Members of the Work That Reconnects community around the world are working to systematically undo the layers of oppression that underlie the Industrial Growth Society. These efforts include a focus on analysis, revision and adaptation of the Work That Reconnects, itself. The goal is to empower equity, dignity and respect within our practices and within our group culture.
This work includes:
- Integrating a deep and thorough anti-oppression framing and analysis
- Identifying and dislodging the indoctrination imposed by colonizing forces upon our systems of thought and practice
- Embracing marginalized perspectives and honoring the fact that they have not been included in the history and practice of the WTR
- Making the WTR safer and more relevant for non-dominant groups
As an example of reframing, the story of the Great Unraveling now includes more focus on the exploitation of people and their labor, and on the deep historical roots of this exploitation by the forces of white elite power. Undoing oppression efforts also include educating facilitators from privileged groups on the patterns of harm that have arisen in workshops spaces and providing guidance for moving forward with greater wisdom and skill.
We strongly recommend reading Toward Greater Solidarity and Diversity within the Work That Reconnects, a paper that delves deeply into the context and way forward for undoing oppression within the Work That Reconnects. It was written by US-based Anti-Oppression Resource Group members in 2018. As they point out,
“Unless it is consciously interrupted and transformed, much of the harmful conditioning of the dominant culture will pervade any social space. The WTR workshops and retreats are no exception.”
Oppression takes many forms within the Industrial Growth Society. There are nuances and differences in how oppression plays out in various places around the world and the impacts it has on different communities. We invite and encourage you to form your own groups dedicated to studying systems of oppression and dismantling them consciously in your cultural context and in the context of the WTR and our shared work for the Great Turning.
Contributions from the global community to the process of undoing oppression within the WTR are essential. If you have a project or a working group that we could highlight below, please contact us.
Additionally, Facilitator Members of the WTR Network are invited to submit adaptations or new WTR practices that specifically address oppression or are written in a way that explicitly invites inclusion. You can visit our Resource Library to see what is listed there and to Submit a Resource.
The Social Justice Committee of the Work That Reconnects Network tends to issues of inclusion and equity within the existing structure of the WTR Network and supports the Network in outreach and expansion to additional communities.
If you have a project or a working group that we could highlight below, please contact us.
Projects that Center Undoing Oppression
The Anti-Oppression Resource Group is an ongoing, international meeting of WTR facilitators. They share support and resourcing in their efforts to integrate an undoing-oppression approach into their facilitation. The efforts of this group have directly informed much of the current reframing of basic WTR teachings and practices, and their web page includes links to additional resources.
Spiral Journey Facilitator Development Program gives special attention to social justice issues and reframes the Work That Reconnects so it can serve to dismantle oppression and foster liberation for all. One of the main threads of this program focuses on the intersectionality of social injustice, racism, and environmental crises. This program was designed and is facilitated by WTR Network Facilitator Members: Molly Brown, Mutima Imani and Constance Washburn.
School for the Great Turning is oriented to centering BIPOC activists, organizers, healers, and educators. At its core, the program seeks to uplift and support all marginalized folks with access to the healing spaces and transformative experiences it offers. This program was visioned, founded and is run by WTR Network Facilitator Member Lydia Violet Harutoonian.
The resources listed here were all developed by Work That Reconnects practitioners for use by WTR facilitators, although much of the material will apply more broadly to many workshop and activist spaces. Most of these materials were developed primarily by folks in the US. We look forward to listing resources developed by members of the global WTR community.
- De-escalating Patterns of Harm in White Dominant Spaces: a Guide for Work That Reconnects Facilitators and Participants by members of the Anti-Oppression Resource Group.
- The Impact of Race and Culture on the Work That Reconnects, a special issue of Deep Times journal (August, 2017), provides personal reflections, analysis and guidance for facilitators, from a US-based perspective.
- Quick Tips for Intersectionalizing the Work That Reconnects by Sarah Nahar is a quick, practical reference for facilitators. This resource is an excerpt from Sarah’s article, Intersectionalization of the Work That Reconnects from the August 2017 issue of the Deep Times Journal. (link coming soon…when Resource Library goes live!)
- Reflections on Attending to Power, Privilege and Oppression Dynamics in Work That Reconnects Spaces and Going Deeper: Anti-Oppression for Facilitators, both by Aravinda Ananda, offer further guidance and reflection for facilitators and anyone wanting to support safer workshop spaces for folks in marginalized groups. The Evolving Edge directory in Deep Times Journal includes further articles by members of the Work That Reconnects Community.