Training for Activists

There are now a host of training / education opportunities for activists, both online and in-person. My website http://citizenactivists.school has brief notes and URL addresses for a dozen or so of these training sites. These training opportunities run the full gamut from one day workshops to university degree programs. I focus on those that are the equivalent of a university course or less but also mention a few of the university programs.

In trying to make sense of all these different courses, I developed the following categories of training. Please note that many of the available courses do not fit neatly into any one of these categories … however, the categories may be helpful in thinking about what sort of training fits your particular inclinations.

Government

  • Resistance: Stop Trump, stop the hate, stop all the damaging policies.
  • Elections: elect better people, take back the cities, states and federal government from the reactionaries.
  • Redesigning the electoral system: End gerrymandering, stop voter suppression, get big money out of the electoral process.
  • Redesigning government for the age of complexity: Completely rethink our governmental institutions to make them more responsive to We the People and better able to enact systemically sound policies instead of policies whose unintended consequences make matters worse.

The “Government” categories are listed from the most pressing, short-term to the most fundamental and long term.

Issue Advocacy

  • Lobbying: Convincing / pressuring officials to do the right thing.
  • Grass roots education and organizing: building support for progressive policies.
  • Redesigning the relevant Regulatory system: For many key issue areas, the relevant regulatory bodies at local, state, and federal level have been captured by the special interests they are supposed to regulate. These regulatory bodies should be redesigned to ensure that they put the interests of We the People FIRST.
  • Redesigning the economy OR cities OR communities OR etc. In order to ensure long term viability of human civilization, we need to fundamentally rethink and redesign many aspects of our lives, including especially our economy and our local communities.

The issue advocacy categories are also listed from the short-term, most pressing to the most fundamental and long term.

There is one more category that I am particularly interested in. We humans are story-telling animals. Our stories define who we are, shape our attitudes toward everything (including our politics), and largely determine our behavior. The neurologists and psychologists have IMO conclusively demonstrated that we are not so much rational beings as rationalizing beings … we make decisions largely emotionally and then we rationalize those decisions. Thus the stories we live by are crucial.

The stories that served us well for the last few centuries are now leading us, lemming like, straight off a very high cliff. Our mystics, poets, and scientists are rapidly developing a new story, one that can help us transition from rapidly fouling our own nest into a viable civilization for the long term.

My own work and teaching in recent months has been on developing this new story, a New Foundational Myth. I recently concluded a six-week course (face to face) on the New Foundational Myth. Three quarters of the participants told me that the course was transformative for them. I am currently putting this course online and hope to have it ready within the next couple of weeks. Tentative title is “The Great Work: Creating a viable future”.

I keep finding new training opportunities which delays getting this note out to you. I am stopping … no more for now. I will update this list later.

Grace and Peace be with you,

Barry Clemson

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