(About 2.5 minutes to read, and a lifetime to answer)
Some of you know I began the Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training Program through the Catalyst Project since the beginning of February. I’m very excited to share with you what I’ve been thinking about and learning about what it means to be a radical, anti-racist organizer, whenever I have free time to reflect on it. For now, I’ve been busy doing the readings for the program and volunteering at Young Workers United, a group that supports minimum wage workers in wage theft and workplace rights. It’s taken up a lot of my actual time, but has also triggered a bunch of big-picture questions that have occupied my headspace to the point that I tried to use toothpaste as shampoo today.
I’m sharing some of those questions here. I want to know your thoughts- “answers” (if there really are any) to these questions or other big-picture questions you’ve been thinking about. Please share your thoughts in the comments, and try not to use too much toothpaste for your hair care needs. It’s not as effective as it may seem in the moment.
1. What makes a movement a movement? How do we prepare people for that time?
2. How is organizing different if I identify as an anti-racist organizer?
3. What does it mean to be anti-capitalist in organizing?
4. If we start organizing white people around racial justice, whose power are we building, and what are the implications of that?
5. How do we work toward a new world while also dealing with the problems now? Like prison reform versus prison abolition versus transformative justice?
6. Are there models of organizing that balance both long-term, deep organizing and the ability to respond to immediate need?
7. Is solidarity real? Is solidarity work sustainable? How do we keep people who identify as working in solidarity involved in those fights? (Link is to previous musings, which may have changed since! Not sure yet.)
8. If many organizing models work still within a colonialist framework, how can we organize differently?
9. How do we transition from a world of domination and extraction to a world of resilience and regeneration? (This is a question I’ve had, but the actual wording is from the Movement Strategy Center)
10. How do we organize from a place of love instead of anger? Is that something we want?
11. What does real allyship look like?
12. How do you make learning spaces (physically, mentally, and otherwise) truly accessible?
13. If I want to be a true ally to low income communities, do I have to shed my own trauma around money, understanding that my experience was quite different from those of a less privileged background?
14. Am I doing communities of color a disservice by organizing in those communities? Should I be organizing exclusively in the white community? (Started to think about it here…)
15. What kind of organizing is happening around white poor and working class folks? It seems to me the answer is mostly Unions, but I’d love to learn about other spaces.