Left-Right Grassroots Common Ground Growing

I attended a Tea Party Patriots meeting last night in Issaquah, WA and gave a presentation about bridging political divides. Tea Party Patriots is the most grassroots (i.e. unwilling to give power to leaders who want to speak for them) of all the Tea Party groups. They have three core values: fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets. They are VERY clear they are a movement to restore decision making authority to the grassroots and don’t want to be co-opted by the major parties.

They were very receptive to bridging and in fact it was a major theme in the presentation before mine by Keli Carender, aka “Liberty Belle”, as a strategy for finding support their Sunshine Review agenda which evidently has interest from someone at the progressive Daily Kos. We talked during my presentation about the fact that they had been dismissed by the media as “angry white racists” and they laughed. Some of them – about 40 or so in the room – were former Democrats (about half women) who had gotten fed up with federal fiscal irresponsibility. The two organizers were not your typical politicos, neither had been very active in politics.

I was there to tell them about an upcoming “open space” session on Dec. 4 in Seattle called a Transpartisan Chautauqua. The Tea Party has been burned by being dismissed for their town hall behavior and seemed very curious about an alternative format.

For those of you who are serious about bridging political divides, below is the Left-right Common Ground identified at two recent Seattle Transpartisan Alliance Meetups, 10/10 and 10/27, among a total of 33 people from all different political points of view (but mainly green/progressive and libertarian/conservative). In some ways these meetups serve as a “focus group.” We will offer a session on this at the Chautauqua on Dec. 4.

TRANSCRIBED FROM FLIP CHARTS RECORDING RESPONSES FROM PARTICIPANTS:

Situation (Problem)

Citizenship

  • How do we ask the right questions
  • How do we see the whole situation as opposed just through our own filters
  • How do we balance micro-macro
  • How do we deal with personal time constraints to become an active citizen
  • How do we develop an organizational structure that has influence with institutions
  • How do we create wiki government
  • How do we best spend our energy, reforming the old or creating the new
  • How can citizens take charge/responsibility in their own neighborhoods
  • How do we teach ethics
  • How do we value various types of intelligence
  • How do we the people educate each other and take action as we the people
  • How do we pivot off what is in place
  • How can we use alternative media to overcome corporate media

Parties and Politics

  • How do we do other than war
  • How do we unite on things that matter
  • How do we look at ourselves for solutions rather than our political heroes
  • How do we influence all the parties
  • How do we get to a party that unites all parties
  • How do we become accountable to each other and hold office holders accountable

Government and Corporations

  • How do we follow the money
  • How do we penetrate the paralysis
  • How do we create transparency
  • How do we deal with broken systems
  • How do we bring entrepreneurship into government
  • How can people lead within the systems
  • How do we overcome monopolistic capitalism, abuse of power by hierarchy
  • How do we get accurate and reliable budget information from the government
  • How do we address corruption of the monetary system by the Federal Reserve

Localism

  • How do we tap into solutions that are already going
  • How do we encourage local innovation in education, food, money
  • How do we repair broken agreements between the rich and poor, overcome disparity, and stop the decline of middle class
  • How do we reform education to include non traditional subjects

Money

  • What do we do if the money system breaks down
  • How do we find alternative to debt money
  • How do we tie monetary systems back to time
  • What is a person’s time worth
  • How do we find other ways to motivate people other than money

Solutions

Citizenship

  • Become aware of fundamental needs
  • Remind ourselves that we are in charge
  • Convene forums about fundamental principles and philosophy of government
  • Create new fundamental agreement for society, i.e. evolve the constitution
  • Connect social networks — self organizing, non coercive, free associations
  • Adopt bottom up and top down strategies
  • Educate each other by connecting the dots
  • Teach collaboration and innovation in education
  • Investigate sociocracy and dynamic governance

Parties and Politics

  • Lobby the people, not the government
  • Define tribes and rules of interactions between them
  • Become a PAC rather than a party
  • No enemies, we are all in this together
  • Be careful of language
  • Join coalitions together
  • Embrace tolerance

Government and Corporations

  • Define the role of government and the role of corporations
  • Find allies within the system
  • Organize neighbors to take care of themselves in challenging situations
  • Connect globally act locally
  • Adopt a market system within corporations to reward merit

Localism

  • No need to agree on action, encourage a diversity of approaches
  • Focus on fundamentals — food, water, health care
  • Activate working groups
  • Partner between officials and community

Money

  • Vote with our dollar, spend our money in alignment with our values
  • Build a barter network
  • Share places to stay, have meals, share resources
  • Meet the needs of individuals, families
  • Begin the gift culture – live the gift – create gift groups
  • Change win/lose economics by modeling alternative
  • Do not accumulate stuff – buy used
  • Move your money and support local currency

What we all agree on

  • Democratic system is not representing us
  • We don’t support corporate or government structures that encourage predatory behavior
  • No taxation without equal, full representation
  • Local response is most empowering
  • We all want to build a sense of neighborhood, tribe
  • We all have common needs: love, autonomy, fairness, safety, basic services
  • We need to balance rights with responsibility

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