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NCDD Holiday Confab with Tom Atlee!

Update:  We’ve rescheduled the Confab for Tuesday, January 17th (2pm Eastern / 11am Pacific). For some reason, not too many people were signing up for the December 29th call. 😉  Register at http://myaccount.maestroconference.com/conference/register/SU5ISTNQ00T68NR as soon as you can so we know you’re coming!  And please still take a look at the chapters that are online temporarily and share your feedback before New Year’s.

Looking to take a break from your break next week? Then join us for a special holiday Confab Call with thought leader Tom Atlee on Thursday, December 29th at 2pm Eastern (11am Pacific). We’ll be talking with Tom about his upcoming book and also take some time to reflect and recharge our thinking for the new year!

Publisher Evolver Editions will release Tom’s latest, Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics, next summer, but you can get a sneak peek at a couple of the chapters Tom’s been working on here, where they’re being posted temporarily for a very special “pre-publication public review.” (And Tom would love any comments you’d like to offer about them.) This will be a holiday treat – a chance to talk informally with one of our field’s visionary leaders about some of the concepts he’s been writing about.

Sign up (and get call-in details) here. Ben Roberts, a principal in both weDialogue and Occupy Café, will be facilitating the call on the Maestro platform. We look forward to an inspiring end-of-the-year Confab with old and new NCDD friends!

Here’s a bit more about Tom’s book:

Our existing democratic-republican political system is clearly unable to deal with twenty-first-century challenges. We need more wisdom in our public policies, our public budgets, and our public conversations — and we need it soon. This book, Empowering Public Wisdom, suggests that it is both vital and possible to generate authentic collective wisdom through the conversations of ordinary citizens.

“Public wisdom” results when the public — as a whole or in randomly selected “mini-publics” — engages in learning about, reflecting on, and discussing public affairs in ways that take into account what needs to be taken into account to decide what will produce long term, inclusive benefits.

The chapters being posted on Reality Sandwich describe that kind of randomly selected mini-public — the various forms of temporary, well-informed “citizen deliberative councils.” They tell us about the hundreds of these councils that have been held around the world and how they have been used. They tell us about new forms of councils that could be developed and new ways they could be used — including organizing them at grassroots levels and through using the Internet.

These councils provide a way to readily and affordably generate a legitimate, authentic, coherent, and wise voice of “we, the people” — a voice for “the general welfare” that is not currently present in our political discourse. It moves us beyond partisanship to a place of collective responsibility for our shared destiny. It reclaims the idea of “we, the people” as a coherent political force that integrates the diversity of the whole citizenry rather than a catchphrase used by one more special-interest group that attempts to speak for “the people” but doesn’t really embrace our full range of perspectives and needs.

Other chapters in the book discuss (a) the role of power–especially how to balance power in a democracy and move from power-over to power-with; (b) the need to rein in corporate and financial domination of elections and government; (c) the strengths and limitations of both representative and direct democracy; (d) the polarization of our current political life and strategies to creatively move beyond it without dishonorable compromises and deals; (e) dozens of high quality conversational processes for mass public participation; and (f) how the power of public wisdom might actually be institutionalized in our government.

This is a radically new way to think about democracy. It embraces diversity, engages participation, and addresses conflicts and ignorance in profoundly different ways than we are used to hearing in bars, on talk shows, in public hearings, and within the halls of government. This is not a kind of direct democracy, where everyone votes on everything. Its bottom line is not just “participation” or “winning” but wisdom. Empowering Public Wisdom offers practical approaches for achieving exactly that.

Andy Fluke
Andy Fluke is the co-founder of NCDD and currently provides creative support to many of NCDD's publications and events. He also works with a handful of other NCDD members on a variety of projects as consultant and designer. More about his work can be found at www.andyfluke.com.

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  1. Could you please tell me what sister organisations you have in Europe?

    One of the msot important aspects of “dialogue and deliberation” using modern media is that it can be world-wide. Movements like Avaaz and Occupy show how powerful such “grass roots” movements can be. NCDD and its siblings can give useful contributions to the “thinking power” of all such international action. Modern democracy surpasses the Nation-State.

    Best wishes, and happy 2012,


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