Manifesto for an Inclusive event


Our associations, collectives, and movements uphold principles of social and ecological justice, solidarity, and equality. Yet, our organisations and spaces are not exempt from the power dynamics that permeate society as a whole. The fight for a more just, inclusive, and equal society must be reflected daily within our organizations and spaces. Key activist events, such as the ECSA encounters, so vital in strengthening our common struggles, must be spaces of political trust and mutual respect. This requires conscious and active work, both individually and collectively, to reflect on one’s own social position and to be mindful of oppressive dynamics such as:


These power dynamics are systemic and structural and manifest themselves, consciously or unconsciously, through various forms of discrimination, exclusion, and social, verbal, physical, and sexual violence. They are intersectional, meaning that an individual’s social position at the intersection of multiple power dynamics produces specific experiences. The resulting categories (race, gender, disability, class, species) are social constructs.

We have an individual and collective political responsibility to call out? oppressions within a capitalist system. We must anticipate any form of domination, and be prepared to take action should any person need assistance so that this doesn’t remain a declaration of principles.


Oppressions, let's talk about them !


Sexism is the ideology that justifies the patriarchal system. In this system, a hierarchical and binary distinction (opposition, othering) is made between masculinity and femininity. Masculinity is considered superior and presented as the implicit dominant norm. This domination, being a continuum, is expressed in multiple ways (language, sexist and/or sexual atmospheres and violence…) and translates notably into the exploitation and/or appropriation of women, their bodies and/or their work (domestic sphere…).

Example: making unsolicited remarks about a woman’s appearance.


Erects able-bodies and  and neurotypicality* as norms. Motor, sensory, cognitive, mental, or psychological disabilities (categories recognized by law*) have been portrayed for centuries as a deficiency or affliction. The tendency is then to exclude or to ‘repair’ bodies and minds considered as ill rather than adapting society to their specificities. It often consists of assuming that no one will come to a certain meeting or demonstration in a wheelchairneeding translation into (French) sign language, or requiring calm spaces.

Examples: using terms like ‘schizophrenic’, ‘mentally ill’ as an insult, or pushing someone’s wheelchair without their consent (even if it’s well-intentioned).


Derived from the heteropatriarchal (or heteronormative) system, for a long time, it resulted in the criminalization of LGBTQIA+* individuals. Today, it still results in a very strong invisibility of their claims and realities, in popular culture. This term was invented to shed light on the experience of people who do not recognize themselves in the imposed heterosexual norm. As a reminder, homosexuality was decriminalized in France only in 1982.

Example: using insults such as ‘faggot’ or ‘queer’ (even against one’s opponents).


Generates mistreatment (by the health system or in the job market), often invisible and seemingly socially accepted and acceptable. It stems from the establishment of thinness as a societal norm. It intersects with ableism, as overweight people may need to use an elevator instead of stairs; but also with classism. Indeed,  for a long time being plump was a sign of wealth, but nowadays thinness has become the prerogative of the upper social classes (who not only have the means to buy healthy and quality food but also place great importance on their appearance as a visible means of distinction). By contrast, overweight people are seen as neglecting their health and lazy (therefore considering that thinness is a matter of will).

Examples: making a remark about the amount of food someone eats or suggesting they go on a diet (even ‘for their health’).


In the capitalist system, classism can be expressed in many forms: from class contempt to outright discrimination discrimination, based on income and education differences. People with the highest level of education often have a predilection for political (ideological) work, while the less educated are often relegated to logistical tasks (invisible and less recognized). Also,  opposing the wealthiest top 1% and multinational corporations to the remaining 99% of the population tends to hidethe multiple power dynamics within this latter group from sight.

Examples: saying ‘as everyone knows’ in reference to something, without giving context (events/thinkers) or making remarks about language correctness or spelling.


It stems from the gender binary (see the box on sexism). It is a spectrum of hostility towards transidentity, that can be defined as a gender identity which does not correspond to the identity assigned at birth (≠ cisgender). All transgender people suffer from physical and verbal violence everywhere. However, not all of them resort to reassignment surgery or even hormonal treatments (≠ transsexuality). A person may feel non-binary and therefore not identify with either a feminine or masculine gender identity (hence the prefix “trans” referring to the idea of mobility on this spectrum). It can be useful to get used to self-identifying as cisgender when one is, in order to

deconstruct this norm and give the opportunity to a transgender person to identity as such, if they want to.

Example: Asking a person if they have had surgery or addressing them using the wrong (in)voluntarily chosen pronoun/name (assigned at birth and not chosen by the person = Misgendering).


In the colonial and white supremacist system from which racism stems, a hierarchy and distinction are made between human beings, based on their phenotype or culture. Whiteness is socially constructed  as the dominant norm (implicitly or explicitly), and in opposition to which the rest of the world’s population is defined (othering). This domination – constituting a continuum, through past or current discriminatory, slave-holding, and violent systems – is expressed in multiple ways (language, discrimination in employment, housing, health…). It translates notably into the enjoyment of privileges by white people as well as the criminalization of non-white people, constructed as threats to the physical and material security of white people.

Examples: Asking a non-white person where they come from, assuming they are from a foreign country. Making derogatory or even hostile comments about the veil of a Muslim woman (this is an Islamophobic assault) or touching the hair of a black person without their consent (this is a racist assault). 


In a speciesist system, the interests of non-human animals are neglected, and the process of othering is based on the criterion of species. A hierarchy among species is established, placing humans at the top. A superior status is attributed to human beings, which ideologically justifies the exploitation of other species.

Example: Equating a behavior seen as disgusting/degrading by comparing it to an animal: “you eat like a pig”; “what a pig he is”. 


Ageism is discrimination exercised against legally minor and young people or against people perceived as elderly. Age being a social construct, it interacts with other types of oppression. Thus, gender can speed up or slow down the aging process (a woman ages socially faster than a man). The opinions and statements of children, young people, or elderly people are often disregarded, and their interests are given less consideration. Their agency is restricted, and their consent too often disrespected.

Example: Invalidating someone’s statement by starting with “if you had been an activist as long as I have…”

(*) The acronym LGBTQIA+ groups together bisexual, transgender, lesbian, gay, intersex, and asexual/agender people, as well as those questioning or queer, depending on the context. The term queer (from the English ‘strange’; the stigma has been reclaimed by the concerned individuals) encompasses all people who feel they belong to this community. The “+” allows for the inclusion of all identities and keeps the door open to the emergence of new political identities. Even today, LGBTQIA+ claims are easily labeled as “communitarianism”, a pejorative term that ignores the fact that community and community activism can be a refuge and a basis for political organization.

(*) Neurotypicality refers to neurological functioning considered within the norm. Conversely, neurodivergence refers to a neurological condition (e.g., autism, dys disorders, ADHD…).

(*) February 11, 2005, law for the equality of rights and chances, participation, and citizenship of disabled people.

The above list  is obviously not exhaustive. These definitions and examples of oppressive behaviors are primarily intended to highlight the logics of oppression, some of which are similar (though they can never be compared).

The Manifesto

This work, initiated in 2021, allowed for discussions on the reproduction of oppressions in activist circles and the difficulty of building inclusive spaces where trust can thrive. Thus it helped to fuel discussions on the tools that can be implemented to tackle oppressions which are coherent with our political principles and values. One of these tools consists in making sure people who suffer from the same systemic oppression can find dedicated spaces and times in order to share their experiences and organize. The initial group of volunteer activists was trained by the popular education association déCONSTRUIRE and its independent trainer and researcher Aurélia Décordé-Gonzales, to build a common culture and support a larger group of volunteers in their conflict resolution missions and fight against oppressions throughout the Summer University of Solidarity and Social Movements events, following a protocol established for the occasion. A working group was formed again in 2023 to work on the conditions of inclusivity and trust of the French Summer University which took place in Bobigny, to update the manifesto and the protocol of intervention, and to follow a dedicated training delivered by the same trainer.

On - site organisation


The prerequisite for fighting oppressions is the shared willingness to build a space of trust, mutual respect, and safety, which implies recognizing the existence of structural and systemic power dynamics and the individual and collective responsibilities we have to prevent as much as possible the violence they cause. The prevention of these oppressions, whatever they may be, is the object of this manifesto, designed as a protocol supporting the efforts of the team of volunteers to whom violent actions may be reported and who will have to come up with responses. The volunteers of the anti-oppression team/care team can be found at the information desk, and additional resources to this manifesto are also made available there. In addition, women-only and racial minorities-only self-managed spaces  , as well as a rest area, are also made available outside–[or in specific rooms].

In case of violence and oppression

It is possible to react! Throughout the entire ECSA, care teams are set up and ready to:

  • welcome, by listening to the needs of the person who has been subjected to one or more oppressive behaviors,
  • support, by initiating if necessary, a dialogue with the person who committed these behaviors, and
  • intervene, along the lines of a previously established protocol.

Depending on the severity of the situation, a temporary or permanent exclusion of the person who committed the aggression will be studied and implemented. Exclusion will be used as a last resort. Indeed, it is not a tool designed for reparation but it may be essential to ensure the safety of the person who has been subjected to the oppressive behaviors.

Legal reminder

SEXIST BEHAVIOR: Any behavior related to the sex of a person that aims or results in undermining their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT – Characterized by imposition on a person of any form of serious pressure (repeatedly or not), comments or behaviors with the real or apparent aim of obtaining a sexual act (for the benefit of the perpetrator or a third party); which undermine their dignity due to their degrading or humiliating nature, or create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive situation for them.

SEXUAL ASSAULT – Any sexual offense without penetration committed against a victim with violence, coercion, or threat. Affected body areas: mouth, chest, thighs, buttocks, genitals.

RAPE – An act of sexual penetration: vaginal, anal, or oral (by the sex/finger of the perpetrator or an object…); committed against a victim with violence, coercion, threat, or even surprise (if it occurs while the victim is in a context that does not allow them to have suspicions). Therefore, physical violence is not necessary.


These three acts are subject to prosecution and criminal sanctions. However, feminist movements mobilize to make their legal definitions evolve. Thus, it is preferable to consider that rape is any act of sexual penetration committed without the explicit consent of the victim.

Thanks to a long feminist effort, the law now precisely defines sexist and sexual violence. In activist spaces, it is appropriate to reason by analogy and consider that if sexist behaviors can be defined, it is possible to define racist, ableist, etc., behaviors.

To make the right to difference exist, activist circles (and not only) must stop silencing minorities’ voices, under the pretext that it is not a sufficiently legitimate subject, that it is a secondary struggle, or that recent victories are sufficient to live freely.