by adrienne maree brown
In grassroots organizing, it matters not just what we build, but how we build. When faced with the urgent need to respond to an unfolding calamity like the Trump presidency, it can be tempting to take shortcuts, to rush into responding in emergency mode. This short excerpt from adrienne maree brown’s important 2017 book, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, invites us to reflect deeply on the consequences of the ways we organize, and the power of principled connection and action.
The crisis is everywhere, massive massive massive.
And we are small.
But emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies. Emergence is our inheritance as apart of this universe; it is how we change. Emergent strategy is how we intentionally change in ways that grow our capacity to embody the just and liberated worlds we long for.
In the study and practice of emergent strategy, there are core principles that have emerged and that guide me in learning and using this idea and method in the world. I gather them here with the expectation that they will grow.
Small is good, small is all. (The large is a reflection of the small.)
Change is constant. (Be like water.)
There is always enough time for the right work.
There is a conversation in the room that only these people at this moment can have. Find it.
Never a failure, always a lesson.
Trust the People. (If you trust the people, they become trustworthy.)
Move at the speed of trust. Focus on critical connections more than critical mass – build the resilience by building the relationships.
Less prep, more presence.
What you pay attention to grows.