Consensus decision making is bad for social justice

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Consensus Session

Go around (reasons for showing up) -looking for alternate but still democratic decision making process -looking for decision making processes that give same power to Yes's as No's -people finding consensus works -looking for better outcomes of consensus -looking for tools for less pain -looking for things between theoretical and practical -blurry consensus processes -look transfer experience fron icon design consensus process

Why consensus sucks -default reaction to hearing "we use consensus" is what do you mnean by that

Quilted Consensus Process -statement of problem -having a proposal -asking clarifying questions -having concerns restated -discussion on what would meant those concerns -either go forward or start with new proposal -approval or denial or send to an committee

-Process came from a workshop retreat -visual actions (like raising thumbs) -Their process does not have a consensus of when a block should happen -different meaning of stand asides, abstain


Additions to Process --time period for proposals before they get brought up --the archipegal of the many islands of modified consensus --group has a one block per x years per person --frustrations with altered proposals as opposed to friendly amendments --question on how developed a proposal should be before coming up in decision making process

 --answer, implementation is a big missing piece. the approval is just the basic part of the process

--how is the decision made to go to the formal process --many times it only comes to the formal process in "bad" situations --friendly amendment

 --how you view whose proposal it is, does a proposal become the group's proposal when given?

--adhoc groups don't really use formal process, but its used to address concerns


Framing issues with Consensus, especially in regard to oppression --consenses was formalized in WTO protests in Seattle in 1999 --major unrepresentation of less privileged of folks in decision making process --consense tends to break down in situations where a group is more diverse --consensus was not created in diverse bodies --when consensus breaks down, it breaks down worse --can create coercision and manipulation --proposals can lead to too many proposals, instead of real colloborative work to solve 1 problem --non privilige folks get coerced and end up being disengaged --real consensus doesn't happen because of the disengagement --consensus can be the tyrany of the whiningest, often the person with the most privilege, creates a big diversive situation --can often amplify power dynamic problems in a group --voting gives transparancy --people can block just to exercise power, sometimes because they feel disengaged in general and want to feel strength --friendly amendments can water down proposals -recognizing crypto hierarchy, sometimes process can be used to strenghten that hidden hierarchy

-voting can make dissent more visible -consensus was very attractive, seemed overpowering, seemed that process checks power, process helps engagement, but doesn't do it all

 --facilitators can do much more
 --not that scrapping process is the way to go, but acknowledge that it is not enough

-sometimes forceful proposals can have extra power -for consensus the importance about having the block be a really rare tool to be used -acknowleges that consensus can bring in power dynamnics, but facilitator awareness can prevent disengagment -good facilitation can be aware that not everyone engages the same, speaking, writing, time to think things through -consensus can break down when you take things like class, i.e. people of certain class cannot engage in the same way (jobs, kids, ...)


No Process -strive for everyone agreeing, but all available tools should be used based on need -unanimous decsions rather than consensus -strong individual identities can lead to tough decision making without strong group identity -looking at consensus as more a tool, rather than the full solution


-chart of consensus shows history of battles, rather than a simple methodology to come to agreement -trust issues play a important factor -difficult in coming with strategies in distributed networks


Tools -facilitation works best with community agreement

 --let the community come up with their own rules
 --one diva one mic
 --no one knows everything, together we know alot
 --keep it simple
 --what said stays here, whats learned here goes out
 --recognize we speak from our own experiences
 --move up move up, similar to step up step back, term changes acknolwedge those that can't step
 --be aware of time
 --listen with love
 --assume best intentions
 --we can't all be articulate all the time

-rules are important

 --when things go awry, community agreements can be held up as why things are going wrong in a less personal way
 --helps facilitator do their job as they can pull back to the document
 --meeting place is not a place for personal call outs, just using agreements to productively move forward
 

-Expected actions for agenda items, unfortunately the default goes to decide way too early

 --discuss
 --feedback
 --questions
 --share
 --brainstorm
 --listen
 --decide

Photos from the session: Photo 1 Photo 2