Central Ohio Revolutionary Socialists

Code of Conduct

As a revolutionary socialist organization, CORS is not only committed to fighting for a world without the forms of oppression which dominate our lives under capitalism, but ensuring that our organizational spaces are built to sustain a diverse working class.

We are committed to building an organization which allows no room for racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia. We also aim to grow our organization on the basis of healthy internal practices and thus struggle against bullying, intimidation, harassment, cliquishness, and other toxic practices. We expect comradely behavior in all of our organizational spaces and take seriously any manifestation of oppression within them.

We recognize that leftist groups are not immune from the oppression that is baked into our system. In fact, all too often abusers and manipulators have utilized their identities as “leftists” to provide cover for oppressive behavior. In the pursuit of building an organization which genuinely acts as the “tribune of the oppressed” we will work to prevent and handle oppression within our organization and across the organized left.

We understand that the personal is political, or more specifically, that what one does in their personal life reflects on their political life, and vice versa. Consequently, while we neither are capable of nor desire to police the personal lives of our members, we intend to hold our members to a high-degree of conduct in all aspects of their lives. This is included, but not limited to: social media, interactions with other organizations, internal membership activity, personal relationships between members, and relationships outside of the organization.

Our Theoretical Approach to Accountability

On the prevention end, theoretical training in understanding the sources and concrete manifestations of oppression as well as practical training in recognizing and counteracting oppressive behavior are a fundamental part of our recruitment process. All individuals are required to undergo this education as a part of membership. Mediators, or those tasked with investigating cases, will undergo further systematized education to fulfill this role.

Given our existence as a small revolutionary organization without meaningful access to financial or political resources and our principled disagreement with the form and function of capitalist legal systems, our approach to handling misconduct must differ. We do not have the ability to compel evidence from witnesses or the resources to rehabilitate or restore abusers. Nor do we believe that anyone has a right to be in a revolutionary organization if they have fundamentally broken the trust of their communities.

  • Flowing from both our political approach and our real limitations, we will handle misconduct through a survivor-centered process based on “preponderance of evidence.” We take a survivor centered approach because of the systemic barriers which exist in our society to prevent marginalized people from getting justice. Notably, over 63% of sexual assaults go unreported In investigating and determining the accused’s responsibility for harm, we utilize the legal notion of “preponderance of evidence”’ meaning, is the harmful act more likely to have occurred than not? This is in contrast to the approach taken in criminal courts of “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” a much higher level of proof.

From the beginning to the end of a disciplinary process, the complainant will have the right to determine their level of involvement and, in the case that disciplinary action is required, what form that takes. In line with our aim of prioritizing survivors, our motto is: when in doubt, the account of the accuser will be believed over the account of the accused.

Our Accountability Process

Every individual has a right to participate in our accountability processes, whether they are a CORS member or not. Complaints may be lodged against any current or former CORS member. Participation in our accountability processes does not preclude an individual utilizing other avenues to find redress.

If you would like to file a complaint on behalf of yourself or another individual, the process will function as follows:

  1. We have a google form where you can detail the specifics of your complaint and determine the first mediators who see these details. We allow the complainant to determine the mediators to prevent conflicts of interest, such as the accused themselves having access to the original complaint or control over the process. You may either remain anonymous or associate yourself with the complaint based on your preference. In this google form, you may also indicate your preferred level of involvement with the accountability process and what outcome you would like to see out of it.
  2. Once receiving this report, the mediators who have this information will promptly begin an investigation into the complaint in line with their ability to pursue such an investigation. The mediators will attempt to solicit perspectives from the accused and any witnesses.
  3. The mediators will meet to compare the evidence given by the complainant, the accused, and any witnesses. The mediators then will determine the culpability of the accused based on the notion of a “preponderance of evidence.”
  4. The outcome of the case will be reported to the complainant and the accused.
    1. If the accused is determined to have been culpable for the offense, the mediators will then discuss with the survivor their preferred resolution to the conflict.
    2. The survivor’s preferred resolution will have a heavy weight on any decision taken on disciplinary action. Potential resolutions include a restorative process, suspension, or expulsion.

Accountability Process Consequences

Given our focus on the needs of survivors, consequences for oppressive behavior will be determined in coordination with the survivor’s wishes and according to our structural ability to carry out different courses of action. For some infractions, we will have educational conversations with comrades to help correct their behavior, in tandem with educational programs or trainings which help them to unlearn oppressive behavior. For repeated and especially harmful infractions, our primary course of action must be suspension or expulsion.

In the event of an expulsion, the entire membership of the organization will be notified of the name of the expelled member and the harm which they caused in as much detail as is possible without exposing the identity of the survivor. Expelled individuals will not be allowed to participate in any meetings or actions planned by our organization. Additionally, we reserve the right to notify other socialist and leftist organizations, locally and nationally, to bar the individual from actions and meetings, particularly if it is likely that the individual will be a repeat offender.

Examples of Oppressive Behavior which Constitute Code of Conduct Violations

  • Oppression based on Race, Ethnicity, Religion, or Nationality

    • Racism
      • Examples: Derogatory comments regarding an individual's skin color, promotion of stereotypes based on racism, racial fetishization, anti-indigeneity, anti-blackness
  • Xenophobia

    • Examples: National chauvinism, derogatory comments regarding an individual's nation of origin, hostility towards immigration/citizenship status
  • Antisemitism

    • Examples: The targeting of individuals who identify as Jewish, promulgation of stereotypes or conspiracy theories related to Jewishness, Holocaust denialism
  • Language Status

    • Examples: preference for English speakers or hostility for non-English speakers
  • Oppression based on Gender or Sexuality

    • Misogyny
      • Examples: derogatory comments regarding women, sexual objectification, discrimination against women
    • Homophobia
      • Examples: insulting language based on sexual orientation, promoting stereotypes based on homophobia
    • Transphobia
      • Examples: intentional misgendering, deadnaming
    • Predatory Sexual Behavior, Sexual Harassment, Assault
      • Examples: Unwanted flirtation or touching, using the organization as a “dating pool”, stalking, harassment, domestic violence, rape
  • Bullying

    • Interpersonal bullying
      • Examples: Aggressive behavior that threatens, Intimidation, controlling behavior
    • Cyberbullying
      • Examples: Targeted harassment through social media, online persona
  • Ability Status (ableism)

    • Physical Ability
      • Examples: Using insulting language in regards to mobility

    • Mental Ability
      • Examples: Using insulting language in regards to intellectual ability

    • Emotional Ability
      • Examples: targeting an individual for a mental illness