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Sender: Bruce Schuman
Subject: Putting the pieces together
Date: Thu, Aug 14, 2014
Msg: 101112

Dear Transpartisans -

Just wanted to offer a perspective on this project.

Mark Gerzon's proposal and approach seems very appropriate to me - though I do agree with John Miller that exactly as described, it does tend to "lack a feedback loop" (ie, as a group we need to know what others are suggesting, and keeping this private can be misleading and/or discouraging). But yes - 1) we need to move towards a collaborative form of action; and 2) to accomplish this, we need "dialogue" - or maybe some strong basic approaches to brainstorming-at-a-distance.

It seems to me that the messages and insights already posted to our discussion here on this listserv offer a very comprehensive array of ideas to consider, and indicate a high degree of diversity - of skills, of interests, and of important facets of the very broadly inclusive "transpartisan" field.


I would like to see the emergence of a comprehensive framework that draws together all phases of the transpartisan movement. Yes, we can build an approach based on some specialized independent projects, as Mark Gerzon is suggesting - but how about establishing what we all have in common?


Yesterday, I spent an hour and 40 minutes watching a very strong and comprehensive video presentation on this general subject by leading NCDD member Dr. Martin Carcasson - who uses the word "impartial" instead of "transpartisan" (because transpartisan is "too fancy"). If I wanted to build a comprehensive system that embraces all aspects of the transpartisan/dialogue and deliberation field, I would start with Carcasson. It seemed immediately obvious that he is absolutely expert on this subject, has had long experience, and speaks with charming and very personable grace on hundreds of facets, offering many succinct and illuminating points. Though an expert on national issues and approaches, his instinct now is highly local. He cites NCDD several times throughout the video.

The video - highly recommended - is here:

The title is "What Sort of Talk does Democracy Need? A Call for Building Local Capacity for Deliberative Practice"

So - if I were to offer a comprehensive proposal for transpartisan activism, I think what I would suggest is - create some kind of online overview of all the themes and points that Carcasson makes - and then open the process to buy-in and revision by interested transpartisans (members of this listserv), who could help us collaboratively edit the big picture, and find a place for themselves within it. This is an approach that "includes all voices", enables collaboration among diverse groups and elements, and has the power to contain all the specific detail and complexity that might overwhelm more traditional approaches.


To enable this, I have created a "survey" process on Network Nation. This is a polling system intended to gather together the thinking of a diverse group, such that participating members can add their own content to a shared framework. In this kind of survey, every participant can add their own "answers" to be selected by others. The Network Nation system offers a connection between email and its surveys, and can grow in myriad ways. I would love to support the work of this group through Network Nation - and do have the entire content of the listserv online in this framework, at

Here's a starting point question for anyone who might be interested in this approach:

Thanks, and much appreciation -


Bruce Schuman




(805) 966-9515, PO Box 23346, Santa Barbara CA 93101

From: List for transpartisan leaders and innovators [mailto:TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG] On Behalf Of Mark Gerzon Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2014 8:01 AM To: TRANSPARTISAN@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG Subject: [TRANSPARTISAN] PROPOSAL FOR ACTION (AND REQUEST FOR OTHERS)

Dear Colleagues,

I have been heartened by the "call to action" that has surfaced in the last several days, and agree that it is time in the transpartisan field for us to coalesce around certain initiatives. I also agree with Sandy Heierbacher that this communication medium is not the ideal organizing channel, and that other forms need to emerge. Furthermore, I agree with Tom Atlee that the strongest approach is dialogue and action, not one or the other - or, as Michael Briand said (quoting Fisher and Ury), "Go slow to go fast."

In the spirit of these and other excellent contrinutions, let me share a proposal for a next step to unfold during August-September:


I would welcome suggestions about action initiatives from individuals on the listserv who would like to lead them. (In other words, casual suggestions about things that "someone could do" seems less useful than specific ideas that one or more persons want to take responsibility for.) So I would propose that anyone on the listserve can propose an initiative, and that others may then write directly to him or her to express their interest in further activitiy. In that way, clusters will form around specific initiatives that can move forward and then, in due time, report back to the listserv on their progress. We could pick a date, such as October 1, for all initiatives to send in a short summary report to Debilyn Molineaux, who would then assemble them in a compilation that is criculated to the entire listserv.

Here follows my proposal for action, for which I (with colleagues) will take responsibility for coordinating:


I would like to see transpartisan issue-based dialogues form around the country. I would like the groups to be diverse (i.e. representative of the political spectrum) and focussed on specific issues that are likely to be relevant to other communities around the country. I would like these groups to develop a protocol for engaging their 15-30 (approx) participations in a dialogue that continues for several months, and lead toward deeper understanding across boundaries, build a sense of community, and (in some cases) lead to "breakthroughs" that create new approaches to the issue under discussion.

Anyone on the listserv could initiative such a transpartisan dialogue in his or her own community.

If these groups emerged across the country and met from Autumn 2014 through Summer 2015, we could have a gathering of representatives of these groups in Autumn 2015 that would gather lessons from the transpartisan dialogues and chart a next step forward - possible leading to a "report to the nation" in 2016.

If anyone is interested in this initiative, please contact Debilyn or myself and we'll set up a teleconference soon to discuss protocols and coordinate our efforts.


As my own case study illustrates, I am proposing an initiative and taking responsibility for it (with colleagues). I am encouraging interested persons to contact us, not write to the listserv. And I am promising to report back periodically to the listserv (via the moderator). So, if you are interested, please (1) post your own initiative on the listserv, or (2) contact me or Debilyn about your interest in participating in ours.

May a thousand flowers bloom!


Mark Gerzon

-- Mark Gerzon Mediators Foundation 2525 Arapahoe Avenue E-4 #509 Boulder, Colorado 80302 3038171409

"Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them." - Albert Einstein


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