Publisher: AK Press
Released: March 20, 2017
Part of the Emergent Strategy Series.
Self-help, society-help, and planet-help to shape the futures we want. A resolutely materialist spirituality based equally on science and science fiction: a wild feminist and afro-futurist ride!
Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.
“Emergent Strategy is an examination of where our movements have been and an offering of a framework for resistance that is rooted in the miracles of nature, decentralized, collective leadership, and personal, relational, organizational, and movement-wide transformation. Brown not only inspires me to resist, but to do in the most beautiful, joyful, creative, sustainable, collective and effective ways.”
—Andrea, J. Ritchie, author of Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color
“It was a revelation to discover adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy. She is matter of-fact about the coming destruction we face—of our environment, of our resources, of our governments. Her philosophy, based on Octavia Butler’s guiding philosophy of the Earthseed books, is that God Is Change. Rather than run from it or resist it, we should embrace it, look to what the plants, animals, and genomes can teach us about adapting to survive and to thrive.”
“Necessary, vital, and timely.”
—Ayana Jamieson, Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network
“Adrienne leads us on a passionate, purposeful, intimate ride into this Universe where relationships spawn new possibilities. Her years of dedication to facilitating change by partnering with life invite us to also join with life to create the changes so desperately needed now.”
—Margaret Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science
“Adrienne has challenged me, enlightened me and reminded me that transformation happens in our natural world every day and we can borrow from it strategies to transform ourselves, our organizations, and our society.”
—Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)
“A word/heart sojourn through the hard questions.”
—Makani Themba, facilitator for the Movement for Black Lives
“Emergent Strategy…reminds us, directly and by example, that wonder (which at its heart is love), is the foundation of our ability to shape change and create the world we want.”
—Alta Starr, leadership development trainer at Generative Somatics
“Drawing on sources as varied as poetry, science fiction, forests, ancestors, and a desired future, Emergent Strategy speaks with ease about what is hard and brings us into that ease without losing its way. Savor and enjoy!”
—Elissa Perry, Management Assistance Group
"Emergent Strategy offers a pattern language and nonlinear playbook for waging love in dark, uncertain times. As such, it is a must-read for any pragmatist seeking to develop the practical skills and expanded awareness needed to transform grief and trauma into hopeful movements for regeneration."
—Elizabeth Walsh for The Solutions Journal
"This hybrid manifesto/spellbook/toolkit applies the most utopian ideas of Octavia Butler to organizing, arguing that movements must use biomimicry to be resilient, adaptive, decentralized, interconnected, detoxifying, fractal and iterative in nature to create a future worthy of earthseed."
—Kevin Thomas for The Rumpus
“It is the end of the world as we know it, thanks to a lot of reasons. Now is the time to gird ourselves for the fight for a new world. Right now I can't think of better girding than Emergent Strategy.”
—Detroit Metro Times
"If your survival kit has room for a book, you’d better reserve that space for Emergent Strategy. ... brown’s book is a revelation. It is a manual for facing the most urgent crises of our time—environmental collapse, late capitalism, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy—without drowning in the enormity of the task."
“Emergent Strategy is a lyrical, explorative, non-linear journey ... It’s a book for people interested in radical social change, who are willing to think expansively about what the future could look like, or are in need of help doing that kind of thinking ... This is what is so appealing about brown’s work—she is almost hopelessly optimistic. She refuses to give in to cynicism or despair, and this ability to dream wildly is part of why she can maintain such openness toward the idea of a better future.”
adrienne maree brown is a writer rooted in Detroit who now lives in Durham, NC. She is a student of the works of Octavia E. Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin. Some of her books include Octavia’s Brood, Pleasure Activism, and We Will Not Cancel Us. Her visionary fiction has appeared in The Funambulist, Harvard Design Review, Dark Mountain, and YES! Magazine.