Monthly Archive for March, 2017

book in the world!

y’all!

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds is out in the world! i downloaded it and read it on my phone.

IMG_3608

it’s been an incredible journey to this place and i’m enjoying the letting go, letting what i wrote and gathered just be in the world.

here’s everything there is to know about the book – where to get it, what kind of events are happening and the potential tour stops and how to book something. the book has lineage, principles, elements, interviews, spells, practices, and tools to put in use.

in the journey of the book i reached out to a lot of people to help me see the ways nature has shaped their organizing and their practice of emergent strategy. shorter responses are sprinkled throughout the book, but i also wanted to share these pieces, many of which are longer, nuanced explorations or conversations. so these are also up, as well as appendix materials and links referenced throughout the book.

my intention now is that you all use the book in whatever ways it serves.

enjoy ?????

chimamandagate

this morning as i was catching up on chimamandagate i found myself feeling a ton of gratitude to trans, gender nonconforming and nonbinary people who have stayed with me through my unlearning process,
through my misgendering them, trying to argue grammar (even though in nearly every other instance i dismiss grammar rules and all other rules),
through my defensive reactions (“but half my lovers are trans/gnc i couldn’t be transphobic”),
through my feelings of scarcity around my womanhood and women’s spaces,
through delicate/scary conversations around transracial vs transgender journeys,
through my unrequested advice or protection,
through my absence when support was needed.
through my fascination and curiosity,
through my putting them on pedestals,
through my forgetting them in spaces where they needed inclusion and/or centering.
and through my fumbling love.

i wish i could say each of these lessons took me hours to learn, but some of it has taken days, weeks, years – sometimes i never made it back to thank the teachers of specific lessons, especially the ones that were hard.

and i am still unlearning.

and i am still grateful.

transformative justice workshop (from amb and Jayeesha)

this weekend i was honored to cofacilitate a session on transformative justice with Jayeesha Dutta. it went so beautifully that we wanted to share it with others.

the format was simple.

1. definitions/elements (building common language)

we first asked people to tell us the elements of

a. punitive justice, then
b. restorative justice, then
c. transformative justice

here’s what came back from our folks (communities on frontlines of extreme energy extraction fights):

punitive justice is about blaming, shaming, punishing, disposing of, limiting the motion of, violence, right and wrong. punishment is a way of exerting power over others.

restorative justice is about getting back to how things were (after an action or statement causes harm), returning to wholeness, healing, learning. it can be a practice of power over or power with others.

transformative justice is about transforming the conditions in society, community, family and/or intimate relationships from the root, such that whatever is causing harm and tension becomes impossible. it accepts that we’re all learning, all have trauma, and all make mistakes. it is often about leadership of oppressed people moving into a power with dynamic.

2. spectrum/self-analysis

we placed punitive justice on one end of the room, restorative about halfway down the room and transformative justice on the other end and had people cluster in the middle. we formed spectrums around the following questions:

a. which form of justice does our society primarily practice? (the group clustered down by punitive)

b. which form of justice do you primarily practice in your own life and relationships? (the group was mostly in restorative area with a few acknowledging they practice punitive [especially when we mentioned social media] and some in transformative, it’s where people wanted to be. we noted that a lot of times punitive is what feels most available in the short term, transformative takes more time.)

c. which form of justice does your organization/nwtwork/group/alliance primarily practice? We did make the distinction between internally and externally – these generally align. (the group mostly slid back to been restorative and punitive. folks shared some good and painful stories of what this looks and feels like.)

3. generating a path

we then had people cluster with people near them on the spectrum (forming groups of 4) and discuss what they could do to increase transformative justice in their organizations/groups/networks/alliances – in movement.

jayeesha offered the frame of will, skill, knowledge or capacity, asking people to reflect on which one they needed more of to practice this well.

4. making a commitment

to close, we had each person write a “note to self”, a commitment of one person or situation in which they were going to increase their practice of transformative justice.

the workshop was in response to the various processes of tension, conflict and justice that are rolling like waves through our movements. i can think of five different things in the past week where the collective move seemed punitive, though often expressed as punitive for the sake of transformation.

hearing folks process this in person in our meeting brought up questions for me that feel like useful self-assessments in the process of getting clear on what i’m building and how to proceed, where to learn:

is your goal liberation?

do you believe punitive justice can build movements for liberation? how?

do you have stories of changing your own deeply held beliefs (quickly) in response to punitive justice (particularly public calling out/shaming/exile)? i understand it as a tactic to use against corporations, political figures, or when we lack access to direct interventions…i want to understand more about where it fits into abolitionist/transformative justice tactics within groups of people explicitly working on justice and liberation.

do you have stories of increasing liberation in a group by practicing punitive justice together?
restorative?
transformative?

do you believe restorative justice can build movements for liberation? how?

what would make you more likely to practice transformative justice in your own life/work/relationships?

post righteousness

it’s a gift when someone speaks their truth and you can see where they can grow and move in with love.

it’s a gift when you speak your own truth and others move in with love to show you where you can grow.

don’t forget that we learn to move by falling down a million times.

don’t forget you were taught most of the things you now believe and teach others.

don’t dispose of each other – turn and face the conversations we still need to have.

change and be changed.

p.s. be as gracious and rigorous as your mentors were/are. be an invitation. offer others the same compassion you need when you’re wrong.

the well goes dry (detroit)

maybe the water is usable now
potable
maybe it will turn my gold to dirt
twist in my gut
wring me out

maybe there will be none next week
all over
not just somewhere and there too
not everyone can get
the plastic

not everyone can get the memo
some people
brush their babies’ teeth with it
others
boil up a lead soup for supper

without water how will we
keep our flesh from the vultures
without water how will we
fight off the desert
come to swallow the sea

we can see across time – can’t you?
we know what happened
you never change, you never change
the well goes dry
we start again

focus

i focus on what is well in me

under the panic and pain
the time layers of trauma
under the bruise from falling
after/while reading the news in public
and trying to dodge potential predators on the street

flustered by my fragility
when did i become frail
and who has time for that

after i mounted eeyore i learned he would not move forward
but i would
in this body, dismounted, unexpected
beautiful against all odds

even though my country of origin
cannot figure out what to do with me
since i won’t be a slave
and keeps coming for me
in pieces called bills and legislation

i will be whole and beyond all gruesome imagination
i know behind me is death
ahead of me, death
that is the promise of breath
but now
i swing lifeward from branch to vine
in relationship with each being that holds my weight
spinning round the maypole
weaving spells that open cages
casting my bones against a future worth dreaming
finding the open space where only my whole self is welcome

and then rest, rest

i focus on what is well in me
until it is the only self i see