Practising Active Solidarity as a Guest or Host: Advice and Guidance from the COP26 Social Reproduction Team

Practising Active Solidarity as a Guest or Host: Advice and Guidance from the COP26 Social Reproduction Team

Core Principles for Active Solidarity as Living Practise

  • Treating our host, guest and all those we share a home with with tolerance and respect.
    We do not engage in behaviors that exclude, threaten or disrespect others on the basis of gender identity, ability, neurodiversity, immigration or citizenship status, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexuality, religion and belief, working status, income, class, or appearance.

  • We do not accept any verbal or physical violence. As such, we do not tolerate or perpetuate any form of oppression and discrimination against others. 

  • We avoid using any oppressive language, that includes no verbal abuse, blaming, shaming, and making generalized assumptions.

  • We aim to create a resilient community that is based on safety and mutual care. We work towards open communication and honesty in both living and working.

  • We actively challenge our privileges and watch out for invisible hierarchies.

  • We seek to co-create safe and accessible spaces which empower the voices of marginalized groups and ensure participation of all. We seek to be clear about accessibility limitations.

  • We value active listening and learning through reflection. As such, constructive criticism and feedback offer us opportunities to learn collectively. We seek to ensure that we don’t leave it to marginalised people to explain their challenging experiences to us but take proactive steps to learn about them. 

Strategies for Living in Active Solidarity

  • Introduce yourself with pronouns in new spaces/groups to be maximally inclusive of our identities.

  • Navigate spaces with awareness of our different privileges; identifying the power our personal identity brings to a space or context goes a long way in challenging the reproduction of hierarchies within our homes as well as political spaces.

  • Seek to practise honest communication, respectful language and active listening.

  • Recognise that we all have different capacities and skills within the spaces of justice movements that we inhabit, so value every participant for their contribution.

  • Communicate with your host about the shared expectations for co-living and personal boundaries.

  • Embody kindness and care by treating the space(s) we share with our hosts as our own personal ones.

Communication in light of Conflict

“Nonviolence is the courage to speak truth with love… and love is the full radical acceptance of the humanity of every person.” - Miki Kashtan.

If we find ourselves in disagreement or conflict, engage in open and honest non-violent communications (NVC). Some core elements of NVC are:

  • Moving beyond blame, judgement, ‘should’, ‘have to’ or being in a place of no choice.

  • Foregrounding the act of listening as a precursor for speaking, and to deescalate tense situations.

  • Expressing yourself by communicating undisputable reality (of observation, feelings and needs) rather than emotion-laden and unconscious interpretations.

Remember these acronyms as you talk:

  • W.A.I.T: Why Am I Talking? Before you speak, take a moment to consider how what you are saying will add to the conversation and whether everyone involved got the chance to speak.

    - Breathe - Ground yourself. Notice what sources of support are available.
    - Remember our shared humanity with all.
    - Empathy before education. Try to meet the other from an empathetic perspective to understand the situation through their eyes rather than jumping right into a lecturing talk. Another way to express this would be ‘connection before correction’.
    - Ask first, is the other person ready to hear your perspective?
    - THE, deep breath, thanking each other for the shared time and reflection, and self-check in. Notice your sources of support e.g., breathing techniques, movement, or reaching out to someone. Please don’t hesitate to contact the helpdesk if needed (see chapter ‘Homestay Helpline’).

Do not hesitate to meet an emerging conflict with gratitude and understanding. By being honest, open and actively listening while we disagree with someone, this allows us to have conversations with respect and integrity, ultimately reaching wholesome resolution(s).

For more guidance on NVC see: