Cultivating a Long View

“How do you avoid the feeling that you should be working ALL THE TIME given the urgency of the state of the world?”

Heather Hax, a longtime activist in Baltimore, posted that question on social media a few years ago. It garnered a lot of responses, and with good reason. This sense of urgency is completely justified, and many of us are feeling it. We live in a profoundly frightening and unpredictable period, faced with the challenges of colonialism and climate catastrophe, economic austerity and state violence, and emboldened white supremacy and xenophobia.

How can we hold this sense of urgency while pacing ourselves for the long haul? Part of the answer lies in cultivating a particular understanding of the world, our efforts, and ourselves. Following seasoned radical organizers, I call this understanding a “long view.” This view combines an urgent commitment to fighting injustice, a grounded sense of the marathon-length collective effort required to change society, and abundant patience for the process of building movements that can win, all with a healthy dose of humility about what we can know and do.

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