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Archive for the ‘Non-Violent Communication (NVC)’ Category

NSP’s Global Marshall Plan: Moving Forward!


by: on December 18th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

Great news!

Congressman Keith Ellison, who represents Minneapolis/St Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives, introduced a resolution in effect endorsing the NSP version of a Global Marshall Plan into the House of Representatives as H Res 439. It was referred to the Republican controlled Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. Please read the resolution below and send thanks to his legislative aide Vic Edgerton: vic.edgerton@mail.house.gov or:

     -Call Keith Ellison’s Minnesota office at 612-522-1212(HoursM-F9:00 AM to 6:00 PMCentral Time)

     -Call his Washington Office at 202-225-4755(HoursM-F8:00 AM to 5:00 PMCentral Time)

     -Tweet Keith @KeithEllison- He actively uses Twitter and frequently interacts with constituents who send him questions or comments

Many people have been talking about what a huge difference it would make in national discourse if Congressman Ellison were to run for the Democratic nomination for president in place of tired and boring centrists like Sec. of State Kerry, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, and vice President what’s-his-name? We don’t take stands on elections, but we do know that this country badly needs a change in public discourse, and Keith Ellison as chair of the Progressive Caucus of the House of Representatives has shown himself to be a very powerful articulator of an alternative way of thinking. And Congressman Ellison is one of the very few spiritual progressives to have national name recognition! In the historical moment when Pope Francis denounced global capitalism and over a dozen states have passed laws legalizing gay marriage, don’t be so sure that you (or the pundits) really know what is “realistic” and what is not!! Remember: You never know what is possible until you spend your time and money fighting for what is desirable. Just saying….


The Transformative Activist Training


by: Rabbi Michael Lerner and Cat Zavis on December 17th, 2013 | Comments Off

Become a Transformative Activist!

A transformation of consciousness throughout our society is the absolute prerequisite for making social, economic, and political transformation.

Whether you are a student, raising children, working full-time (and then some), unemployed, retired, or house-bound, YOU can become an activist for social healing and transformation. If you are already engaged in social activism, we will help you become more effective in your efforts.

We invite you to come to our training, Jan. 17-20 (Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend), in Berkeley, California.

Though we are offering this training for a super-low cost for a 3.5 day event, nevertheless if it costs more than you can afford, DO NOT LET THAT BE A FACTOR. We understand that you may have costs to get to Berkeley, Ca. and to find a place to stay, so we are fine with reducing the fee to whatever you can afford (including ZERO)–all you have to do is say so by sending an email to RabbiLerner.Tikkun@gmail.com and telling him what you can afford! But check to see the cost first by going to the registration page.


Founder God


by: on December 16th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

(Credit: Creative Commons)

The “funeralizing” of Nelson Mandela has ended. It was part MLK Day, part rock concert. Pundits, starlets and TV personalities fought for air-time to proclaim their nearness to the departed leader.

But, for some of us who marched outside the Chicago consulate of apartheid South Africa in the dead of winter in years gone by, Mandela is more. He was part of a nonracial African National Congress that promised not only political power, but also economic justice. The anti-apartheid struggle was only about campus divestment campaigns and denunciations of the white minority rule in the UN. We must remember that workers, especially mine workers, long demonstrated against the workplace color bar.

Nelson Mandela was an almost miraculous man. Above all, the transition to majority rule from 1990 to 1994 was peaceful. This is a magnificent testament to Mandela’s perseverance, tact and political acumen. However, by the time of his passing the wealth gap between the new black elite and masses has become a chasm.


Can Young People Change a Nation?


by: on December 16th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

In the spring of 1961, Kennedy’s White House was focused on Cold War politics. The civil rights struggle in the South felt like a distraction to the President and his staff, the FBI opposed the movement as Communist, and most people in middle America were just getting ready for Mother’s Day weekend.

But the day after Mother’s Day, 1961, a burning bus was on the front cover a newspapers across the country.

In Aniston and Birmingham, AL, the Klan violently opposed integrated riders on public transit. The Justice Department intervened to cool things down. They flew the battered riders to New Orleans and tried to get them off national television. But some students from Nashville insisted that the ride must go on. They took up the cause, and hundreds of them ended up doing time in Mississippi’s Parchman prison. More importantly, “Freedom Rider” became a household name. And the Civil Rights Movement became a force in American politics.

Maybe the most astounding thing about the Freedom Ride of 1961 is this: college students changed the political conversation in America.


A Corporate Coup


by: on December 10th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Flush the TPP.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) met the week of December 3 in Bali, Indonesia, where anti-WTO demonstrators took over the streets. On the first day of the talks, demonstrations were held around the world to mark the Global Day of Action Against Toxic Trade Agreements. A particular focus for protesters here in the United States and in other Pacific Rim nations was the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a so-called “free-trade agreement” that would consolidate corporate power over member nations. The TPP has been called “NAFTA on steroids.” It has also been called “a corporate coup” and a “corporate power tool of the 1%.” This week, at the Trans-Pacific Partnership Ministerial in Singapore, where negotiations were to be finalized, TPP negotiators failed to meet the end-of-year deadline promoted by the United States.

Why are the WTO, NAFTA, and free-trade agreements such as the TPP “toxic?” Because they put trade (or rather, the free flow of capital) above all else, because they cover far more than trade, and because they give corporations the power to determine what laws a country can or cannot have. They are vehicles through which corporations make and enforce rules for governments to follow.


Reflections on Madiba: Nelson Mandela and the Power of Dignity


by: on December 9th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

Sunday, December 8, 2013 was a day of reflection upon the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa who died December 5, 2013 at age 95. As I reflect upon the meaning of this extraordinary life, I return again and again to his dignity and to the power this sense of self bestowed upon him, even before the South African people elected him to lead them.

Mandela was born into an African royal family, and he was groomed from an early age to be an advisor to kings. And so he was. He became an advisor to world leaders and rose to be the leader of his country and a moral example to the world. This all came to be because of his unyielding determination to be respected as a human being and not to rest until his people were also respected as free and equal human beings. The goal of the end of apartheid [apart hate] in South Africa was constantly before him.

Since Mandela’s death, I have heard many commentators speak of his dedication to non-violence. They marvel at his willingness to forgive both personally and politically. As a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, some have placed him in the pantheon of heroes and sheroes who dedicated their lives to a cause larger than themselves, who worked diligently for peace. Make no mistake, Mandela deserves this recognition.

At the same time, it is more accurate to place him next to El Hajj Malik el Shabazz (the post Mecca Malcolm X) than to Martin Luther King, Jr. or to Mahatma Gandhi. Mandela was a radical humanist in the mold of Malcolm X. He makes a cameo appearance at the end of Spike Lee’s 1992 film Malcolm X reciting Malcolm’s famous declaration:

“We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being, in this society, on this earth, in this day which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”

Mandela was willing to achieve his goal of human dignity for all “by any means necessary.” This included violence against a violent and vicious system and through forgiveness and reconciliation at the moment of transition from an [apart hate] society to a rainbow society where all races are treated equally in custom and in law.


Religion and Utopian Economics


by: Sigfried Gold on December 4th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

Economic and power relations are the place where any set of lofty religious or humanistic ideals come to ground, where the rubber hits the road. And for those atheists who care about making a better world (rather than just making religious people look dumb) this is a place where atheists and the religious can help each other face a most formidable, perennial, intractable challenge: how to structure institutions for the benefit of their members or the public at large while discouraging exploitation and the use of institutional power for the private gain of trusted leaders.

My current favorite of the atheist religions–which don’t generally consider themselves religions–is Nonviolent Communication or NVC, and I was confirmed in my positive regard for the NVC movement when I came upon this piece by Miki Kashtan on Tikkun’s blog addressing crucial questions of money, higher values and inner peace. Kashtan attacks the problem of money in a mode of full-fledged utopian dreamery, offering ideas and experiments that point toward the reform of our society’s whole economic exchange structure. She summarizes some of her intentions thus:

In how I engage with money and resources, I continually strive to move closer to my vision of how I want to see these operate in the world at large. I aim to move from considering exchange value to valuing people and life; from seeing relationships through the lens of exchange to participating in a flow of generosity; from allocating resources based on output equity to caring for everyone’s needs; from making things happen based on the ever-s-subtle coercion of money incentive to complete and wholehearted willingness; from thinking about our merit to sharing our gifts; and from wondering about what someone “deserves” to contributing to everyone receiving all we need. (Miki Kashtan, personal communication)

But I want to focus on a specific problem she raises: how can she offer her services as a trained NVC teacher and practitioner in a way that is consistent with her values? She is, from what I can gather, in considerable demand in the NVC world, but many of the people and organizations who would like her help have little money to pay for it. Does she sell her services only to those who can afford it? No, that would not fit her values. But how can she meet her own financial needs otherwise?


What We Know and Don’t Know


by: on November 27th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

A week ago Sunday, a friend sent me a link to a story about Time Magazine covers. According to the article, the magazine has different covers for its US edition as compared to its three other editions (Europe, Asia, South Pacific): the former focus on personal issues and feelings while the latter on international events of significance. Although the assertion itself has been questioned by some who commented on the story, this story sparked some conversations and reflections for me that led to my deciding to make it this week’s topic.

At the time of receiving this link, I was leading a retreat. Later that same day I led a session in which I described some of my vision and thoughts about money and resource allocation. Little did I know that, in the end, an interaction I had during this session would lead to my having more understanding about the significance of this difference in cover stories.


Ego, Mind, and Culture


by: on November 22nd, 2013 | 3 Comments »

The idea for this piece came to me when I read a comment on an earlier blog post. The specific content of that post (which was about race), is not the issue here. Rather, it was two references to “ego” which caught my attention and got me thinking for all these months. Here they are as context:

“The only use for these false values are to enhance the ego’s sense of separateness, be it through conceived superiority or inferiority.”

“One result of acting upon true values is the freedom from the ignorance to which the separative ego tenaciously clings.”

There is nothing unusual about these sentences. They simply capture a way of speaking that I have been aware of: attributing intention to what is, ultimately, an abstraction. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so noticeable to me if it weren’t for a second aspect: the intention being assigned to this abstraction called “ego” is one that has a negative connotation with it.

It was a sad surprise to me when I learned that the entry of “ego” into the English language was in large part the result of choices made by Freud’s translator, James Strachey. “Ego” was introduced as a translation of the word in German that simply means “I,” thereby changing the meaning and tone of what Freud wrote. “When one says ‘my ego,’” says Mark Leffert, “one can always distance oneself; when one says “I,” no distance is possible.”[Footnote 1]


Money, Value, and Our Choices


by: on November 18th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

In last week’s piece, I looked at some fundamental questions related to money and resources. Today, I want to move from the general and abstract to the personal and practical. There are various reasons for wanting to make it personal, ranging from my desire to support people in making their own personal choices about money with much more awareness to the modeling of transparency in talking about money. As this mini-series is unfolding, I am seeing just how much ground there is to cover. For today, I am focusing on “just” two questions, central to the process of using money to mediate transactions in which goods or services are offered.

How Much Money Do I Pay?

This is a question that’s been haunting me for years. We are so accustomed to supply and demand logic, that I imagine most of the time many of us don’t even think about it. When I look at it deeply, however, I really cannot understand, on the human plane, why I give the woman who cleans my house less money than the acupuncturist or naturopath who attend to my body. The “obvious” answer is that they invested years of their life getting educated. Setting aside the huge question of who gets to be educated and how that gets determined, there is still an embedded assumption in this answer. As someone on a recent teleseminar based on one of my blog pieces said simply: “Why are people with education more valuable than others?” This is precisely the part that haunts me. In effect, setting up the system in the way that it is means that some people’s needs are valued more than others.