Ken Cloke wrote Politics, Dialogue, and the Evolution of Democracy, which was published by GoodMedia Press in 2018. It is a fabulous book, stock full of ideas about better ways of engaging in politics that will de-escalate our current conflicts, help save our democracy--and that of others.
The core idea of the book is that democracy is predicated upon healthy relationships and facts-based collaborative problem solving. To the extent that we move away from that, to polarized relationships, fake facts, and win-lose thinking, we are endangering the democracy we have long taken for granted and paralyzing our ability to solve our many pressing global, national, and local problems.
"The proposition of this book," wrote Cloke, "is that it is possible for us, by developing higher order attitudes and behaviors, processes and relationships, skills and capacities, espeically in dialogue and conflict resolution, to improve our ability to resolve chronic political conflicts, by turning our differences into improved relationships and more successful problem-solving, strengthening democracy and reducing the need to dominate others politically." (Page xx.) "The key component in producing this shift is public dialogue," Cloke says (Also page xx.)
After exploring the core components of politics, democracy, and political conflict, Cloke applies core conflict resolution principles to those processes and structures and shows, very effectively, why and how using interest-based decision making approaches (as is done in conflict resolution) is likely to result in far superior outcomes when compared with power- and rights-based solutions which are currently dominant in political conflicts and American decision making.
Cloke then goes on to illustrate how conflict resolution strategies can be used to effectively discuss a variety of intractable conflicts including race, abortion, immigration, gun control, climate change, and same sex marraige--topics which usually result in polarized attitudes, distrust, and hostility when discussed. After a detailed discussion of how to design, organize, and facilitate effective political dialogues, Cloke goes on to imagine how interest-based solutions could be developed for several global conflicts. Prophetically, the topics he chose to discuss (in 2018) were migration, strengthening the U.N. and global pandemics!
While we obviously cannot post the whole book on Beyond Intractability, Ken generously gave us permission to post several sections, including the extremely timely chapter on pandemics. Since we don't have a "book section" area on BI, we decided to post these excerpts in our Essays section, which is where we also have the abridged version of John Paul Lederach's book Conflict Tranformation. Below you will find links to all the excerpts we have published here on BI, along with the Table of Contents so you will see what you will get if you buy the whole book--which only costs $24.95 from GoodMedia Press--an amazing deal!
Exceprts: Introduction | Power, Rights, and Interests | Truth and Falsity | Meditative, Interest-Based Approaches to Political Conflicts | Power, Rights, & Interests in Political Discussions | 20 Ways to Talk about Political Differences, | Algorithm for Political Dialogue | Global Pandemics, National Borders and Political Problem Solving
OVERVIEW OF POLITICS AND POLITICAL CONFLICT
1. HOW TO THINK ABOUT POLITICS AND POLITICAL 3
2. THE NEUROPHYSIOLOGY AND MORALITY OF 35
3. HOW TO DISCUSS RACE, ABORTION, IMMIGRATION, 57
GUN CONTROL, CLIMATE CHANGE, SAME SEX
MARRIAGE AND OTHER HOT TOPICS
HOW TO DESIGN, ORGANIZE AND FACILITATE POLITICAL DIALOGUES
4. WHY DIALOGUE IN POLITICS? 77
5. HOW TO DESIGN, ORGANIZE AND FACILITATE DIALOGUES OVER
DIFFICULT AND DANGEROUS ISSUES 95
6. DESIGNING DIALOGUES ABOUT PREJUDICE ANDDISCRIMINATION 125
IMAGINING INTEREST-BASED SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL CONFLICTS
7. RETHINKING MIGRATION: DESIGNING DIALOGUES FOR 151
IMMIGRANTS AND CITIZENS
8. GLOBAL PANDEMICS, NATIONAL BORDERS AND 187
9. STRENGTHENING THE UNITED NATIONS: TOWARD A 199
INTEREST-BASED DEMOCRACIES AND ALTERNATIVES TO CONFLICT
10. THE FORMS, LIMITS AND EVOLUTION OF DEMOCRACY 217
ABOUT THE AUTHOR