Implications of the Supreem Court Decision: Steve Olweean reflects on Power, Politics and Citizen Empowerment.


Steve Olweean said ” I’ve also been giving the latest Supreme Court decision – granting corporations full access to funneling monumental funds into influencing and controlling our social political lives – a great deal of thought and letting the implications sink in. At first glance it seems to me to hold at least a potential for a remarkable consolidation of power and control over our agreement as a society for how we’ll decided to govern ourselves, what our country will be, and what our future will be.”

The Transpartisan Alliance (and I) had the pleasure of working with Steve Olweean of The Common Bond Institute at the Engaging the Other conference last November.  We are working with Steve to find greater synergy and connection between organizations and “forums” that are similarly missioned for greater impact and results.  He wrote an email recently that included some reflections on the implications of the recent Supreem Court ruling on corporate contributions to political campaigns.  Steve’s missive is below and is followed by some information and videos from the Transpartisan Allainces part at  The Engaging the Other conference.  Enjoy.  Walt

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

Steve Olweean’s Missive

Collaboration on 2nd Annual International Conference on Religion, Conflict and Peace (RCP):
Over these past couple of months I’ve been inviting in and forming a coalition of like-missioned, diverse organizations that can fully partner to pull together the required funds, energy, content, and networks to hold the
2nd Annual International Conference on Religion, Conflict and Peace event. The response has been positive. Particularly given the financial and work load challenges grassroots NGO’s face these days, as we’ve discussed, it also makes sense to collaborate and compliment each other where opportunities arise to advance mutual purposes for a larger impact rather than duplicate. The RCP Conference is an opportunity to share responsibility with several key organizations, bring in more creative minds and perspectives, spread the effort out, and reduce the cost.

Some thoughts on current events:
As I’ve been focusing in on planning for the RCP Conference I’ve also been giving the latest Supreme Court decision – granting corporations full access to funneling monumental funds into influencing and controlling our social political lives – a great deal of thought and letting the implications sink in. At first glance it seems to me to hold at least a potential for a remarkable consolidation of power and control over our agreement as a society for how we’ll decided to govern ourselves, what our country will be, and what our future will be.

Corporations in general are large and small and can serve many purposes (our own organization as an example). However it seems the immediate influence is dramatically increased here for quite large, faceless systems in particular – serving the needs and rights of a select few, motivated by profit, and controlled by a very small number of elite individuals answerable only to a small portion of society – to be at a higher priority, or even in opposition to, the greater needs and rights of society as a whole.

Coupled with this decision, I look at the implications of having now given truly phenomenal amounts of our national treasure to a number of huge corporations, and so providing them with even enormously more discretionary funding advantage to promote their own needs and agendas in competition with those of the vast majority of people who make up this society.

It also seems a condition that significantly supports and leaves the field open to this troubling potential is the increasing polarity within our society that divides us against each other, and so disempowers us as citizens.

Not to be over dramatic, but I find myself asking if one person-one vote can be preserved under this scenario, and what it’d mean in terms of how this is then a democracy of the people, by the people, for the people, and different than an aristocracy that can consolidate economic and power resources of a country.

When the media that informs us of the facts, issues, and choices to be aware of is also controlled by corporations we need to compete with for securing and benefiting our needs and rights, and when access to purchasing the ability to offer alternative information and views to the public goes to the highest bidder – perhaps their own reflection – how can citizens as a whole remain a viable part of the whole process?

My experience of our being together at the ETO Conf. in Nov. is that we recognize our mutual intentions and concern about such dynamics and possibilities, and that – regardless of what particular political perspective we individually adhere to and support as the best “approach” to achieve a mutual benefit, we share a feeling that  securing and maintaining our society for the benefit of all it’s citizens is essential and is at risk.

Increasingly my hope is in the collective power of those who see the toxic division and negative stereotypes of each other – sometimes perhaps even fabricated to create polarity – as counter to all our purposes, and decide to cross barriers and join “sides” in supporting each others efforts. One route I believe is creating the means for promoting individuals and communities dialoguing with each other, finding common ground, raising public awareness on mutual concerns, and becoming active in exercising our power and responsibility to each other.

End of Steve’s Missive

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”

C B I I H P A

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.orgwww.compassionatelistening.org

Here is a 7 minute video of that panel.

Transpartisan Panel w/ MoveOn.org and Freedom Works Video


In terms of the RCP Conf. coming up in May, I’m very happy to explore how we can work together with this.

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