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Re: [smygo] Consensus Problems & Anarchist Process

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  • Chuck Munson
    Voting and certainly majority process aren t compatible with anarchism. Consensus and similar forms are the types of process that anarchists should be
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 31, 2011
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      Voting and certainly "majority" process aren't compatible with anarchism.
      Consensus and similar forms are the types of process that anarchists should
      be practicing and promoting. The success of the Occupy Wall Street movement
      and the successful anti-globalization movements of a decade ago are
      important examples of why consensus works.

      Consensus is also a widespread process that has been used in many
      communities and cultures across human history.

      I think there is something lurking under the fact that anarchist opponents
      of consensus tend to be of the "red" or "workerist" persuasion. I don't get
      why they'd rather have leaders and undemocratic process because they don't
      like blocking. There has to be more to it than simple annoyance with how
      one part of consensus process is misused.

      Chuck
      Infoshop.org

      On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:23 AM, Ilan Shalif <gshalif@...>wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      > Classic Consensus is nice for contemplation of abstract opinions. For
      > practical
      > activities, a "modified" version is about negotiation of a reasonable
      > compromise between
      > the involved. The classical option of blocking a decision is clearly not a
      > working mode
      > for people who are not closely related and similarly comitted to a common
      > a cause.
      >
      > The most libertarian communist (anarchist) mode is striving for a
      > compromise all involved
      > are comfortable with. When no such compromise is achieved in due time -
      > voting or
      > canceletion are the only options.
      >
      > The option for a minority to block a decision is acceptable only if the
      > majority tolerate
      > it and prefer it over a potential split.
      >
      > It is probably a nice option to reach a consensus about voting to decide
      > tied decisions...
      > and how big the majority should be.
      >
      >
      >



      --
      Chuck Munson

      Bread and Roses Web Design
      http://www.breadandrosesweb.com/


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ilan Shalif
      Consensus is nice when people do not use blocking just because they can. Try to let a group of authoritarians to block decision of a mass movement as they do
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 1, 2012
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        Consensus is nice when people do not use blocking just because they can. Try to let a
        group of authoritarians to block decision of a mass movement as they do not like it.

        Try to achieve a consensus in many hundreds of activists involved with one or few
        egocentrics who want to force their opinions.

        Try to develop and manage an international project where some people have more important
        agenda and in the name of consensus block any change.

        How do you know if a consensus is near when you cannot count the hands of people who
        approve it or those who agree to step aside as there is a majority for a decision.

        How a community which have to decide lot of practical decisions every week can do it if
        the weekly assembly do not vote and let people with serious objection demand a further
        discussion before implementing.

        Striving for consensus is the anarchist-anti-authoritarian-solidarity mode for decision
        making but not the individualist arbitrary blocking option.

        Anarchists have to my opinion only three principles Freedom + Equality + Solidarity... and
        consensus is not among them.
        Ilan

        On 01/01/2012 02:10 AM, Chuck Munson wrote:
        > Voting and certainly "majority" process aren't compatible with anarchism.
        > Consensus and similar forms are the types of process that anarchists should
        > be practicing and promoting. The success of the Occupy Wall Street movement
        > and the successful anti-globalization movements of a decade ago are
        > important examples of why consensus works.
        >
        > Consensus is also a widespread process that has been used in many
        > communities and cultures across human history.
        >
        > I think there is something lurking under the fact that anarchist opponents
        > of consensus tend to be of the "red" or "workerist" persuasion. I don't get
        > why they'd rather have leaders and undemocratic process because they don't
        > like blocking. There has to be more to it than simple annoyance with how
        > one part of consensus process is misused.
        >
        > Chuck
        > Infoshop.org
        >
        > On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:23 AM, Ilan Shalif <gshalif@...
        > <mailto:gshalif%40netvision.net.il>>wrote:
        >
        > > **
        > >
        > >
        > > Classic Consensus is nice for contemplation of abstract opinions. For
        > > practical
        > > activities, a "modified" version is about negotiation of a reasonable
        > > compromise between
        > > the involved. The classical option of blocking a decision is clearly not a
        > > working mode
        > > for people who are not closely related and similarly comitted to a common
        > > a cause.
        > >
        > > The most libertarian communist (anarchist) mode is striving for a
        > > compromise all involved
        > > are comfortable with. When no such compromise is achieved in due time -
        > > voting or
        > > canceletion are the only options.
        > >
        > > The option for a minority to block a decision is acceptable only if the
        > > majority tolerate
        > > it and prefer it over a potential split.
        > >
        > > It is probably a nice option to reach a consensus about voting to decide
        > > tied decisions...
        > > and how big the majority should be.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        > --
        > Chuck Munson
        >
        > Bread and Roses Web Design
        > http://www.breadandrosesweb.com/
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
      • Gary
        Chuck your position is simply not historically accurate. Anarchists in the past have voted and established a form of revolutionary democracy that involved
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 1, 2012
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          Chuck your position is simply not historically accurate. Anarchists in the past have voted and established a form of "revolutionary democracy" that involved majority rule, and recallable elected officers. The insistence on recall and the short period of time in which officers are elected for, usually a year or less, are the main means by which anarchists insured accountability, that plus having workers assemblies where issues were discussed and voted upon at least in Spain 1930's, the only time when Anarchists could be said to be in charge in modern times.
          People will tolerate a certain amount of bumbling and accept a learning curve, what they will not accept in the long run is a constant reinventing of the wheel, and process that goes on interminably. What will happen then is that only the dedicated and diehards will stick around and the rest of the people will go on about their lives. That is my experience with long involved process, like GA's every day that last three hours or more. Most people will not attend once the novelty wears off, unless they have a specific grievance. Empowerment like anything else is best handled in managable doses.


          --- In smygo@yahoogroups.com, Chuck Munson <chuck0munson@...> wrote:
          >
          > Voting and certainly "majority" process aren't compatible with anarchism.
          > Consensus and similar forms are the types of process that anarchists should
          > be practicing and promoting. The success of the Occupy Wall Street movement
          > and the successful anti-globalization movements of a decade ago are
          > important examples of why consensus works.
          >
          > Consensus is also a widespread process that has been used in many
          > communities and cultures across human history.
          >
          > I think there is something lurking under the fact that anarchist opponents
          > of consensus tend to be of the "red" or "workerist" persuasion. I don't get
          > why they'd rather have leaders and undemocratic process because they don't
          > like blocking. There has to be more to it than simple annoyance with how
          > one part of consensus process is misused.
          >
          > Chuck
          > Infoshop.org
          >
          > On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:23 AM, Ilan Shalif <gshalif@...>wrote:
          >
          > > **
          > >
          > >
          > > Classic Consensus is nice for contemplation of abstract opinions. For
          > > practical
          > > activities, a "modified" version is about negotiation of a reasonable
          > > compromise between
          > > the involved. The classical option of blocking a decision is clearly not a
          > > working mode
          > > for people who are not closely related and similarly comitted to a common
          > > a cause.
          > >
          > > The most libertarian communist (anarchist) mode is striving for a
          > > compromise all involved
          > > are comfortable with. When no such compromise is achieved in due time -
          > > voting or
          > > canceletion are the only options.
          > >
          > > The option for a minority to block a decision is acceptable only if the
          > > majority tolerate
          > > it and prefer it over a potential split.
          > >
          > > It is probably a nice option to reach a consensus about voting to decide
          > > tied decisions...
          > > and how big the majority should be.
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > --
          > Chuck Munson
          >
          > Bread and Roses Web Design
          > http://www.breadandrosesweb.com/
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Chuck Munson
          The fact that anarchists in the past may have used this method or that method is irrelevant. Majority rule of any kind is incompatible with anarchism and is
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 1, 2012
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            The fact that anarchists in the past may have used this method or that
            method is irrelevant.

            Majority rule of any kind is incompatible with anarchism and is not even a
            democratic method of decision-making.

            Majority! See Emma Goldman's essay on the "Tyranny of the Majority".

            Rule! Anarchists are naturally against rules.

            People need to read up on consensus process and understand how it works.

            Chuck

            On Sun, Jan 1, 2012 at 3:18 PM, Gary <garyrumor2@...> wrote:

            > **
            >
            >
            > Chuck your position is simply not historically accurate. Anarchists in the
            > past have voted and established a form of "revolutionary democracy" that
            > involved majority rule, and recallable elected officers. The insistence on
            > recall and the short period of time in which officers are elected for,
            > usually a year or less, are the main means by which anarchists insured
            > accountability, that plus having workers assemblies where issues were
            > discussed and voted upon at least in Spain 1930's, the only time when
            > Anarchists could be said to be in charge in modern times.
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ilan Shalif
            People keep mixing between voting during meetings to find what are the opinions of all - when there are too many for intuitive assessment, and the way decision
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 2, 2012
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              People keep mixing between voting during meetings to find what are the opinions of all -
              when there are too many for intuitive assessment, and the way decision adopted when there
              are no one version all are happy with.

              When the decision is about the day of the week or the hour or other trivial decisions
              there is no sense to waste the time in long discussions. When decisions are more serious,
              the meeting is sovereign to decide and if one or some or even a significant minority
              object, the majority still can decide what they will do.

              To keep unity when it is possible the striving for the widest agreement is the rule.
              However, time is limited and common sense is the most important thing.

              The power to block a decision should be conditioned on the power of the meeting to
              disregard the blocker(s) who can always split.

              Decision making by it self which strive for consensus but include voting is not "ruling by
              majority". Direct democracy and "ruling" of the grass root assemblies is not a "majority
              rule".

              The option of one person or a minority to block decision that the majority support is a
              tyranny of the egocentric individualists.

              The option to ask the assembly to deliberate and reconsider the objection of a person or
              of a minority and the accepting of such a request is within the solidarity mode of
              relations - not power relations.

              On 01/02/2012 05:46 AM, Chuck Munson wrote:
              > The fact that anarchists in the past may have used this method or that
              > method is irrelevant.
              >
              > Majority rule of any kind is incompatible with anarchism and is not even a
              > democratic method of decision-making.
              >
              > Majority! See Emma Goldman's essay on the "Tyranny of the Majority".
              >
              > Rule! Anarchists are naturally against rules.
              >
              > People need to read up on consensus process and understand how it works.
              >
              > Chuck
              >
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