Interview with Support New York

Power and Justice as Unlimited Resources
[22 minutes, New York 2011]

Photography by Lise Chevalier

Kat and Milo share insights in the work of the volunteer run collective Support New York. The collective is dedicated to heal the effects of sexual assault and abuse within the radical community. Support New York focuses on meeting the needs of the survivor, and holding accountable those who have perpetrated harm. The volunteers also strive for a larger dialog within the community about consent, mutual aid, and challenging the society’s narrow definition of abuse.

Even though Support New York operates within a narrow local radius, it can serve as an inspiring case study of community empowerment and transformative justice.

Kat and Milo start of by defining the most important terms used by Support New York such as – survivor, perpetrator, abuse, calling out, and process. Their thoughtful reflections on these definitions always point out to the larger concept of transformative justice.

We discuss the surprisingly persistent figure of the “anarchist hero” and the reasons why groups who deal with anti-oppression work oftentimes replicate oppressive behavior themselves. Later, we dig into the concrete methods that Support New York employs to confront these harmful patterns:

What are the specific demands of survivors? What kind of demands are realistic? How does Support New York deal with revenge phantasies? What are the possibilities to involve perpetrators in a successful process? What are the limitations? How long does a process take? How does a typical scenario look like? And, how can women create more solidarity among each other when challenging patriarchal behavior?

Finally, Kat and Milo reveal their personal motivation and explain why they are dedicating their time to a highly demanding and often uncertain process.

Excerpt from Claire Fontaine: Human Strike Within the Field of the Libidinal Economy

* Many thanks to Nino Bozic for his help with the post-production of this piece.

Featured in:
Black Orchid CollectiveIn Front and Center – Critical Voices in the 99%, The People’s Production House


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