Relational Security and the Process of Security: Second Scenario

This time we are going to look at a more complex and nuanced security scenario. This scenario is based on real organizing contexts where the answer isn’t as simple as excluding people. With your comrades or organization, read through the scenario below and discuss the following questions. We will look at all the questions together this time, since we have already introduced them.


A group of men in your organization have developed a habit of hanging out with each other after meetings and developed a close bond.  They have always been welcoming of others, but when people have joined (especially non-binary and cis and trans women) they have left feeling uncomfortable and like they weren’t part of the in-group. This socializing tends to happen late at night and in bars, so it is not accessible to people with kids, those who avoid alcohol, folks under age, or people don’t have a lot of disposable income.  In meetings this group has begun to act like a bloc, bringing proposals that they obviously developed during their social time. The impacts of this are that this group has started dominating most of the conversation in meetings and dismissing the opinions of others, especially women and non-binary folks. There has noticeable in decrease in the amount of women and non-binary folks showing up to meetings. 

Read over all the questions and as a group and decide which question feels like the starting point for you to discuss this situation. Make sure to cover each question and take some notes on your discussion so that you can highlight any ideas or proposals that you want to move forward with as an organization.

* Identify and describe any current threats presented both internally and externally by the current situation.  (Internal threat examples: problematic behavior, conflict in relationships / external threat examples: the state, fascist right).

*Discuss the possible negative impacts of the these threats. (Example: decrease in membership of women and/or nonbinary people).

*Brainstorm all possible options for responding to each threat. (Example: Ask this person to take a break from organizing).

*Discuss how the negative risks associated with each option relates to the possible positive results. (Example: a risk may be losing a relationship with the funding source, while a benefit could be building new relationships with the funding source).

*Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your organization that come up in dealing with a scenario like this.  Specifically, discuss any relevant organizational structures and strong/weak forms of communication or relationships. Are there outside resources you can draw upon?

*Consider how these solutions might interact with systems of oppression (systems of colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, et al), and unexpected events (natural disaster, office burns down, etc.). 

*Determine the best way forward to resolving this situation based on the evaluations made from questions 1 through 6. 

*What can your organization learn from this?  What could have been done to prevent this situation?  What strengths and structures did you draw on to address this?  What strengths and structures can you draw on or create to address this? What could be done or put in place to prevent this in the future?