Transpartisan Movement History

A Partial History of the Transpartisan Movement

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Transpartisanship represents an emerging field in political thought distinct from bipartisanship, which aims to negotiate between “right” and “left,” resulting in a dualistic perspective, andnonpartisanship, which tends to avoid political affiliation altogether. Rather, transpartisanship acknowledges the validity of truths across a range of political perspectives and seeks to synthesize them into an inclusive, pragmatic container beyond typical political dualities.

In practice, transpartisan solutions emerge out of a new kind of public conversation that moves beyond polarization by applying proven methods of facilitated dialogue, deliberation and conflict resolution. In this way it is possible to achieve the ideal of a democratic republic by integrating the values of a democracy—freedom, equality, and a regard for the common good, with the values of a republic—order, responsibility and security.

Current examples of transpartisan initiatives include Transpartisan AllianceLiberty Coalition.

Transpartisan Alliance Web Site

Transpartisan Alliance Introduced (Video)

Transpartisan Alliance Introduced (Video)

Peter Hwosch

Peter Hwosch is a filmmaker, Compassionate Listening facilitator, musician and project director with various non-profits around the world. Peter has been documenting the work of Reuniting America since 2006, having produced numerous short films introducing this work and is now additionally developing the Transpartisan Toolbox together with other colleagues. Peter has worked in Israel/Palestine with the Compassionate Listening Project, producing two films on this work. He lived in the Balkans for four years co-directing The Seedlings of Peace Summer Camp, bringing youth from all three sides of former Yugoslavia together to learn communication skills and foster relationship. Peter has extensive experience holding the center in very conflicted environments and presents screenings, workshops and concerts, to organizations, businesses, interested groups, schools and Universities around the world.
Email: hwosch@oz.net

Transpartisan Movement / Joseph McCormick: (Click Here) Some History

 Joseph McCormick

After a decade as a Christian Coalition activist and Republican nominee for the U.S. Congress in one of the most conservative districts in our country, Joseph learned firsthand the most destructive force in our country today is Americans taking sides against other Americans. The turning point in his life came in 2001 when his political career, marriage, business and reputation collapsed, his relationships having been eroded by mistrust and hatred of his enemies. Since 2004 he has organized a series of ground breaking private retreats brining over 140 national leaders representing over 70 million Americans into dialogue in search of common ground. His passion is applying tools developed in these gatherings to catalyzing a national campaign of transpartisan dialogues that serve as a resource for local, state and national decision makers searching for innovative, bottom-up solutions in this time of crisis.  Email:jmccormick@transpartisan.net Blog:  http://transpartisan.wordpress.com/ Web: www.transpartisan.net


Transpartisan Movement: Reuniting America/TA

2006 Leaders Retreat (Short Video)


A private transpartisan retreat on long term national energy security and climate change among leaders and experts as divergent as Vice President Al Gore and Fred Smith, President, Competitve Enterprise Institute.

2009 Transpartisan Conference: The American Citizens Summit

From February 11th to 15th , 2009, at the American Citizens’ Summit in Denver, people from across the political spectrum gathered to speak and identify priorities demanding attention at a time of converging economic, social and environmental crises. Processes included meeting in circles, listening, open space, and innovative feedback technologies that allowed everyone to vote on issues, ideas, and positions–anonymously and instantly–and to reflect the information to the group.

 I/Walt Roberts started working with TA in October 2008, designed and facilitated (with much help) the first American Citizens Summit, and I am on the “core” TA Team. I have extensive experience working with groups, institutions and communities that are generating their future together strategically and collaboratively. I offer innovative approaches to the design and orchestration of alliances, coalitions, forums, conferences, keypad polling assisted deliberation and decision making, and generative engagement processes. Walt is based Portland Oregon.

TA  recently played a significant role bring the Political Other (right leaning presenters) to the November 2009 (left leaning)

Engaging The Other Conference produced by Steve Olweean of the  Common Bond Institute in San Mateo.

 Steve Olweean, MA
is founding Director of Common Bond Institute, co-founder and President of International Humanistic Psychology Association (IHPA), past President of Association for Humanistic Psychology, and a therapist with an MA in Clinical Psychology. Treatment focus has been on abuse recovery of victims and perpetrators, trauma recovery, and healing negative belief systems. He has written and presented internationally on concepts of The OTHER and dynamics of belief systems. Current book project is “Engaging The OTHER.” Founder of Annual International Conference on “Engaging The Other,” co-founder of International Conference on Conflict Resolution, which has occurred for 15 years, and co-founder of International Conference on Religion, Conflict, and Peace. 
Email: SOlweean@aol.com Web: www.cbiworld.org 

The centerpiece event was:  “Building Cooperation Across Political Divides: A Transpartisan Conversation”

CBI   IHPA 

The Transpartisan Alliance helped bring the “conservative other” to a mostly left leaning conference.  Amanda Katheryn Roman (TA Core Team and ED of Citizens in Charge) brought her colleague Paul Jacob to present at the opening plenary session also featuring Rabbi Michael Lerner, PhD and Huston Smith PhD.

 Paul Jacob
is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation, a multi-media commentator who hosts an online, radio, and print opinion program, Common Sense, which reaches a growing list of over 15,000 e-mail subscribers and is aired daily by more than 150 stations. He is also a featured columnist at townhall.com

 PLENARY PANEL

“Building Cooperation Across Political Divides: A Transpartisan Conversation”
The tone of political discourse is rapidly deteriorating. Many are deeply concerned that our inability to engage constructively across ideological divides is paralyzing the policy process at all levels. This panel will bring together a handful of leading practitioners who aim to deepen listening and respect with their political adversaries. They will speak about their beliefs and commitments across ideological lines, ask each other genuine questions, and engage in meaningful conversation. During this interactive panel-conversation, you will have a chance to learn how conservatives and liberals think and what they care about, as well as ask questions. Don’t be surprised if you leave the session with your images and sets of beliefs about each other challenged.
Joan Blades, Michael Ostrolenk, Amanda Kathryn (Hydro) Roman,Max Pappas, MA
Moderators: Susan Partnow and Joseph McCormick

“Building Cooperation Across Political Divides”

 Max Pappas, MA
joined the grassroots group FreedomWorks in 2003 where he is Vice President for Public Policy. He has been widely published and is a frequent guest on radio and television, including TV appearances on every major network and many cable and international programs. Previously, Max worked at the Cato Institute, with best-selling author P.J.O’Rourke, at the government affairs firm BGR Group, and ran for office in Massachusetts. Max holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Holy Cross.
Email: mpappas@freedomworks.org Web: www.freedomworks.org

 Joan Blades 
is a co-founder of MoveOn.org (online membership of over 5 million) and President of MomsRising.org . On Mother’s Day 2006 she co-founded MomsRising.org (online membership of over 1 million) with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner to tap the power of online grassroots organizing for mothers and families in the U.S.A. She is also co-author of The Motherhood Manifesto which won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize in 2007 and has been a member of the Reuniting America advisory board. Last century she co-founded Berkeley Systems – best known for the flying toaster screen saver “After Dark”, taught mediation at Golden Gate Law School, practiced mediation, and wrote Mediate Your Divorce. Ms. Blades is an artist, with collages published on both greeting cards and software packaging. She enjoys creating fused glass jewelry, is a nature lover, Sunday soccer player, and mother.
Email: joan@moveon.org, Web: www.moveon.org/


 Michael Ostrolenk
is a licensed psychotherapist (CA) and founder and national coordinator for the Medical Privacy Coalition (2001-present). He is co-founder and National Director of the Liberty Coalition, a transpartisan coalition of groups working to protect civil liberties, privacy and human autonomy (2005- present), and co-founder and President of the American Conservative Defense Alliance, which works to promote a traditional conservative foreign and defense policy (2008- present). He is a registered Personal Protection Specialist and Private Investigator in the Virginia, and a public policy consultant who works on health, education, privacy and national security related issues. Michael is Vice President for Coalitions for Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty and sits on the Steering Committee for Openthegovernment.org.  Email: michaeldostrolenk@gmail.com Web:

 Amanda Kathryn (Hydro) Roman
is a Transpartisan Grassroots Organizer-Wine Enthusiast-World Traveler-Italian American-Sports Fan-Avid Reader-Coffee Aficionado-NRA-Dog Lover-Poker-Rock ‘n Roll. Hydro is a results-proven organizational executive and leader with a track record of successes. She has exceptional communication and relationship building skills applied to internal teams, community groups, government representatives and staffs, corporations and other external parties. She has 7+ years experience in executive, leadership and management positions, 15+ years experience with political campaigns, an active enthusiasm for international political organizations and movements, and thrives in challenging, dynamic environments requiring innovation and high energy.
Email: amandakathryn@transpartisan.net Web: www.transpartisan.net


Moderaters:

Joseph McCormick (Founder of the Transpartisan Alliance)

 Joseph McCormick 
After a decade as a Christian Coalition activist and Republican nominee for the U.S. Congress in one of the most conservative districts in our country, Joseph learned firsthand the most destructive force in our country today is Americans taking sides against other Americans. The turning point in his life came in 2001 when his political career, marriage, business and reputation collapsed, his relationships having been eroded by mistrust and hatred of his enemies. Since 2004 he has organized a series of ground breaking private retreats brining over 140 national leaders representing over 70 million Americans into dialogue in search of common ground. His passion is applying tools developed in these gatherings to catalyzing a national campaign of transpartisan dialogues that serve as a resource for local, state and national decision makers searching for innovative, bottom-up solutions in this time of crisis.
Email: jmccormick@transpartisan.net Web: www.transpartisan.net


Susan Partnow

 Susan Partnow, MA
is founder of Global Citizen Journey, co-creator of Conversation Cafe and Let’s Talk America, certified mediator and senior trainer for Compassionate Listening. As an organizational development consultant, she especially enjoys transforming conflict to foster creative change using Open Space, World Cafe or Appreciative Inquiry. Passionately committed to inter-cultural understanding, peacemaking and community building, Susan deeply believes we can and must ‘listen our way to wholeness’ to find our essential humanity through connection, wise co-creation, and dialogue.
Email: Susan@SusanPartnow.com Web: www.susanpartnow.com www.globalcitizenjourney.org,  www.compassionatelistening.org

Here is a 7 minute video of that panel.

Transpartisan Panel w/ MoveOn.org and Freedom Works Video

Transpartisan Alliance Letter To Libby Traubman of Beyond War (November 2009)

 Elizabeth “Libby” TraubmanMSW
is a retired clinical social worker and a founder of the Beyond War Movement, now Foundation for Global Community, and helped organize the Beyond War conference for Israeli and Palestinian citizen-leaders resulting in a historic signed document, Framework For A Public Peace Process. She co-founded the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo 15 years ago, inspiring dozens of other Dialogues and now preparing for its 185th meeting, and producing two films modeling a new quality of listening and communication -DIALOGUE AT WASHINGTON HIGH, and PEACEMAKERS: Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp. She is a Trustee of the Foundation for Global Community and was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame.
Email: ltraubman@igc.org Web: www.traubman.igc.org/dg-prog.htm


Transpartisan Alliance Letter To Libby Traubman of Beyond War (November 2009)

After the conference we produced a letter answering some questions posed by Libby Traubman of Beyond War.  This gives a very complete description of what we have been and hope to accomplish.

November 25, 2009

Libby,

Thank you for the inquiry into our thinking, strategies, and accomplishments. They reflect your experience in this field, and we as a team had a great process to address them together.

When we talked together after the Engaging The Other conference as we packed our vehicles, you gave rise to the concern that our efforts may not be effective as the current divide has never been wider. It occurred to me on the ride to my next destination that we are both involved in very similar ways with conflicts where people are not listening to one another, do not build relationship, feel deeply about their positions, want peace, security and unity and can’t see the impact in this moment on the conflicts as we would like or intend. The political divide in the US and the Israeli/Palestinian struggle for peace have decades of dashed hopes and despair on all sides.


We are seeking to change a paradigm as it were and this is, as you know, done at many levels and at times with seemingly no effect. We are looking to employ the wisdom of your pioneering work in living room dialogues as the most grassroots arm of our strategic plan. Reaching hearts and minds in stressful times is where we are all finding our work it seems, and I trust we can lean on your advice and experience in this arena as we move forward regardless of any funding opportunities there are for our work through your foundation.


The years of dedicated service you and Len have brought to bridging divides is both impressive and inspirational, and has affect beyond many of our capacities to track or monitor its effectiveness. Thank you for your service and leadership in this.


While Joseph has answered your first question due to its personal nature, the Transpartisan Alliance core team has collaborated on these answers to give you a feel for our voice. Our core team consists of me, Joseph McCormick, Debilyn Molineaux, Walt Roberts and Amanda Kathryn Roman.


Please be in touch with any additional questions or comments,


Peter Hwosch

Libby: It would help if you’d please briefly describe any sustained Transpartisan group in which you personally are participating.
For how long have you been meeting regularly?
How often, for how long and where is each meeting?
What have you learned that you expected or didn’t expect?

Joseph: My dream has been to create a living room, library or café dialogue format that will sustain itself like the ones you have been doing so successfully for so long.  Over the past six years I have learned many ways not to do it, and have had glimpses of principles that will work.  My first effort was with Let’s Talk America based on the Conversation Café model.  This didn’t ignite likely because it was tested mainly in the Seattle and Minneapolis areas and mostly among center-left participants so it became the choir talking to the choir (not to mention the ‘pain’ of, and therefore urgency to reconcile, polarity in 2004 was significantly less that it is now or will likely become.)

While Vicki Robin, Susan and Leif Utne and others focused on living-room/café dialogues, I became focused on transpartisan leadership retreats, targeted mainly toward leaders whose grassroots members could participate in the local dialogues once we had a compelling format.   Here’s a review of by Tom Atlee of the first national event I co-convened with Let’s Talk America.  After this, I went on to organize, or co-organize seven similar events with a team called Reuniting America which was co-chaired by Bill Ury and Mark Gerzon (congressional bi-partisan retreats).  These events built private relationships among 144 national leaders representing over 70 million Americans (from the Chair of Christian Coalition, to founders of MoveOn, the President of Common Cause, the CEO of the American Legion, etc.)

In between these events from 2004 to 2007, I was working in my community – Ashland Oregon – seeking to find a dialogue format that would sustain itself.  My first sustained dialogue was in 2005 called the “Ashland Constitution Dialogue.” When our local charter (constitution) was under review we knocked on 400 doors, got about 80 people from all sides of the community (transpartisan) to conversation café’s and had about 20 stay committed every week for 6 months around the question “How do we want to govern ourselves here in Ashland?”  The outcome was a newspaper distributed on July 4, 2005 (by the people to the people…we did not lobby and this is key).  The ripple effects in the community were huge… we helped the community get clear about the values, principles and priorities around which it wanted it’s government based.  In two election cycles, a charter amendment was overwhelmingly defeated and all those serving as counselors and the mayor turned over in favor of officials who aligned with the document we produced.

In addition to this six month effort, Mary Miller at Mediation Works and I teamed up co-produce a “Transpartisan Town Hall” in April 2006.  It was a good one day effort but again, needed a sustentative focus to keep people, particularly the conservatives, engaged.  More recently, in 2008, I worked with a team from Ashland and co-produced two more town halls where all candidates participated in a world café and then sat in a fish bowl reporting ‘what they heard.’  The candidates that reflected what they heard the best were the most successful in the next election.

As a result of all this learning, and in addition to Peter and my most recent experiences on the road from Portland, to Seattle to Fresno, to San Mateo, we are seeing what becomes sticky. For example, in Seattle after the first ‘house party igniter’ at Susan’s house a group has formed that is reaching out to Republican leaders, conservative radio hosts, libertarian MeetUps, etc. to create a politically balanced group that calls itself ‘Transpartisan Seattle’ (see groups on http://transpartisan.net ). Peter and I – with help from Mary Miller and Carol Hwoschinsky, are also working on an eight week dialogue guide called the Transpartisan Toolbox similar in concept to the successful guides produced by Northwest Earth Institute (over 100,000 have participated). I hope we are getting close to finding a model that becomes self-organizing, self-replicating and sustainable month to month.  We certainly could use your advice, coaching, guidance and support.  I, probably as much as anyone you may know, have a great deal of respect for what you, Len and your colleagues have achieved.

Libby: You have already described having much difficulty bringing in conservative participants unless they could be assured of political position agreements.

TA Team: We would like to clarify that the reason conservatives or those who consider themselves to be right of center are hesitant to come into the room and participate is that the purpose of the gathering is not clear to them. The sharing of personal stories and experiences to build relationships with “the other is at the foundation of our process for entering into relationship once gathered, but those folks are simultaneously asking where is this relationship I am putting effort into building going to lead? What is the story that we will be able to tell together? What is the possibility?  It is an orientation to the ends everyone wants recognized up front. This is part of the work we are doing to be attractive for participants stuck in familiar combative models for engagement.

In this country’s political past, too often both conservatives and liberals have been invited into a disingenuous experience where the conveners are seeking to convert rather than to facilitate a deep listening and dive into what unites us as opposed to what divides us. Trust in process is broken, and outcomes tend to be where folks naturally go to address “why should I be here” from such an experience or orientation. How to make process the issue with folks who have felt manipulated by process up to now is part of our challenge… This is precisely why the Transpartisan Alliance aims to serve as the neutral convener – with no agenda one way or another – to bring the whole system together in a safe place that allows people to engage in a genuine way to share their worldview and dialogue on the issues and problems that we are all facing. Once that human connection is made, the individual feels heard and valued after sharing their story – only then can we (TA) facilitate a deeper dive into the issues and the areas where there is commonality.

The challenge that we face is in the inviting, it is crucial to convey to everyone that the Transpartisan Alliance is a neutral convener, that we as an organization do not have an agenda. Our mission is to facilitate a shift in our political culture – to build political cooperation one conversation at a time. Once people are in the room, this is evident. In fact, the feedback we have gotten points directly to our success on that front. In Fresno, someone stood up at the end and shared that she was quite skeptical when she got the invite – she figured that we had to have an agenda – and after participating in the evening’s dialogue it was clear to her that we are a neutral convener aiming to bring civility back to the public political discourse.

We are confident that our mission and tactics will sit well to the spectrum of participants once they have an experience of transpartisanship in action.

Libby: What do you then explain to them about your principles, process, and hoped-for outcomes?

TA Team: We have actually been designing slightly different invitations based on the audience that is receiving them. As we all discussed – and saw 1st hand- at the Engaging the Other Conference, the same words can have such different meanings for different people. So, we tune into that as much as possible when inviting.

You can view some of our invites online here:

http://network.transpartisan.net/events/transpartisan-portland

http://network.transpartisan.net/events/event/listByDate?date=2009-10-22

http://network.transpartisan.net/events/seattle-wa-ending-the

http://network.transpartisan.net/events/fresnoca-ending-the-political

http://network.transpartisan.net/events/transpartisan-alliance-seattle

Our team is quite aware that this is a continual honing process and we are always looking for ways to improve the art of an open invitation to Transpartisan Alliance events.

Once folks are in our rooms, the experience they have has been overwhelmingly positive, both in the leadership summits over the last 6 years, and our grass roots activities we are now launching and for which we seek support. It becomes clear to participants in any TA event that they steer the content, and we insure a space where all voices/positions are heard/considered.

Libby: What influenced you to fly to Fresno and to return there? What is your own understanding about the process of civil engagement, sustainable engagement, and change that informs you to fund and fly out of Portland to other states to initiate one or two events in distant towns?


TA Team: Currently, the Transpartisan Alliance core team is operating on a volunteer basis. Due to this primary hurdle of funding, the team decided to do a beta test of our Uniting Communities on the west coast engaging the early adopters we have been working with from the Reuniting America work and since the American Citizen’s Summit this past February. We chose a few cities on the west coast where we were already connected with an on the ground local leader who believe in the mission of the Transpartisan Alliance: Berkeley, Portland, Seattle and Fresno. Our goal in inviting these early adopters into the process was to partner with them in igniting the passion and brilliance of a whole systems approach to solving the complex issues we all face today. As we gain additional funding, it is important to the core team that we make our way throughout the whole country so that our igniter events occur all over.

Due to this primary hurdle of funding, the team decided to do a beta test on the west coast where we were already connected with an on the ground local leader who believe in the mission of the Transpartisan Alliance: Berkeley, Portland, Seattle and Fresno.

Our goal in inviting these early adopters into the process was to partner with them in igniting the passion and brilliance of a whole systems approach to solving the complex issues we all face today. Peter and Joseph traveled in Peter’s aging Honda, so our destinations needed to be within the vehicles scope of ability. They were hosted in each place as well so our expenses were very small while our testing of outreach, event structure, and follow up were highly productive. Joseph will travel to Florida by plane and on the organizer’s dime, giving added opportunity to beta test our work on the east coast w/o any expense to TA. As we gain additional funding, it is important to the core team that we make our way throughout the whole country, with an itinerary that makes logistical sense and serves TA’s strategic vision at every stage of our work’s growth and effectiveness.

A key part of this process is to ignite this passion in a small team of dedicated people on the ground in each city that will be the leaders in that community spearheading a transpartisan approach to political dialogue and in time, we hope any difficult issue that would benefit from the wisdom of all ideological approaches.

Additionally, to ensure that the transpartisan fire continues to burn brightly after our igniter event(s) is to certify Transpartisan Ambassadors to grow our network of practitioners as well as the breadth of experience that each new Ambassador would bring into our collective intelligence. Regional Transpartisan Alliance groups are forming out of our initial events. We are seeing self generated blogs and outreach taken by folks as they recognize our effectiveness.

As Joseph spoke to earlier, we are currently finishing an eight week living room dialog course that can be self organized and led. This will be a very strong tool for continuing the initial living room dialogues within a structure that may be more comfortable as folks build relationships together. From there they will more likely stay engaged as challenges rise, and trust is established. (Details on this and our other offerings follow below.)

We will also be hosting larger scale events on the regional, state and national level that everyone who has participated in a local event will be invited to; these events will offer the opportunity to continue developing interpersonal skills as well as the opportunity to rise to the challenge of the policy issues and problems that we all face together to reach collaborative and generative solutions.

Our first annual citizens summit was in Denver last February, and was very successful in generating the teams now in place, and a dedicated initial base from which to grow strategically.

The Transpartisan Alliance team fully recognizes that we are part of the transpartisan meme; there are many individuals and groups who are making their way toward a whole system, problem solving approach from a variety of different angles. The Transpartisan Alliance is the only organization that is focused on the political structure and actively facilitating engagement with ‘the other.’ The evolution and political culture shift that we are seeking to catalyze and facilitate will take time and the more individuals that are actively working to shift our system from completion to cooperation; the more successful we will all be as a society. Our Uniting Communities Tour is simply the first step in this direction. We hope that in the future, there will be many individuals who travel to other communities to talk about how they made the transpartisan possibility come to fruition in their own neighborhood.

To this end we are also partnering with Susan Partnow’s global citizens journeys work to offer citizen delegations to travel between progressive and conservative communities with home stays for a submersion experience. This is under development, and ties closely with a broad approach to breaking down stereotypes and building bridges of understanding between communities and regions, the red/blue segregation pendants point to during elections.


Libby: Our experience in Beyond War back in the 80s tells me that it takes an incredible amount of work on the part of many people, mostly volunteers, to get anything started and sustained. Can you say more about your expected outcome from the meetings you have planned? A one time living room event rarely brings about the shift in thinking and behavior needed today.


TA Team: We couldn’t agree with you more and I think now that you have read the answers above you will have a clearer understanding of how we intend to engage volunteers on a large scale. The events that the Transpartisan Alliance has hosted and produced thus far have been experiential and transformational for the participants. We are catalyzing something truly unique that no one else is willing and/or able to step-up and do. The political culture of our country is the most deeply divisive aspect of our culture today and we are diving in to facilitate the shift from win-lose to win-win. We believe it is this experience that will motivate and propel key people to a leadership role in the areas we visit. In order to support that momentum, we see several tiers of leaders emerging. In order to support them, we have created the following:

The Transpartisan Toolbox Workbook: An Eight Week Dialogue Course

As Joseph mentioned above, we are in the final stages of producing a Transpartisan Toolbox Workbook. This Workbook will allow a local leader in any city or town in America to lead an eight week dialogue course will allow participants to begin at the smallest scale in shifting the political culture. Every point of view will be valued and honored and the Workbook will provide the participants will the tools and means to bridge the divides among those in the circle and reach collaboration. Over the course of the eight weeks, participants will experience first-hand that engaging the passion, brilliance and creativity of all average citizens in their community will deliver innovative and generative solutions that can serve as alternatives to our most pressing challenges. One of the hurdles that our core team identified in regards to the political structure is that all too often individuals disengage because they do not feel heard or a part of the system – it has become too big and too distant for them to churn up enough emotion and dedication to try and change it although they desperately want to. This video highlights this despair beautifully: http://network.transpartisan.net/video/voices-from-the-street

One of the primary goals of these more intimate eight week dialogues is to reconnect those participants with the sense of ownership that is inherent in responsible citizenship. To show them through first-hand experience that together, we can enter into the political arena and citizens’ common sense solutions can be realistic options when presented in a genuine collaborative way. So, as you can see, the living room dialogue using the Transpartisan Toolbox Workbook is only one piece shifting the political culture.

Leadership Teleseminars: Featuring Political Leaders Engaged in Transpartisanship

We are currently engaging the leaders of a variety of advocacy groups across the political spectrum in private off-the-record conversations discussing public policy and identifying the opportunities to work in collaboration on an area of commonality. The participants are eager to work together, as evidence by Joan and Max’s interaction at the ETO Conference. Once the trust and relationship building has reached the appropriate comfort level for these leaders, the Transpartisan Alliance will host teleseminars where these leaders will aim to address their constituencies (and others) on how a transpartisan collaborative solution/effort will be effective in achieving their mission but also bridge divides that in many cases are superficial. Currently, we are in the midst of planning our first such teleseminar around the topic of energy and climate policy.

Transpartisan Ambassador Program: Grassroots Network of Transpartisan Neutral Conveners

Some participants such as mediators, facilitators, trainers and coaches who attend our transpartisan igniter events and local town halls will want to go deeper into the tools. To effectively harness the energy generated at these events, we plan to offer a full day intensive workshop entitled: Transpartisan 101 Training to the most passionate participants. At this gathering, participants will receive training sessions from national recognized mediators and facilitators, an intensive experience with the tools, be connected to our online resources and social network, and certified as Ambassadors to return to their community to begin convening and practicing. This will allow us to multiply our efforts, raise awareness and begin building a national team of volunteer certified facilitators.

We are also working on leadership generation and support, with the following projects:

American Citizens’ Summits

Attendees of the annual American Citizen Summits will be provided the opportunity to build relationships across divides beyond their own communities and neighborhoods. Each Summit will be focused on personal mastery skills, citizen empowerment training, and building grassroots networks. Invitees will leave the Summit with innovative tools and skills, new connections as well as restored inspiration for healthy citizenship. Right now, we are in discussions with potential co-convening organizations about planning the 2nd American Citizens Summit; to emphasize our informal network of networks we are actively seeking to find partners to convene this event.

Solutions Summits

At a Solutions Summit, the emphasis is on applying whole system, transpartisan thinking to address complex challenges in an issue area or sector like food, health or money. The

Transpartisan Alliance will serve as a neutral co‐convener facilitating a search for win/win public policy options that integrate knowledge, issues and interests from a wide range of interested parties. These events will begin with a review of the transpartisan tools but then emphasize a whole systems thinking approach to creating public policy options. These summits will serve as incubators of out of the box choices for solving complex, interrelated problems. Participants will not decide among options and then advocate positions. There will be an explicit follow‐up process to facilitate ongoing collaboration that leads to subsequent transpartisan activity under multiple banners. At this point, the Transpartisan Alliance is working to produce a Solutions Summit around the topic of food early next year.

END OF LETTER

Transpartisan Alliance News

Joseph McCormick  12/09

  • What is the cost of political dis-unity, polarization?
  • What are the innovative strategies we can implement to affect a positive shift in our political culture?

Dear Citizen Leader:

These are the questions the Transpartisan Alliance team has been asking national leaders of grassroots groups across the spectrum like MoveOn.org, a progressive advocacy organization, and FreedomWorks, a catalyst of the limited government tea parties — see 6 min. video — as well as local leaders around the country.

This fall the Campaign to Unite U S began planting seeds in PortlandSeattleFresno, and the Florida Keys for an alternative to win-lose politics.  These house parties and conversation café town halls were an open invitation to an open source, open minded, open hearted, open space conversation about our political future.

The outcomes of these initial efforts were:

– Refinement of a concise set of tools for civil dialogue called the Transpartisan Toolbox — listening to understand, recognizing judgments, managing emotional triggers, the art of inquiry, and speaking to be heard.

– Prototype of a three hour meeting format where participants are lead into a sobering inquiry about the cost of polarization followed by a more up-beat inquiry into the possibility of facilitating political cooperation in their own community.

– Planting of seeds for the creation of 12 to 15 member Citizen Leader Councils consisting of people with social networks that span their entire community.

– Planting of seeds for the engagement of diverse community networks in the creation of local Citizen Assemblies – informal institutions of citizenship that support official decision makers with win-win policy options that 80% plus of people can say “Yes!” to.

Much groundwork has been laid toward this strategy of political culture shift (going back to the leadership retreats of Reuniting America.) There is much, much more to do, however, to take this important bridging/healing/reconciliation/empowerment work to the next level.

Over the course of the winter, I will be spending time writing a book to serve as a manifesto. It’s tentatively entitled The Upwising: The Story of the Emerging Transpartisan Movement in American Politics. Filmmaker Peter Hwosch who has been documenting the work of Reuniting America and the Transpartisan Alliance since April 2006 will be raising funds for a feature length companion film to this book. He will also be working with Amanda (Hydro) Roman to finalize an eight week dialogue guide called “The Transpartisan Toolbox” to help Citizen Leader Councils deepen their skills at engaging constructively across community divides.

In addition, team member Walt Roberts will be organizing an online Transpartisan Alliance membership drive around a “Transpartisan Pledge,” as well as a “Conference of Conferences” in early 2011 with co-sponsors from national dialogue organizations as well as political associations from the left, right, and center (this event may evolve into the Second American Citizens Summit.)  Debilyn Molineaux will be working with Walt on the membership drive, supporting the team with fundraising and coordinating the next phases of the Campaign to Unite U S.

The Transpartisan Alliance is at a critical juncture.  We have a dedicated team that has been working for almost a year on a volunteer basis. We have developed and prototyped a truly innovative approach to building political cooperation. If you are in a position to help, your donation will allow us to take our next vital steps.

Many blessings for a happy and peaceful holiday season.

Sincerely,

Joseph McCormick

Core Team Member

Transpartisan Alliance

    Keypad Polling 
Walt Roberts
I am board member of The Performance Center, a partner of Transformation Systems International and on the core team of the Transpartisan Alliance.  I’ve had extensive experience working with groups, institutions and communities that are working to to generate their future together strategically, intentionally and collaboratively. I offer innovative and often unique approaches to the design and orchestration of alliances, coalitions, forums, conferences, keypad polling assisted deliberation and decision making, citizen engagement processes, and generative change initiatives.  I am one of the inventors of the Integral Forum Design concept.

The Services I provide:

  • Breakthrough Meetings with Keypad PollingOvercoming the normal limits of  large-group process with the purposeful and expert use of electronic, audience response, keypad polling technology
  • Sourcing Circles and Collaborative Design Services; Bringing transformation, sourcing/presencing, and generative  frameworks and processes to the work of any collaborative design team  as they co-create any dialogue and deliberation process, event, meeting, summit, change initiative, alliance development and/or coalition building
  • Generative Process Design, Orchestration and Facilitation; Frame, theme, purpose and process design, orchestration and facilitation for strategic planning meetings, conferences, summits, town halls, public hearings,  open houses, community meetings and all sorts of large-group dialogue, deliberation and decision making events
  • Transboundary Convening Design; Special services and tools for bringing disparate and divided groups together to find common ground, build bridges and forge unlikely partnerships.
  • Alliance and Coalition Design, Facilitation and Development; Applying generative process services to the creation of more formal and enduring entities.
  • On-Line Networking, Information Sharing and Collaboration Integration; Identifying and implementing the right set of (existing, popular and usually free) internet based spaces, services and tools to work in concert with face to face meetings and vice verse.
  • Integral Forum Design;  Connecting, integrating and aligning  multiple conveners and conferences over time to make critical connections within and between topic “silos” (all of the previously described services come in to play for this).
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