It is our duty to inform you the former chair of the MER-RSM, Dimka has been removed from the Coordinating Committee. He has also been expelled from the movement. This comes after his inexcusable mishandling of an investigation into sexual violence perpetrated by a former comrade from Ottawa.
In short, he failed to take seriously and properly investigate concerns of patriarchal, abusive and manipulative behaviour due to his close connection to the perpetrator. He took an antagonistic approach through all of his actions. When contacting the survivor initially rather then taking the position of believing and supporting them and working from there, his first step was to discredit and not to support them, rather to take an antagonistic attitude. Even prior to contacting the survivor when he learned they had faced sexual violence he errored in failing to recognize the predatory behaviour as it developed and prevent it before harm could be done. As a member of leadership he had a great responsibility and he used his position to ultimately prevent proper investigation and obscure the truth. He put forward a red herring which misdirected the focus from the initial concerns protecting his comrade and himself from criticism. He assumed a level of intrigue on the part of the comrade who raised concerns and accusations which then led him to push through isolating them from the movement as a whole without basis, an error from which the damage cannot be undone. This prevented the investigation from being taken on properly and fundamentally broke the trust put in the Coordinating Committee by comrades.
One lesson we have learned is any comrade can make grievous errors and no one should be above criticism. There is no excuse for the damage Dimka has done to comrades locally, he used his position to insulate himself and a close comrade from accountability. This behaviour is unacceptable for any member of the revolutionary movement, and his errors demonstrated a failure to apply proletarian feminist politics. Even in his departure, he did not grasp the root of his errors and failed to correct his misdirection continuing to slander and victim-blame.
However, we also need to self-criticize. Although Dimka was partially to blame for what happened, the Coordinating Committee acts collectively and we fundamentally failed to recognize the errors that Dimka made early in the process. We allowed our confidence in Dimka to stop us from criticizing what should have been clear errors in the way he handled the situation. We did not look further into the details and remove Dimka from the role of lead investigator before taking action. There were errors in judgment that actively put comrades at risk and we facilitated those continuing in that we failed to act sooner to question his perspectives. For the first week of our knowledge about the accusations of the perpetrator we were complacent and that allowed Dimka to continue to do damage. The comrade who brought forward allegations was not contacted immediately by other members of Coordinating Committee to allow for a proper investigation. We allowed Dimka to be our single information source in spite of the severity of the situation and his role in it. He had previously made similar errors in failing to investigate properly instances of sexual violence and in having good practice of proletarian feminism. Although he produced a self criticism at that time we should not have placed our trust in his ability to handle the same sort of case effectively given his connection to the perpetrator. Our failure to do so allowed him to do harm yet again and perpetuate sexual violence. We recognize our principal error was to not remove him from taking an active role in the investigation when we first learned about it. Secondarily we acted without independently contacting the survivor and finally we assumed bad faith based on very little information from a single source being Dimka. We apologize for these errors on our part we did not act to put a stop to the harm being done as soon as we possibly could and instead allowed it to continue for far to long.
In universalizing the lessons our approach should have been to remove Dimka from an active role in the investigation, to independently contact all parties involved and seek the truth from facts, and finally to collectively sort through information before pursuing any action. Our failure to do so in this case caused severe damage and it cannot be allowed to happen again. Beyond this we must recognize, no matter how earnest the comrade, no one is invincible from error so as we say above no one is beyond criticism. With his departure the Coordinating Committee has elected Ken Kollontai to be the chair until the next congress. If you have any questions or criticisms please contact us. Finally we would like to apologize again our practice failed to meet the standards it must. We have and will continue to draw lessons from this to properly practice proletarian feminism in Canada.
MER-RSM Coordinating Committee