rkm back in Ireland…


Richard Moore

    [VIDEO] 9/11: Controlled Demo Proven in 19 Seconds

Whew! I escaped from the Heart of the Beasty Matrix! Only one Close 
Encounter of the Third Reich Kind...that is, the Gestapo Homeland 
Security folks pulled me over for a search at the Canada-US border. I 
wasn't prepared for their silly questions and they didn't like my 
vague answers. What nerve them asking  me how I paid for my trip, why 
I have a laptop, and what I write on the Internet!  I said, "I write 
about current affairs'. I should have said, 'I write about Gestapo 
border guards'. With the new 'no habeas corpus' law, I'm wondering if 
I ever will return to North America. I was always puzzled why more 
people didn't escape from Nazi Germany when they still had the chance.

I don't take much comfort from the election outcome. Perhaps I would 
if the Dems began by repealing the Patriot Acts, withdrawing from 
Iraq & Afghanistan, and re-opening nuclear disarmament talks -- but 
they won't. The main effects will be to make progressives think 
things have 'gotten better', and squash concerns about electronic 
voting. I assume 'they' let the Dems win, and could have had the 
Repubs win instead if they wanted to, via the magic of Diebold. 
Perhaps this means they've decided not to attack Iran. We'll see. It 
may also mean they want the Dems to control Congress when the dollar 
collapses, so as to blame the Dems.


I'm very happy with the outcomes of the tour. I met lots of people 
who are involved in various kinds of activism and there seem to be 
many possibilities for ongoing remote collaboration. In several 
places, energy was generated to pursue community dialog events, in 
the style of Wisdom Councils. :-)  Also, in presenting my 'message', 
I learned where people have trouble with the concepts. I'm convinced 
that for future presentations I need to have slides to show along 
with the talk. A good image or diagram can convey some of the key 
ideas better than words, and would also fix the concept better in 
people's memories. I also learned that following a talk, and Q&A, 
there needs to be a 'circle process', so the folks can get a bit of 
experience with listening-centered dialog. I was pleased that in many 
cases new connections were made among local people, who had common 
interests but had not met one another previously.

One thing I noticed is that many groups, of various kinds, could 
improve their operation by use of better dialog processes. It would 
be a good thing if there was more general awareness of the variety of 
processes that are available. Many groups think they are using a 
'facilitator', just because  someone is chairing the meeting. Or they 
know of only one kind of group  process, and aren't aware that there 
are more effective ones for their purposes. I guess my general rule 
would be this: if chronic non-communication and dysfunction exists in 
a group, then it is not using an appropriate dialog process.

in a few cases, people are forming reading circles, to go through the 
ETM material one chapter per week. I'm hoping that might lead to such 
a group going on to organize some kind of dialog events. Also I'd be 
quite happy to respond to such groups, if they come up with 
'questions for the author' as part of their process.


* The Community Empowerment Project

ETM is partly 'fact' and partly 'theory'. In the 'fact' category, I 
count all the stuff about 'how the world works', and the stuff about 
how harmonization works in small groups. In the 'theory' category is 
the stuff about how harmonization processes can awaken a spirit of We 
the People in a community as a whole, and in larger units of society. 
This theory needs to be tested. Can a community really wake up and 
become an empowered community? If that can be demonstrated, then much 
of the book would shift categories from theory to fact. Also, a 
single empowered community would be a significant milestone, an 
inspiration to other communities, the seed of a cultural meme.

Hence, I'm beginning to formulate an experiment, my next 'big 
project' after finishing the book itself. The project involves 
working with some community, over a period of several months, to help 
it 'wake up'. What I have in mind is to assemble a project team, some 
of whom would be unpaid advisors, and some of whom (eg. facilitators) 
would get paid market rate for their contributions. One of the team 
members needs to be someone who is good at writing grant proposals, 
as that would be the source of funding.

We'd want to get enough funding so that we could hold a whole series 
of 'democracy circles' without requiring the community to do any fund 
raising. A 'democracy circle' is likely to be a Wisdom Council, but I 
prefer to use the more generic term. When the team gets organized, 
and gets its funding lined up, then the next step would be to hook up 
with some local activists in some community, who want to bring the 
project to their community. The project team would provide support 
and resources, including facilitators and funding for meeting places 
and local advertising. But the local activists would need to take 
responsibility for driving the project forward and handling local 
arrangements. The locals would need to 'own' the project; otherwise 
the democratic legitimacy of the endeavor would be dubious.

The key idea behind the experiment is to pursue it 'whole hog'. That 
is, pull out all the stops, and give the project every chance to 
succeed. Not only would there be several months of democracy circles, 
followed by public meetings, supported by good publicity, but perhaps 
also Conversation Cafes could be linked in, giving lots of people in 
the community an opportunity to participate in community dialog. The 
team would need to do some brainstorming in this area. If the 
experiment fails, I want it to be because the theory is wrong, not 
because we didn't try hard enough. In this way, something useful will 
be learned no matter what the outcome.

Another important element of the project will be the training of 
local facilitators. Our selected community would need to have strong 
local activists to drive the project, and some local people who are 
eager to learn how to facilitate circles. The trainees would get 
their training for free, during the first two or three democracy 
circle processes, and in return they would facilitate the remaining 
circles at below-market rate. Thus the community would become 
'democratically self-sufficient'. :-)



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