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Making Room For Uncertainty with Katey Lauer

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Hegemonicon - An Investigation Into the Workings of Power
Hegemonicon - An Investigation Into the Workings of Power
Making Room For Uncertainty with Katey Lauer

Up till now, the podcast has been analyzing how we got to the present moment. William and his guests have talked about the wins and losses amid the roar of movement activism in the 2010s and how they feel we’ve taken one step forward and two steps back. After the historic upheavals of 2020, many see the balance of power ticking further toward the MAGA right. Newly engaged and energized Gen-Z activists and longtime movement leaders alike experience the organized Left as basically rudderless, despite the huge flow of activity we’ve discussed on the show so far.

Our next several episodes will explore what the Left is building to fight back against the white supremacist, authoritarian Right. But first, this episode offers a moment to pause and sit with the uncertainty that many people may be feeling. With his guest Katey Lauer, of West Virginia Can’t Wait and many other organizing movements, William discusses ways we can use such space to explore new ways of envisioning, defining, and working toward our goals—dreams as big as a mass leftist movement organization or as small as a community co-operative space. They also explore the importance of holding up comrades who may find themselves in their own personal valleys of uncertainty at any given time.

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[00:00:00] Sound on Tape: This podcast is presented by Convergence, a magazine for radical insights. 

[00:00:07] Katey Lauer: And the way I say giving up is like letting a thing die that’s ready to die with the belief that there’s wisdom in it, with the belief that like things have seasons, there are cycles, things can grow. And then usually they get to some kind of point where in growth where there is decay.

[00:00:27] William Lawrence: Hello and welcome to the Hegemonicon. A podcast from Convergence magazine. This is a show about social movements and politics, strategy and ideology, the immediate present, and the rapidly onrushing future. I’m your host, William Lawrence. I spent my 20s as a member of grassroots social movements, most prominently as a co founder and national leader of Sunrise Movement, the youth organization that put the Green New Deal on the political map.

[00:00:53] Now I’m in my early 30s, trying to make sense of what we’ve collectively learned in this last decade plus of social movements [00:01:00] and heightening social crises. I talk with activists and researchers on the left, exploring the guiding theme of power. What it is. How it’s exercised and how it’s distributed.

[00:01:16] Today’s conversation is a bit of a transitional episode in the overall development of our show. We’ve been talking thus far about how we got here, significant movements and moments from the last decade plus on the American left. Soon we’ll move into what we’re building, which will be episodes about the organizations and ideas that have the most currency today in 2023 and 2024.

[00:01:42] We’ll have at least a half dozen episodes talking with labor organizers, tenant organizers, left intellectuals, cadre builders, and party builders, all of whom are moving with decisiveness and urgency to build the infrastructure that we hope will help us win. But before diving into all of that, I want to [00:02:00] hold some space for uncertainty.

[00:02:03] Uncertainty about what we should be building, and what winning even means. And I’ll admit that personally, I’ve spent a lot of the last three years Feeling quite uncertain. Some of my long cherished dreams and hopes and assumptions about the world were really challenged and even shattered by events in 2020 and 2021.

[00:02:24] There have been radicalizing moments that have caused me to question things I took for granted. And, those dreams and assumptions. Don’t just get replaced right away, nor should they. Actually, our feelings of defeat, confusion, and doubt reflect a dawning awareness about some part of reality that was previously hidden to us.

[00:02:46] And I’ve experienced this personally, and I’m sure you have too. So I want to remind us, or encourage us, when you find yourself in this state, don’t hide from it. Don’t run from it. That’s a recipe for getting stuck in the past [00:03:00] with old ideas and stale analysis, or it can become a recipe for half baked ideas if you want to rush through the process of Instead, I invite us all to ask, what were we certain of before?

[00:03:15] Where did that break down? And how is each of our understandings of ourselves and of the world now being transformed? Today, on behalf of all of the doubtful and confused ones out there, we’re making space for uncertainty with my guest and my friend, the remarkable West Virginian organizer, Katie Lauer.

[00:03:39] Katie, I’m really glad to have you here. Please go ahead and introduce yourself. 

[00:03:43] Katey Lauer: I’m really glad to be here and to be talking to you. My name’s Katie. I live in Southern West Virginia in Fayette County, which is on the edge of the coalfields here, a way that we talk about our region. And I’ve been an organizer and trainer in [00:04:00] central Appalachia for the last 15 years.

[00:04:02] And over the last 15 years, I’ve had a lot of hats and I’ve tried on a lot of theories of change and ways of organizing. And some of those have looked like coalition building. I’ve been a part of a number of direct action campaigns, which took me to, into a project of working for a people’s history museum in the Southern part of the state.

[00:04:26] And I, though my younger self would have been surprised at it, I also have spent the last five years primarily focusing on populist left electoral work. And will say, I think how I’m coming into this conversation is, I’ve got some organizational hats. I’m happy to talk about, and I’m coming into this conversation with a lot of, I think my current organizational hat is an uncertain person.

[00:04:50] Like I, I’m coming in with a lot of questions about the conditions that we’re operating in and what, how I want to be in relating to them and how I think [00:05:00] options for how we could be that I don’t know, just help us show up to them with full hearts and Maybe lastly, I’ll say that the organizations I currently work for and with are West Virginia can’t wait, which is a statewide organization in West Virginia.

[00:05:17] That’s out. We say we’re out to win a people’s government. So we do electoral and governance work and also some support for organizers in the ground. And I’m also a core trainer with a national training organization called training for change. 

[00:05:31] William Lawrence: Thank you, Katie. And even though we’re not here to talk about it, we’re here to talk about uncertainty.

[00:05:36] I just want to say that this is all really good, high quality work that you’ve done at every step of the way. You make things, when you set your mind to making something happen, you work big and you work serious and you work with large numbers of people. I’ve seen that every step of the way.

[00:05:53] I remember the March on Blair Mountain when, You were one of the core organizers and you had hundreds of [00:06:00] people marching for five days along the side of the road, outside of Charleston. So that’s just to say for the listeners, I could go on, I could go on down memory road but Katie works big.

[00:06:10] Katie, the first time I met Katie actually was she came up to my college when we were in 2013 and you accepted an assignment. I might’ve met you once. No, this is not true. I knew you before this, but you came and you stood up. I remember you standing up and basically leading like 219 year olds in a room through some sort of three hour facilitation session at the divestment convergence.

[00:06:33] And you were like really taking us to school and providing a real center of energy and focus for what was otherwise a, very chaotic and sprawling event. You just really know how to get people moving in the same direction. And but we’re not here to talk about that.

[00:06:47] We’re here to talk about uncertainty, navigating uncertainty, which is where you say you find yourself now. We’re talking in early October and later this month, you’re leading a workshop that’s called Navigating [00:07:00] Uncertainty, Backlash, and Loneliness. And it focused specifically on Appalachian organizers and folks that you’ve been working with for a long time in West Virginia and Central Appalachia.

[00:07:11] So why do you think? Uncertainty loneliness and backlash are important topics to be exploring now, 

[00:07:18] Katey Lauer: Part of what’s been baked into all of those let me give my full self to this thing projects has been like, fully trying on a theory of change and like giving all that I have to that effort.

[00:07:31] Five years ago, when we started this electoral work, the question I felt curious about, I think, other organizers and other places were curious about is what would it look like if we ran? No corporate cash, populist candidates for office and back them fully and use the organizing skills we have from other places to invest in those campaigns.

[00:07:52] And so I say that because it has been uncomfortable for me to be in this new state because I’ve done [00:08:00] a lot of the work that I’ve done in the past has been from a place of like Here’s an experiment we’re going to try. And we’re going to do it with all of our might and all of ourselves. And right now, what I feel like I’m doing instead that’s counter to all of that is just like opening to a lot of unknown.

[00:08:15] And I think the reason that I’m attracted to it, or I think it’s important, it is it’s not quite a rational thing. Like it’s not quite a, I sat down and read a bunch of articles and interviewed a bunch of people in different places and had a bunch of one on ones and I came to some conclusion, but it’s more like.

[00:08:34] My psyche isn’t really up for anything else. Like I, 

[00:08:38] William Lawrence: I 

[00:08:38] Katey Lauer: hit a big organizing wall last winter. I’m reluctant to call it burnout. I don’t think that, I think there’s some things that maybe sometimes get implied in that language that feel like I just worked too hard and then I crashed. But I think, a little bit of that feels true, but there’s something else that felt like it was going on that was closer to like leadership fatigue, [00:09:00] Been in leadership roles for so long.

[00:09:01] And also having been in leadership through these last couple of years, which were punctuated by a pandemic and uprisings and an election cycle, and then all of the like reckoning and isolation in the aftermath of all of that. And I just had this as other organizers did this very immersive experience of being in a lot of uncertainty and being in leadership while I was doing it.

[00:09:27] And. the way that I was in that uncertainty wore me out. It just, the way I was trying to provide leadership to it wore me out. And 

[00:09:36] William Lawrence: required of you as a, in that context of being a leader. 

[00:09:41] Katey Lauer: Yeah. I think, these are like old ways of thinking that I’m now I think I want to talk to you about if it’s possible to shed them or where they come from or things like that.

[00:09:49] But I think some of the things I noticed myself doing was like doing a lot of work to create an absorbent, flexible, Wise [00:10:00] organizational culture. So I remember us, for example, like when the pandemic hit, doing this mass call that a couple hundred people got on where we were doing, we were like dropping our entire field operation.

[00:10:12] This was a couple of months before this, a primary that we were organizing around. We were dropping the whole field operation and then pivoting the entire. Thing we had planned on a dime to doing a bunch of stuff online. So just like overnight. And what I was doing in leadership was like imagining what the new strategy was that we were going to immediately switch right into, but also doing like the eldering that I think it required of us to do that well, which included doing things like teaching about what transitions are and why they happen and how we can show up in them.

[00:10:48] And. I think I feel proud of about that time is I think that happened. I think we’ve built a really beautiful, supportive group culture of having folks, like helping folks [00:11:00] find their way and helping folks find their agency. 

[00:11:04] William Lawrence: But you successfully held people together through the 2020 times 

[00:11:10] Katey Lauer: through that period, which is 

[00:11:13] William Lawrence: a lot to say.

[00:11:13] Most people didn’t even do that, but what was, 

[00:11:15] Katey Lauer: I think our group stayed in good shape, I think. Not to say that it was easier, clear all the time, but just that I think we didn’t disintegrate, we stayed together and we stayed in a shape of relating to each other. But I think that one of the costs of it was that I found myself outside of the thing that I was, the container that I was creating, like part of the like habit of leadership I was practicing was like doing a lot of work to build a culture that a lot of folks could find themselves inside and lead into and get support inside of.

[00:11:48] And. I wasn’t getting resourced and I wasn’t getting the, I needed elder, I needed eldering, I needed to get held. And I think one of the [00:12:00] questions that’s led me to is what about that? I see a lot of other people in leadership around me be in a similar place of doing a lot of thoughtful tending to support the people we’re with and then not getting resourced themselves.

[00:12:16] Anyway, I have a lot more to say about that, but I think that’s an example of part of how I just got so fatigued is so much of my attention was outward and so much of it was trying to like, maintain a pace, maintain a clip, maintain the integrity of our, the 

[00:12:33] William Lawrence: thing we had built. And so then you said you hit a wall.

[00:12:36] It wasn’t burnout, but it was an unwillingness or inability to have more answers or what was it? 

[00:12:43] Katey Lauer: Yeah, I think it was I just couldn’t be responsible for one more collective problem, feel like the backstop person for one more collective problem or challenge. And I got to take a big break.

[00:12:58] And so starting [00:13:00] last year, late end of January last year, I. Took four months off and it was wonderful. I got to in hard, I got to feel a lot of feelings that I hadn’t been letting myself feel. Cause I was so in this like braced, holding the thing together mode that I, there wasn’t, I couldn’t always, I wasn’t always letting in all the things that were true for me and all the grief and confusion I felt.

[00:13:22] I think one of their way that I was in leadership is like this confident elder role and. I just let a lot more doubt in, I think when I was, when I had some time away, and I think I also let myself ask a bunch of questions that feel like they’re third rail. So an example of that is especially in the last five years, I Part of the experiment that I was a part of running was like, how do we scale?

[00:13:57] Like, how do we build infrastructure and institutions [00:14:00] that can get to the scale of the build enough power to be comparable or stronger than the forces we’re fighting? 

[00:14:08] William Lawrence: I think most of us dream that we want to be part of an organization that can’t scale. We all got into that. And there’s a thing 

[00:14:14] Katey Lauer: that happened about that.

[00:14:16] And I think it’s still with us, like I got, I was asked to participate in a survey that I think. 

[00:14:22] William Lawrence: I want to be part of a mass organization. 

[00:14:24] Katey Lauer: There’s about what kind of power does the left need to build as the survey? And I just felt like the, I was so disinterested in the question when they asked me, because I think that anyway, so this is the third question.

[00:14:34] The third question is like, there’s something about scale and the idea that we can like, control and build it that I wonder about the ways in which that is like an echo of the things we’ve learned from capitalism or things we’ve learned from empire, which is that like some of the assumptions that are baked into that are things like we need to [00:15:00] get big and control the conditions and situation around us, make ourselves inevitable and get to some state of domination.

[00:15:11] And maybe the, the language we use inside movements is not the same language, but I think some of the things that are like, that we see inside. 

[00:15:22] William Lawrence: I think you’re right. That there’s something about trying to control conceptually. The way things are going to go, because it’s like you build the grand strategy and the grand strategy is in the nature of first we do this, then we do this, then we’ll have changed the conditions and we’ll be able to do this.

[00:15:41] And then we get to phase four in which we’ve remade the whole of society in our image. And I think that’s not bad. I, Again, I love having strategies like that. I’ve been a big proponent of grand strategy and being able to plan ahead, but it is trying to impose this control onto the future.

[00:15:59] [00:16:00] And the problem with the grand strategy is when you’ve got the five phase strategy and then the world goes awry in your stage two, then maybe you’re back at square zero, and sometimes that’s when the conditions shift and then it’s Oh, wow. Do we need to go back through another two year strategic planning process?

[00:16:20] Now that our four year plan we came up with one year ago is bunk. And I think a lot of people probably ended up in that place in 2020 when the condition just so radically changed the conditions of, you know what the threats and opportunities were. But you and I talked earlier this year on the theme of control, and I hear control also in the way you’re talking about being a leader of a group.

[00:16:43] In some ways, it’s holding the container from the outside and then trying to plan for and usher in the outcomes through, a set of group processes where you’re inviting people to think about things and the correct perspective and whatnot. [00:17:00] And I really admire people who have that skill set of being able to tend the group in that way and move people forward.

[00:17:06] Obviously, there’s something there that we really need, but it does seem to come to this limit, where what happens when that person can’t gain the perspective themselves anymore, I don’t know. And what is it? Is it? And then the other question would be, is it somehow counter democratic all along?

[00:17:27] Or is it a way of putting oneself aside from or apart from the group? And we should be seeking to be among rather than apart from? And then what are the practices that would actually allow us to do that? 

[00:17:37] Katey Lauer: And also, I, I’m interested in this question, this like leadership question, I think less in the direction of like, How does this get us tired and worn out and that sort of thing, but I think that matters.

[00:17:48] But I really just think that those feelings that can emerge about it are more of a, I think they’re more illuminating about like the setup of the thing at all versus don’t [00:18:00] want to go into how do we take care of ourselves direction? Because I think there’s something that’s more holistic.

[00:18:03] I think there’s a more holistic way of getting curious about what What’s going on? And maybe I want to say one more thing about the uncertainty that you’re just underscoring, which is like so yes, we can be at like stage two of the thing that we’re planning. And and then the conditions shift and then we’re wondering like, do we go to stage three or not?

[00:18:20] Or we stay in stage two or do we scrap the whole thing? And I think where we, I think where I have noticed that like that pre planning where it can get us in trouble is when we assume that uncertainty isn’t going to show up. I think we’re just, I think at least where I live right now, I feel like I’m living in a.

[00:18:40] In a place where uncertainty feels and like changing conditions, rapidly changing conditions and not really seeing a clear way just feels endemic. And I, and so my curiosity is about okay, if we just take that as a part of the status quo, that like uncertainty, [00:19:00] backlash, not a lot of clarity about what campaigns are even viable right now.

[00:19:04] Then what? Like then what if we just take those things on board as opposed to Pretending that they don’t exist and then try and make plans like imagining the absence of them, 

[00:19:16] William Lawrence: right? Yeah, it stands to reason that a resilient sort of strategy would be one that anticipated and planned for uncertainty itself That seems pretty hard to refute, but we do a lot of that in our imaginings about the future and who we and our organizations will become.

[00:19:37] I, I wonder so you’re in West Virginia, which is obviously A red state, as they say, although you’ve done incredible work to build a populist political current, really a left populist political current in West Virginia in a variety of your organizing, how much do you think the conditions of uncertainty that you’re describing are to [00:20:00] what extent are they generalizable and what, to what extent are they particular to your context?

[00:20:04] I’m sure the answer is it’s both. I’m curious to hear you tease out some of the Ways that you see it working in each direction. 

[00:20:11] Katey Lauer: Yeah, I think I’ll join your first answer, which is, I think it’s probably both place based organizing has been the thing that I’ve. Invested the most in.

[00:20:18] And so I just, I know this place very deeply and very well. And I think can say a lot about it. So some things I would say about it are right now, the way of moving many campaigns that I previously would have seen forward is very unclear. And I think part of that is that the way that I have learned to run issue based campaigns, for example, is that you like identify a target and then you organize enough power and public pressure to move that target.

[00:20:46] And that is how you. get to the place you’re trying to get. Right now, our targets in the state just feel like, who, I don’t even, who are we going to put pressure on for what? Some of those conditions look, things like we have one not that Democrats are [00:21:00] necessarily here to say this, but we have one Democrat in our state Senate.

[00:21:04] We just have like a litmus of the conditions we have. So you just have, 

[00:21:08] William Lawrence: you have no toehold whatsoever? 

[00:21:10] Katey Lauer: No. And even in our like theoretically democratically run cities, those are the cities here being small, like 48, 000 people. We have Democrat elected officials that are passing ordinances to criminalize harm reduction work or criminalize homelessness.

[00:21:26] And so people that we would imagine, I think previously imagined as being persuadable, just, there’s been some really smart, serious, deep organizing going on in those places to run campaigns and they’re just losing, they’re losing those fights. And not only that, but there’s an incredible amount of backlash, especially for against folks that are trans people who use drugs, folks that are homeless.

[00:21:50] There’s just a lot of, Yeah, there’s a lot of blowback. And I don’t think that is, I don’t think those conditions are unique in history. There’s plenty of places in the world where there are really difficult [00:22:00] conditions and harder conditions than these ones. I don’t think they’re unique to this place historically, globally, or, there’s plenty of places that are quote, blue states that I think people are also struggling with what they can do and where to head.

[00:22:15] And, I think what is, what feels universal about them is in any environment we’re operating in, there’s going to be some amount of uncertainty, some amount of pushback. And so I think I’m think loneliness, like feeling separate from each other. And so I was asking the question you’re asking quite a bit a few months ago of just is this going, is going around?

[00:22:36] Is this in our movement lives? And I think the place that I, the way that I hold it lately is it’s up everywhere, always a little bit. It’s just, it’s a matter of degree and a matter of. the way that like that local organizing culture relates to it. And it’s up here. It’s up where I am. And so this is an opportunity to practice what it looks like to work in relationship to it and find out like what [00:23:00] was, what wisdom we can glean from, yeah, operating in, in the title of the workshop that we’re offering, but operating in conditions of uncertainty and backlash and loneliness.

[00:23:10] William Lawrence: Yeah, so why don’t you give it to us as straight as you can then. What is the, your critique that maybe you’re developing? I know you don’t want to be prescriptive, but what is your critique that you’re developing about what we have been doing or the shape our organizations have taken? 

[00:23:33] Katey Lauer: I think I’ll answer this question by saying two of my biggest teachers right now about how to think about all of this are this person named Bayo Okumolafe, who is a Nigerian born, now lives in India, I believe, sort of philosopher and like thought leader and movement agitator.

[00:23:51] And then. Also a friend of mine and a colleague at Training for Change, Andrea Parra, who lives in Bogota, and [00:24:00] I’ve been finding it very sobering, clarifying to talk to people that are far outside of the my context and farther away from the heart of the empire to hear, yeah, just to see things I haven’t seen.

[00:24:14] And one of the, one of the frames that bio offers, but he, what he calls the sensorium of white modernity. And what I understand that to mean is that as activists and organizers, there are assumptions baked in to how we think about and relate to our work that we have learned. From living inside of being influenced by being close to white modernity, and I think he would, I think he would be okay with the swapping out of white modernity to also mean colonization or empire or capitalism, but just there’s a set of conditions that we’ve live inside of that we have absorbed some of, and it’s hard for us to even see it because we’re so close to it.

[00:24:59] And Andrea has a [00:25:00] very similar, which she would just call, she would just say, Oh, you’re thinking like an imperialist, but all the same, I think that one of the lessons from them is that this is one of their many challenges, but one of their many challenges, like this idea of winning, of getting to some kind of revolutionary moment where the scales are tipped and we reach some state that is good for all people.

[00:25:19] And that’s what we’re oriented toward. Is a notion that is just an echo of empire and imperialism. It’s just, it’s rooted in the belief that we have control over things that we. should exercise that control to get to some state that we believe to be universally good for all, even though it might not be.

[00:25:43] And then once we get there, we’ll have arrived at the promised land. I don’t know that many, there’s also, you can hear some like Christian undertones in it. And I don’t think either of them would say we shouldn’t work toward things that we want to be different. But I think that, baked into my very early organizing life, I think, especially [00:26:00] coming up in the climate movement.

[00:26:02] There was this sense that we had a time that was a deadline that we had to reach to save the world. There was this way in which winning by a certain, in a certain way by a certain date was the thing that we were striving toward. And even though I think I’ve shaken that off even though I think that I’ve, have I feel humility about what it is that we can do, et cetera.

[00:26:24] There is still something that I notice in myself that like, when we work on a ballot initiative and the ballot initiative doesn’t go exactly the way we want, and we don’t reach the state in which we have legalized cannabis in our town. There’s still something in me that is like we failed, we lost, we did, that is it’s still, I don’t know.

[00:26:44] There’s something about that way of thinking or being that still feels like it gets kicked up, that’s like. We didn’t exercise control and we were supposed to, and 

[00:26:54] William Lawrence: not only do we not win the cannabis revolution, we’re one step further behind on the road. Yeah. There’s like a global revolution. Are we [00:27:00] closer 

[00:27:00] Katey Lauer: to the debt?

[00:27:01] Are we closer to the like promised land or not? So I don’t, it’s subtle. It’s a subtle difference. And I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be working on cannabis ballot initiatives, but the orientation that is baked into that is like an external orientation that what we’re up to is like trying to control the conditions around us and measuring ourselves, measuring our, the quality of what we’ve done in relationship to how much we have successfully exercised control.

[00:27:28] I think an alternative way of relating that again, I think I’m learning from these elders is that another way to measure like the quality or value of what we do is how much it is in alignment with ourselves. And I don’t just mean like in a value based way, but is there more aliveness created in me and created in the people around me when we do this thing together?

[00:27:49] Are we. Are we in joy when we’re with each other? Are we in generative conflict when we’re with each other? I don’t just mean it in a sunny way, but Do I feel more [00:28:00] alive, connected with other people as I’m moving? And. I think I’ve always valued that sum, but it has felt like a, an add on to the let’s make the, let’s make the controlling we’re doing feel better.

[00:28:13] I think it’s the way that I, the more, the like blunt way that I would critique my own orientation in the past. And I, 

[00:28:21] William Lawrence: so I want to cut in on behalf of the person who’s listening to this and would say okay, but what you’re, this is now a retreat from politics, basically that you’re describing into a sort of individualism where it’s about how me, or even a, an abstentionism, not necessarily totally individualistic, but even collectively communally, how we feel, how we make ourselves and each other feel just on a daily basis, rather than the sort of plans we’re making in the political realm to achieve goals even if modest goals that are, designed to get a better deal for us and our neighbors.

[00:28:59] Katey Lauer: Yeah. I [00:29:00] think what I would say back is I don’t mean the, I don’t mean my, these set of questions to be questions that are asking, is it this way? Or is it that way? I do think that curiosity I’m sitting with is not even a curiosity, but a statement I think I can at least stand by in my own context is We have been so in one of those ways of being, we have been so oriented toward the are we getting closer to the outcome or not, that so much of the way in which we are with each other gets marginalized for that end.

[00:29:35] It’s always secondary. And so I think part of what I’m rooting for is can those things live a little bit more in relationship to each other and less in, Primary, and that sometimes maybe the thing about how are we with each other gets to be primary for, gets to be primary for a little bit, that these things are it’s feels to me like in some ways it’s more about balance than it is about one way is right and one way is wrong.

[00:29:59] I think the [00:30:00] thing that I’m also coming around to, and my younger, I’ll admit my younger self might’ve rolled my eyes at this a bit, but is the belief that the way we are with each other and ourselves is a political thing, and I don’t mean just in isolation, I don’t just mean taking care of ourselves only is the only political act that has value, but we are also alive.

[00:30:27] We are also the people that deserve. goodness in our lives. We are also people that deserve, ought to have we believe need belonging to thrive and need safe and humane conditions to operate in. And that always putting the world that we want on the other side of the outcome that we’re striving for.

[00:30:50] You know what it reminds me of a little bit is my thing. I watch my parents do is they work their butts off their whole, they, my parents worked so hard. With this [00:31:00] idea that when they retire, then they will have the savings and the resources and et cetera, to live the lives that they’ve wanted to live.

[00:31:08] And I feel sometimes that’s the way that we relate to outcomes is like the beautiful thing, the world we want is on the other side of the outcomes that we’re striving for. And we just have to wait. And then things, then we’ll have goodness. And I think I’m just sticking out for a little bit more like goodness right here, that one of the ways we get to make the world we want is by living it.

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[00:32:18] William Lawrence: the strategic perspective, you are talking about how should we be finding measures of our success that are more present that are more immediate that rather than deferred or projected into the future.

[00:32:34] I think we can say rationally that history shows and the present conditions are revealing that History has a way of always catching up and overcoming our plants either sooner or later, and we can try to project the length you try to hold it off or project our will into the future. But history has this way of catching up with you and then your [00:33:00] dreams get further deferred into the future and instead.

[00:33:05] There’s just something to be said for embracing a sense, a real sense of the urgency of the present moment. And actually, how can I pursue this vision in this moment without necessarily assuming what will happen next year? But again, it’s not simultaneous because we could be thinking about multiple possible futures at the same time, even.

[00:33:28] While asking, Okay, given that, then what is most urgent in the present, we can go on. I also think about what I heard in some of what you’re saying about enjoying our own lives is this was very difficult coming out of the climate movement and coming out of I think like building a life when you haven’t staved off the apocalypse is a difficult thing to reconcile oneself to.

[00:33:52] And we were, there was always so many axes of privilege and relative impact and who is [00:34:00] in solidarity with whom in the context of global north, global south, frontline, middle class axes within the climate movement that I think it was difficult, speaking for myself, to took a lot of time to really On a deep level, discover my own self interest, which is simply my desire to live a good life in a society that is rich and fulfilling, in which people are treated with dignity, and in which I can have friends and family who I spend lots of leisure time with, and do pool parties and stuff.

[00:34:29] So I’m really loving this about the housing campaign we’re doing right now, because it feels deeply self interested where it’s we want to build affordable, permanently accessible, rent stabilized, social housing that we can live in, that we can live in. So we can grow old here and we have a place that we will be able to afford to rent rather than, I don’t know.

[00:34:53] Having to move or dying of exposure in the 2040s in some climate disaster, and so in that sense, even [00:35:00] though it’s a long term vision for what would be required over, 5 to 10 years to really climb, build a serious housing program here in Michigan. God willing. It feels very urgent and present in the sense that I have that felt need for security.

[00:35:15] I need housing security just as much as anyone else. This is some of the reckoning I’m doing as I’m trying to square my practical work with also these questions about how much we can or can’t try to project our wills forward into the future. And what is actually most worth fighting for on the spectrum, of the most immediate, how can I have a better time with my family on this very day with my friends to the most revolutionary horizons.

[00:35:42] And then with, these various kind of reform campaigns situated somewhere in between. I don’t know if you want to pick up on any of that. 

[00:35:50] Katey Lauer: I’ll say one thing. This is a little bit of an offshoot, but one of the things that reminds me of that I’ve also been reflecting on in this time is that when I first.

[00:35:58] Got involved in [00:36:00] organizing. I was with, it lit me up. I was with my people. The folks that I worked alongside were people I became very close with and still I’m close with now. It transformed my sense of self and what I could do and what I was, what was possible. It made me, I dated people that I organized with.

[00:36:26] I, we made food together. We, it was just. It was so enlivening. It was so enlivening. And over the last 15 years, a thing I’ve noticed is that my organizing has become much more professionalized. My role has become much more discreet. It’s on a piece of paper. It lives in a job description. I am doing work that fee, that I is from a place of like sharp analysis and proposal creation and that is, it’s very heady.[00:37:00] 

[00:37:00] It comes from a really heady place. And the contrast of those two cultures feels notable to me, and I think part of what I’m finding myself yearning for is more of the belonging, play, let’s just try shit kind of energy of the time in my life where organizing felt like being in community as opposed to And I don’t, I’m still like trying to figure out what to do with that, but I maybe the loop back to the sensorium of white modernity is that just that I think my way of being in the work has shifted very much into that, into like formality, those structures those set of assumptions.

[00:37:47] And I hear like part of what you exploring in your housing work is. It’s about getting closer to home. And I don’t just mean in, I don’t mean like just in a like geographical sense, but [00:38:00] getting closer to home in terms of what is enlivening for you? 

[00:38:06] William Lawrence: What are also my interests that I’m going to need to take care of one way or another?

[00:38:11] And that’s another thing, because regardless of what my political work is, I need housing. And so in, in doing the political work on housing, I’ve integrated what is a real, non hypothetical thing I need to sort out in my life, which is to figure out where I’m going to live for the next 40 years.

[00:38:27] I would be needing to do that either way. But so it’s not just about it’s enlivening, but it’s like in some ways, it’s the work of actually building a life and integrating that into the politics. So I don’t want to reject the term enlivening, but I just want to bring there is something about this, which I think is deeply rooted in interest and interest.

[00:38:46] We all have is in trying to find a way that we’re also going to survive and experience beauty and love our lives in the 21st century, which is looking like a very violent and insecure place [00:39:00] in which more and more people are getting caught up in this churn. And there’s so much that is inherently uncertain.

[00:39:07] So I think there’s something about doing these political campaigns that are Supposed to lead to something else, and they have no immediate and obvious benefit on a time horizon that people can digest. But we say that it’s part of a revolutionary horizon, and so we can get motivated about that. Only young people and ideologues can get motivated about that.

[00:39:29] I think like truly, in the sense that they’re willing to put in the true belief and faith that one thing will lead to another and eventually it will get to the promised land, like you said. But I think for. The vast majority of us, the questions that are close to home are the closest to home.

[00:39:45] And it is the question of how our lives are at will actually be shaped. And unless our politics has a relevance to that, that people can understand and feel, I don’t think we will successfully build mass organizations or convince people that it’s worth it to fight for [00:40:00] something either. 

[00:40:01] Katey Lauer: Part of what you’re saying makes me think like one of the projects I’m most attracted to here is there’s a community farm, like three miles up the road from where I live.

[00:40:09] And they’re not apolitical, but they’re not leading with, there’s not like some analysis that’s plastered on the side of their barn. That’s not the way that they, that’s not the way that they move. And I love, I have found myself just like loving going there and investing in that place. And I think it’s for some of the reasons you’re naming, which is it gives me a sense of belonging and security.

[00:40:33] Like these are people that live where I live, that are also facing the challenges that I’m facing where I am. And I can just, I get to be in more relationship with them, doing a thing that means that we will have more food and more of us will know how to have food. And there’s just something very material about it and also that gives me a greater sense of security that like, when things get [00:41:00] upended, these are people I can be with in that and find support each other and find our way.

[00:41:04] And it’s not even a campaign. It’s not, there’s not a. It’s a really like practical, literally in the ground project. But so in some ways it’s not really going after power structures. 

[00:41:16] William Lawrence: It is a way of building power, even if it’s not a way of going after the dominant power structures, we used to talk about you transforming dominant institutions versus building alternatives.

[00:41:27] I want to move beyond all some of these distinctions because I do think that there’s something to be said that it’s like the alternatives can become an alternate as well. An alternative power base if the goal is to end up in the future in a better place than we are now, with more self determination, more power, more opportunities, more dignity for ordinary people.

[00:41:46] And we need the power to deliver all of that. Why should we only be thinking in terms of campaigns and quote unquote power building membership organizations, which will be, and you say in the future we’ll have a more [00:42:00] robust organization with more members than we have now. But we’re never thinking about what physical assets could we possess, what land could we possess, what housing assets could we possess that people can actually live in, whether there are, militant organizers or, our parents or just ordinary people who are part of our movement and part of our community.

[00:42:22] Why are we not thinking about maybe how to get money? In a more systematic and again, easier said than done, but like, why are we not asking? Oh could we have 5 billion that was like, we didn’t have to beg a billionaire for every year, but like we’ve, we found some way to get that, but it’s going to take 10 years, so again, I also think it’s possible to overstate it, because having the community garden does not actually deliver you food security.

[00:42:44] And I know there’s lots of people online who would be like, eager to tell you that, like if you start romanticizing the community farm, but is it helping people to discover their agency? And is it doing something to address the need? And could it lead to other things? Absolutely. And it does all the time.[00:43:00] 

[00:43:00] And we’ve seen how garden, it’s not an accident. The gardens and farms are like place where people meet each other and like really do help build community. So I’m a believer in all that. 

[00:43:09] Katey Lauer: One way I’ve related to big questions in the past is what are the phases of movement work in the past is by asking questions about what’s an urgent intervention that’s needed at this moment?

[00:43:18] What can we do to meet the moment, match it? What kind of power do we need to build? What kind of formation do we need to get in to do that? And I think those are all questions that are in the place of An orientation toward controlling an outcome. And I don’t mean that we shouldn’t plan. Like I really want that to come across clearly.

[00:43:35] So I’ll say it clearly. 

[00:43:36] William Lawrence: And I believe we should build BAS organizations that have members. That, I’ll say that too, we just need to be thinking about a lot more than that. 

[00:43:43] Katey Lauer: It’s it’s funny even just hearing myself talk about this because I can hear how difficult it is for the precise language to come.

[00:43:49] I’m so used to talking about institution building is the primary thing that, that I am putting energy into. I am less interested these days [00:44:00] in what is the smartest, savviest intervention around a thing, like looking externally as the primary place that I am looking for guidance about what I or we ought to do next.

[00:44:12] And because I think the wisdom that is inside of us is just as, if not greater. in terms of telling us what we need. I think I’ll just say this is part of the impetus for this training this fall. So I got back from sabbatical this summer, very reluctantly. I was like, I’m yeah, I have a lot of questions about where I fit.

[00:44:34] And if some of the kind of third really questions I was asking could be if my organization and the people I was organizing with would accept them, and So what I did was I negotiated a role for myself where I just spent a lot of the summer and early fall doing one on ones with people that are in our network about what shape are you in?

[00:44:54] Like, how are you doing? What do you see is happening around you? And I would say something of [00:45:00] something like 85 percent of the people I talked to, like the vast majority of people I spoke with are out of shape. They’re just, they are, the conversations I had were tearful. Folks are struggling.

[00:45:13] There’s a, I don’t know what we do next. I don’t know where we go next. I’m not a feeling of being lost. And so the training that we’re offering this fall is in relationship to that. It’s this is what is happening in the, with the people that I’m in the most relationship with. And so we’re going to make an offering that gives us a chance to be with what is up.

[00:45:37] And. It feels wise to me because it is pacing with what is real, like what is, what we’re getting, it’s pacing with what’s out there. Versus pacing with where are we trying to get in four years and what are all the things we need to do to get us there. Which is what I was doing for the last five years.

[00:45:54] It’s like, where are we trying to get and what do we need to do to get us there? And I’m not [00:46:00] sure if the thing that I’m experimenting with right now, playing with right now, is just some like next phase that I’m going through that maybe people around me are going through. That I want to give leadership to, or if it is like some broader and more like lifelong correction, that feels like it’s in response to having had like an outsized relationship to control for a long time.

[00:46:32] William Lawrence: So that brings us back again to the. The sensorium of white modernity. I love that word sensorium. I’m reminded of what Raymond Williams called a structure of feeling a structure of feeling that exists in white modernity sensorium. And I’m just thinking about what that would be. And I’m.

[00:46:52] The name of the title of the show is called The Hegemonicon, and we’re trying to explore the different layers of hegemony [00:47:00] exists in our society, which help basically forge consensus against people’s interests or against their knowledge sometimes. And, a lot of us, I think, have thought of ourselves as counter hegemonic political actors or movement builders.

[00:47:15] But there are other layers of hegemony that are over our heads, to which we are subject. And you think that you’re actually on one side of things and you realize that you’re looking through a prism as a an American citizen or as someone who’s concerning a modern American media dialect, diet citizen of the imperial core, bottom line.

[00:47:36] And. That consciousness or that, that sensorium of white modernity, I think it’s that’s the thing that tells us that

[00:47:45] control is in the cards, it’s possible, and also revelation is just around the corner. And reality is more like reality for 95 percent of the [00:48:00] population, let’s say that, and a growing number, even in the core, are now inhabiting this reality. Control is not in the cards. If it ever was in the first place, it’s about navigating uncertainty and the unknown.

[00:48:14] And revelation is not just about the just around the corner. History is always happening. It’s combined and uneven. Something new is always coming around the corner around the bend. And living is about making one’s own life but also doing politics in the midst of that. Not submitting to some of these illusions.

[00:48:38] Katey Lauer: Yeah. I think of one, one little exercise I’ve been doing for myself is making these little charts of what are the things that I think are the myths that I’ve inherited from like this white modernity sensorium? And then what are the things that I think are you just said a version of that loud, but what are the things that I think are, the [00:49:00] alternative way of thinking being operating, because I want to get, I don’t want the way that I’m organizing to replicate the things inside of the systems or our society that I’m trying to transform.

[00:49:15] There’s something that feels counterproductive about that to me. And I think I’ve been doing that. I think I’ve been like, I think I’ve been practicing organizing in a way that does replicate some of the. Things I’ve learned from the inside, from being so close to the empire. So things I would put into the these are beliefs that are a part of the sensorium of white modernity are things like.

[00:49:36] We can exercise control now and over time, that control is a resource we have. That we should do what we should do according to some kind of external standard. There is some, there are some ways to be good that are definite, finite, always true, and we should adhere to them. [00:50:00] That action, activity.

[00:50:03] Acting on the world is like the highest good that doing that productivity is the measure of us getting somewhere that the smart way to work is to create a multi year long term timelines that are underpinned by some sense of continuity and that continuity is. To be expected and to be desired that the best plans that we have are intellectual ones that like come from our minds, our study, our thinking, that we should like that scale is the most scale and size is the most, it’s like the most desirable way to operate.

[00:50:48] We should always be building. We should always be growing. And then the one we’ve talked about already, like that we should we’re working toward winning. We’re working towards some like final destination. And then we, when we get there, it will be, we will have [00:51:00] arrived, that’ll be it. And I think when I say those assumptions out loud, they sound ridiculous.

[00:51:06] Like I, I, if you asked me if I believed in those things, I would say, of course I don’t believe in those things. And I think what’s so tricky about them is that the ways that they can infuse our organizations and the ways that we operate are so subtle. I can tell you that I think those are like, poof, I’m not, why would we build organizations like that?

[00:51:25] And I can feel the way that when we host an organizing meeting and 30 people registered and five people come. That like we panic that there’s a panic that sets in about we did all the things we were supposed to have an outcome. People didn’t show up. We did something wrong. We failed. we’re bad.

[00:51:49] There’s a, and whether or not we say that stuff out loud, there’s this like thing, there’s this thing that happens, there’s a unspoken internal processes that shape how we relate to the work we’re doing, that are not these [00:52:00] extreme statements, but are just like the little 

[00:52:03] William Lawrence: But it’s a fragile, it reflects a fragility in our own security about what we’re doing.

[00:52:08] So it has to be constantly shorn up, because if five people come, then it’s invalidated the idea that there will be an exponential process that will start from where we are now. And it will simply exponentially into the future become the revolutionary movement that we dream of. I think people understand exponential growth.

[00:52:27] And so it’s very hard to accept the reality that the line goes down because in our imagination, the line needs to always go up towards the destination. 

[00:52:38] Katey Lauer: And so I think some of the counters to that are like, so the count one thing that we would put inside the sensorium white modernity is like exponential growth versus.

[00:52:47] that like our work has seasons the way that our group lives operate have seasons or flows or up and downs that like That growth, death, rebirth, like the work that we do [00:53:00] happens in cycles that anyway. So I think I, the place I want to, I’m like putting my most attention these days. It’s okay, so we’ve got the, we got the like white modernity sensorium list.

[00:53:12] What are the things that are on the other side of that chart that maybe I don’t, maybe I, or like the people I’m closest to don’t have a, I think as you’re saying it can be hard to see the thing that we’re inside of. So What is outside of the thing that we’re inside of. And the thing I am finding myself most curious about these days is that wisdom.

[00:53:32] What are the things that are on the other side of that chart? I have hunches about them. And I think folks like Baya, Andrea, others have been like helping me see a little more clearly folks that are a little farther out outside of the sensorium. But I think there are things that include an awareness that we are in constant change.

[00:53:49] The world, the conditions we’re in are constantly changing. That’s just a part of. Change is always happening. We have a thing inside of ourselves that is not our [00:54:00] processing mind, that is our physical sensations, our deep inner self, that is also a resource for making decisions, and also a resource for knowing how we want to move and what might attract people, and what might attract us, and that’s what we That there’s, there are other forms of ways to act smartly.

[00:54:21] That surrender is an option in addition to always acting. That we’re allowed to let things fall apart. We didn’t get to my question 

[00:54:33] William Lawrence: about giving up. Yeah, I wonder if you could say a little bit more about surrendering and giving up. 

[00:54:39] Katey Lauer: I, one of the things I do in my work is I’m in a lot of coaching relationships.

[00:54:42] And I coach a lot of organizers around the state. And I have a relationship with a person who is. six years ago now began a rural pride chapter, a very hard thing to do. And. She [00:55:00] formed a group, formed a team. They hosted a number of large, beautiful Pride events that included, this one event had over 200 people at it.

[00:55:09] For many people, it was the first time they’d been to a Pride event at all. Just this, especially young people, just this very transformation. It was beautiful. And I think a transformational experience for a lot of people that were there. Over the last six months, her core team. She’s been exhausted.

[00:55:25] Her core team has been falling apart a little bit. Folks want to leave the organization not continue the work, nothing big, dramatic happened. It’s just people are at the end of some arc of their input in this project. And she has been wrestling with herself about whether or not to keep holding it.

[00:55:45] Or letting it go and wondering if letting it go is even a real option. And I think, so I think the way she’s been asking the question is should I like escape or should I keep it alive? And anyway, we got together a couple of weeks ago and [00:56:00] I asked her, what is the thing that you were longing for?

[00:56:04] And the thing she said is I’m longing to set this thing down. I think it’s just such a hard thing, it’s just so hard to say out loud because it’s counter to the thing, which is we’re always supposed to be building a thing. And that’s how we know that we’re doing the right doing right.

[00:56:17] And maybe I should have had more one on ones, right? wasn’t organized in the right way. And I think what’s actually true is that she in this group gave leadership to a thing for a period of time. And that’s the energy that they had for it. And that’s the extent of when it was. to them and they could see what it was valuable for.

[00:56:39] And it has run its course. And we got to spend part of our time together talking about what would it look like to host a funeral for her organization? And this, she had this idea of having some sort of big supper. I asked her when’s the last time she felt like she had, there was a lot of, like a sense of belonging in the group.

[00:56:58] And she talked about this big. [00:57:00] Dinner that they hosted a couple of years ago and what it might be like to recreate that and host a big funeral. And the sense of relief in her and the sense of just letting that be okay. Was I don’t know the way she walked into our conversation, the way she walked out of it, we’re very different shapes.

[00:57:18] So part of it, I think giving on the way to say giving up is like letting a thing die, that’s ready to die. With the belief that there’s wisdom in it, with the belief that like things have seasons, there are cycles. Things can grow and then usually they get to some kind of point where in growth where there is decay like that is just a natural thing that she is moving through and I think a lot of the pain I saw in her was like About trying to be in a posture that denied the existence of that which was like we got to keep going We got to keep prepping it up.

[00:57:52] We got to keep making it and Goodness knows I have been through those you know when I’ve been ready to leave an organization or a [00:58:00] camp. I’m thinking of this water campaign I worked on for a while that just totally stalled out. And I felt so much, I felt a lot of shame for it stalling.

[00:58:09] Like it was my fault that it didn’t go forward. And anyway I have a hunch that there’s other organizers who have stories like that of just being in rebellion against the thing that’s ready to die. And I think that part of. My friend number nine, Naomi calls the she’s like, Oh, maybe you could, maybe where you’re moving toward is becoming a death doula.

[00:58:28] But I think there’s something about letting the things in our lives that are in our organizing work that are ready to close, close and setting them down. 

[00:58:37] William Lawrence: Yeah. I remember one of the proudest days of my organizing life was with one of one of many organizations I was part of that no longer exists.

[00:58:46] But one of them when I heard the news that the, They were deciding to actually shut it down. And I thought, what a relief. Now we can feel really good about all the work that we did. [00:59:00] Rather than lamenting, that it’s season has passed and have people some cases stuck there or trying to reinvent the magic.

[00:59:09] Katey Lauer: And maybe it makes me want to say one more thing about uncertainty. Which is I think that. When the conditions shift, when more things, things we weren’t expecting come our way, when we’re not sure what’s ahead of us, is that it could mean that a season is ending more abruptly than we thought.

[00:59:24] Or it could mean that the thing that we were creating is no longer needed. And I think that’s what’s so hard about it. I think that’s what’s so hard about navigating changing conditions and uncertainty is that when we’re operating from a place that is. In the, like these police white modernity, we create additional suffering for ourselves by resisting the thing that we’re, that is unfolding.

[00:59:51] And I love that you just use the word relief because I think that the wonderful thing about like shifting [01:00:00] course or setting things down whatever adjustment it is that we’re making, it can be so relieving and it can mean that other things can grow in the place of that. Yeah. Or. We can rest or something.

[01:00:13] It just means that when something gets set down, it means that something else is possible. And I think that the practice, one of the practices I want to be in right now is just like letting things go organizationally and impersonally, but just that aren’t, that are ready to. Ready to die so that a new thing can get born.

[01:00:36] William Lawrence: We’re getting towards the end here. I know there’s going to be a lot in this that’s really going to resonate with people who are in the valleys of their work and other people who are not knowing what to do next. So shout out to everyone out there in the valleys. I wonder what you would say to the people who are.

[01:00:54] Climbing the peaks, not in the valleys. And those are some of the people who I imagine saying to [01:01:00] this conversation Oh, it’s it’s really soft. It’s not focused on doing what needs to be done. I’m sorry your shit fell apart, but I’m like a hero climbing this mountain, building the big thing.

[01:01:11] What message would you have for folks who are in that stage of the cycle? I think 

[01:01:17] Katey Lauer: my message would be. Oh, I know you. I’ve been that person. And I’m glad for you. There’s something that feels so purposeful and thrilling and exciting to be creating. There’s I love that. I love that there are some of us that are in that place and the valleys will come.

[01:01:44] And so maybe this is A conversation that you put in a folder pocket, email, something somewhere for when the valley shows up, just getting a little more resourced about it. I hope that this offering gets received as [01:02:00] some kind of bit of medicine that can be available when it needs to get resourced and less of a interruption to those of us that are, in the climbing creation part of their.

[01:02:21] William Lawrence: Just to extend this metaphor a little bit, and then I’ll give you the final word. It seems like we’ve learned a lot, maybe in the last 15 years, of how to build organizations that are built to serve. To be like peaks, we’ve learned how to do some inspiring and powerful things and to achieve scale we didn’t think was previously possible.

[01:02:48] And even now people are reflecting and refining the technique of how to be in mass organization and make decisions together and things like that. I feel that [01:03:00] if it’s if we’re right, that uncertainty is more the reality, especially of this century, the 21st century that we’re living into. I think we’re going to need to learn how to build organizations, movements, institutions.

[01:03:18] I don’t even know what to call them, but that are capable of catching people and holding them in the valleys. Because that’s often when people are alone and when they fall away from our other organizations or fall away from their communities and end up lonely. And I just can’t help but feel that if you can hold people there, then then maybe you can do a lot together.

[01:03:46] Katey Lauer: Yeah, that feels so true to me. And I think is one more implicit challenge that I hear you offering to this, this like white majority sensorium and [01:04:00] other way. It’s just that one of the things that can happen inside organizations and has certainly happened inside of the organizations that I’ve been a part of is that folks will have a family emergency have.

[01:04:10] doubt have, not be in a place where they’re like producing, creating, adding in the way that is in a pro by measures of productivity, adding to the work. And I don’t know how many times I’ve seen those people drop out, drop off, not get held, get curious about in their full humanity and way.

[01:04:30] And honestly, part of the reason I’m still in this work is I feel like I’ve been gifted the last. several months of getting to be one of those people that’s in a valley that’s getting held in my whole humanity and way and I’m, there was a period of time where I was wondering if I was still going to be here and I am here because I’m in a, I have a team that wants to love me in whatever shape I’m in.

[01:04:57] And I, I have a strong [01:05:00] wish for that for other people. 

[01:05:03] William Lawrence: Thanks Katie. Any closing thoughts, sum it all up for us? 

[01:05:08] Katey Lauer: Yeah. What’s the sum all that up? The invitation I want to make to folks who are curious about this conversation or who found some resonance here is there might be ways of being operating that have been.

[01:05:23] Disavowed in you or disavowed in the organizing communities that you work with that you might get to pick up and try on and like help you navigate the season that you’re in. And the other invitation I want to make is that I think some of the things that we’re talking about here are also little bits of wisdom that can support us, resource us, even when we’re in the most Driving, growing, creating times.

[01:05:56] And I think that [01:06:00] these awarenesses are not just for when we’re at our low spots, but I think they’re for always and might create some opportunities for us to get creative about how our organizations work, how the organizations and institutions we’re creating that, that are out to make change are structured, move, do the things they do.

[01:06:26] William Lawrence: That takes us to the, it seems like a practice of expanding our empathy. Cause like you said, there’s not just political cycles. Everybody has their own personal cycles and not everybody can claim, climb the mountain at the same pace. People fall off. Do we have awareness of that? Can we catch them? Okay.

[01:06:45] Thank you so much, Katie. This has been awesome. I’d love to just talk to you all day. Shoot the shit. Just as always, a big fan of yours. I’m really glad to be in your corner. I know that you’re down there in Fayette County. 

[01:06:58] Katey Lauer: Thanks Will. Thanks for [01:07:00] having such a odd conversation on a podcast. It’s about organizing.

[01:07:06] I, I appreciate the, yeah, you joining me in curiosity about some of the third Rayleigh parts of this conversation, so thanks for inviting it. 

[01:07:17] William Lawrence: Let us know what you think, folks. Definitely want to hear feedback and what points of resonance you heard in this. All right, we’ll close it there.

[01:07:30] This podcast is written and hosted by me, William Lawrence. Our producer is Josh Elstro, and it is published by Convergence, a magazine for radical insights. You can help support this show and others like it by becoming a Patreon subscriber of Convergence for as low as 2 per month at patreon. com slash convergence mag.

[01:07:49] You can find a direct link in the show notes. This has been the hegemonic con. Let’s talk again [01:08:00] soon.

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