We are looking for diverse voices for the "conversation starter" role on our Cafe Calls.  Please offer your suggestions.  These are people who can speak from their personal experience either with the #Occupy movement or "related realms."  We are especially interested in people who have compelling stories to tell.

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Any more clarity on what kind of stories you would like to hear?

I believe a conversation about how to communicate compassionately would be enlivening and would expand everyone's options about speaking to others in the camps, with the media, with the police. This isn't about being a peace-nik, or a nice person. There are fundamental premises that underly a truly compassionate approach to interaction. Most people that I know who have been studying this for a while claim that they have a epiphany every year or so about how they can be even more compassionate than they have been. I have a lot of stories that I could share about situations people have brought to our daily training call, where they thought they were being compassionate and walked away from the call with a much fuller understanding of the needs of the other person or group.

Suzanne Jones

suzannej@ymail.com

I ran out of time to edit my post, so I'll comment here. I have a master's degree in Communication. In the past, most communication education focused on how to do eloquent public speaking. In recent years, the field of communication has evolved from this narrow focus and now addresses the message: what types of messages do we send, how do we send these messages, how are these messages received. Numerous interesting theories have arisen around this that are helpful in understanding the impact of our messages on others. With my study of Nonviolent Communication (aka Compassionate Communication) I have found a way to better put these theories into action and to enhance how the message is delivered and how it is heard.

This article brings up very important issues.  I don't know who might be a "starter speaker" for it - maybe Aung San Suu Kyi, herself?  Surely there is someone here with experience with this topic; or expertise on Aung or transformation.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/opinion/magazine-global-agenda-th... 

Well, Pat... She's not in my contact list, or even a Facebook friend!  Seriously though--what for you is the essential issue you see here that would be compelling for us to explore?

Ben Roberts

As for having her as a contact - you have my full vote of confidence that you can get her into your contact list, by making four connections - 6-degrees of separation...  If not you, then I can, I bet.  

Were you able to read the whole article?   Here are some of the lines that inspired me, as a supporter with an "active commitment"

*********As a member of a movement that has been engaged in a long struggle to effect change through nonviolent means, I have learned to value, above all other attributes in colleagues and supporters, active commitment.  Such commitment is, while seldom given to pyrotechnic display, always there, and it provides constant assurance that the essential flame that keeps our cause vibrant will not die out. It is passion, not of the sterile breed, but passion that moves hearts and minds and makes history. It is passion that translates into power. When such passion is brought to bear on public issues, it is a potent instrument for political and social change.

*********Commitment, perseverance, persuasion, the ability to win hearts and minds can be counterweights to ... opposing powers.  Passion can fill in the gaps when power alone is not enough.

*********In all its might, power is less self-sufficient than passion; passion generates its own power. Passion is in itself a kind of power that is by its very nature a kinetic force.

Power, on the other hand, tends naturally toward entrenchment. When power moves in the direction of political change, it usually does so because external forces — from popular uprisings to poll predictions — have become irresistible.

Passion is more effective than power as an impetus for political change. Meaningful political change, however, needs to be sustainable. For that, passion and power must work together as mutually supportive partners.

We all wish for change, but there is no guarantee that change will take place or that it will live up to expectations. There is always an element of risk when we step out into the unknown. The greatest challenge for Burma and the countries of the Arab Spring, as well as all peoples who hope to enjoy the flowers and fruits of their endeavors in 2012, will be to bring wisdom to bear on passion and power, to create a blend of the two that is both effective and wholesome.

It's a great shame that my colleague Terry Hallman cannot speak, he died in August but I can offer his thoughts through articles and strategy plans he developed.

It begins with this critique of traditional capitalism delivered to the White House in September 1996   

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