Sustaining Resistance, Empowering Renewal

A large focus of this output period has been focused on strategic tools at a movement or organisation level, while this is urgent and necessary I also wanted to move to a micro level - exploring my relationship as an individual to organising and wider social change.

An overview of my action learning processes in this respect can be seen below:

  • Journaling about how I am feeling about my involvement in projects and movements (See my learning journal extracts here)
  • Exploring my patterns from previous groups and what experiences have been empowering & effective and which have felt the opposite
  • Linking my Zone 00 design and cycles of self-care that were part of my implementation plan to my organising work which has led me to explore realities such as burnout and workaholism
  • Exploring my feelings about being a paid organiser after over a decade of grassroots organising which led me to explore the 'Not for Profit Industrial Complex', of which I have summarised here.

Making it tangible & achievable

Another core part of this process has been to make all of my research into radical community organising and liberation permaculture, tangible and realistic in my own life. Its all very well writing bold statements but what does this look like in practice?

As a result I have aimed to refine my organiser goals and an associated SMART targets for each, that you can read here (Link). This gives me a true compass and strategic direction, with room to creatively use and respond to change.

The personal is the political

A key part of this output process was attending a week called 'Sustaining Resistance, Empowing Renewal' in Devon (see poster). It was facilitated by people from the Ecodharma Collective and Seeds for Change in the UK.

Overall it was a massively empowering week in which I explored:

  • Practices for group work - active listening, speaking into silence, effective meetings, consensus decision making, establishing course cultures, exercises for dealing with grief & tools for self expression (truth mandalas etc), widening perspectives
  • A PNI analysis of previous organising commitments
  • Wants & Don't wants as an organiser
  • Organising & fear - some serious inner work! 
  • Organising & relationships - my history (kept confidential in respect of previous partners)
  • Zone analysis of my organising commitments
  • Bodywork, meditation, acupressure & self care practices
  • Understanding personal limits & sphere of concerns & influence
  • Causes & conditions of burnout
  • Self care as resistance
  • Strategies for dealing with state repression
  • Strategies for self care implementation & personal next steps
  • How we can change cultures of burnout

These are all explored in detail in my learning journal of the week.

Overall the course gave me courage to understand:

  • I am not alone in my patterns & many of my actions have been a reproduction of the working cultures I am part of - relationship patterns, burnout, strategic confusion, trauma from state repression, workaholism - are common themes shared by many
  • That above all I want to focus on ending animal agriculture & food sovereignty - building a compassion agriculture with the principles of social justice
  • That I have limits & organising is not all my responsibility!
  • That the personal is political - there is no point separating my work and efforts. Simply living is resistance and viewing my relationships, my farming and my spiritual practices as such is an empowering attitude reconfiguration!

PNI Analysis of Previous Organising Patterns

Exploration of Organising & Fear

Zone Analysis of Organising

Spheres of Concern & Influence

Strategies for Dealing with State Violence

Self Care Implementation Table

Changing Cultures of Burnout