Members of the Antipoverty Centre pay respect to Elders past and present and acknowledge First Peoples’ sovereignty has never been ceded. We recognise First Peoples’ connection to and stewardship of Country, which is rightfully theirs, and has been unbroken for at least 120,000 years.((Bowler, J., Price, D., Sherwood, J. and Carey, S., ‘The Moyjil Site, South-West Victoria, Australia: Fire and Environment in a 120,000-Year Coastal Midden — Nature or People?’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, 130/2 (2019), 71–93, publish.csiro.au/rs/rs18007, accessed 7 August 2021.))
Coloniser members of the Antipoverty Centre take responsibility for our complicity in the ongoing violence that began with invasion and the advantages gained through the stolen wealth we have inherited. We stand in solidarity with First Peoples in their pursuit of truth-telling, self-determination and justice.
We will take concrete steps to:
- prioritise creating space and opportunities at all levels for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who wish to participate our activities, including through affirmative action;
- support and amplify the work of organisations controlled by First Peoples;
- emphasise in our work the disproportionate harm done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in systems that oppress us on the basis of class, disability, gender and sexual identity; and
- provide labour and other forms of material support, both financial and non-financial, in recognition that it is our duty to pay the rent.
The Antipoverty Centre promotes decolonisation, universality, collectivism, anti-racism and anti-capitalism.
We are activists who work collectively and individually to advance the rights and interests of all people living in poverty and those who are subjected to other forms of oppression. We believe the systems that depend upon value created by unpaid and underpaid labour, including through the existence of unemployed workers, must be dismantled.
We believe the experts in poverty are the people who live it.
We commit to:
- subvert hierarchy;
- foster access and inclusion;
- act with autonomy;
- participatory practice; and
- radical transparency.
The Antipoverty Centre’s operations will be carried out by people who are subjected to harmful social security policies, including by exclusion from support. Our positions will respond directly, concretely and coherently to the material realities of living in poverty. We will foster collective ownership and approach our work with the aim of maximising opportunities for experts in poverty to have input and be platformed in both formal and informal ways.
Every person living in poverty is an expert and we recognise there are a diversity of views, experiences, and opinions in our community about how to address poverty. While seeking to build consensus for our proposals, we will respect the views of others who share our experiences and values even when they do not reflect the Antipoverty Centre’s position. We do not tolerate any person who participates in our activities negatively discriminating against others who are marginalised or behaving in ways that compromise safety.
The Antipoverty Centre will not collaborate with or join another organisation in ways that undermine these principles and values. We will staunchly oppose policies that allow private organisations to derive financial benefits from the existence of poverty. We will not centre technocratic theories and proposals that alienate people by treating poverty as an abstract concept or necessary condition.
Experts in poverty and social security should have their labour valued and be paid for their knowledge, time and work. It is our responsibility to ensure that this expertise is compensated financially wherever possible in our activities.
We are committed to building trust by practising openness, transparency and accountability. We will publish information about our finances, who we work with and the projects we are involved in. As we grow we will work to develop an organisational structure and processes that decentralise and democratise operations and decision-making to the greatest extent possible. We will be vigilant of the ill effects of power and work actively to mitigate the risk of concentrating authority.
The Antipoverty Centre seeks to build support and capacity for emancipatory, grassroots, decentralised responses to state violence. We will participate to the greatest extent possible in all forms of activism, advocacy and policymaking that advance our objectives.