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On Consensus

Police State

Consensus is a group process by which people determine their own ideas and actions. It is the most democratic of all forms of decision-making for it negotiates conflict without the use of force. As long as there have been people talking to one another there has been consensus. In what is now known as the United States, the earliest documented consensus process was by the Haudenosaunee in the 12th century. By the 16th century a league formed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations.

On Consensus

by OccupyWallSt
Feb. 18, 2013

Consensus is a group process by which people determine their own ideas and actions. It is the most democratic of all forms of decision-making for it negotiates conflict without the use of force.

As long as there have been people talking to one another there has been consensus. In what is now known as the United States, the earliest documented consensus process was by the Haudenosaunee in the 12th century. By the 16th century a league formed of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca nations. This is often cited as the Iroquois League or Confederacy. They used a council system with elders, who acted as delegates or “spokes” of the different nations and came to consensus on matters concerning the Great Lakes region. In times of war elder women had the ability to veto over the other elders.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the Anabaptists were mounting opposition to the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. By the 16th century there were many heretical sects the most prominent of which were the Quakers, who became known for their “rule of sitting down.” Rather than rely on priests or ministers they would sit in circles and listen to one another. It was thru this practice that they achieved divine revelation.

Modern American Quakers claim to be inspired by both by the Iroquois and their own history of the Anabaptists. Throughout the 19th 20th century Quakers played an important role in U.S. social movements from abolition to women’s rights to every anti-war movement.

In the early 1960s Quakers acted in solidarity with the civil rights movement and trained many of its early members in consensus including the founders of SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), which emerged out of the youth division of the NAACP. SNCC went on and organized the freedom rides and lunch counter sit-ins using consensus.

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On Consensus | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
On Consensus
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, February 21 2013 @ 03:59 PM CST

This is a seriously flawed article, and the problems start with the first paragraph:

Consensus is a group process by which people determine their own ideas and actions. It is the most democratic of all forms of decision-making for it negotiates conflict without the use of force. As long as there have been people talking to one another there has been consensus.

First of all, their definition of consensus is so vague as to be almost meaningless; indeed I doubt that anybody who didn't already understand the theory and practice of consensus would learn anything useful from this piece.

Secondly, is "consensus" (apparently there is only one kind) really the only form of decision-making that "negotiates conflict without the use of force", or that involves "people talking to one another"?  I've seen plenty of instances of majority-rule decision making that did not involve the use of force, and even entailed a good bit of "people talking to one another" before any decision was made (and after).

The on-going debate about consensus vs. majority rule decision-making processes is a very interesting one to me, but one would never even know from reading this essay that such a debate exists, since it never even bothers to mention majority rule.