienced at kosaten) . At the same time we were very much aware of the importance of “nothing about us without us”. Despite this struggle of awareness the event still went on. Therefore the event was organized through privileged eyes without a full consciousness of the violence trying to be dissected.
There was also insufficient preparation made for the event. Prepared by an amateur, with no expert knowledge and restricted first hand experience, information gleaned from brief perusals of google and a splattering of reading. Without proper in depth knowledge of the subject and how people are deeply affected by it, and without the needed time to put together something more carefully considered. It was a knee jerk response to something that we are all very concerned about but without the understanding or qualifications needed to create a discussion around this.
It is very important that participants spoke up and raised issues of safety and concern for other participants. I really appreciate that. But regret that as an organizer i could not respond immediately and waited to hear what others had to say before making any comment which was already too late. When concerns were raised a clear platform for those concerns to be shared should have been created and not interrupted by defensive responses.
It was deeply problematic that several people felt they had to leave the conversation because they did not feel safe with someone’s particular presence, opinions and behavior. When complicity in violence is pointed out it should not be met with aggression and defensiveness but listened to and considered. The situation which arose became itself a key example of each of our roles in the structure of power and violence so is a very important lesson to us.
After a number of people felt forced to leave the conversation because they felt unsafe,  it was agreed amongst the participants to continue the discussion (although there must have been those who could not voice their opinion and continued to feel unsafe).
There were quite a flurry of comments made during the discussion which were troubling and could have had a traumatic impact upon those directly affected by the issues at hand but the organizer failed to respond to these. It was a failure to speak up and protect other participants. No matter what the reasons for this failure (lack of confidence, power dynamics, lack of awareness, privilege) it is unacceptable.
On a note about kosaten –
kosaten is not an organization and does not have “membership” or “staff”. It is an organic, informal gathering of people with eclectic backgrounds, ideas and perspectives, often colliding with each other as we go along. Everyone gets involved because they want to do something and try to work together with others to realize that something. It is different things to different people. It is an open, public space, which means we are constantly learning from each other. There is no expert, no central organizer and we are always in the process of making mistakes and thinking how to do better.
We have always faced a dichotomy of being a public space and also wanting to make a safer space for many of those who dont feel safe in society at large. This is a contradiction in terms perhaps but something that is continuously grappled with. As a space in which people of different understandings interact with each other there is frequently the case that inappropriate comments are made, and people are offended by certain words or behaviors. It is shared amongst us that we should try to communicate that discomfort in the space itself but still it is difficult for many to voice up and those who have decided to participate in the space need more experience of voicing up for each other.
●男性中心 – 主に場の見守りの役割になっている人は社会的に「女性」(gender fluidの人などがいるとしても)とされている人なのですが、実際にkosatenにくる人、関わっている人は「男性」とされている人が多い
●サービス精神がヤバイ (サービスを提供するというパワー関係もある)
●調和を重視しすぎ とにかく対立が生まれないように努力してしまう
●飲み込んでしまったableism 能力主義 障碍に対する差別・人種差別・植民地主義・反移民的な立場・クィアフォビアもあります。もっと自分の中にある偏見に向き合う必要性があります
I would like to examine the many problems of kosaten itself
Although people of many “minority identities” are involved in kosaten we have failed to share our critical awarenesses with each other
●The impact of White Supremacy Culture has not been properly tackled or properly attempted to be dismantled
●Male-centered – Although those who are often in role of caring for the space and keeping an eye on everything are socially perceived as female (although there may be gender fluid, non-binary), the people who often frequent kosaten are often male (or perceived as such)
●The work involved in the space is often left to one or two people each time (usually those perceived as female)
●There has been an ongoing gender issue in kosaten and although efforts have been made to communicate this – often it has not been fully received
●Service mentality  (and power relations formed in the provision of service)
●Avoiding conflict and trying to maintain artificial peace
●Notions of responding to anything and accepting everything
●Ingrained prejudices including ableism, racism, colonialist/anti-immigrant mentality, queer-phobia – failure to call each other out and to confront our own prejudices
●Frequent microaggressions
●Failure to recognize and tackle one’s own privilege/ignorance
●general problem of hierarchy
There are many other problems other than those mentioned above and kosaten must face towards its own structural violence.
In sharing each of our critical awareness I hope we can consider our responsibility and role within this power structure.
Kosaten will take a break from most of its events over the period of July/August and reflect together with people involved about the issues of structural violence which exist here and engage in a study program and process work for ourselves.
Just as has been pointed out, in order to prevent the same situation occuring in the future we need to make some statement. There is a need to make that statement very soon but because the problems of kosaten are so ingrained and many people are involve we need to engage in concerted reflection and dialogue. Through cooperation of those involved in kosaten we need to face the problems of kosaten and make the statement together. So that is going to take some time.
We would therefore like to ask for your feedback, criticism, suggestions and advice.
Also we would like to invite anyone who is interested to organize a gathering, study group, discussion, action on the issues we were trying to tackle, to use the tools that kosaten has available (physical space, unlimited wifi, computer, printer, microphone, camera, business zoom account – provided by one individual member who also uses it for their own individual activities) and also to see how we could work together in some way.