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We are the 99 percent

Occupiers! Stop Using Consensus!

Posted 7 years ago on Feb. 13, 2013, 6:16 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: consensus

Consensus process (the idea that a group must strictly adhere to a protocol where all decisions are unanimous) is the absolute worst idea that has ever been introduced to the activist community.

Consensus process is the tyranny of the individual. It is the most anti-social of all processes because it allows any one person to assert irrational authority over an entire group of people and block any sort of decision making. It has nothing do with anarchism (even the IWW doesn't use consensus!) because it was invented by Quakers for religious reasons. It's stood in the way of progress, destroyed social movements, destroyed groups, destroyed communities, and relegated radicals to the fringes of American politics since the 70's when it was first popularized.

Consensus process is in many ways an attempt to formalize the act of resistance, which I suspect is what makes it so popular in activist communities. Let's compare this to democracy, a system which was invented to formalize dissent. With democracy, you could fight and disagree without resorting to violence. Feathers could be ruffled, progress could be made, and life moved on according to plan. Resistance on the other hand is when you're so angry at something, that you're willing to go on a crusade and use all available means to stop that thing from happening Resistance knows no rules. It is something that should never happen, yet is the responsibility of any socially conscious individual. It's a wild beast which cannot be tamed. Now ask yourself what happens when you get a bunch of people in one room, people whose nature inclines them towards resistance, and then give them the power to resist with a simple hand gesture and a requirement that all others be subservient to their demand. You do the math.

To give an example, the first time I saw a block used at Occupy was at one of the first general assemblies in August 2011. There were about a hundred people that day and in the middle of the meeting a proposal was made to join Verizon workers on the picket line as a gesture of solidarity in the hope that they might also support us in return. People loved the idea and there was quite a bit of positive energy until one woman in the crowd, busy tweeting on her phone, casually raised her hand and said, "I block that". The moderator, quite flabbergasted asked why she blocked and she explained that showing solidarity with workers would alienate the phantasm of our right-wing supporters. Discussion then abruptly ended and the meeting went on. The truth was irrelevant, popular opinion didn't matter, and solidarity—the most important of all leftist values—was thrown to the wind based on the whims of just one individual. Occupy had to find a new way to do outreach.

But as bad as that sounded, it was actually one of the most graceful instances I've seen of a block being used. This is because the proposal was actually dropped as though it never happened. Things don't always go so smoothly. Blocks have a tendency to bring out the worst in people. The thing they don't tell you about consensus, is that it only works if you're willing to exclude others from it. When faced with a block, it's common for people to use psychological manipulation, threats, invent process to deny that person a vote, or even pressure them to leave the group entirely. Oftentimes when such people don't get their way, they'll leave the group themselves. Consensus invites the most awful type of conflict because there can be no agreeing to disagree. But at the same time consensus also quells the more constructive forms of dissent because most considerate and rational people aren't masochistic enough to welcome the hatred and backlash inherent in blocking a proposal.

Consensus process can also be hacked. This is because it leaves too much to interpretation, doesn't actually specify procedure, and doesn't make sense! Take for instance kicking someone out of your group. Do you need consensus to kick them out? Or do you need consensus to keep them on board? Oftentimes such things aren't clear, so the system becomes ripe for manipulation and exploitation. If you ever want to be evil and push a proposal through a consensus body, just make a compelling argument that you need consensus to not pass your proposal (rather than the other way around). If that doesn't work, try writing your proposal with the opposite language and blocking it yourself. If people call you out on your shenanigans, just accuse them of being authoritarians who refuse to follow process and demand that they either step down or reach consensus on creating a rule to forbid what you’re doing. Then block that proposal too. If they tell you that you’re not allowed to block then you can always complain that true consensus cannot be reached until there’s a quorum of every single group member present.

Grassroots activist groups also follow the spirit of consensus regardless of what process they use. This is because participation in occupy assemblies, working groups, and affinity groups is entirely voluntary. Generally speaking, these groups do not control any land or resources upon which their members depend, therefore making it nearly impossible to practice any real coercion. When freedom of association exists in the truest sense of the words, the act of participation in and of itself can be considered itself a form of a consent, even if decision-making power rests in the hands of the majority or an individual leader.

Consensus should be reserved to teams (small groups where people work well together and trust one another) as de facto rather than official process. Many of us operate by implicit consensus without even realizing it. It’s a natural human behavior to not want to piss off and ignore other members of your team. But when the occasional irresolvable conflict arises, a majority vote isn’t the end of the world. It’s called democracy. If those conflicts happen too often, then perhaps it’s time to reconsider why you’re working with such people.

When it comes to deliberative process for larger groups that can’t be considered teams, start off with what's been known to work and has stood the test of time, like Robert's Rules of Order. It’s not the ideal system to prevent all forms of hierarchy, but it’s at least been proven to work in organizing democratic assemblies that are capable of functioning. Why must we reinvent the wheel? The only clear explanation is that it’s fun to fetishize process rather than accomplishing work. There are actually people who've devoted much of their careers as activists to unnecessarily reinventing process, and for years they've been using entire activist communities as guinea pigs in their experiments. Why must we allow ourselves to be pawns in someone else's game? Our goal should be fighting power and injustice, and we should settle for no less than the best tools for the job.

But we also shouldn't have to follow Robert's Rules by the book all the time. Oftentimes people will forgo formal process entirely until it's needed. It's also perfectly reasonable to borrow good ideas from other processes. One such example is the "progressive stack" which Occupy has used from its very first general assembly meeting. This means when you have a meeting and ten people want to speak at once, one person will be assigned to "take stack" by writing down the names of whoever has their hand raised. The person taking stack will then prioritize speaking order in favor of people belonging to groups whose voices have traditionally been marginalized. Examples of such groups include women, people of color, and the lgbtq community. This is great news if you're a queer trans woman of color, but not such great news for straight white middle class cis men whose voices have far too often dominated discussion. Another great tool for facilitating collective thought is the temperature check, where everyone in the room twinkles their fingersto express how favorably they feel about the topic of deliberation. But in reality, that’s just a more fabulous variation of Robert’s Rules where the chair will try to gauge support for a proposal during deliberation by asking everyone in the room to say aye / nay or give a show of hands.

The only significant experimentation we should be doing with process at this time is trying to find ways to use modern technology to make democracy more democratic. For the first time in the history of civilization, we are able to scale up conversations to span the entire globe. A deliberative assembly no longer must be limited to the number of people capable of fitting in a single room. Why are we not taking advantage of this? Several attempts have been made to develop such systems, but most of the existing solutions are either shoddy, hard to use, or focus on anonymous voting rather than deliberation. These systems also do not make an effort to define the procedural conventions to govern the aspects of software use which cannot be digitized. Engineers, please start teaming up with process experts to accomplish this.

To learn more about the follies of consensus, read the essays "Blocking Progress" by Howard Ryan and "Fetishizing Process" by Mark Lance.

This article is part of the series To Consense or Not-to-Consense. To read a response to this article, see On Consensus.



Read the Rules


[-] 4 points by PjPxc6 (8) from St. Louis, MO 7 years ago

So, two posts ago OWS looked like they were going to show a debate "To Consensus or not to Consensus?", but so far all i've seen is this article arguing against consensus.

Where is the article defending consensus-based decision making?

[-] 4 points by PjPxc6 (8) from St. Louis, MO 7 years ago

Does anyone else feel like it's kinda fucked up that the first post on this topic made it sound like there was going to be a back'n'forth debate around this issue, but for a week now this article has presented a very, very one-sided viewpoint on consensus-based decision making?

i mean, regardless of my own opinions on consensus decision making, i just find it a little odd that OWS would take such a biased stance and basically issue a directive (in this post's heading/title, no less!) to Occupiers "Stop Using Consensus!".

Where is the article advocating all of the positive points of consensus decision making and explaining why, from day one, we have sought to remain a de-centralized and leaderless movement?

[-] 2 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

Does anyone else feel like it's kinda fucked up

Yes, I do.

[-] 1 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

jart's like that. This is her article. She's always authoritarian. She loves control.

[-] 0 points by Builder (4202) 6 years ago

You seem obsessed, trashy.

There's plenty of info at the following link. http://occupytogether.org/

Jart is clearly just one of the many. Yes, she started this place.

Along with others.

[-] -1 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

Occupy Together is a site run by more than one person, unlike this one. Have you ever conversed with jart? She's authoritarian. It's a fact.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 6 years ago

If you say so.

Have you worked together?

[-] 0 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

Briefly, at the beginning.

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

Are you telling us, Thras, that you had a fall out with Jart and decided to take it all the way to her forum? If you manage to take all or some of the people that come to her forum to another forum or abandon it all together then you win? AND if you fail there then you will do everything within your power to disrupt it to the extent that no one wants to come here?

[-] 1 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

No, I don't want to take this forum down or anyone away from it. I had a falling out of sorts with jart, but that's OK. We actually agree on many things at the moment. You know this site was originally planned as a way to organize events on the ground right?

If you read this OP on Consensus that jart wrote above, she mentions an idea that is very close to my concept of a Bridge to the Ground.

"The only significant experimentation we should be doing with process at this time is trying to find ways to use modern technology to make democracy more democratic. For the first time in the history of civilization, we are able to scale up conversations to span the entire globe. A deliberative assembly no longer must be limited to the number of people capable of fitting in a single room. Why are we not taking advantage of this? Several attempts have been made to develop such systems, but most of the existing solutions are either shoddy, hard to use, or focus on anonymous voting rather than deliberation. These systems also do not make an effort to define the procedural conventions to govern the aspects of software use which cannot be digitized. Engineers, please start teaming up with process experts to accomplish this."

Jart and I both see eye to eye on the essentiality of a software of this nature.

Like I said to many users, it's not either/or. This forum can be kept alive. No problem. What's important is to create a piece of software that lets people from all over the world communicate and affect change so that what they discuss can be transformed into action.

Jart said herself that this forum became about politics instead of Occupy. That's fine. But, we need a forum about Occupy, and the only way to do that is to have one where the users on the forum are connected with the happenings on the ground.

Why should Internet users remain mere observers?

if you fail there then you will do everything within your power to disrupt it to the extent that no one wants to come here?

If people refrain from coming here it's not because of me. That's just a lame excuse. I was gone for a very long period. A period which saw a steep decline in the user base of this forum. If anything, I generate more activity.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

Thras, it is apparently NOT OK. Your behavior indicates otherwise. Your continued attacks indicate otherwise. Simply because you agree with what she stated on consensus does not mean that somehow everything is hunky dory. You do realize that we actually share information until one of your IDs or buddies decides to screw up a thread for your own shit purposes.

What has become very clear is that your issues really don't have anything to do with any one of us personally. Your issues have to do with Jart. You are more than willing to screw with everyone else just to get to her. That is vindictive and petty and very, very small minded.

[-] 0 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

Wow, you are full of delusions. I don't attack this site. I don't know where you got that idea. Many many users you and others think are me and not. In any case, I don't care what you want to fantasize about. I'm here to express ideas. That's all. If you don't like them you are more than welcome to disagree. If you use arguments, then we can have a discussion. If not then it's just a waste of time.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

I'm here to stop deluded, dishonest, liars dead in their tracks.

You hit the trifecta.

Plus you're a puppet user and likely employing bots.

That's more dishonesty than anyone here should have to put with.

Besides it's YOU who doesn't comment much in threads concerning OWS issues

You like to bring up your own and only you own.

[-] 0 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

OK. Well, have fun.

I'm here to discuss the idea of a Bridge to the Ground. An idea that is related to this posting as jart talks about it in her last paragraph of this page's main article.

I'll let you have fun while I discuss these important ideas with worthwhile users.

Take care.

[-] -1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Well then, you should be taking that up with those who can accomplish it, and that's done on a whole 'nuther forum, here on the site.

Until you do that, it's you just spitting in the wind anyway, and trying to make this forum and it's posters look bad, while you pass off lies and pretend they are truths..

BTW: you use ad hominems all the time, so stuff it poser.

[-] 1 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

I think we can talk about the issue jart and I raised on this forum. Most users are intelligent enough to comprehend the necessity of such a software. I don't see why this should be discussed on another forum. Sure, this forum has become about politics, but it can't hurt to discuss Occupy related issues once in awhile.

In any event, jart posted about it on this very page, so I think talking about this software, this Bridge to the Ground, is right at its place.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

No, no delusion here. You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. I see you for what you are or have become.

[-] 1 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

Alright then.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

WHOA!!! Look!!

There's two of you! That's pretty delusional.

How sad and pathetic.

Will you be passing off your usual package of lies and threats, or did you polish them up just a bit?

[-] 1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 6 years ago

That's great. oIdJanet and oldJanet.

That makes this even better.

[-] -1 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

More ad hominem and logical fallacies from Robin? Is that all you have? How about discussing ideas once in awhile? Where's Batman, he'll be here soon right?

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Are all those $50 terms supposed to be better than your dishonesty?

Do they validate your lies?

You're the name caller You always were, if you are who pretend to be.

You just called another poster deluded. That was a lie.

What's the $50, approved term for that behavior?

[-] 0 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

What 50$ are you ranting about? Are you here to talk about Occupy related ideas, or just to attack other users with your trivial banter?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

LeaderFULL, not leaderless.

People need to decide forthemselves. If you agree with "anti-consensus", then great!, if you agree with the "pro-consensus", the great! but decide for youselves; dont conform for the sake of 'solidarity'.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago


[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

"Individuality is dead, originality is a dirty word"

We headed closer and closer to room 101........

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (23059) 7 years ago

It is imperative that OWS get back to the issues. Internal complex logistics means nothing to the average American who earns $26,000 per year, and wastes valuable energy.

[-] 3 points by alldone (32) 7 years ago

"I worked under a "consensus method" for more than a year. Unlike OWS we had an agreement that we would have a unamimous agreement before we did anything. It was a work group with only 15 people, including the department head.

It was messy and didn't get much done. We had problems with our facilitators hijacking our meetings as well. The problem with faciitators in a consensus style is that they have more power than anyone in the actual group. Whowever assigns the facilitator has the ability to manipulate the group by the methods used by the facilitator.

Who picks the facilitators at OWS.

Umpires in baseball are like facilitators. Can you imagine how the game would change if for example, the New York Yankees selected the umpires?"

The above comment from this discussion on the Daily Kos illustrates the a fundamental problem with consensus - the process of facilitation is too open to corruption and abuse.

( http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/01/1032096/--OccupySF-Consensus-Process-Hijacked-by-a-Facilitator-with-a-Megaphone-Process-is-everything )

[-] 3 points by Sammyseed (12) 7 years ago

Using the word Consensus is propagandistic and utopian because it cannot provide consensus. Non-agreements and omitted ideas are counted as externalities, but this is a lie, they're a non-consensus.

Good ideas get lost, but more importantly any idea can get lost, allowing even restorative plans to be locked out, progress can be stalled, energy wasted, focus diverted, these are costs, they cannot simply be regarded as nothing.

One of Occupy's main focus should be to balance competition with cooperation by promoting cooperation. Consensus fails here. Cooperation does not mean one has the right to disrupt the whole society, it means you learn to coexist in society, you learn to live with disagreement, to get along, natural as the complexities of real life relationships. Everyone should have a voice, but the individual must be balanced with community. Hyper-indivdualism should not be allowed to corrupt process.

The consensus creed of 'impartiality' and 'objectivity' is code for moral disengagement. For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. This requires individual non-violent sacrifice, a rebalancing of the individual with community, the I with the We.

The current consensus system does not correctly re-order the social structure - how people should relate themselves to society. It's a cop out, it allows self-interest to pollute, it does not integrate self into community while simultaneously maintaining individualism. It instead tries to create community with hyper-individualism - an impossibility.

[-] 1 points by alldone (32) 7 years ago

"The current consensus system does not correctly re-order the social structure - how people should relate themselves to society."

Exactly, my only quibble would it is not people relating to society but people relating to one another as the BASIS for society. Modern society is too focused on the self, driven by consumerism and a childish notion that freedom means you can do whatever you want.

Here is something that took me a while to come to terms with - it is Solzenitsyn definition of freedom he wrote:

"After the Western ideal of unlimited freedom, after the Marxist concept of freedom as acceptance of the yoke of necessity - here is the true definition of freedom. Freedom is self-restriction! Restriction of the self for the sake of others."

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago


[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Screw the "others". I am living for ME, not you or anyone else. I refuse to be forced to sacrifice for the 'greater good', if the majority cant sacrifice something back to me.

Freedom is the ability to tell others people things they dont want to hear.

[-] 0 points by alldone (32) 6 years ago

You do realize that the whole ME attitude has its roots in the flaky ideas of Freud, which were taken up by big business to create hyper-consumers.

Take a look at Adam Curtis' doco The Century of the Self. It is very revealing and quite disturbing to realize that all that "I am me, I am an individual stuff" was invented to ensure that POWER always stayed with the elite, and democracy became nothing more than a pressure valve to be released once in a while.

What big business discovered was that the atomization of society created great consumers - hyper-consumers and hyper-individuals. When people see everything through the lens of the self they become easy to manipulate. Many simply become docile, uncritical, thinking how wonderful it is to be so free - but this freedom has been redefined as the freedom to fulfill an unending array of wants. The freedom of the slave.

Here is the link to the doco. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7EwXmxpExw

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Freedom is power over your own self and no one else.

It's not your traditional narcissism, I don't seek power over others, only power over myself.

[+] -4 points by derain (-178) 6 years ago

the dems want complete control over the entire population. no individual freedom. individual freedom gets in the way of the one world govt people. thats the reason for gun confiscation.

[-] 0 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

How will we be better with republicans agenda passed?

[-] -3 points by derain (-178) 6 years ago

tell me what you think is the republican agenda?

[-] 0 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

Answer my question and I will answer yours.

What do you think the repub agenda is, and how will it be better?

[+] -5 points by derain (-178) 6 years ago

cutting spending, govt out of peoples lives, a balanced budget. your turn.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

trickle down economics to benefit the wealthiest at the expense ofthe middle/working class, weak regs to benefit (energy, finance) corps at the expense of people, invading the privacy of people in their bedrooms, exploding the deficit with and war war & more wasteful war.

So how will that be better for us?.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

I pick neither. Both parties are equally as bad for me.

[-] 0 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

MoveToAmend's David Cobb states he understands that people vote based on fear, fear of the other, but that he would never consider doing that because "I have too much damn self respect"...

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Thoreau suggested that civil resisters not vote at all because the act of voting legitimizes the government.

People vote because they dont know any better not to. I dont vote because I am me, and no one I would ever possibly vote for is me.

[-] -2 points by DSamms (-294) 6 years ago

Would you consider voting to specifically de-legitimize the government? That is to say, voting No Consent in a general election rather than simply not voting (or voting for corrupt candidates)?

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

High military spending, low immigration, contiuation of government intervention in the affairs of individual's personal lives.

What is good about having anyone in power?

Dems are just as bad: High military spending, low immigration, contiuation of government intervention in the affairs of individual's personal lives.

Both refuse to do anything about anything and are making things worse.

[-] -1 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

so, what would you do if someone that is armed breaks into your house while your home.?

[-] 2 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

IDK. What if?

I can tell you that I would not sink to the level of the criminal by employing violence. Violence is ineffective.


[-] -1 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

and the germans were the losers in WWI. hitler had plans for world domination. he had to be stopped and he was.

[-] 2 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

At what cost? 12 million killed in concentration camps. Millions of others killed during combat operations.

Why did it take until 1941 to do something about Hitler? He came to power in 1933.

[-] -1 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

but he DID come into power. the treaty of versailles did not cause WWII, hitler did with his plans of world conquest.

[-] 3 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

WW1 very much did cause WW2. This well established. The Weimar Republic allowed the Nazis to come to power less than a quarter of the vote.

[-] -2 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

killing is always wrong? would you have let hitler continue or would you have fought to end his tryanny and by doing so, saved lives?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

It would have been wise to not have let Hitler come to power in the first place. Ignorance of those at Versaille caused WW2.

[-] -2 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

what is it about self defense that you do not understand?

[-] 2 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Like I said, you can fight Without violence.

Anyway, murder is murder no matter the circumstances. Killing is ALWAYS wrong.




[-] -1 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

how do you fight against someone who has a gun without using violence?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Spontaneous individual non-violent civil disobedience.

[-] -1 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

Why wouldn't you want to be able to defend yourself?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

You can fight without violence.

[-] -2 points by BlueMonday (-154) 6 years ago

so if some one, armed with a gun has broken into your house, you would do nothing? you deserve what you get.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Nothing? When did I ever suggest 'nothing'? Did you even read my post?

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

"cutting spending, getting the frd, govt out of peopls lives, a balanced budget."

Thats freakin hysterical. Between you moronic Republican believers, and your partners All Praise Obama on the left, we are in trouble.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

All politicians want control over others.

All politicians are equally as bad, regardless of thier political positions or affiliations.

Republicans and Democrats are equally as bad and both refuse to give up power to the people.

[-] 0 points by engineer4 (331) 7 years ago

I do like that quote! Very much applies today.

[-] -2 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Hyper-individualism is the only way for each and ever person to live in complete freedom from the whims of others.

If things dont achieve a consensus, then that probally means that those "things" should be happening in the first place. If everyone cant agree on something, it shouldnt be occuring.

Collectivism promotes groupthink and ignorance. Indvidualism promotes creativity and innovation.

We are connected by choice, not because it's the natural order of things.

[-] 3 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Sure Ayn.

What are you doing here anyway?

Aren't you wanted over at theblaze?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

the creative wall got redundant

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Completely ignoring of course, the simple fact that corporations, or any large company, or organization, are all collectivist concerns.

Goal oriented, collectivist concerns at that.

You can take the individual out of the corporation, but you can't run the corporation, without them.

At least not until they perfect that pure profit computer AI they've been working on.

And wouldn't that be the epitome of group think?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

i suppose so

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Corporations are legally individuals though. In theory they hold no more power than I do.

Groupthink is when people are coerced into letting others decide for them.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

That's the theory, but it's nowhere near the reality.

Coercion IS the cornerstone of corporate culture.

Coercion........there's that silly little misinterpreted libe(R)tarian term again.

The term they use a VERY narrow definition of.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago


Who said I was either an R or an L?

Coersion covers any system that forces individuals to take part, whether they agree or not.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

So, hide in a cave to avoid the "others"?

Use only goat powered innernet, to avoid WallStreet coercion?

How much goat power does your computer have?

I think somebody already coerced you. I wonder who it was?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

My use of modern technology has nothing to do with the way I carry myself concerning others.

Gandhi used the radio. Thoreau used the pen.

The goal of a civil resister is to provoke a response. As long as I keep talking, I will be heard.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

In your "book" it doesn't matter what you say then, or how you came to your conclusions, nor your ultimate plan?

By your definition you've already been coerced by WallStreet.

You just don't realize it yet.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Wall Street?

They dont own the internet or my computer. Do they own this website perhaps? IDK.

I dont have a job, have no loans, dont own a car or a house. How has WallStreet coerced me?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

They own controlling interest in almost everything.

See how coerced you are?

You don't even know it.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

They own controlling interest in my life? NOPE!!!!!

They dont decide for me........Do they?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago


As much as they can, and much more than you know.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Creative and redundant are mutually exclusive. The second is became redundant, it lost it's creative quality.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

something like that

[-] -3 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Ayn Rand is an ignorant women who wanted people all to think the same as her. She wanted people she disapproved of, thrown in jail or killed.

I am NOT Ayn Rand.

I want people to think for themselves and to allow others to do the same. Whether I agree with you or not is irrelvant.

Glenn Beck, on the other hand, is a violent hypocrite who supposedly advocates for non-violence, but then defendes the 2nd amendment, the right of justifiable homicide and the actions of the US military. He also praises violent revolutionaries like George Washington.

Think before you speak because ignorance only breeds more ignorance.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Then one is "forced" to ask.

Why are you espousing her philosophy?

I am not so dumb, that I haven't noticed.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

I am not. I AM dumb and I can still see that me and Rand are quite different in many many many ways.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Not enough ways for your claim though.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Please explain the similarities.....

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Incredibly bad writing.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Other than that? What similarties in ideology do we share?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

An infatuation with the infallibility of the individual to always do what is "right" for that individual, and by so doing so create utopia for all individuals.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

My infatuation is with the indivisiblity of the individual, not with the infallibility of the individual to always do what is "right" for that individual.

Is utopia the goal? Did I ever say that is was?

I am a person, I am not you. That is an unaviodable fact.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

A union of one?

Isn't that an oxymoron?

Would schizophrenia be a felony?

There really is no need to stress the obvious though.

Getting to the point is always more efficient. So what IS your point?

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

"A union of one" is an oxy moron. You cant make two people out of one and you cant make one person out of two.

Do Schizophranics believe that the people they see are other people or just parts of themselves?

What is YOUR point? You are the 'one' who compared me with Glenn Beck and Ayn Rand.

I am me, I am not you. <---This is my point.

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Oh good. I get it.

So much for we're all one.

As an indivisible, totally self reliant, full of self individual, how did you ever learn to read?

[-] 0 points by freakzilla (-161) from Detroit, MI 6 years ago

This probably like putting fire to gasoline, but have you ever heard of NXIVM?

[-] -1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

Chris Matthews says those were some of his favorite books...

Clearly someone who sold 25 million books is not an incredibly bad writer.

Do you think that supression of engine technology is not going on?

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

Who's Chris Mathews, and why should I care?

Why are you sticking up for Ayn Rand?

I guess you like her books.

The neolibe(R)tarains have been buying and spreading her books all over the world.

Was that a red herring, or just little pink? (engine tech)

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Anaconda is still a bad movie no matter how much they show it on SciFi Channel.

Ayn Rand isnt the greatest writer in the world.


[-] 3 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 7 years ago

A very interesting read. Great post!

[-] 3 points by brianriley4 (3) 7 years ago

Nice article. Also very important, Robert's Rules already operates (all the time) with the understanding that the group can deviate from the Rules as long as there is no objection, so RR is actually very, very flexible in that regard.

It's important to note that RR is the result of an organic process. Henry Robert developed the completed version by studying how various procedures had developed organically all over the US in the 19th century.

[-] 2 points by abuemma (2) 6 years ago

fwiw, my article is not taking exactly the same view as this one. In my view, any formalistic process can be hacked - consensus, majority vote, roberts rules, or whatever. I've seen real examples of all of them. (Ever see a Marxist party drag a hundred people into a meeting to vote something down? I argue for not putting your faith in a mechanical application of rules of any sort. The key is to develop habits of mutual respect that allow us to discuss rationally. In the example given, the idea that the blocker would just block and everyone would let it go is a sign a a deeply disfunctional community. (Mark Lance)

[-] 2 points by tree (4) 6 years ago

The idea that consensus is the same as a unanimous vote is both sadly common and fundamentally misguided.

Consensus means doing the hard, patient work of searching for a well-founded unity from which to operate together. However, that's not the same as letting any one voice stop something from happening that the rest of the group feels ready to move forward on. The fundamental question is less "Did everyone agree?" than "Did the group slow down enough to listen to and genuinely consider dissenting ideas (so that the proposal can be modified and improved)?"

Every group using consensus effectively finds a robust method for responding to inappropriate blocks. Quakers, for example, state clearly that inappropriate blocks can simply be overruled. See this article for more info: http://treegroup.info/topicsA9-blocking.html.

The author is concerned that "Consensus process can also be hacked." Well yes, and so can Robert's Rules in parliamentary procedure, hello Congress anyone? There are steps a group can take to prevent the most common hacks, such as using a fallback vote to overrule a block, having clarity about membership boundaries, and refusing to tolerate crappy behavior.

The author goes beyond disregarding the lengthy historical record of successful consensus to accusing those who disagree of caring more about the process than about getting anything done. Bullshit. Someone can think majority vote is an insufficient decision process for building the revolution without caring any less or being any less effective. Their belief is often based in a commitment to prefigurative politics, wanting to walk the talk of things being different, so that we don't end up a situation of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." And in fact those people may actually be more effective because they are likely to do a better job of listening to those who disagree with them, starting by discussing ideas instead of attacking misperceived motives.

So, dear author, i get it that you are seriously frustrated by the shortcomings of the attempts at consensus process at Zuccotti, as were many other people. I assume that your pitch here is because you want to see the movement succeed, as do i and many others. I'm a longtime consensus teacher and nonetheless i do not think consensus should be used in every decision situation, i think we need to pay attention to what works when.

Thus your statement, "The only significant experimentation we should be doing with process at this time is trying to find ways to use modern technology to make democracy more democratic," seems terribly short-sighted to me. If we had already arrived at a decision process that met the movement's needs, we'd all be using it already. Wishing for simplicity won't make complex realities go away. I think we need to keep on working on this stuff, because that's the only way we're going to figure it out.

[-] 2 points by shazz (2) 7 years ago

Below is a summary, per the anonymous author's BOLD type:

-stop using consensus -resistance is an angry crusade -consensus can be hacked -people don't like pissing each other off -we need to fight injustice with the best tools -we should experiment with tech, not process

I have so many issues with the content and delivery of this article it breaks my heart, like my departure from the Occupy scene did a year ago. But I think the author's authoritarian, proscriptive view on how revolution should or shouldn't happen speaks for itself, and the cancer of hubris that ate OWS out from within.

There are no such thing as occupiers anymore, btw. Just kids chasing excuses to solicit and then spend other people's money, regurgitating what was real discontent and now is really just sigh depressing.

No inspired ideas, just people who are hipper on how to start a revolution than you are. Hey, I have an idea, let's throw a party for a better tomorrow. You bring the PBR, I'll bring my badass scarf and anarchist buttons.

We're doin it guys!

[-] 3 points by jart (1186) from New York, NY 6 years ago

The article is not anonymous. It was published by OccupyWallSt.org. Is that not good enough or do you need a human name for attribution?

[-] 1 points by FluxRostrum (4) 6 years ago

I'd like to know who is speaking for the group.

[-] 0 points by oIdJanet (-94) 6 years ago

Justine Tunney, a.k.a jart. She writes the vast majority of articles here, moderates, and programs the website. She has full authoritarian control here. She's the boss.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Anonymity and or Pseudonymity are better anyway........

[-] 2 points by Fuzzytek (2) from Detroit, MI 7 years ago

I've watched the active participation around Occupy Detroit slow down incredibly since October 2011. I've been a member of a board using Roberts Rules, and I attend Detroit City Council meetings. There is a better way than consensus. I do agree progressive stack is helpful, but as a white "cis" male yes it can be rather interesting waiting to find the topic transform and finding my position in relevance lost.

[-] 2 points by insertnamehere (5) 7 years ago

A major problem with consensus early in within Occupy was that it was just poorly understood. Many people saw it as an almost legislative procedure, as opposed to being a fluid, dynamic mode of organizational practice. Consensus should never take place solely within a meeting, but should be the result of conversations and debates held between the stakeholders outside GA, and then only formalized within the meeting. Furthermore we also saw a great deal of issues and decisions brought to consensus that didn't really need to be (such as 'do some people want to join the picket line'). I do strongly agree that we need to avoid "fetishizing process" (and probably more broadly avoid the phenomenon of fetishization in general), however I don't think that we should totally write off experimentation or a concern with organizational modes. Simply reverting to Roberts Rules of Order because we shouldn't try to "re-invent the wheel," and that voting=democracy, strikes me as a reactionary and insufficient response to Occupy's organizational mistakes and challenges.

[-] 2 points by jart (1186) from New York, NY 6 years ago

The classic explanation for consensus not working is always, 'well obviously you had a poor understanding of consensus or didn't fully embrace it'. Consensus must be some form of new age esoteric knowledge.

[-] 2 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Most people dont like consensus dont like it because it prevents them from getting thier way everytime.

isnt that kind of the point though?

[-] 2 points by KML57 (2) 7 years ago

Consenses is a mature process and requires mature individuals to practice it. It is truly a practice and one that is perfected through use and familiarity. It is a misconception or at least a misaddaptation to think that consensus requires unanimity, this is simply not true but it is the norm when used by groups who are not well versed in its nuances. I agree that the use of stand asides is seldom practiced insted of the more common miss-used practice of blocking. Blocks are to be used rarely and only if there is a real oversite being seen by someone in the process who is seeing with the whole group mind. Again, it takes mature individuals to hold this mindset throughout a decision making process. The group is then to address the block rather than simply drop the proposal all together. A single individual should never be allowed to totally derail the entire program, that is an abuse of the groups time and energy and shows disrespect for the whole and for the concept of consensus.

At any rate, it is a very difficult process to use in large, ever changing, ever evolving groups of people. Concensus works best if practiced by groups with long standing experience with one another and true trust. The suggestion that it be used in smaller settings between fewer folks and with a clear agenda is a good one. Remember that it took the Quakers generations to define and develop the use of consensus, and they lived and prayed together for lifetimes. To expect a bunch of radical thinking folks who are on a mission to accomplish something in a thoughful though quick manner by using a sophistocated method of decision making like consensus is a nobel but neive idea. Bottom line, if you want to build a loving community - use consensus , if you want to get something done quickly - use Robert's Rules of Order.

[-] 5 points by jart (1186) from New York, NY 6 years ago

Consenses is a mature process and requires mature individuals to practice it.

This is what people do when they try to defend indefensible ideas. They shift the blame back on you. It's sort of like religion.

[-] 1 points by frovikleka (2563) from Island Heights, NJ 6 years ago

In order for people to practice consensus, they have to leave their egos behind, and may have to be ready to accept something that they may not agree with out of conscience


[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

I agree with this. The whole point is to allow things that have a consensus agreement pass and things that dont, not pass.

Maturity has nothing to do with it.

[-] 2 points by polarbear (8) 7 years ago

I appreciate the point the author is trying to make - I myself have been reminded to "respect the process" on many occasions for speaking out of turn when the process was already breaking down.

HOWEVER, there are a number of assertions in this article that are not supported by facts, and others that are patently false. If you think consensus is the tyranny of the individual then that is because the process you are witnessing is not actually true consensus.

Consensus in its truest form is a meeting of the minds in which free and unbiased discussion proceeds until a clear solution or course of action becomes apparent to the group. This is certainly not the way it's practiced among some of the GAs I've attended, but it IS the ideal.

Consensus was not invented by the Quakers!!!!!!! It has been practiced in one form or another for as long as humans have been making collective decisions. Consensus DID NOT destroy social movements and marginalize radicals in the 1970s.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE if you want to complain about the way consensus is (is not) practiced among Occupiers, then do that. But, don't expect us to believe that majority-based Robert's Rules is some kind of alternative. And PLEASE if you want to make an argument, then get your facts straight.

BTW re: progressive stack - how do you identify people who belong to groups that have been marginalized?!? By what they look like? How their dressed?

A meaningful functional consensus process is NEVER (has NEVER BEEN) about the rules. It's about the facilitators knowing how to make sure everyone is included and how to move the discussion forward. And, its also about people being willing to participate in the process - that means leaving a lot of baggage at the door, treating each other with respect, learning how to listen, cultivating humility in our own hearts, so that when someone shares a thought or idea, we can recognize its true value.

For my part, when people tell me to respect the process, I say "the process is only as good as its results" More specifically, the formal rules and procedures of the consensus process are a dime a dozen. What matters is that the process of building consensus (unlike voting) can facilitate a genuine meeting of the minds, which is a rare and precious site to behold when it all comes together.

[-] 2 points by misfist (2) from Brooklyn, NY 7 years ago

"...if you want to complain about the way consensus is (is not) practiced among Occupiers, then do that."

Regardless of one's views on consensus-based models of decision-making, this article is absurd. It extrapolates from one experience that consensus (of some undefined variety) doesn't and can't work. It goes on to hold responsible consensus for the failures of radical movements since the 1970s; as though, were it not for that blasted consensus, the revolution would have already happened.

I haven't seen consensus practiced at an Occupy-related meeting in close to a year, yet Occupy is still faltering and capitalism still hasn't been overthrown.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 7 years ago

I don't know who invented consensus group decision making (if it has a historical cause) but Quakers have used it extensively. As a ninth generation American Quaker I feel entitled to call it a fraud. It's an unreachable ideal (that everyone can reach the same conclusion through the power of reasoning) that degenerates into a dictatorship of an ingroup.

[-] 2 points by linnet230 (2) 7 years ago

As a British Quaker I am sorry to say the Quaker business method has been misrepresented here. Decisions are made not based on consensus or unanimity, but unity, which can encompass dissent. Through patient listening to each other, God, and/or one's deepest resources in silences, a way forward is found which can be surprising in its wisdom and inclusivness. It is definitely not about the power of reasoning, but discernment through love. This takes work. We, as Quakers and Occupy Veterans, need periodic reminding about our values because we're human and we forget or get scared. We need to find ways to nourish ourselves, replenishing our ideals and care for each other in order to keep the faith in the face of the huge challenges.

[-] 2 points by shadz66 (19985) 7 years ago

Amen ~*~ & 'The Revolution is <3' : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxHG3jUqdQ0 [4:51]

Thanx for your thought provoking comment.

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] -1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

Let me add, that, yes, I understand every word you are writing and every thought behind it. But let me say, of course a dictatorial ingroup would view it as a successful process.

I suggest to all Quakers interested and any one else perplexed by their dealings with individual Quakers, that they read Scott Peck's People of the Lie. It's about the mentally ill evil, otherwise known as the Perfect -- individuals with shriveled hearts and souls, some of whom through ostentatious do-goodism convince themselves of their perfectness (at great cost to everyone close to them).

[-] -1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

I call bullshit on that.

[-] 2 points by toobighasfailed (117) 7 years ago

Great post. I'd love to see consensus go away, so long as the focus of OWS stayed as nonpartisan as possible. I'd also like to figure out a way to better network with people remotely, since I'm not in NY.

Specifically, I'd like to find a group of Occupiers that wants to push to break up the banks. I agree with Matt Taibbi that breaking up the banks should be "the Holy Grail of activist goals." It's achievable! It's nonpartisan! And yet I'm having an extremely hard time networking with people interested in achieving that goal.

If we could get rid of consensus, then something like a focus on breaking up the banks might be possible. I'd love to see that happen.

[-] -1 points by engineer4 (331) 7 years ago

I disagree. The main focus should be money out of politics.

[-] 1 points by toobighasfailed (117) 6 years ago

I don't see anything wrong with getting money out of politics, but that issue isn't as directly tied to Wall Street as breaking up the Wall Street banks is.

In truth, I go back on forth on which is more important. Breaking up the Wall Street banks could go a long way to preventing another, more devastating financial crisis, but getting the money out of politics would help us get better votes (which might therefore lead to a break up of the banks).

So I strongly agree that getting money out is supremely important. I'm just not sure it's the best goal for Occupy Wall Street.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

The main focus should be to seperate government from economics as much as possible.

Money has no place in government.

[-] 2 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 7 years ago


[-] 2 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 7 years ago

Hear, hear!!!

[-] 2 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 7 years ago

After all the hoopla and consensus and blocking and then, throw in the fact that if you missed a few days, decisions were still being made, may be kind of a sign of why many people long before us decided its best to elect people to deal with this stuff on a full time basis, and pay them to do it.

Most people simply dont have the time for long long drawn out situations that last 2 hours, with about 15 other issues to still be discussed afterwards.

Throw in the people that will block because they have friends watching on livestream who want to block, and you have a real royal mess :)

[-] 2 points by Nader (74) 7 years ago

Not only the time to participate in the meetings but to have time to review the issues and research them.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

good idea huh?

[-] 1 points by alldone (32) 7 years ago

Highlights the whole problem with any form of direct democracy. Not that people don't want to have a say but because the complexity soon overwhelms them. Throw in some bickering, heckling, hectoring and manipulation turns all this into apathy.

[-] 2 points by johnrharris (2) from Montgomery, TX 7 years ago

In the case of the Verizon proposal, those who were in favor should have, as individuals, joined the picket line if they were so inclined. At most the consensus rule should have applied to group actions. It should not have been interpreted to proscribe individual actions.

Large groups can and should seek consensus, meaning general agreement, but cannot operate on the basis of unanimity. The blocking rule implemented operation by unanimity, not consensus.

You err in associating anarchy with IWW. IWW isn't an anarchic organization.

It is good to require unanimity in some cases, e.g., juries.

[-] 1 points by HCabret2014 (-11) 5 years ago

You're just butt hurt because you don't always get your way. One of the beauties of humanity is that we have seperate and autonomous mind each capable of thought independent of one another. We are human, not the Borg!!!


[-] 1 points by Nevada8 (5) 6 years ago

You misunderstand consensus.

[-] 1 points by JohnDonohue (4) 6 years ago

I strayed in here because I was replying with a zinger against a random Ayn Rand smear. I have now opened all the comment threads and saved it out. This is a classic, one of the most hilarious discussions I have ever seen.

Ayn Rand has a meme the goes something like this: I feared the great enemy all my life but after a monumental quest got him cornered in a room, only to discover he was a craven rat scurrying to hide in a crack in the wall over in the corner.

[-] 1 points by FluxRostrum (4) 6 years ago

reasons consensus has been failing.... Most of YOU SUCK AT IT! Some of you are more important than the whole. Some of you use a block when what you mean is "Stand Aside" and you get away with it. ONE person block should not derail anything. One person block means that person wishes to leave the group over the issue. Sometimes the gruop should call them on it.
Learn More, Try Again - http://fluxview.com/USA/Original-deProgramming/Tools-Movement-Leaders-Lisa-Fithian-OWS-Facilitator-Workshop

[-] 1 points by FluxRostrum (4) 6 years ago

Consensus is a SKILL that this uncredited writer obviously did not master LEARN HOW to agree and how to handle blocks in this video http://fluxview.com/USA/Original-deProgramming/Tools-Movement-Leaders-Lisa-Fithian-OWS-Facilitator-Workshop

[-] 1 points by CPAG (1) 6 years ago

FYI An extensive response to this article by the Consensus Practices and Advocacy Group was also posted in response to the On Consensus article; you can read it here

[-] 1 points by lmnopi (1) 6 years ago

It used to be, once upon a time, that an individual who was part of the collective whole of OWS, would be very careful to always bracket their own opinions and viewpoints with "I am only speaking for myself" To me, this was a very important way of respecting the diversity of the voices contained within the collective whole. To not do so belies an arrogance that does not acknowledge or respect the existence of diversity. This arrogance utterly and completely lacks any shred of humility or collectivism.

That is what this article does. It pretends to speak for all of OWS. The only reason it is able to do so is because of access to power in that whom ever wrote it is an admin on this web page. PERIOD. This is not the voice of OWS. This is the voice of One Person who is pretending to have some sort of authority over the rest of us.

It's written in an authoritarian voice, right down to the actual title. "Occupiers! Stop using Consensus!" As if spoken by a Queen or a Monarch. Dear Anonymous author: "Stop Telling People what to do!"

[-] 1 points by Deedubist (1) from Philadelphia, PA 7 years ago

Focusing on process puts the vision on hold. It delays the implementation of the will of the people. The only problem being that 100 people will have 100 independent wills. But we want the force of a will of 100 people and the synchronization will take talent, luck, and leadership of each individual to recognize what is really the best course of action. The ideas and concepts that have come out of the Occupy movement have been grand, yet what of them have been implemented?

[-] 1 points by jph (2652) 7 years ago

"General agreement", this is the definition of "consensus". Notice this is not 100 agreement, as that is always unlikely,. the idea is to facilitate the most agreeable actions, not to generate 100 percent agreement from all individuals, herding cats comes to mind,. fun.

Seems people sure do get caught up in debating the debating,. .

Realize, that groups voluntarily organised do not need 100% agreement. If you don't agree with the general consensus (agreement) of a particular group, perhaps you are aligning yourself with the wrong group,. there is nothing wrong with finding/organizing another.

People seem to loose sight of the fact that in a voluntary organization you are free to leave. I believe this is the largest key that is missed by the opponents of this process of social organisation.

As in buddhism, when enough people disagree widely from the main group, it is time to move off and agree together as a new group with a new aim. The ability to 'agree to disagree' is inherent in the very idea of consensus.

[-] 0 points by engineer4 (331) 7 years ago

The practice of exclusion, or people moving out of a group based on disagreement will result in just lots of opposing factions (re: 2 party system). And worse, the group discussion will be like preaching to the choir. Everyone needs to listen to opposing viewpoints; first to better understand what issues they may have not recognized and second, to learn. No one is a complete expert for solutions. Most great solutions were the result of lots of adjustments to an original idea. And yes, we need to learn to "agree to disagree" that is based on mutual respect, something this forum sorely lacks.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 6 years ago

To create a "big tent" (inclusion) it will be necessary to focus on one or two critical issues and leave the rest for another day. This is a form of agreeing to disagree. The other factor to be considered is compromise... Insisting on ideological "purity" as a litmus test will drive people away.

We don't have to agree on everything, just what is necessary to get the job done...

[-] 0 points by engineer4 (331) 6 years ago

I like the idea of getting focus to the critical issues. It helps to move forward and accomplish something. There seems to be a constant introduction of more and more issues that clog things up. Yes, there are many issue, priorities need to be set. Use "Rome wasn't built in a day" as guidance.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 6 years ago

In terms of setting priorities, do any of these issues have common roots?

[-] 1 points by polarbear (8) 7 years ago

If you want to pin the failures of the social justice movements of the 60s and 70s on a single cause, then I would suggest the same thing that is holding us back now - drug and alcohol abuse. Substance-abuse has been the elephant in the room since the beginning, but instead of dealing with it like the public health issue it is, so many occupiers have adopted the idea that getting shit-faced and fucking shit up is the highest form of resistance, even though the only thing that actually gets fucked up is the work we're trying to accomplish. It breaks my heart seeing so many beautiful, talented, radical people I've come to know and love, drinking and drugging themselves to death. You want to fix the OCCUPY movement ? Let's start there.

[-] 2 points by engineer4 (331) 6 years ago

I actually posted something last year about how to end the violence associated with drugs, here and Mexico, etc. all I asked for was to stop using, if you want to try to legalize, then do it the legislative way but don't just break the law. I even discussed the cost savings (tax) that would be realized. But mostly I got attacked for it. Most responses were selfish. They would not give up drugs, rather they wanted it legal, blaming government laws for the violence and problems.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

as opposed to guns and violence ?

[-] 1 points by engineer4 (331) 6 years ago

Sorry, Not sure of the meaning of your question?

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 6 years ago

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there can be no free market, by definition, if a good, product or service can be banned legislatively. All markets are controlled politically. In which case, the only free market is the black market.

[-] 2 points by alldone (32) 7 years ago

Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror.

I'm starting with the Man In The Mirror

I'm asking him to change his ways

And no message could have

Been any clearer

If you wanna make the world

A better place

(If you wanna make the World a better place)

Take a look at yourself, and

Then make a change

(Take a look at yourself, and Then make a change)

[-] 1 points by Sammyseed (12) 7 years ago

The aim is to get people acting like the interdependent class of people they are. Consensus does not support this essential way of thinking, it says almost Republican like that you can simply walk away from the science, it even builds a framework for this to happen.

Occupy needs to see itself not as a constructed set of ideas or memes, but as a realist movement which seek's to raise awareness on our reality - and within this awareness the critical need for change is automatic.


[-] 1 points by ToddD99 (1) 7 years ago

I think I can safely say that none of us expected this as part of the Consensus series. At least not the first piece after the announcement. It does make sense that consensus can and does work on a smaller scale where people are trusted. Like food Not Bombs. Even where it is used on a larger scale like Spain and Zapatista controlled areas - consensus is used on the neighborhood scale. Unlike America, there can be no "outsiders" as people know the other people in their neighborhoods - those regional bodies then report back to the larger central assembly. I have seen consensus make an okay idea in to a really good idea. But, I have more often seen really good ideas die due to blocks. There certainly is not enough stand asides used and people certainly tend to lack vision or the tactical skills to look beyond their own narrow concerns or assess when they can go along for the sake of team.

[-] 1 points by EdgeBender (17) 7 years ago

Congratulations on exuding from the distraction of process.

My ideas~ Reaffirm your take on agenda. Assure yourselves that the problem has not changed. Look at what there is to do that will not risk your personal well-being in any way your opposition risks theirs, and engage by any means two gathered together may see in sensible purpose for achieving the Result you know will benefit the largest number. Live your efforts as Love.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 7 years ago

The first OWS WG meeting I went to - in October 2011 - was simply to set a date to present a previously "consensed" proposal to the GA
With four hours & consensus NOTHING WAS DONE!

I attended visions and goals meetings - thousands of man ( and woman hours ) to consense a one page document

I have been ranting against consensus ever since

this process is one of two or three reasons why OWS is now 20% of wat it once was and 5% of what it could be.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 7 years ago

About time. Did they have to get consensus on this decision? If not, how was it decided?

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 7 years ago

20% still is more than I thought

[-] 1 points by loneshark (7) from Norfolk, VA 7 years ago

Interesting article indeed. Stop using consensus? I was like whaaaa?. Don't u just hate that guy who always threatened to block? Kind like the guy who bids a dollar more than the last guy on the price is right. Lulz

[-] 0 points by enouph (0) 6 years ago

Consensus is nothing more than CONSENT. By mangling the language used to describe it, you uphold a "process" that sounds complicated, and therefore becomes complicated. Most folks who are part of OWS working groups have only experienced this version of "consensus". So I don't blame them for criticizing it. This essay alone makes it obvious that many have "fetishized" consensus, even giving it a made up name. "To consense" sounds like something one has to study before taking part it. Disappointing. Also, to ask me to log in so that you know who I am, but to leave this essay anonymous, is unjust, and definitely not transparent. Names like "occu[iers" come straight from a high school mentality. This is the sad part of our movement. Lack of reflection and a refusal to see that each of us is another part of our collective psyche, not someone else, outside of us.

[-] 0 points by icantbelievethis (0) 6 years ago

ha without consensus, OWS is meaningless. I stop supporting you here. The world doesn't need another sierra club or greenpeace. Why not just start a lobby group? or a super pact, yeah that's it, ows super pact. I can't believe consensus is being debated. First it was property destruction, now consensus. Your movement has lost all credibility, these discussions have been resolved in the radical movement decades ago. All time low.

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[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

To DSamms: no reply button again: Yes, I vote to abstain, as opposed to not voting at all.

I want it to be known by at least someone that I refused to vote for someone who is not me.

[-] 0 points by Gabriel777 (0) 7 years ago

Wait, but oops it takes 10% of the people at GA to block, not 1, oops someone got caught telling a tall tale, evidenced in this quote from the above article... "There were about a hundred people that day and in the middle of the meeting a proposal was made to join Verizon workers on the picket line as a gesture of solidarity in the hope that they might also support us in return. People loved the idea and there was quite a bit of positive energy until one woman in the crowd, busy tweeting on her phone, casually raised her hand and said, "I block that". The moderator, quite flabbergasted asked why she blocked and she explained that showing solidarity with workers would alienate the phantasm of our right-wing supporters. Discussion then abruptly ended and the meeting went on. The truth was irrelevant, popular opinion didn't matter, and solidarity—the most important of all leftist values—was thrown to the wind based on the whims of just one individual. Occupy had to find a new way to do outreach."

[-] 0 points by VQkag1 (-112) 7 years ago

Ironically, if one would have written this on the forum he would have been considered a troll by shadz66, zendog, DKAtoday, and friends. Now that it's written here they will all agree like little robots following orders.

In the previous article you asked if we should use consensus or not. You didn't even bother reading the comments and contributing to them, and now you come out with this piece. Interesting.

These Occupy articles feel like they are coming from the hand of some God. They are written by anonymous writers, and the writers never contribute to the ensuing discussion in the comments. It's like the comments don't count one bit.

I think you're using a red herring. I agree with misfit below. Occupy is failing and you're trying to find an excuse as to why so you point to consensus in the hope that people will think - "Ya, consensus was the problem, so let's start again without it!". The problem is it's too late, and Occupy was consensus. It was built around that idea. It's at it's core. Take away consensus and you don't have Occupy anymore. Remember, "We want to see direct democracy on each street corner". You're going to lose a lot of followers if you throw away your bread and butter - direct democracy.

Now you want Occupy to become hierarchical? With representatives? A party perhaps? Then why are we here? Why don't you just start a political party?

[-] 0 points by alldone (32) 7 years ago

I don't believe Occupy is failing and this post proves it by bravely questioning what some people believe to be the "bread and butter" of Occupy.

The ability to question everything, allows you to broaden your horizon beyond the current social, economic and political paradigm.

[-] 0 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 7 years ago

we all consent to the money system

those that have money determine the jobs of those that don't

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 7 years ago

People should live for to better themselves. I am not here for the betterment of the group.

Consensus allows ALL people a say regardless of what the majority decides. In a true common law republic, "consensus" does not impede upon the majority's ability to decide, but it does preserve the right of the individual to tell the majority that they are fucking idiots every now and then.

Get rid of the fruity hand signals and the cords your mother gave you and speak for yourself.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3267) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 7 years ago

of course we should better our self,...

but also consider people and world, which should benefit your peace of mind, which is a part of you unless you're egotist on a island. It is a web of life.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 7 years ago

Having compassion for yourself means you have compassion for everyone.

If you aren't happy with yourself, how can you possibly be happy with anyone else?

[-] 0 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 7 years ago

I disagree absolutely with your rude, disrespectful comment.

Good riddance to consensus, The individual still will be heard.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 7 years ago

One person's rude and disrespectful is another's religion.

Consensus is the best way to have unpopular views heard.

[-] 3 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 7 years ago

It is unworkable. It is the best way to freeze any action. Unpopular views are still heard they just no longer have the ability to blow up the popular ideas for action.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 7 years ago

Popular ideas are rarely "good" ideas. Consensus is a check on the ignorance of the majority as well as the ignorance of the minority.

Something missing from the GAs is an unlimited filibuster.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 7 years ago

You have it absolutely backwards. End the filibuster. The popular ideas from the great progressives at Occupy are without a doubt the BEST ideas.

Individuals can express themselves, and have their ideas heard. They just no longer have a veto on the great ideas that the intelligent majority of progressives are pushing.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

The "best" in your opinion, not the best "objectively".

The "intelligent" majority? Really? That is why 4 years with Obama have done sooooooo oh soooooo well.

In fact there is not a single human being on earth capable of being a good politician. This is a physical limitation as well as an intellectual one. The fact is that only I can represent myself and only you can represent yourself. No one can represent me for me, without my consent.

If each and every person is not afforded the perfect freedom to express themselves in a public forum (free of charge), the it isnt really freedom.

The filibuster is the perfect incarnation of Free Speech. Without there is NO freedom of speech in the public forum. Closing the door on ignorance will only create more ignorance.

I am more than happy to hear your ideas, but you must afford those who disagree with you the same courtesy.

Political parties and representative democracy are the problems, democrats republicans, they are all the same.


[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

Political parties ARE a big problem. End the duopoly! I welcome theday we have real direct democracy. I would encourage a local test/implementation to show the superiority of the concept.

"I am more than happy to hear your ideas, but you must afford those who disagree with you the same courtesy."

I have no problem hearing all opinions. I never said otherwise. I object to giving every individual the power to block decisions/progress.

THAT is unworkable. The 70% plan they've settled on seems reasonable. I think mostly it will be greater percentage mostly.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Yah, I agree that there shouldn't be an unlimited liberum veto, but that does not mean the replacement should be a simple majority. Each assembly should decide for itself what constitutes a "consensus". Whether it be 70%, or 80% or 90%.

I want to avoid a dictatorship of the majority as much much as some want to avoid a totalitarian dictatorship.

The goal is to have it so that each person only has power over themselves and no one has power over any other.

This may be a distant pipe dream, but it is my goal.

[-] 2 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

One day. Until then my goal is take the peoples govt back from the oligarchs, & correct the self destructive economic inequity.

For that I work hard for & take pleasure in the progressive coalition that is growing stronger and finally starting to speak boldly for change that benefits the 99%.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Both political parties are equally as bad; in fact any and all political parties are equally as bad.

Economic equality is the result of people caring too much about how much money they as compared to others.

What is 1 divided by 7 billion? That is all i care about. I could care less about the "99%".

Instead of worrying about what others think, people should worry more about what them, themselves think.

My effort in is convincing myself first and others second.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

I believe we are stronger when we think of all and are concerned for each other. Always better to think of but also beyond ourselves. Wouldn't wanna be selfish.

And it's not an issue of caring that others have more, it is an issue of getting the money back from those who think only of themselves and have taken our (the 99%!) wealth for 30 years.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

I like to think of myself as selfFULL, not necesarily selfish.

I prefer voluntary poverty and simple living anyday over the robin hood complex.

I dont have the desire to be rich, nor do I care whethers others do or do not.

I am happy to hear that you want everyone to have the same or similar amount of money. But I sadly do not share the sentiment.

The Buddha said that having compassion for yourself is equal to having compassion for all others. :)

[-] 2 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

Ok. so you got the freedom thing all figured out. I'm very happy for you.

[-] 2 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

Returning stolen money to the victims is NOT theft. It is justice.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

I dont think I would accept the money back though. I cant speak for you though.

I didnt want any money in the first place.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

Sounds like you got the money thing all figured out. Excellent!

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Nope im pretty much a dirt poor college student. But im happy, so what more good would more money do?

I have no desire to seek money. You apparently do. Good! :)

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

"Our individual freedom is inextricably connected to every single persons freedom on the planet"

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

I am free regardless whether others are or are not.

Freedom is the inherent state of all things. You can only gain freedom when you have previously given it up.

If you dont give up your freedom, then there is no more freedom to gain because you are already perfectly free. If someone else gives up thier freedom, but I dont, I am still free, while they are no longer.

[-] 1 points by repubsRtheprob (1209) 6 years ago

I never said I want everyone to hve the same or similar amount of money.

I'm saying the wealthiest have stolen the money of the 99% for the last 30 years, and it's time to fix that obscenity.

[-] -1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

You are against wealth inequality, are you not?

Is there a mid region between people having unequal(differing) amounts of money and people having equal amounts of money, that i am missing?

Robin Hood was just as much of a thief as those who stole from him(or his people) in the first place.

Stealing from the thief is still stealing.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

We could rebuild the democratic systems if we choose are own representatives.

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

In theory the majority IS already represented in government, but everyone that doesnt vote for the person that wins, is effectively not represented in government.

In practice, no one but the representatives themselves are represented in government, as no one can represent another without their complete consent.

The system is not broken, as it works just like it has been written to do so. the system needs improvement and innovation. It needs to be a direct government instead of a delegative government.

People need to be able to speak, choose and represent themselves in all facets of public life.

[-] -1 points by DSamms (-294) 7 years ago

Voting allows ALL people a say on a particular issue regardless of what the majority decides.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 7 years ago

It doesn't give them recourse to vomitus after the majority has exercised it's power.

Most states arrest and imprison persistent objectors.

[-] 0 points by DSamms (-294) 7 years ago

Nor does consensus if the majority rules.

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 7 years ago

It's common law, not necessarily statutory law. Law is established through continual practice.

In a consensus system according to common law, the majority rules itself, as doe s the minority and the individual.

[-] -2 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

To shooz: the reply button disappered so here is my response:

I learned to read by reading. :)

United we fall. You can accomplish much more by yourself without waiting for the 'others'.

[-] 2 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

OK Ayn.

Hope you never need social security, or medicare or anything like that.

You never were much of a team player, always taking your ball and going off to the gulch..

[-] 0 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

Im more like HDT in my POV. Or Oscar Wilde.

Any Rand advocates violence. I think violent people are cowards.

[-] 1 points by shoozTroll (17632) 6 years ago

“Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” ― Oscar Wilde

[-] 1 points by HCabret (-327) 6 years ago

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." Oscar Wilde

[-] -3 points by os2wiz (-3) 7 years ago

concensus was George Soros tool to weaken the confrontational nature of Occupy and make it a bureaucratic irrelevant organization. An active minority lead the masses historically, We can make decisions in general assembly. Unanimity means nothing significant will occur.