With Deep State, we're trying to create a somewhat unique experience -- something between a retreat, a festival, and a social justice conference. Underlying the programming are six animating principles:
1) Listening & Attention - There's enough talking in politics and enough distraction. To create a space where we can more deeply listen and learn from each other, we're taking our activism offline for the weekend. No internet or smartphones. Just "digital detox."
2) Personal as Political - We think our politics aren’t just electoral -- they’re personal and interpersonal, emotional and social. That's why we aspire to create a political space that prioritizes interpersonal connection, belonging, understanding, and shared purpose. We think we'll learn as much from how we talk as why we say.
3) Co-creation - We think every individual and every community has unique and important knowledge, and that the communities most impacted by decisions are the best positioned to speak about them. In this spirit, most programming content will be offered by participating organizations. We'll prioritize skill-shares, open space sessions, conversations over lectures.
4) Experiential Knowledge - We think that progress comes from lived experience as much as knowledge. So we're prioritizing experiential learning: conversations, physicality, relationships. We want to get out of our heads and into our bodies and hearts
5) Gently Challenging - We recognize that holding a space of people from different identity groups, political beliefs, and backgrounds is difficult. We expect that everyone involved, including the organizers, will be gently challenged -- intellectually and emotionally. Our hope is that these uncomfortable moments will fuel conversations that facilitate vulnerability, connection, and personal growth. We commit to providing spaces for people to process these complex emotions, whether through silence and reflection or moderated debate.
6) Humility - While we acknowledge that everyone has different experiences with injustice, and there are times when the experience of certain communities needs to be prioritized, we also hope to create a space where everyone can learn from each other without judgment. All knowledge is important, and all experience is important. There is no “right path” and no measurement of a person’s “rightness.” All our knowledge is correctly held in conversation, and open to question.