Monthly Archive for November, 2009

thanksliving: the complexity

Laying in bed before this day fully begins, relishing the complexity of this day.

On one side, I have a lot of non-native friends pointing out that this is Native American Holocaust Day, Indigenous Genocide Day, a celebration rooted in the beginnning of the betrayal and deliberate obliteration of the people of this land.

On another side, I have the memory of the first Thanksgiving after starting to work with indigenous communities, and how hard they laughed at my guilt. One friend told me, “we don’t sit around talking about our genocide…we eat some turkey and express gratitude for each other and keep it moving.”

On another side, I have friends starting the day in ceremony, to call remembrance and redemption into this day. I experience true gratitude that there are Indigenous people still living, growing, organizing and leading; I believe that the solutions to many of our collective crises are embedded in the way communities still connected to their indigenous culture live. It is an atrocity, what happened. It is hard to believe.

On another hand there’s an effort to laugh together, to own the history. Yesterday I watched a brilliant, sad, hilarious video of kids reenacting the real Thanksgiving. This made me reflect on how often history just needs to be seen, heard and acknowledged to allow a healing process.

And then there’s the hand of my gratitude. My father is alive, my nephew is a genius, my sisters are patient and strong, another baby is on the way, my mother is strong and healthy. My love is brilliant and better than me, my friends are gracious, my work is engaging and impactful. My life is my own, my voice is clear, my needs are few. My grandparents are talking to me knowing the truth of who I am, my heart can feel a new way emerging, my dreams are fantastical, my days are full.

This is a complex time, to be fully human is to comprehend all of it. Our roots are all bloody, our fruit is all strange, our ancestors are at the table with us.

Celebrate the blood and breath moving through you, and do something today worthy of the life within you, the sacrifices and struggles that preceded you, the dreams before you.

Thanksliving. –> saw it on a church marquee, and decided to practice.

Off to make a sweet potato souffle.

I had to write this…

I keep thinking, I should be writing this down.

Last night participating in the USSF Detroit Anchor meeting where tensions rise and then combust in laughter. And then at the Detroit Local Organizing meeting where a song was unveiled…’another world is possible! Another u.s. Is necessary, another detroit is happening.’

Conversations with cynics who point out that ‘another u.s. is actually not necessary.’ Absolutely true, one is more than enough and it needs to scale down and back, or decentralize into hundreds of watershed based governances. I think about that, i do. And yet the spirit of the sentiment, that great change is needed and possible, is not easy to gimmick into a slogan. But watching people stand against poverty and racism, who may not yet be anti-imperialist but are feeling the effects of true colonialism in their lives every day, inspires me every day.

Detroit’s sense of humor…of complex deep emotion worn on the sleeve that can move from rage to weeping to uproarious laughter, it wakes me up.

I had to write about New Orleans, a week of eating interrupted only by sleeping and a pleasant strategy session with the NOLA Parent Organizing Network. The last time I was with them, a year ago, they were committed to bringing the parent leaders onto the staff. This time, the staff was 90% New Orleans parents, strategizing how to develop the leadership of their peers, how to provide more resources for parents trying to navigate and revolutionize the school system.

I want to write about how I am seeing focused attention slip through the cracks of hopelessness. We are carrying so much, those of us who believe the world can be miraculous. And yet most of the time all that is needed is to have another person really See you.

it helps even more if they are seeing you over a catfish po’boy, a muffaletta, fish caught earlier that day, or a spread of stunning southern Vietnamese food. Its no exaggeration to say I carry NOLA with me :-)

I want to write about the partnerships Ruckus is developing right now, as we escalate into Copenhagen to support indigenous organizers, get inspired to join the Take Back the Land campaign nationally and train folks to reclaim public land, public housing, and demand the right to return to land we are displaced from…not to mention launching our new Eco-Justice action idea resource. Our work feels so right for this moment.

I want to write about my family – slipping through NY to grab an hour with my sister and her son, how happy I get sitting at her table. How my sisters and I are going to get our hair did this week and I just can’t wait to be with them, with my parents, with my brother-in-law’s family and my sweetheart, all in one place. Smiling while writing.

And my friends are pulling off major acts of bravery every day. Growing up in leaps and bounds, seeing what happiness, love, forgiveness, mistakes, commitment and skinshedding look like in our 30s.

Its all happening!

Now catching a flight to begin another 2.5 weeks of travel through ny, philly, flagstaff, cali, and maybe miami. Wink at the sky :-)

making money make change keynote

here are the notes of the keynote i gave at the 12th annual making money make change gathering. these are notes, which i referred to and riffed off of, so it may not have come out exactly like this :), but still wanted to document it all.

(before i spoke, disability justice organizer mia mingus got up and gave us a short awareness practice around able-ist language – noticing when we say crazy, lame, crippled, blind, deaf, cut off at the knees, insane…this was a powerful learning, not only to notice when we say it, but also learning to say what we actually mean, instead of reducing ourselves in ways that dishonor the experiences of others.)

good evening. i’m adrienne maree brown – i work with the ruckus society, and am now a national coordinator with the us social forum.

first of all, everyone please get up. i am placing this (balloon) down here in the center, and let’s say this represents the center of impact – economic and environmental impact. this can be nuanced – being hungry for food, or hungry for the attention and love of parents obsessed with accumulating money. furthest from the center are those with the most privilege – meaning love, safety, access to nature. ok. now look at each other – this is reality – our lives and experiences are more complex than we give ourselves credit for – what looks like privilege can be loneliness, what looks like suffering can be happiness. who is missing from the conversation and the leadership? those MOST impacted. that’s who we have to learn to listen to. but look at us – we are all in this together, interrelated, on this earth island hurtling through space.

now sit down.

i want to start by saying that i feel this space, and this undertaking, are incredible. i have never had a lot of money, but the exposure i have had to luxury and comfort have taught me that it is addictive. hot tubs? travel? having anything you want? it’s nice – it’s amazing to me that y’all were born into that and opt to be in a space like this, thinking about redistribution. and it’s an approved addiction – if a baby is born addicted to crack because of the practices of its mother, it is pushed through an abstinence program immediately. if you are born to a family addicted to luxury and comfort, you are considered lucky. but here y’all are, in this money-addiction harm reduction program…you’re even telling your stories like a 12-step program! so, i honor you and this work.

i also want to say that in the effort to combat celebrity organizing culture, i didn’t create or come up with any of the stuff i will share with you tonight. i hope i am a conduit of ancient ideas trying to find their way home. i honor my ancestors, those who have thought and realized and remembered and dreamed before me.

first, i want to share some of my own story. i’m bi-everything…biracial, bisexual, cross-cultural, grew up half in the u.s. and half in germany. i grew up loved grew up a military brat, and i think my experience of learning what the military really did is the closest thing i have to what you all are going through as you learn how your family accumulated it’s wealth. when i learned the history of the military, i felt betrayed and hopeless. responsibility for the suffering of others is unbearable. i think this is why we try to numb it, ignore it, not teach our children…but that allows the suffering to continue. waking up, we can acknowledge and eliminate our capacity to create suffering.

i learned about the military in college – i was able to get into columbia university. i was a gifted child because i was told i could do anything i set my mind to. that encouragement was my greatest privilege. i organized on every kind of issue in college, always drawn to to the point of greatest impact. my experience with sexual assault shaped who i wanted to organize with, guiliani’s mayoral reign of terror shaped the issues i organized around – hiv/aids, police brutality, women’s sexual health and education. as a military brat, i was drawn towards organizing for peace. in the years i have organized, i worked in the fields of harm reduction, electoral organizing, and direct action. i was doing harm reduction work just fine till bush cut that budget to send the money into the wars in afghanistan, then i was marching in the streets and doing electoral organizing – trying to see if it was possible to do that kind of cyclical, reactionary work with integrity. the jury is still out for me. someone approached me as i did that work and said i was too radical for electoral work, and that’s how i ended up at the ruckus society. all of my work has been national and cross-cultural. the values that i have accumulated:

– decentralization! of power and resources. at ruckus we are finally a flat pay scale organization, and are practicing real decentralization of decision making, including our network.
– actions speak louder than words. it is wonderful to articulate a commitment, a vision. it is powerful to act on it, change your behavior as a person, as a worker, as a donor, as a family-member.
– our survival requires prioritizing self-determination and sustainability. this is the vision of ruckus, that all communities have both. they have to go hand in hand…one community cannot sustain itself at the expense of another, one community cannot practice self-determination that harms another, this has to work locally, globally. this necessarily includes restorative practices that sustain each person.
– we must move from a dependency model of raising funds to a grassroots fundraising model. this means that those who need an organization should contribute to it, and those who are major donors and foundations should support in a consistent and ongoing way based on the real work and expertise, not on theories and strategies. the work of creating a new and equitable world cannot depend upon the gifts of those most benefitting from the current world.

so those are some values i hold. based on that, i was asked to think about things to share with you all as young donors. here is what i have to offer, as lessons from being human and organizing:

– there is no end to this work. my mentor grace lee boggs speaks of the process by which human beings cycle through the sam contradictions throughout life, growing and comprehending more each time, but still engaged in the process. dialectical humanism. if we only think of hard outcomes, we miss the growth of the process – the process is where we must embody the practices of the future. let our visions show up in our every action and every step.

– we can’t see the future…actually – who here can? ok. other than you, the rest of us can only predict. we are all doing our best. for this reason, i wish we would stop engaging in the debate of reform vs revolution, inside strategy vs outside strategy. we don’t know. we aren’t going to convince everyone to do it one way. that said – choice is a privilege, and in our work we should constantly strive to increase the choices and freedoms of others, because hopefully part of our long-term vision is self-determination.

– truth should be a goal of story-telling. today i witnessed as you each shared the stories of your wealth. i am glad you called them stories, because they are only part of the truth – i hope someday we can engage in developing shared histories, where you can see how your history impacts mine, how mine impacts yours…we are bound to repeat what we cannot say and face. it is time to humble ourselves to the histories of the majority of the world.

– a key element of that truth is that money isn’t magic. a participant said it well earlier today – money doesn’t come from investments. money doesn’t come from money. all money comes from work, or natural resources. most comes from the combination of work to extract and apply natural resources to the needs of human beings. we are ALL brainstormed to have faith in money, and in materialism. we share the same illusions, whether we have money or don’t. we even believe that the problems of capitalism and materialism can be resolved by capitalism and materialism…this shows up as micro-loans and micro-enterprises where the source of funds is outside the community. my new friend paul haible (of the peace development fund) recently said “to end poverty we must end greed,” and i add, accumulation and ownership.

– to that end we must be aware of the values we are spreading. most of philanthropy is moving money that was earned on the value that “competition is good.” and yet, philanthropy aims to offset the hardships of communities who have long held the value that “cooperation is good”. the value that is embedded in our philanthropy can actually shift the foundational values of communities we want to support…modern philanthropy might (unintentionally) actually kill the value of cooperation, which many of us are realizing is the essential value of ALL of our long-term survival.

– in terms of our survival – we have been thinking of this as a dark economic moment, a dark time, possibly a recession, possibly the moment before a great depression. but perhaps this a darkness more like the womb. we have been contained and dependent, and now we have outgrown that world, and are being pushed out into a new one…we have to be interdependent and learn to walk and breathe. it is real. can we value that new world, if it is closer to our visions?

– we must be conscious of the values we spread. we must also be conscious of the work we create for those communities we calim to support. get to know local organizations and leaders and communities. and if you truly believe in their work, become a regular monthly donor so they know they can depend on your support instead of spending a large part of each year asking and asking and asking.

– support work because you believe it contributes to all of our survival, not because you want a big thank you, because you need to assuage something, or create further dependence of communities on your money. dependence is deadly, independence is a myth, interdependence is life.

– interdependence is possible when you approach everyone as a teacher. then you are placing yourself in the space of student – acknowledging our helplessness and inability to do things gives us space to learn.

– experience yields strategic minds. ooh – this is big: i don’t believe in strategic plans! please let’s stop making them. in the long run, strategic minds are so much more effective. strategic structures, processes, practices. but plans are inflexible, the terrain is always changing.

– look for organic formations, rather than (starting new organizations based on) your theoretical formations…it is not your right to experiment with people, and given the state of the world, none of us are experts at ending poverty, at peace, and ending inequality…

– what we are doing is what we are supposed to do. none of us are without history, without relationship to somewhere…we have to remember who we are, and how we are supposed to steward this place. this is our practice: (boggs center quote) community building is to the collective what spiritual practice is to the individual. what are you practicing?

making money make change? first impression: impressed…

i just came from a conference where young people with wealth are working to transform themselves in order to change how they impact and participate in the world. its a very beautiful and brave thing, to witness this process.

i was aware over the weekend of the feeling i had when i realized my childhood was the result of the military. and what the military did, was doing, why it existed, why i grew up outside the u.s. – because we had power as a nation, and we used it to control others. but there were good intentions there, right? To help and save and protect…it was a confusing time, a time that felt like a betrayal. the relationships with my family i have now are deep and in the context of how i feel about the military, and the industrial complex surrounding the military. we all know more, we are sharing articles and having political conversations and learning together.

that experience was the closest one i had to draw on as i built relationships with people coming to terms not simply with being wealthy, but with how that money was acquired. this is deep work, another side to the work than where i normally sit…i was honored that folks let me be there and speak with them.

my next post will be the notes from my keynote!

gathered

    Ripeness

Ripeness is
what falls away with ease.
Not only the heavy apple,
the pear,
but also the dried brown strands
of autumn iris from their core.

To let your body
love this world
that gave itself to your care
in all of its ripeness,
with ease,
and will take itself from you
in equal ripeness and ease,
is also harvest.

And however sharply
you are tested —
this sorrow, that great love —
it too will leave on that clean knife.

~ Jane Hirshfield

“community building is to the collective what spiritual practice is to the individual” – Boggs Center

    More and More

More and more frequently the edges
of me dissolve and I become
a wish to assimilate the world, including
you, if possible through the skin
like a cool plant’s tricks with oxygen
and live by a harmless green burning.

I would not consume
you or ever
finish, you would still be there
surrounding me, complete
as the air.

Unfortunately I don’t have leaves.
Instead I have eyes
and teeth and other non-green
things which rule out osmosis.

So be careful, I mean it,
I give you fair warning:

This kind of hunger draws
everything into its own
space; nor can we
talk it all over, have a calm
rational discussion.

There is no reason for this, only
a starved dog’s logic about bones.

Margaret Atwood

Beings are numberless, I vow to awaken them
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to transform them;
The Dharma is boundless, I vow to perceive it;
The Awakened Way is unattainable, I vow to embody it
– learned at Center for Transformative Change

“It may be doubted whether there are any other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world as have these lowly, organized creatures,” Darwin wrote, on earthworms.

Best new cursing phrase: What the effing crap? (heard here)

Baby neutron star found inside a supernova remnant.

Baby Pic

Baby Pic

The vibration of your heart beats 10 feet in front of you. – Barbara Holmes, Race and the Cosmos

    The Moment

The moment when, after many years
of hard work
and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,

is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.

No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.

Margaret Atwood

7000 promises

I went to visit some extended family recently after a long absence. We have some differences. Major life and afterlife belief system differences.

For a moment (which lasted for years) I thought perhaps the space was too wide to ever cross. But lately I have been shifting my relationship to space, time, myself. I had a dream, where one family member was explaining how hard it was to see the world I live in based on her life experience. 70 years versus my 31…what do I know?

I went to see them (meditating on how to be like water, letting things flow through me, moved by tides and forces I can’t see, able to hold the earth but never seen in my wholeness) and I learned so much.

First of all, they love me so much they want me to make it to heaven.

Second, God made over 7000 promises in the Bible, and a lot of them have to do with forgiveness.

Third, my whole family -including me- feels that anger eats the soul and should be converted into action energy.

Fourth, spirit guides my extended family’s life as much as it does mine. Mine has no name that I know, cannot be contained, and moves through me, uses my body, mouth, hands, mind and energy as a conduit for change towards justice. I think, based on our conversations, they would describe theirs the same way. The difference between words and ideas and faiths is so deep.

Five, I particularly think my grandfather is a holy man, and I know I am a holy woman. It was powerful to stand eye to eye and show each other love, say that we’d never stopped loving each other. The truth of that, of an 80 year old white Christian real estate horse whisperer loving his 31 year old black-white gay radical granddaughter, knowing exactly who she is, and being loved in return, with no one yelling or conceding their beliefs or identities…that was its own healing.

Mostly, I have a lot to learn about love.

Movement Generation Solutions Part II: Resilience

The first part got quite long, so I decided to section this part out – I think it’s especially exciting.

———————

We did a Visualization exercise of being organizers in 1969, after tons of tumultuous world change and uprising globally, and having a chance to go back to 1958 – what would you advise yourself? how could you be more prepared?

Then of course we applied that visualization to now – if we can imagine truly the changes possible in 10 years, what could we tell ourselves now about how to think, be, what to do, etc?

Here’s what I came up with:

Think:
– read the writings, stories and strategies of organizers from global south/third world, build deep relationships that bring the center of politics south
– not just of what you want to overcome, but what you want to exist and be. later, when the chance to overcome and shift culture arises, you will be better poised to lead towards something new, rather than just titillating and reactionary.
– what is the economic aspect of desegregation and equality? what do our communities need?

Do:
– physical practices. strengthen your body to be able to participate in a lifestyle of travel, struggle…discipline, together
– build multi-cultural spaces where folks are encouraged to love, honor and respect their own people and each other, and be who they are

Say/Tell:
– speak to a vision of leadership from people in struggle, from people of color
– we stand in solidarity, and there are many leaders…do not create vulnerable leaders by advancing visions as the work of solo organizer-thinkers, always have the wisdom and visions be the work of the commons, so that isolation and elimination tactics (red-baiting, assassination) cannot stop the dream.
– our own communication modes

Be:
– radical. live your values, this will help to bring them into existence.
– resolution minded. build community and relationship in such a way that it cannot easily be disrupted and betrayed. work with people you trust.
– beautiful and compelling. let your visions fill you up.
– one of many
– centered, grounded, and more centered.

when we came together with others in a small group, this is what we found we shared in terms of what we’d tell our past selves:
– more discipline in developing an analysis that isn’t based purely on western/northern political theory, knowing the thinkers/analysis/vision and stories of the global south
– having physical practice together, for solidarity, for strength
– making moments to take care of ourselves vs moments to push – learning to assess
– knowing how to assess
– never dropping respect for each other, no matter how intense or pushed the circumstances are
– knowing when its consensus time and when its time for other processes, and again, having discipline and trust

in the large group we debriefed:
– how far would we go to reach the people? would folks enlist to organize within the military? military is a weak link in right strategy now.
– how to focus good non-impacted folks (like artsy white hippies) into more necessary work
– more coordinated work globally, more communication than just shout-outs to each other, but really thinking of ourselves in community
– roles. really knowing your needs, your skills, your passion and your role.

———————-

Brock and Dave Show!

Here we got to hear current examples of Resilience from two amazing men who work in/with/around the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center.

Resilience has to grow at several Levels:
– You (both at home and in your neighborhood) bring it back to
– Your Organization (in office/home and community) train and bring back to
– Your members (practicing resilience in addition to other organizing!)

Over 50% of humans live in cities, so now we need Green Cities:

Brock showed us the permaculture flower! Petals included: land and nature, built environment, tools and technology, culture and education, health and spiritual well-being, finance and economics, land tenure and community governance…

Permaculture is the practice of long-term sustained culture, integrative.

Tree People is a group doing groundbreaking work in LA based on the idea that the problem is the solution, if we come together to think thru next steps.

Be a Loca-vore – eating locally. local, small scale, regional self reliance

“give me a fish i am fed for a day, teach me to fish i am fed till river is contaminated. teach me to organize!”

we are kin to all life. we need a kin-centric worldview, everything is in relationship – fungi and bacteria can be great for us.

if kids grow food they will eat it! schools around food and gardens, growing food, growing schoolyards.

throw some cardboard and mulch on the front yard and grow stuff!

another piece of resilience is community gardens – shared garden spaces. rooftop garden spaces. evaluate roofs – what is the roof best for? lots of gardening space in the city on top of roofs. try garden urinals (yes, garden urinals).

how big is your garden in cubic feet? save seeds! 90% of varieties our great grandparents had at the turn of the century are gone. local seed banks! food coop, buy in bulk, economy of scale.
public transportation yay!
local-global currency.
co-housing, community land trusts, mutual home ownership.
how do we de-commodify housing and bring back the commonwealth VS private poverty?

some examples of communities reclaiming streets and public space:

in portland an intersection was reclaimed with a permanent tea station, cobb benches, urban oar, streets that can be used.

in a favela in sao paola, brazil reusing bottles, edible schoolyards that include ponds, food, wiggly raised beds, kids involved and learning. the permaculture has shifted the violent nature os the favela cuz folks are involved in the permaculture process.

rooftop water supply. treat with carbon and uv light. humanure toilet you compost in backyard.

the bottled water thing:
evian = naive – people will pay 3000% more than value of water coming out of their tap which is actually more likely to be drinkable since it is tested regular according to municipal standards!

grey water is finally legal in california! you can pump laundry water into backyard! process it and use it onsite instead of pumping it away to waste processing and back.

in seoul, korea and cities in china – floating walkable docks with cages of plants. pump water through the plants and in one year its a clear clean living fishable walkway. the bacteria and fungus process the toxins – the plants take the sun and pump the whole process.

symbiosis is the great natural process, not darwinism, not competition (that was a dude trying to propogate the myth that the sun never set on the british empire). party with biology!

green street movement – living systems, storm water through bio filters. curves, sidewalks, water retention onsite. bio-filters that take storm water and clean it up to be potable.

flooding is an indictment of watershed mis-mangement.

seoul, korea opened up a river that was under a highway and made it green.
6 acre park in sichuan, china. the garden cleans up the river water and comes out into fountains that kids can play in.

aquaponics – grow fish and process water. urban aquaculture in brazil – permaculturaamericalatina website. fish eat fruit from trees planted by the river – make clean water cleaning pond system!

2 examples of ancient aquaculture:

chinampa – valley of mexico. (if cortez was from venice colonization would have gone very differently – as it was, he destroyed the amazing dykes that was floating terraced growth)

and where the tigris and euphrates rivers met in iraq – the marsh arabs lived in reed huts and integrated aqua cultures.

could NOLA be the next venice?

——————-

gopal shared with us his star wars analogy and led us in a conversation on political solution thinking

“we’re in the trash compactor – we shot the serpent (the evil evil) then we ran to the center, then the people on margins blocked the sides from sight, then we put up a piece of trash to block it (in a trash compactor, hello) – this is like the ultimate false solutions move. ultimately needed a C3PO – it was the outside to our inside strategy…now it’s time to be the C3P0 you wish to see in the world!”

inside-outside works when inside can point to outside movement and say we are not obligated to obey/converse/compromise.

there is no way to measure what is owed from north to south. jubilee is anchoring ecological debt movement now – external debt is dwarfed by ecological debt.

our responsibility is not to find a socially acceptable compromise – its to demand what we really need and organize our communities to want/need it. if we compromise with our congress, that’s the “best we can get”…starting in the center means you can only be pulled right. have to start with what you want, then can meet in the middle.

this is a “where we can win” moment – if there’s nothing meaningful at the federal level, then you get aggressive stuff happening at the local/state level and move it, make it complicated enough to need knowledge, and then that can drive federal policy. no federal policy is actually great locally and great internationally. you have to know what your line is tho – where will you draw the line of what you won’t support.

we need to recognize when there is a process success, and when there is a content success. ACES was a content fail in terms of what directly impacted communities are telling us clearly; but it was a process success (at least partially) in terms of the nationally organizing that advanced it. now we need to make sure the folks involved in the process learn what the content really needs to be. Different strategies organizations are trying to employ, show a different political line. but we need alignment, so that we can trust those different strategies.

one participant brought up the metaphor of the ocean liner heading towards the iceberg. we’ve been fighting about resources and whose on the deck chairs and who is underneath. but now there’s an iceberg, and we’re passed the point where we won’t hit it. the measure can’t be is it good for those on the boat – it has to be in the context of the iceberg…for real, is this not just ok but XCLLENT?

do we push it up to the next level now, or drive something to failure to make it happen again. if it fails then we can get more together, more aligned, to push for what we actually need.

the dynamic of non-profits is: who are we accountable to? the problem is that various communities we would like to be accountable to are in tension. outside the context of alignment, we make our own decisions. there’s no political space where we can give each other feedback on the decisions we’ve made. right now we don’t have politics, we’re doing locally based campaign work – and we’re stretched locally.

yeah…but – politically this might be an iceberg and we need to reallocate the resources.

localism of nonprofits limits us…we can’t do international or national level stuff as effectively as we need to…existing national groups are too often top-down instead of local-up.

via campesina does stuff global/regional/local, not either/or…

we can see this as a critique of having to be accountable to funders who only want to fund us for local work and not for regional/natl cooperative work…trans-local…

we need to get to a point where we don’t have to compromise our values to advance. we need to open minds to the reality that there is a deep connection between local and international. we need to make sure our local members see the failure of how we have been doing it, and see the big picture.

we want direct action not like rallies or protests, but people directly doing the things they want/need to see in the world.

————————-

Strategic Conversation:

we need the fearlessness, tactics, and solidarity with direct action that is an advance of actual implementation. we need to have a mindset of we are doing this, and we will do it with y’all (govt, stimulus) or we will advance it in our communities. release the mindset of obeying and being complicit.

what is the DAILY practice. and how do we talk about a multi-strategy approach – where we don’t always agree but know when is the right time for which tactics. have it planned out so it’s not just action after the lobbying piece didn’t work.

we need to flip the relationship and dynamic so that policy is developed from a starting point of community organizers, rather than organizers being asked to help advance policy that doesn’t serve our needs.

gopal summary:

bottom up alignment, ussf, direct action, political conversation towards alignment of analysis – revolutionary ecological analysis that’s larger than our local struggles, liberated zones!, bringing our organizers up to speed and fearlessness so they aren’t a barrier, process AND implementation, working well with white folks, organizational capacities (like ruckus), clarity about where we agree and disagree and what we are/aren’t working on, edo-audit of our organizations, clarify what a green job really is and what the steps are to get there, importance of labor, share our tools with each other.

That’s all for now!