As a longtime organizer within racial justice movements, I have been voraciously reading and searching for answers in this political moment. What I know to be true is that our conditions have changed. And they’ve changed to a degree that it’s impossible to fully grasp right now. In the past I’ve talked about the need for organizers to be malleable, to be able to shift strategies and tactics based on a changing political climate. Based on this I’ve been thinking about what strategic pivots our movements need to make for our survival and to continue to resist the incoming administration.
Pivoting as a Strategy
I’m defining a “strategic pivot” as a change in organizing strategies or tactics to ensure a community’s survival or to increase the impact or reach of its political vision. In this moment we know that systems of oppression are historical and deeply embedded within US culture and institutions. White supremacy, misogyny, ableism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia are not new. What is new is that we’re encountering an incoming administration that is more transparently oppressive and violent than many of us have seen in our lifetimes.
We can anticipate an increased level of surveillance against progressive organizations and leaders. We can anticipate that our social safety net will disappear or dramatically shrink, with dangerous consequences. We can anticipate an increase in funding to police, prisons, immigration enforcement and the military. We can anticipate the violent, terrifying and demonizing impact of the Muslim ban and Muslim registry. We can anticipate the deadly impact of more militarized police departments. We can anticipate an administration that actively opposes climate justice movements, reproductive justice movements, the Movement for Black Lives, Native and Indigenous organizing movements, LGBTQ liberation movements and so many additional interconnected movements.
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Ejeris Dixon is an organizer and grassroots political strategist with 15 years of experience working in racial justice, LGBTQ, anti-violence and economic justice movements. She currently works as the Founding Director of Vision Change Win, where she partners with organizations to build their capacity and deepen their impact. From 2010 to 2013 Ejeris served as the Deputy Director, in charge of the Community Organizing Department at the New York City Anti-Violence Project where she directed national, statewide and local advocacy efforts on hate violence, domestic violence and sexual violence. From 2005 to 2010 Ejeris worked as the founding Program Coordinator of the Safe OUTside the System Collective at the Audre Lorde Project where she worked on creating community based strategies to address hate and police violence. She is a widely recognized as an expert on issues of police violence, hate violence, sexual violence and intimate partner violence as they impact LGBTQ communities and communities of color. Her essay, “Building Community Safety: Practical Steps Toward Liberatory Transformation,” is featured in Truthout’s anthology Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States.