Basically we try to make sure people feel welcome and no one feels exclusion at Plan B. That being said, we're in New Orleans and culturally, it's acceptable for shenanigans to happen that may not be acceptable in other spaces, which is fine, as long as it's consensual and no one feels uncomfortable. (Partners being flirty, etc.) Off-colors comments of a racist or classist nature are completely untolerated. Furthermore, our methods for dealing with disruption have gotten a lot better. If people are wasted or otherwise intoxicated and pose a threat to themselves, others, or our tools, someone will very directly tell them that it's time to leave and invite them back when their sober/not pissed off. Once in a while we have someone combative or violent. As a rule, we generally don't call cops unless the situation is way out of control or there is the threat of imminent physical danger. It's pretty rare.

One thing that's tricky is that we have a few older (55+) males that are regulars and are misogynists and this is something that has been culturally bred into them. We counter it as best we can and most of us are understanding that we just need to call them out politely when we see their "Daddy knows best" attitude emerging. It's tricky, because while not entirely blameless, you have to take into account differences in age, culture, and worldview. If the shit gets out of hand, we certainly make them leave.

As a final note, we're pretty anti-violent. However, when someone punched me in the face a few years ago, I was the first one to pick up a pipe-wrench and defend myself. At the time the shop was full of people and everyone was terrified. After "an eye for an eye" took place (Sorry, there's no cheek-turning in self defense), he was dragged out of our space and kindly deposited on the sidewalk. We then locked the doors and told him the cops were on the way (they weren't). He left quickly thereafter.

I've seen the guy a few times since then and he always threatens to kill me. Meh. It's been tried repeatedly.

I guess my answer is that keeping your shop a safe space and the tactics to enforce that are almost entirely situational. I suppose our policy would be "Be nice. Be firm. Don't let anyone kick your ass."

Or, as we like to say in New Orleans, "Be Nice or Leave."
Victor Pizarro
Project Organizer
Plan B, The New Orleans Community Bike Project
On 6/7/2013 2:35 PM, Geoffrey Bercarich wrote:

Can I ask all collectives to give their interpretation of a safe space and a method to maintain a safe or safer space.

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