Urgency Culture Harms Progressive Ideals

Contributor III

Hi Revolutionnaire Community! 


I wanted to raise up some reflections I've had recently about urgency and perfectionist culture. 


In the last year, I joined the board of a political organization with a mission to champion intersectional feminism. 

I learned a lot from my experience.


Without getting into details, the organization was run with a continuous sense of urgency. When elected officials made statements, we jumped to respond and project our views. Urgency was in the name of establishing the organization. The faster you get your statements out, the more influential your organization was so it is said. Not only did it wear out many of the board members, but it kept the organization divided without a clear sense of direction other than making statements.  


This experience helped me learn firsthand how urgency and a perfectionist culture can directly oppose a progressive organization’s mission. 


Without time and introspection, we could not align on what intersectional feminism means. Does it mean that we need more black, brown, and LGBTQ+ women in office? Or does it mean that we need more progressive voices in office who are going to advance policies that support intersectional feminism and marginalized communities? 

It’s a little of both, but when you’re in urgent mode, you can’t stop to think how those two ideas are different. 

As the creator of intersection feminism, Kimberlé Crenshaw, has said, there is a difference between “who is standing up there” and “what they are saying.” 


“You can be a woman of color or a queer woman and not necessarily have an intersectional analysis and you can be a white woman or a man of color and have an intersectional analysis.” -Kimberlé Crenshaw

This is just a small snapshot of how urgency culture can be counter to progressive ideals, but an important one as it happens far too often in many corporations and left-leaning organizations. 

And organizations are made up of people, which is why it is so important that we individually and collectively push back against an urgency model to advance progressive values.


I hope this helps others as they navigate their progressive work. 


Check out the whole article here: https://knurdology.substack.com/p/slowness3


Révolutionnaire Team Révolutionnaire Team
Révolutionnaire Team

THIS is so true and so important. I think the challenge sometimes is also that movements and collectives move quickly without truly understanding who they are comprised of and fail to be representative of the members of the movement. Perhaps a meaningful place to start is by understanding what unites and how we define success to ensure that what we are working towards is reflective of all. Otherwise we're racing towards something that is bound to break down in no time at all. 

I so agree with this sentiment! I get the urge to want to get going quickly to help make a difference, but it's so valuable to take the time to understand what the movement is trying to accomplish and make sure that all practices both internal and external are supporting that idea. True mutual aid. 


Really loved this @Chavezs -- thank you for sharing. I love this idea of practicing the art of slowing down. It reminds me of this incredible podcast episode "The practice of being present", linked below: 


Visionary I

So happy this is being addressed. While it is good to get tasks done promptly, firms should also cater to employee stimulation. Keeping in mind no introspection may lead to incompetent work.  

Also, taking the time to understand differences can be a way to combat racial injustices and, needless, to talk about the outcome when everyone works together for a common goal.