Invite to “Reclaim America–Strategy Conference” Dec. 14

From Tikkun Magazine www.tikkun.org, the Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org, and the Metta Center for Non-violence

The new Congress is going to be a catastrophe for the environment and for those most dependent on everything from social security, safety and health protections for our food and work places, safety for our personal deposits in banks and financial institutions and Obamacare to social programs that provide some minimal protections from the worst impact of the competitive marketplace, not only for the poor and the powerless, but also for most of us in the middle class. That’s one reason it’s so important for you to come and invite everyone you know to a 6 hour strategy conference aimed at developing strategy for the years ahead (and if you know anyone in the media, contact them too and ask them to make sure this event gets covered–it’s a rare public confrontation by liberals and progressives of the need to rethink our direction, so it’s newsworthy though media people hate to “work” on Sunday).  You’ve probably been at many meetings focused on “what’s wrong,” but this one is focused on “what we can do to change the dynamics in American society,” in short, strategizing in place of whining and blaming everyone else for why we are not winning.

After the 2014 elections and facing a Congress determined to dismantle environmental protections and health and social benefits for middle income Americans and the poor in 2015-2016, 

it’s critical that ethically sensitive people develop a strategy to:

RECLAIM AMERICA

YOU ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN

A Town Hall Meeting & Strategy Discussion

 Sunday December 14, 1 p.m.
At the University of San Francisco McLaren Hall
(Golden Gate Ave near Roselyn Terrace)

(If you can’t come, would you organize a similar event in your area–and some of us might be available to come to speak. For more info: cat@spiritualprogressives.org)

Among the presenters at our strategy conference:

Marianne Williamson Author: Healing the Soul of America, A Return to Love, and Imagine What America Could Be in the 21st Century 

George Lakoff Prof of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, author of Don’t Think of an Elephant and Moral Politics,  

Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor of Tikkun, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue, Author: The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right and Spirit Matters,

  Matthew Fox Liberation Theologian, Author of Original Blessing, and The Coming of the Cosmic Christ

 Cat Zavis Attorney, Executive Director, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and teacher of Empathic Communication

Other speakers that day include: Reginald W. Lyles (from Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland former advisor to Assemblyman Sandre Swanson), liberation theologian Jorge Aquino (of the Theology and Religious Studies Dept. of USF), Oakland city council chair Rebecca Kaplan and more.

But the most important person there will be you – and the strategy ideas you bring to this event. 

Pre-registration necessary at:   spiritualprogressives.org/reclaimAmerica

The decision on the part of the new majority in the Congress to use their power to decide how much money is allocated to the different projects of government as a way of crippling the social support systems for the poor, the powerless, the immigrants, and the protections set up for the environment presents us with a spiritual and ethical crisis of highest proportions that will play out in the Congress that begins in January.

Every major religious community has a wide variety of injunctions to care for the poor and the powerless, and to care for the earth, so this ethical and spiritual crisis is also a religious crisis.

Undoubtedly, given the fact that people of color are disproportionately represented among the poorest in the society, they will be facing especially rough times, adding to the racism and violence that they face even under “normal” conditions, as exemplified recently in Ferguson. In particular, in light of the justifiable outrage at the racism manifest not just in the verdict from Ferguson but also in the way most Americans don’t seem to have a clue about the racism involved and how pervasive it is, we encourage us all to see fighting racism as not just as issue for African Americans or people of color, but as a priority as well for white people to  address: what is the best strategy to both counter and transform that racism?  How to do that without seeming to suggest that all whites are bad and hence provoke backlash that actually makes things worse for people of color is part of the discussion we hope to initiate at this conference.   

Whether you are a secular humanist, militants atheist, or religious person, this is a moment when we all have to realize that we have an obligation to develop strategies to prevent the worst of this from actually happening. 

This is not a call for money or to back some particular candidates for office. We have to start by recognizing that the liberal and progressive forces, and the ethical and spiritual people in this society, have failed so far to sustain, build upon and expand the open-hearted, caring-for-each-other-and-caring-for the earth consciousness that was the foundation that made possible the New Deal, the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, and the environmental legislation of the 1970s.

Not to deny that important advances have been made, particularly in relationship to the status of women, glbtq people, and the upper middle classes of minority communities, we still need to explore where we have missed the boat in not having been more successful in countering the materialism, selfishness, militarism and looking-out-for-number one consciousness that is foundational to the present moment in American history and the willingness of large swaths of the population to either support the politicians who wish to dismantle social programs to protect the environment and the needss of middle income and poor people, or at least to be passive and uninvolved as this is happening.

Of course we know about the disproportionate wealth and economic and media power by the 1% and the multinational corporations and the capitulation of people in both major parties to the agenda of the super-rich. But we are not getting together to rehearse how unfair everything is–we know that already. Nor are we writing you to suggest personal repentance, but to invite you to participate in a serious rethinking and strategizing a new direction.

Let us explain.

Even if Obama suddenly grew a backbone, it wouldn’t be sufficient to offset what the ethically-challenged extremists in Congress are planning to do by refusing to fund government services. The political leadership of so much of the liberal and progressive world has been unable to get together to build a coherent alternative to the Right’s ascendency. That’s why ordinary people have to develop a strategy for the coming years. If you can’t come to this one in Northern California, can you set up a similar one in your area? Some of us in the Network of Spiritual Progressives might be able to participate as speakers,  either in person or on a conference call, and we might be able to help you identify some potential allies in your area ot work with you on this task. If you are interested, contact our Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, Cat Zavis:  cat@spiritualprogressives.org

Would you please help us by asking everyone you know, including all your friends on your Facebook page, other social media, or on any of your lists, (because people on your lists even if they live far away from the West Coast will have people on their lists who live in northern California), to come to our Reclaim America From the Right, a gathering Sunday afternoon Dec. 14th at the McLaren Hall in San Francisco at University of San Francisco? 

Please come yourself and join with George Lakoff, Marianne Williamson, Matthew Fox, Rabbi Michael Lerner and national exec director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives  Cat Zavis and more in an afternoon of strategizing about the changes needed in liberal and progressive politics in light of the victory of the Right in 2014 elections and their ability in Congress in 2015-16 to dismantle much of the environmental and social support systems that have been set up in the past 80 years!. Register NOW:

www.spiritualprogressives.org/reclaimamerica

We are including below an announcement of what we are doing – would you please put it on your Facebook and other social media, and ask everyone you know to do the same and invite their friends as well to what could be an extremely important event because we won’t be focused on moaning about what’s wrong but rather in strategizing about what to do in the coming years?!!!  Please help us Cat. Be there, or at least let everyone you have any contact or connection with to know about this (and afterwards they’ll be grateful to you, because it is going to be an amazing event)!!

        Warm regards and blessings, 

The Tikkun Staff

 

For more information, please check it out at:

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/reclaim-americaconference-dec-14

Can’t come and can’t organize one in your own community?  Ok, then, how about making a tax-deductible contribution    at  www.tikkun.org/donate    to help us continue our work challenging the ethos of materialism and seflishness in our world, wherever these appear, including in all of the major poltical parties, economic institutions and corporations, religious  institutions, professional organizations, educational institutions, the media, and the worlds of science and technology. 

 

 

Here (below) is what you can copy and paste to send to friends, post on social media, etc.:

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

After the 2014 elections and facing a Congress determined to dismantle environmental protections and health and social benefits for middle income Americans and the poor in 2015-2016, 

it’s critical that ethically sensitive people develop a strategy to:

RECLAIM AMERICA

YOU ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN

A Town Hall Meeting & Strategy Discussion

 Sunday December 14, 1 p.m.
At the University of San Francisco McLaren Hall
(Golden Gate Ave near Roselyn Terrace)

Among the presenters at our strategy conference:

Marianne Williamson Author: Healing the Soul of America, A Return to Love, and Imagine What America Could Be in the 21st Century,

 Matthew Fox Liberation Theologian, Author of Original Blessing, and The Coming of the Cosmic Christ

George Lakoff Prof of Cognitive Science and Linguistics, author of Don’t Think of an Elephant and Moral Politics,  

Rabbi Michael Lerner Editor of Tikkun, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue, Author: The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right and Spirit Matters,

Cat Zavis Attorney, Executive Director, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and teacher of Empathic Communication

Other speakers that day include: Reginald W. Lyles (from Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland former advisor to Assemblyman Sandre Swanson), liberation theologian Jorge Aquino (of the Theology and Religious Studies Dept. of USF), Oakland city council chair Rebecca Kaplan and more.

But the most important person there will be you – and the strategy ideas you bring to this event.

 Pre-registration necessary at:   spiritualprogressives.org/reclaimAmerica

The recently elected Congress that will shape America in the next two years is committed to defunding government so that it cannot enforce the minimal environmental protections currently in place, provide health care coverage for those who need it, provide safety and health protection for our food and our work places, or protect the old, the young, the vulnerable—while at the same time that Congress will seek to decrease still further the taxes on the super-rich and the corporations they own and control.

 

 

 

 

 

This is an ethical, spiritual and religious crisis of monumental proportions—and calls for secular liberals and progressives to join with spiritual or religious activists to work together to develop strategies to save our planet earth and protect middle income and working people and the unemployed from the assaults of the selfish.

That’s why we, spiritual progressives of every variant (including atheists and secular humanists as well as people in every religious community) must now take action to present a different worldview, one based on the Biblical call to “love our neighbor” but also “love the stranger” (the Other/the powerless), and pursue justice and peace. You don’t have to remind us that religion has sometimes been used to justify all forms of oppression or that spirituality sometimes devolves into self-indulgent flakiness. But so has democracy and socialism sometimes been used to justify imperialism or forms of totalitarianism. We’ve got to get well-intentioned people, both secular and religious, to stop putting each other down, and instead unite so we can help Americans re-embrace the values that once led us as a society to create institutions that embodied caring for each other and for the earth. 

Too many people have responded to the 2014 electoral victories of the Right by feeling powerless. “What can I do?“ they tell themselves. “The Rightists have the money and are filled with passionate intensity, while those who seek peace and justice too often lack a coherent strategy. There are so many groups taking on one little part of the problem or another, but mostly they don’t cooperate with each other and don’t even try to educate people in each specific social justice, humanitarian or environmental struggle about how they are linked to all the other struggles. So to those on the outside, it looks like everyone is just fighting for their own special interest, but not for the common interests of the rest of us. I can’t see how I can do anything, given this mess.” 

But there is something you can do, not alone, but with a movement that we are creating. The liberal and progressive forces have made some big mistakes—but we can change that, and we have a strategy for how to do that and how to Reclaim America. And we need you to be part of it – and to learn from you as well, because we know we don’t have all the answers! We approach this task with humility, but also with excitement about the possibility of forging a new direction, bringing together all those people who really yearn for a society based on love, kindness, generosity, social and econmic justice, and peace. We call this goal “the New Bottom Line.”

We will mourn what has happened to our country and to the planet, and acknowledge our own responsibility. Rather than just blame the super-rich and their ability to manipulate media and spend millions on candidates who serve their interests, we also need to challenge liberals and progressives to think more deeply about what changes are needed in the ways that they present themselves (attention office holders—you are invited to be part of this), draw upon the wisdom of secular humanists, religious traditions (at least the humanist and love-and-caring dimensions of all the world’s religious and spiritual communities), and spiritual-but-not-religious thinkers, and the work of the (interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressives. 

We will hear each other’s ideas for how to move forward, build ties among the vast array of social change organizations, progressive religious and spiritual communities, and learn skills for improving our ability to have our most visionary ideas really taken seriously by our families, neighbors, co-workers, and even some of our most cynical friends. This gathering is just the first step in bringing this kind of discussion into the heart of everyone involved in social tansformation, into every social change organization and every place where ethically sensitive people gather. So if you miss this conference, but want to be involved in the ongoing work, please contact the executive director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives Cat Zavis and tell her what specifically you are willing to work on (but only after you’ve read our essay “Yearning for a World of Love and Justice” at http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/yearning-for-a-world-of-love-and-justice ).

Part of our intention is to reintroduce into public discourse the ethical values that could contribute to rebuilding a society based on love, care, generosity, awe and wonder. And you can play an important role by challenging progressive organizations to introduce into all their activities a shared vision of the world we want—not just focusing on what is wrong with the way things are now, but presenting a positive vision of the world as it needs to be—a New Bottom Line of love, caring, kindness, generosity, social justice, peace, environmental sanity and awe and wonder at the grandeur and preciousness of our planet earth and the universe of which we are part.

Undoubtedly, given the fact that it is people of color who are disproportionately represented among the poorest in the society, they will be facing especially rough times, added to the racism and violence that they face even under “normal” conditions, as exemplified recently in Ferguson. In particular, in light of the justifiable outrage at the racism manifest not just in the verdict from Ferguson but also in the way most Americans don’t seem to have a clue about the racism involved and how pervasive it is, we encourage us all to see fighting racism as not just as issue for African Americans or people of color, but as a priority as well for white people to  address: what is the best strategy to both counter and transform that racism?  How to do that without seeming to suggest that all whites are bad and hence provoke backlash that actually makes things worse for people of color is part of the discussion we hope to initiate at this conference. 

We invite liberals and progressives of every possible stripe to come together and strategize about how these kinds of values can reshape public life in the US.  We ask you, the reader of this, to help us get leaders, activists, and members of progressive movements for social and economic justice, peace, environmental sanity, civil rights, feminism, lgbtq rights, immigrant rights, unions,  liberal and progressive political parties and elected officials to meet and strategize together.

We need  physicians and other health practitioners, lawyers, Silicon Valley techies, psychotherapists, working people in offices and factories and skilled trades, small business people, African Americans , Latinos, Asian Americans, and every other minority community,  philanthropists,  financial and investment experts, scientists, engineers, high school and college students, teachers and academics, researchers, seniors, millennials, boomers, and everyone in between who can fully commit to nonviolence and empathy as strict guidelines for how to approach those with whom we disagree. Please invite your friends–afterwards, when they hear how exciting it was for you, they’ll be disappointed that you didn’t try to convince them to come!

We cannot afford to stay in our separate silos working on single-issue politics, or immerse ourselves in cynicism and despair about the possibility of making significant change. At the very least, we need to articulate a shared vision of the world we want -not just the world we are against – so that even as each of us continues in our focused activities to address specific ways that the world and its people are hurting, we simultaneously articulate a positive vision that we all share. We need a new unity and a new psychological and spiritual sophistication to heal and repair our very broken society.

Won’t you join us? Registration required at spiritualprogressives.org/reclaimAmerica

Cost: $15 for students and incomes under $30/k yr.;  Incomes over $30k/yr: $25 if you register by Dec.5 $45 for anyone registering after Dec. 5.

By mail: make check to Tikkun and mail to 2342 Shattack Ave, #1200, Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-644-1200.

For more info: Cat@spiritualprogressives.org 

Hosted by the Theology and Religious Studies Dept. of USF and sponsored by Tikkun www.tikkun.org, and by the (interfaith and secular-humanist-and-atheist-and religious-welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressives,The Metta Center for Non-Violence, and many others.  Ask your local chapter of any civic,religious, social change organization or your local church, synagogue, mosque, ashram, professional organization, union or any othe reputable group willing to commit to non-violence in the struggle fo social justice. Ask them to cosponsor or at least publicize this to all of their members wherever they live in the US and to get those members to either create other such gatherings (we’ll have materials and possibly even speakers for these events). 

We are not proponents of any religion or spiritual tradition except for The New Bottom Line of love and generosity, etc. which you can read about at http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/yearning-for-a-world-of-love-and-justice

And we are inspired by Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and liberation theologians in every religious or spiritual tradition. For example, read a little bit from the new pope:

Pope Francis—in Evangeli Gaudium:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitable succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power…a globalization of indifference has developed…we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor..the culture of prosperity deadens us….The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.​“​

(A fuller version can be found in the Spring 2014 issue of Tikkun Magazine. When you join the Network of Spiritual Progressives at www.spiritualprogressives.org, you get a free subscription to Tikkun Magazine).

 
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2 Responses to Invite to “Reclaim America–Strategy Conference” Dec. 14

  1. Marilyn Nyborg December 16, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Did you video the town hall on Sunday?? Any way I can view it? Thanks M

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