Beyond Resistance: Strategies in the Age of Trump
- Are you upset at the danger to our planet, the possibility of nuclear war, the rise of Neo-Nazis, and the dismantling of human rights and environmental protections by the Trump Administration?
- Are you concerned that the current forms of activism may not have much of an impact on changing things?
- Would you like to contribute to transforming our world?
- Do you want to develop the skills to engage with others in political conversation with radical empathy and understanding?
- And would you be willing to become active in one of the two following ways:
- Join the efforts of the Network of Spiritual Progressives to build a movement that seeks a fundamental transformation of our society sufficient to save the environment, democratize our economy, and replace a society based on selfishness and materialism with a society based on love, compassion, and generosity?
- Commit to share what you learn in our training with some other social change organization(s)?
Whether your focus is on creating conditions in which liberals and progressives could win in the 2018 and 2020 elections or on longer-term goals of societal and environmental transformation, if you want real change, this training is for you!
The training is conducted on Zoom, a video conferencing platform that allows us to see one another, and break into small groups. It is possible to participate via computer, phone, or other device.
In this eight-session training by the Network of Spiritual Progressives and Tikkun magazine led by Cat Zavis and assisted by Rev. Carolyn Wilkins, you will be in an environment in which your desire for a loving, caring, just, and sustainable world will be embraced and encouraged. You will be given the tools you need to bring that vision into the world through concrete proposals and programs that can create lasting systemic change.
In turn, you will be expected to become an activist both during and after the training to help build a spiritually progressive social change movement. You will be given the support you need to start a local chapter of the NSP or to help transform some other existing social change organization so that it begins to incorporate ideas that you’ve learned in this training so we can more effectively build a loving and just world.
You will learn about the psychological and spiritual suffering that people experience living in our society and how to help people both understand and overcome it, strategies to create meaningful and lasting systemic change, and skills in empathic listening and speaking that will help you reshape the liberal and progressive world so that it can be more effective in reaching across the divide to speak to those who didn’t vote in 2016 or to that section of the Trump voters who are not racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or anti-Semitic. Sessions will include readings, role-plays, listening to role-plays of Rabbi Lerner and Cat Zavis, group practice, and large and small group discussion. This training will only work if you commit time outside these sessions to do the homework that includes outreach exercises, readings, and watching videos. We will provide buddy groups for folks in the training so you have ongoing support and engagement with others between the weekly calls.
Our next training will begin on Tuesday, November 28th and will end on Tuesday, January 23rd. Each training begins at 4:00pm PT (5:00pm MT, 6:00pm CT, 7:00pm ET) and lasts two hours. Please note: there will be no training on Tuesday, December 26. To register, click here.
In this training, you will gain the following skills:
- How to listen to people who do not share a progressive worldview without criticism and blame
- How to express empathy and understanding for contrary points of view without necessarily agreeing with those views
- How to identify the needs (social, political, spiritual) of the person who expresses a position with which you don’t necessarily agree
- How to express the vision of a world based on a New Bottom Line
- Understanding of how the Right attracts people who are not racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and whose economic interests are with the Left – and how to win them back
- How to take these ideas into local social change organizations, religious or spiritual communities, seek endorsements for proposals from elected officials, and raise these issues with your friends.
Session 1 (November 28): Understanding Spiritual Activism in Our Times
This first session provides an understanding how we got here. We discuss some of the forces that have occurred over the course of history that resulted in Trump being elected President; the mistakes made by the Left; and how you can play a role in turning things around. We will share our 3-stage strategy for how to “overcome Trumpism” and our vision for how to move forward. During this week, we will also share techniques in listening to deepen awareness about how we listen and how that impacts how we choose to speak and respond.
Session 2 (December 5): Understanding Personal and Systemic Psychological Trauma, Surplus Powerlessness, and Spiritual Leadership
The second session focuses on the psychological trauma created by our society on a personal and systemic level and what we can do about it. We discuss the spiritual crisis facing our country and the role of spiritual leaders and activists, as well as the role that spiritual activism can play in transforming our world and why it is important to bring a moral voice to political discourse and how to do so effectively. In addition to the above, we practice skills in self-compassion and self-empathy to deepen self-awareness so you can better understand your own feelings and needs.
Session 3 (December 12) : Empathic Listening – Love the Stranger as Thyself
In session three we will gain a deeper understanding of what it is that attracted voters to Trump by reading the words of Trump supporters themselves. We will use this as an opportunity to deepen our empathic listening skills so that you are able to have a better understanding of the meaning articulated behind the statements, policies, positions, and approaches of others? How do we hear their deep pains and sorrows, understand their needs, and demonstrate that understanding as a path to connection? When we are able to empathically connect with others, we can begin to see our shared humanity, our common needs, our collective pain, and our deep yearnings. From that place, we can begin to explore solutions and strategies that can help us build the world we all seek. Our differences begin to breakdown and we find we are actually more alike than we thought. We see that we all yearn for loving connections, lives of meaning and purpose, and mutual recognition and sense of belonging.
Session 4 (December 19): Grieving the World that Is, Envisioning the World We Want, Understanding the Problem with Global Capitalism and Possible Solutions
Session four begins with a powerful exercise in grieving the world that is and envisioning the world we want. Through this exercise, participants see the value in allowing themselves to genuinely and deeply touch into their grief and sorrow about what is, as a foundation and launching pad for both envisioning the world they want and feeling inspired to take meaningful, long-term action to build that world. It is our belief that grieving is the foundation out of which healing, repair, and transformation grow. We share with participants a critique of global capitalism with its false message of endless production and consumption and help participants understand that imposing ethical and moral standards in our government, workplaces, professions, schools, and the like, is not only appropriate but desperately needed. We explain the shortcomings of efforts that are steeped in realistic strategies and help participants understand that promoting concrete policies and strategies that seem “unrealistic” at this time are in fact also part of what it means to engage in social and political activism from a spiritual perspective.
Session 5 (January 2): Empathic Speaking – Sharing Our Vision and Exploring Strategies
In session five we move from the place of empathic listening to the place of empathic speaking. Participants learn how to engage in conversations that allow them and those with whom they are communicating to both be heard and to share their deepest truths. We emphasize the importance of empathy before education because we know that if we try to convince someone with facts or other information about the righteousness of our position and they have not been heard, seen, recognized, ‘gotten,’ connected with, or valued for who they are, that they will not hear us. Participants learn how to make clear requests, to state (without judgment) their concerns, to reflect back their understanding of what the other person is saying, and how to find common ground and shared values. In this session we share two concrete proposals the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the US Constitution and the Global Marshall Plan as examples of how to embody the New Bottom Line in concrete strategies and proposals.
Sessions 6 & 7 (January 9 & 16): Taking Action and Building the Movement
In sessions 6 & 7, we review what we’ve learned and discuss how to bring this work into the world through the creation of local chapters and professional and workplace groups, and by taking it to community and social change organizations, and religious and spiritual communities. On these calls, individuals who have already completed the training and are bringing the work into their communities, share what they have done, their successes and challenges, and answer questions. This opportunity to engage with folks who are already taking this work into the world is an invaluable part of the training. People on these calls see the power of the learning and the training and its ability to deeply transform how to engage in social change efforts from a truly spiritually progressive place. The stories are inspiring and provide hope and meaning.
Session 8 (January 23): Building a Local Network and Community
One of the intentions of this training is to provide you the information, theory, tools, and support you need to start a local NSP chapter and/or to share this work with others in your community (e.g., with social change organizations or spiritual/religious communities) to help build a spiritually progressive social change movement both locally and nationally and to link all the individual efforts of different organizations and groups under an umbrella of a vision of a world based on a New Bottom Line. This call is an opportunity for you to bring together people from your community for an informational meeting to share with them what it is that excites you about the NSP and the training. Rabbi Lerner or Cat Zavis will lead this call. We will provide an introduction to our work and share some ideas for what you can accomplish locally and how that can both support local efforts at social change and build a larger movement for deeper structural change.
We will speak for the first 20 minutes of the call and then answer any questions for an additional 20 minutes. Then after that time you can continue to meet with the people from your community who are there. Ideally you will gather at least 3-5 people together at a location that has internet access where you can turn the computer screen so people can see and hear him and each other well. If you are unable to get people together in one location, you can also invite people to participate in the call from their home or other location.
Group Rate: We want to encourage you to register for the training with others in your community because we know that having a cohort of people in your community who participate together will make it much more likely for you to actually become active and engaged in building a spiritually progressive social change movement both locally and nationally. Therefore, if you are able to get 3 or more people to join the training with you from your community, we are willing to provide a group rate. To discuss the details and make arrangements to do so, please contact Chris at email@example.com or at 510-644-1200.