Changing My Strategy, Not My Values

Changing My Strategy, Not My Values

Bunny Morgan-Brown

I have been struggling for the words to articulate a shift I have been experiencing around how I show up to the world, specifically in regards to my politics and how I relate to them, personally and professionally. I know I technically do not owe it to anyone to explain myself, at all, but how could I miss an opportunity to get some solid content out of it? 😜 In all seriousness, though, I am also a current-and-likely-to-remain-in-the-future, quasi-public figure, an ancestral healer, and an artist, so in all of these responsibilities and their attendant obligations, I feel a need to document my journey not only for the sake of my integrity but also because I know so much of my audience (hi, you) engages with my work because of how it helps them arrive to possibility.

A few years ago, I came across the work of Deepa Iyer and her Social Change Ecosystem Map. It put into words something that I had been struggling to articulate for years, both in response to pejorative attitudes towards folks who utilized social media as a serious strategic tool for engaging in social activism, but also for many of my clients, who have over the years expressed overwhelm and anxiety at knowing how to best leverage their access, privilege, skills, and resources to do their humanly manageable part to its fullest effect, because we all cannot do everything, and not everyone has the ability to do street response. Further, because completely flaming out your system and making it functionally impossible for you to maintain relationships – with people you love, people you like, and people you don't love or like (with or without endorsing their behavior or values) – in a healthy manner is also part of that strategy, which means figuring out how to be of service as well as building solidarity with as many people as possible, in a way that protects the least empowered amongst us.

I have spent years doing calculus on what was the best use of my ability, time, and effort, especially as a disabled, unpartnered Black femme. For many years, that was very intensively located and maintained through social media. To various degrees of success, I have used my platforms as a way of engaging in political education & community organizing, specifically doing mutual aid fundraising and advocating for wealth redistribution. 14 years later, I know I have been a significant influence in getting people to reconsider their biases against communitarian politics, to open their eyes to the realities of capitalism & kyriarchal oppression, and to get them into the habit of actually critically interrogating how they can show up with more than just guilt, shame, or fear to the world, and to internalizing the idea that being a good person means practicing being in kind, compassionate, and meaningful relationship with other beings. I have paid many dues, many times over, excessively, to the point of risking of my own life, health, and safety.

But at this stage of my life, in this season of the world's oyster, this is no longer working for me. I am realizing that now is the time to shift away from this approach to embodying my values + politics, not because my values have changed, but because of the lessons I have acquired over the last few years, both by listening and observing seasoned, frontline community organizers, but also through the practice of my own craft as a witch and sorceress.

Chaos As Medicine

Chaos, as a witch and a sorceress, is an interesting phenomenological concept. As the world becomes increasingly more dystopian and volatile, what emerges for the seasoned and trained magical eye is the opportunity to make prime time, significant changes towards bringing your own Will to bear, to summon forth the world you want to inhabit, and the Self that goes with it. A key aspect of what sets an effective magical practitioner apart from the rest of the crowd is having an ability to assess differences in possibility and probability, and to utilize both the sorcerous and the mundane to play with the levers of the world in order to produce results most reflective of one's desires.

I know it might be hard to believe and take me at my word, but now more than ever, people with liberatory political values must learn to unravel a binary view of time. Leveraging this type of magical thought is a must if we wish to outstrip those who would seek to kill most of us. We must learn to inhabit both what is becoming now, and responding to what we want to will to be next. What we are experiencing (very rightly) as life-threatening and destructive times, is best related to like a wildfire burning a forest: it both kills that which is innocent and filled with life, and that which is dead, decaying, and dangerous. We can and should mourn for the senseless and horrifying losses this significant burst of power unleashes and the chaotic, painful, terrifying experience of it that could've been prevented with communal care, but we should also strive to a respond to it in a way that produces the best outcomes for the global ecosystem of beingness we are in.

That means principled, consistent, individuated + collective strategy, and getting really, really good at keying into possibilities that linger beyond the limitations of our previous + current experiences, and getting real about the probability of each course of action we choose to take up moving us closer to that big picture objective.

This is the work of revolution, and the time is now upon us.

The revolution has been here, and I am ready to play my part.

Knowing My Roles In The Current Ecosystem

Millennials are set to inherit $90 trillion in resources before 2044.

As part of the generation that is moving into power and who is coming into the world's assets and resources, it is imperative that we begin to put labor towards building the structures – the underlying spiritual, ethical, & psychological cultures – to prevent laying a foundation of death, exclusion, and oppression, much in the way our parents and grandparents participated in or created, for all these many generations before us. We have an opportunity – alongside Gen Z & Gen X – to break the shackles in a way that mirrored the usurpation and dismantling of the divine right of kings.

But in order to avoid the en masse, infinitely scaled ramifications and lessons we can take from the oppressive violence of both Liberia – and then the modern state of Israel – we must move away from reactionary response and move towards fundamentally retraining our ethical orientation & our psychosomatic responses towards power, agency, interrelationship, and personal fulfillment. There must be a ferocious and consistent advocacy for a revolution of roses, joy, pleasure, and desire, as much as there is an opposition to genocide, censorship, and violent oppression. I am an anarcho-communist, and I do not believe our future lies within the power of any state or government, but rather in understanding ourselves and owning our power, and embodying a political animism that sees us and our technology as extensions of Nature, not separate from it.

This has been the work of my small life, it is the medicine of my personal Wounded Healer.

I have embodied wisdom in this arena that makes me very specifically equipped to serve and support the people who will have the most power, and the most access - both now and ongoing - to unlearn and relearn their role, defined outside of oppression and its small imagination. The tools of magic applied in a systemic, rational, strategic way are needed to provoke action not from a place of desperation but from radical, emboldened principle. I have the tools of that revolution of liberated sovereignty, of desire, and enough-ness because I am building them with every morning I wake up, take a deep breath, and remember that I deserve to exist in peace, without suffering. I am obliged to teach others and to share this work, so that we all can learn how to find it for ourselves and our communities.

And as a consequence, the nature of my roles in the social change ecosystem have changed.

Dealing With What Is + Responding Accordingly

As a chronically ill, disabled Black femme – even now with a partner – who has been self-employed as long as I have, the options for sustaining myself under late stage capitalism are greatly limited.

Being starving, under-resourced, poor, and chronically in pain are not viable or reasonable expectations to have or demand of me or anyone else. It is entirely possible to have profound understanding and empathy for the pain of others, and to also not be overwhelmed by it to the point of debilitation. Allowing yourself to be gripped by debilitation is, in my honest opinion, an act of great selfishness and ego, as it acts as both a dehumanizing substitution and an excuse for doing the much harder work of deciding how to act and examining your contributions, responsibilities, and obligations towards collective healing. Intentionally traumatizing yourself is not an act of solidarity, it is at worst an act of incompetence and recklessness, or at best, an extension of a pattern of self-harm meant to cultivate a sense of control. Either way, it is unhealthy and unhelpful.

Being on the frontlines of the social media organizing war is not a good use of my time, energy, and resources anymore. It has already led me to the precipice of debilitation, primarily because I rely on these tools as the primary means through which to feed myself and there is no way – in the immediate future – for that to sustainably change. For me, this now means accepting that in order to leverage all of the skills, abilities, and values I bring to collective liberation, I cannot share, post, and write directly on social media about politics in the same way I have been. I have to instead play the game(s), and try to put myself in the path of those who need my aforementioned lived experience the most, in order to contribute towards the culture-building work that's required of us even amongst the fray of carnage and collective despair. Being debilitated by reactionary expectations of a terminally online Internet public, or of unseasoned + unproven agents trying to participate in organizing – the insistence of others on misunderstanding me or where I stand – is not an option. Especially not if on the other side of any potential judgment is money that could've fed starving babies, pastoral care for someone who couldn't otherwise access or afford it, or, you know, my life.

That obviously does not mean politics will vanish from my work entirely – of course not, that would be impossible. But it does mean that on the surface, it's going to look as if I am just another person who is going about my day as if nothing is wrong in the wider world. It might seem like when I talk about magic, I am maybe abdicating a presence to the world, or if I'm prioritizing selling and marketing my offerings, that I am ignoring the unjust lack of others. I am well aware, and I am busy putting my tangible resources to change those things, even if I don't speak of it aloud. I know that it will be hard and painful to carry on, knowing that there are going to be many, many, many people who are going to hold this choice against me and call me everything but a child of Gd. It is a huge fear of mine, being misunderstood, especially around my integrity and values, especially because of the ways in which it shapes and informs my relationship with fear of being abandoned and isolated.

But my smallness cannot stand in the way of my service to Creation.

I am committed to giving all that I am meant to give.

Even if that means positioning myself to receive it, in order to let it all go.

Call it glamour magic.


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