I haven’t been in this work that long, but long enough to see the joys and pains of organizing. I write this out of a lot of love (and some heartbreak) of what I see in our movement sometimes. Many of us want a world of mutuality, cooperation and love; however, we tend to beat up ourselves or each other trying to get there.

Here are some of my observations of dangerous trends that I see in the movement. I’m guilty of this myself and have been on the receiving end as well. These are not new trends per se but like in my post, Purpose of Over Process, the stakes are high, especially now.

Hopefully this will spark sharper ideas and reflections. There is a lot here and I know many of you feel me on this!


Avoid Pessimism, Perfectionism, and Purism


Even before Trump, society was and still is based on capitalism (and other systems of oppression), which breeds isolation, competition, division and alienation. This is EXACTLY what capital wants so even more important to keep our eyes on the prize.

Pessimism: We forget that negativity is a symptom of capitalism. They WANT us to be cynical about change and transformation. We need to celebrate the big and small victories and keep remembering that we are preparing to govern towards fundamental change and alternatives. Another world is possible and necessary.

Perfectionism: NO ONE is perfect but somehow we think we can be “perfect”. Perfectionism can lead to stagnation and over processing. There is also that saying, “perfection is the enemy of the good” and when we over analyze we encounter “the paralysis of analysis.” As we strive towards a society that centers our human development, we need to remember there is no perfect person;  no perfect idea, no perfect space nor is there a perfect plan.

Purism: It a similar vein, purism in all forms is pretty bad. In fact, it can be toxic. Purism is a false choice, no one can be pure in the current system and it may never be possible. Contradictions are everywhere. How this shows up is in dogmatic and sectarian politics of calling out and tearing down each others. It can also fester self doubt or feelings that we are not good enough. This does NOT mean we accept all contradictions; what it does mean is that based on our purpose we need to understand what are the key contradictions in the time, place and conditions.

All of this is easy to point out and I see this in my own leadership sometimes. So how as a movement do we become more self-aware and actually learn to build and govern together as if we are and will be the future of this society?

In next week’s post, I’m going to talk about the 3 Ps to build towards, Purpose, Power and Practice to help us keep our eyes on the prize.


(Note: This has been a bit of a mantra for me. Thank you to the many cohorts of Seeding Change Fellows for listening and receiving me!)