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work in groups, consensus and hierachy  RSS feed

 
rose macaskie
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Dirt farmer in the dandyllion thread put in a link to a permaculture blog -permaculture mailing list- in which bill mollison i think it was, is talking about consensus and how usefull hierachy are.
  As permaculture has to do with developing comunities this is a importatn permaculture subject.
   Hierachy is like other things not necessarily good or bad it depends how far it is taken, if it gets abbusive or not.

    For consensus don't you need people who are willing to compromise, sometimes the question is clear and everyone can agree. So it also depends on a certain lack of justice. the meeknes s of some not their total agreement. Maybe it is cruel because they have to pretend t agree instead of agreeing to differ.
       Is it hta people like hierachy if they are not to far down in the pecking order and less so if they are a long way down on it. Have known being subjected to hierachy for so long that i hate it, just because men seem to think it is their job to rule with no question of the suitability of hteir character for the post as big cheif. they only pretend tha tthere wil be any sharing.

     Hierachy is established and kept in place by some cruel methods. Classism is hieraquical, you dont pass on information to inferiors for example, it is knowing more that earns you the respect of others, being mean with information is a technique that cripples others.
  In classim people have been kept so busy from such early ages they could not adquire information. If you are ignorant you look stupd you need to have all the fats to judge situations corretly. That a person is stupid is always a reason for not including them in decision making or not listening to their side of things, and no amount of sunshine and pretty flowers and such makes up for that.  It is like that in all groups, though you have done for the rich it is like that among groups of the poor. As a woman i am as little in favour of hierachies as  anyone poor can be with classim.
  I remember being horrified as a child by how much house work there was for women as my mother saw the duties of a wife, the cleaning she taught was always spring cleaning, to always sweep under all the furniture. i remember thinking how marvelouse the kibutz system was that had everyone working in the moring and in the afternoon everyone women included had time off. other people clean you house while you work in a factory inth emorning and others cook eating is communal. In the afternoon you an be as good as anyone you can read or write and know as much as any other, you can join in with them.
  When hierachies exist people expect you to listen to them without any sort of

  Other ways of keeping hierachies. 
     Having more money than others help you to have power over them as does having positions to offer. That includeds people who belong to groups who have the money to start off projects i am not just refering to people who actually themselves can do it.
  people in a hierachy expect yo to respect them without them haivng to gain you trust it is incredible.
Often the higher members of a hierachy are good at freezing others out, being imperiouse or haughty so others dont dare talk  or just scarign them into being easy to lead by showing how squashing they can an be if others  stick their necks out.
  another trick is to let you see how nasty they have been to some other person you can see what they are capable of.
hierachies are necessary but they are evil, i call them the anti christ they are the excuse for not treatign others as yourself . not education others for example because the world needs the person who washes the dishes as well as the boss so difference is imposed on people . and in general the country has been a place of the most terrible family domination not a placcce of relatrive freedo m from these forces. beign heirachal is not loving others as you love yourself unless the person who imposes on others is decieving themselves . establishing you superiority is nt kind , i used to htink tha the person who was the fairest would be a lreader my experience is tha thtose who have the nastiest tricks take tha position and it is not kind, so peopleshould be aware of the set backs of it and use such things sparingly. it is necessary to have aenough ocntrol of a class of children for instance or to keep authority in a small business if you are the boss but it is not lovign thit includes using aloofness f. an unloving posture .  so it should be used sparingly an dpopulations should know that it is a necessary evil not a good thign. It is for eample vile to promise love and then put inoto place aloofness. it is used in marriage a lot. though women dont realise it is beign used against them.   i have to finish this tomorrow i m tired.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm not much in favor of hierarchy, myself.  Human societies managed to live for some 100,000 years without it. 

Thesis #7:  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/HTML/Jason_Godesky__Thirty_Theses.html#toc1
 
rose macaskie
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ludi, the site you posted seemed to treat of the whole of moral systems in a rush, Morals are complicated for instance hierarchies create a lot of cruel situation in which not very nice people are dominating others much as some would like to site situations in which they have their advantages, like being able to insist on what that hiuerachy think is right.  Read the writer Frederica Garcia Lorca for examples of brutal domination.
      I was only talking of hierarchy i don't think that a whole moral system has to be involved in a discussion on hierarchy which is one small part of moral systems. one of the many parts you can discuss at length.  If someone is trying to impress their moral system on others then hierarchy becomes the motor of the whole moral system. i don’t agree with that, i felt for the puritans when i read of how they were persecuted in England and had to leave as i did for the Catholics in the same situation,  as i did for the Jews persecuted by Catholics. l as i did for the victims of the kkk that I don’t doubt died at the hands of people who believed in their right to impose their own moral system and also imagined others were wrong instead of knowing it.  I am not for hierarchies ¡n moral systems or if hierarchies exist, which they must for example in families everyone should be aware that they can be very abusive and that you have to be careful to stop them becoming so, you can get Victorian fathers for example, and over dominant mothers.
    I don’t like totalitarianism i don’t like Hitler’s state or the soviet union or the tyrants in south America. We know how much harm they do, though they impose things that at first seem good, like communism the ideology of communism is great only it did not work so well or some extreme forms of Christianity.  Spain’s tyrant Franco was a murderous villain though he kept abortion illegal, Abortion seems to be the question of the paper you put in a link to Ludi. I did not read it all, I don’t like the extreme anti abortionists.

  The paper that you put in a link to, much as it seemed at first to be an anarchist one, on further reading seemed to be anti murder and pro-pedophiles.
    That is, as far as i can make out, the most extreme place worry about abortion leads people to. The acceptance of pedophilia and to being anti the use of the rubber in these times of SIDA, being anti rubbers is an attitude that is for me also murderous and in a more real sense than abortion is, the fear of death being for me a big part of the reason for not killing others but fear of death needs some understanding of what death is and in the first month of pregnancy the fetus is very undeveloped. It is a tough question there is a sliding scale of event in reproduction and there is the mother emotional state of the mother to think of, still compared with a person catching aids and the distraught and unprotected orphans, I prefer the abortion of a fetus in the first month or maybe two of pregnancy. The pity i feel for their fear of death which is more frightening than death itself is the reason for being against murder, and aids  being the death of young adult from long illnesses I see promoting sida by being anti abortion as one of the evils of those that take a extreme position to abortion.
    Surely those who propose a long cruel death are more murderous than those who propose a quick one with no long fearing of death. I think the anti abortionist should also be vegans. I don’t mind anti abortionist ideas, i think i would be one of those who held them if anti abortionists weren't so violent, mentally violent at any rate and sometimes actually physically violent, to those who don't agree with them.  Aids is a long slow death and one that leads to a surfeit of orphans so i think it is worse to increase peoples chances of getting aids than to increase abortion rates. It also destroys some countries and i think it is, not so passive, ethnic cleansing. It cleanses countries of those who aren't tremendously religious. 
    This topic scares me people who are anti abortion are so violent.
 
  I can see a real reason against pedophilia, I think that adult domination is scary for children and in such intimate circumstances more so. Society should recognize that sex is an intimate game and you should not have to play intimate games with those who dominate you. As sex  is almost obligatory in marriage the idea that it should not be practiced if you don’t trust your partner is not much mentioned. Bullies always want to play intimate games with their victims, it makes it easier to humiliate them. Sex is an intimate game and as such makes it easier to humiliate your partner, it can become if you are not avery nice to you partner a sort of and now lick my boots activity. Adults can always bully children but we try to reduce the traumatisms of this as far as we can.
      An adult who has apparently lost it to the extent that people apparently are beside themselves in sex, must be frightening for a child.
    Also it is bullies who play games with people that have no authority, who can't say i like to play this way and i don’t like that and in such a delicate matter as sex the relationship should be as equal as possible. I already think that the relationship between men and women is too unequal to make sex between the sexes a good idea, women have to be brave to go into a sexual relationship, for one men are stronger than them usually they earn more and society gives them more credit for sense than women the mans position is dominant you have to be brave to play intimate games with a dominant person. The advantage in sex of being with someone who is less strong than you allowing you to call the changes is so great that in order to attract men women wear all sorts of clothes that make them weak and  make them look weak, skirts too tight to move in, heels too high to walk in, lips they can’t control properly. It is womn who are brave they take on the strong men want the weak in a worse position than them and in theory they are the brave ones it is terrible. Equality is a good principal in sex and one that needs to be discussed and as sex between children and adults is a lot further down the path of unequal relationships  and domineering, i don’t contemplate acceptance of such relationships and i don’t think such a theme should get mixed up with that of agreeing  or not with abortions. We should not be changing everything to make an anti abortion stance more logical, as if it did. It seems to me an anti abortion stance has some sense on its own though I am not against abortion if a child gets pregnant for example.
      There is nothing instinctive about my idea that it is hard for a child to have an adult panting and beside themselves with a child present and more so under that adult and penetrated by it, it would be frightening for children. Maybe the societies that practice pedophilia as a norm teach adults to practice sex with maximum possible calm, i should not think our pedophiles though have any tradition  of polite sexual intercourse, western sex is inclined to be a bit torrid, far from the tantric control that advises holding on to feelings instead of making a big fuss of them and in the case of men the suppression of orgasm all this only increases the time of making love something children don’t probably want anyway. 

  I saw a very mad film in which they seemed to be upholding pedophilia in an effort to be totally down on abortion. Such extreme viewpoints are my reason for being anti most of the anti abortionist lobby.

    I can understand that there is a religion who can think of prohibiting rubbers without feeling bad about doing something so deadly, i can understand how they got lead from one argument to another into  a position that was brutal, i used to understand it any way when I thought Christianity was about understanding others rather than about upholding laws, any way their lack of understanding about abortion has stopped me feeling any desire to understand the brutalities of the religious..
    i cannot understand how those against abortion can't see that the pro-abortionist are people who were afraid of girls dying in illegal abortions or who know that a high population rate causes poverty and miserable conditions, I think anti abortionists are so fervent they will deny the miseries of poverty which are often moral as well as material, more drunken adults and less protection for the children of drunken adults to mention one aspect of poverty, children left alone because parents are working and can’t afford baby sitters and more violence. If you don’t admit the evils of p9overty one is in fact more abortions than among the rich and wicked materialist I have heard this is information Greg Boyd the evangelist mentions this their is a catholic preist of the same nearly name, it can mean  you make less efforts to reduce poverty.

      The most extreme anti abortionists treat those who back abortion as your vilest of criminals. They may consider them wrong  but it should be evident they are not trying to be mean. Everyone seems to have forgotten backstreet abortions and to say that the principle reason for abortions is the right to choice I don’t remember that argument beign so prominent years ago when abortion was legalized. One trick of anti abortionist is to always look for the meanest reason for abortions and never admit the less mean ones, this negativity favors their cause but at the expense of justice, those who suffer for justice shall inherit the earth.  Morals are not easy, if you seek justice you stop being meek and stick your neck out, which is right? To be meek or just and I don’t think the religious are any better at getting this sort of problem right than anyone else. If we discuss which is best the search for meekness or for justice, there is a lot of room for disagreement. 

    I  can't see what evil prohibiting preservative prevents except ones that are crazy, like that they want a maximum number of children born. You don’t see many children in Madrid but that Is because they don’t play on the streets. Why not have women reproducing from the age of thirteen to the age of forty- fifty, at every moment they can? That is the logical conclusion of those who are crazy to fill the world full of souls. Can't a supposed god just make the world last longer so we can have souls, lots of souls but spread out over time, in happier conditions than if you have overcrowding if it is the number of souls that worries the religious. 
      I can’t see the suffering `preservatives cause and i can see the suffering lack of preservatives cause, the long and sad deaths of so many young people and all the children left without parents and the immense room it gives for imposing your own ideology on communities in unchristian countries. So there is reason to think that those against abortion, are just as careless of life in other ways as the abortionist are.

      I can't understand those who want to insist on harassing mothers who have illegitimate children and want to ask girls not to abort. They should support unmarried mother if they want to stop abortion.
      I can’t understand those  who teach hierarchal behavior and then make light of the power fathers and mothers have to force their daughters to abort, who pretend that daughters should be able to stand up to their parents. Or you teach people to be obedient or to stand up to all others. You can't have it both ways, human nature is not a question of having innate character, it is overwhelmingly a question of education, just look how all the poor and all women have born the yoke of domination throughout the ages, that is proof of how easy it is to dominate people though we like to imagine we are a wonderful animal with lots of character only those educated to lead normally do it.

I have heard of a woman here in Spain of my generation, older than me, who scared by finding herself pregnant, left home and had the child in a different city where she started up her own hairdressing salon. I think that young women should not have to start out on their own in such very scary way. I would have been terrified to start up on my own in a strange town pregnant and i suppose it easily ends up in less fortunate jobs than that of a  hair dresser.

  The excuse for hierarchy in some groups is that if a good group could rule they could insist on stopping evils abortion for instance. Abortion is also the excuse for a lot of other things like asking people to support the right. There are religious groups who ask  for the vote for the right.  Do they know there are more abortions in poor countries or among the poor than in the societies they hate so, that they call materialist but that are also the societies with welfare states and a minimum wage and trade unions and altogether better situation for the poor.
  People don’t accept the government of their country through consensus they are allowed to differ, consensus means domineering attitudes, people have to be obliged to agree.
  In democracies the poor have an advantage, if the government does not put forward measures that benefit the poor and less powerful, they may be voted out. Historically, in hierarchal societies the poor did very badly though the religious believed that one day charity would help the poor the only thing that has really helped the poor has been things like the minimum wage and the welfare state.
  I believe that the churches have established their anti abortion bases in the right, that  if their anti abortionists are socialist they convince them to become conservatives because the well fare state takes a lot of money away from the religions whose business is charity  and so who lose money  if others deal with the poor, others like the government  . agri rose macaskie

       
   
     
 
                                      
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Hierarchies create haves and have nots on many levels.  The best way for communities to avoid them is to simply avoid them.  It's not difficult.  I've had the privilege of working with a far-flung community of over 4000 people all from different belief systems and walks of life.  When they decided to create a Constitution to govern their association one with another, one of the things the Mother's Council did was write into it that no person in the community may seek to dictate the beliefs of another and that social hierarchies would simply not be tolerated.  When they are discovered (for in a culture so well educated as ours is in the subject, they do pop up from time to time), they are quickly rooted out and abolished.

We have been at this now for ten years.  One of the ways we have found to be most efficient in stopping the development of hierarchies is to continue in the covenant we made with each other to allow private matters, such as abortion, sex, relationships, family life, religion, lifestyle, and so forth, to remain just that, private. 

When groups decide together that one of the unifying purposes is to regulate such aspects of the human experience, right from the get go, governing bodies must be established to enforce such decisions.  Buddabing Buddaboom, hierarchy.  The group has doomed itself, at the very least to high turn over, and at the very worst to collapse.

We have Catholics, Baptists, Mormons, Amish, Budhists, Masons, Hindus, Muslims, Shintos, all manner of belief systems.  One might expect that such a divers group might have issues.  We do.  But we are careful to keep private things private.  Hierarchies cannot form, because we dedicated ourselves to that principle right from the start.  Nobody has authority to judge their neighbor because of their beliefs or lifestyle. 

Clean.  Simple.  Working for thousands.  Has worked for a decade and running.
 
Robert Ray
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I'd love to see a group of 4000 living as your cohesive unit. Curious as to how it works.
Who roots out the social hierarchies and abolishes them?  How does this mechanism work if not by establishing a body of enforcers?
How do you abolish the group or what is the penalty?
How did or do you separate a religious hierarchy and a social one?
When does a group become a hierarchy? Larger than a single family unit? (private hierarchy)
Does a business constitute a hierarchy?
 
                                      
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The key to a large community of like minded people being able to function on any level is that they do NOT live together.  Small communes make it for a while only because they mimic families.  This works for a while, except that in families children grow up and move away.  That really does account for the high rate of turnover in ICs based on the one-pot, family model. 

We live in and govern our own homes, our own gardens, our own food forests, etc., and we are teaching and learning to distribute the surplus in the form of the ancient Sacred Giveaway Principle. 
A commune of thousands would more accurately be called a town or city.  The "commune" was entirely unknown to the Native Americans and we do not have any communes today.  Even as we begin to plan and build Intentional Communities, each family will steward their own home and garden/food forest allotment.  No communes.  Each member of the IC labors to provide for themselves and to create a surplus.    The surplus is administrated as a community.

We are organized into Consensus Chapters each with Delegates sent to represent them in a yearly Great Council.  The system was in common use prior to European colonization and was characterized by village systems not exceeding 150 or so families per village (strictly adhered to) and seasonal rendesvouz, or what is referred to as "Pow Wows" today.  Our adaptation of this old system has been in place and functioning fairly well since 2001.  We have proven that we can resolve all our concerns through a unanimous consensus process. 

The system is guided by a Constitution to which all members subscribe.  The Council Delegates take responsibility for Constitutional compliance.  Here's an example:

In 2006, one of our members, a self-styled Cherokee Clan Mother (O.K. she is Cherokee by birth) decided that it wasn't O.K. for men to participate in Councils where women are present, and visa versa.  She came to a General Council prepared to filibuster until her ideas were adopted.  After it became apparent that she was insisting on control measures based in her interpretation of Cherokee Religion, the Talking Feather called for a break.  During the break the Delegates presented a request to the woman that she withdraw, which she refused.  The Delegates then presented a request to the Talking Feather to allow another to speak after the break, request approved.  (It was done this way because it is considered discourteous to interrupt a person whom the Feather has recognized in Council).  The Delegates asked a certain person to present interrogatories to the woman and when the discussion resumed it was discovered that her real intent was to set up a hierarchy of women to govern the entire group, in accordance with her "Cherokee" system.  The interrogator turned the matter back to the Talking Feather asking for a reading of the Constitution with especial attention to those provisions dedicated to the abhorrence of such hierarchies.  The woman was asked if she wished to persist in the filibuster of consensus and she decided to withdraw. 

In another example, one of the Chapters decided that only "Christians" were to be allowed.  No godless or unworthy people.  A complaint was made to the Elected Principle/Medicine Chief and the Chapter Council was interviewed.  When it was discovered that the complaint was true in all its particulars, the Chapter was disbanded.  Had there been doubt as to the truth of the complaint, the matter would have been brought before a Great Council and the Delegates from all the Chapters and Communities would have been called upon to decide the matter.  Those involved in this case frankly admitted that they would not admit anyone but a righteous "Christian" and so no Council was deemed merited.  The Chapter Council was dissolved and the members of the Chapter were each asked to submit there own opinions.  Those who subscribed to the Constitution were invited to form a new Chapter Council, which they did.  The small group within the Chapter that wanted to restrict membership to one belief system withdrew and went their separate ways.  I've watched them and can see no evidence that they have attempted to form any other intentional community.

The rooting out is done without the need for a body of rooter outers.  Because the Constitution gives us the ability to ascertain intention, either through interview and investigation by the Chief or through the Councils, the whole system becomes self-regulating. 

Families have hierarchies built in.  I doubt that such types of hierarchies can or ought to be avoided.  Communities need not develop hierarchies, or, haves and have nots.  If governing bodies are to be included in the term "hierarchies" I don't think there can be any intention in the Intentional Community.  To state an intention assumes governance to at least some degree.

Group organization is not necessarily the same as social hierarchy.  Organization allows bodies of people to govern themselves and prevent injury.  Social hierarchy creates haves and have nots, and more often than not, precipitates injury.  Organized religions may feel free to impose such hierarchies as their shepherds deem necessary, but those hierarchies do not translate upon the Community.  Religion is so personal a matter that it is kept personal and impacts the collective only by way of sharing.

Another example:  The Principle of Healing finds expression in all religions.  There is no hierarchy there.  When adherents to Herbalism decide that say, Reflexologist should not be allowed membership, or that their practice of Zone Therapy should come only after the herbs have been tried, then we have essentially one religionist attempting to dictate the religion of another.  In the same sense, the Catholic Nun who is a member of our Community of Healers, would never dream of insisting that Jews or Hindus keep silence in Council.

Whether businesses represent hierarchies depend upon the business model.
 
Robert Ray
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Where is this IC?
 
                                      
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We have Chapters in Ohio (5), Missouri (5), Kentucky (2), Michigan, North Carolina, Florida (3), Texas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado (5), Utah3), Oregon, California (2), Hawaii, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Ethiopia, Australia, Israel, Scotland,  and the Philippines.

Headquartered in Missouri only because that is where the current Elected Principle/Medicine Chief (myself) is located.  Great Council always follows the EPMC. 

I have to reiterate my observations, and I think they may be instructive, large ICs where the people all live together in one place/property still mimic the family model.  They arrange their living quarters in small groups.  The only other IC that I have ever seen where large populations live together successfully, but not following the family model, has been in my experience in State Penitentiary.  That was a boot camp system housing 750 men.  It was successful only in terms of the administration.  The men did not live together in any sort of harmony and it is not a system I would suggest anybody try to emulate. 
 
Robert Ray
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Ah, so not 4000 people in one geographic area.
Spread out so far it stretches my personal definition of community. I live with the idea of a community being more geograhically defined, although  by my count 41 chapters, equally divided, each chapter being less than 100 I can see where within a chapter of that size that system would work.
My experience with the current penal system is that there are definitly hierarchies within the population, so I have difficulties in that as a model.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Robert Ray wrote:
  Ah, so not 4000 people in one geographic area.
Spread out so far it stretches my personal definition of community.


Yes, that is a different definition of "community."  Sort of like our "community" here at permies.com.  Which most people would not see as an "intentional community" in the usual sense. 

It's always important for us to give definitions for words we use, if possible, to help with communication, if something isn't clear.  Because many people use words differently. 

 
                                      
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Robert - indeed yes.  I guess you would have to say that we are 41 ICs working in unity.  We do adhere to the rule of 150.  When  Chapters grow larger than the 150 rule, we divide the Chapter.  But even there, only two of our Chapters involve shared property.  We simply got tired of whole objectives, goals, programs, etc. coming to nothing because of the inevitable community property hierarchies.

I mentioned the Jail model more as a negative than a positive.  Penitentiary is a very good example of the problems caused by high density population all housed together.  Impossible is what it is.  It has never worked throughout history.  That's why the family model is always recreated in such settings.  To a certain extent, even the gang hierarchies in jail are family model examples.

 
Robert Ray
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My personal view where border connected IC's could be decribed as working in unity  just can't make the leap to chapters so far removed from one another.
  I can accept your description though we are divergent on our views of community.
To have the seat of a leader so far removed from a chapter to me would remove the local connection of direction I would feel comfortable with in accepting a leader or council.
 
                                      
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Hmm, sorry to give you the wrong impression.  Our chapters elect their own Councils.  Their leadership originates within them.  As the EPMC, I get to hold the feather and insure harmony and courtesy in the yearly Great Council.  I may only advise the Chapters when they ask for advice, and then I'm big into requiring that they make their own decisions.   

Hey, I did miss one of your questions.  We are Nemenhah, a Native American Traditional Organization with Tribal Holy People representing 57 Federal and Crown Recognized Tribes, and a whole lot of disenfranchised mixed-bloods and adopteds.  As a convocation of Healers and Traditional Spiritual Leaders, our mission is five-fold.  1)  Heal the Individual, 2) Heal the Family, 3) Heal the Community, 4) Heal Society, and 5) Heal the Planet.  Over the past ten years we have been learning how consensus works and we've really been concentrating on the first three aspects of our mission.  Permaculture is my contribution to #5.  We are honored that Mollison and Holmgren observed Indigenous Peoples and, to be honest, we're pretty thankful that they brought together such a model for restoring a sustainable future.
 
                                      
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What is a working definition of Consensus.  I think the Native American version may not jive with what most people use.

Consensus Groups, back in the day, involved in three groups of people that, it was to be hoped, would come together into one.  The first was the people proposing an idea.  They would be the pros.  The second was the people opposing an idea.  They would be the cons.  The third was the folks who didn't really care to argue about it.  By the end of the debate, all in favor gave a thumbs up.  If there were still opposed, they gave a thumbs down.  The folks who didn't require everybody to agree with them, gave a thumbs sideways.  Consensus wasn't reached until all the thumbs were either up or sideways.  It never meant that everybody's thumbs had to be up. 

The common thought today seems to be that all the thumbs have to be up to reach consensus.  This underscores a basic flaw in the premise.  Back in the day, the people knew that everybody agreeing was next to impossible, but they didn't expect it.  They also didn't require everybody to agree with them.  Maybe that's why consensus seems so difficult to obtain in modern culture.  We're so bent on everybody agreeing with us 100% that consensus is just too hard to expect.
 
                                      
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Consensus systems that work are also filled with useful and beneficial hierarchies.  In many systems, representative councils are created and consensus is required there, but the entire population doesn't have to come to an agreement. 

In our system, a Council  is elected by popular vote.  The Council would decide the forest management program.  It wouldn't be unilaterally one person's decision, since it affects everyone in the community.  Then the General Assembly is asked for a sustaining vote, which requires a super-majority.  If a super-majority isn't reached, that matter goes back to the Council to be re-thunk. 

In such a system, there would not have been the initial emotion generated by one guy going out in a common forest to knock down trees.  That emotion probably catalyzed opposition before the fact.  I find it difficult to believe that the guy with the chainsaw, living in an IC where he knew everybody and their attitudes, didn't know know exactly the controversy he was about to create when he pulled that starter cord.  The shock effect is what he was after in the first place, so I find it disingenuous that he should complain about the six months it took to repair the damage he caused to the common consent, and then to use it around the country as a teaching tool. 

He obviously began with a personal non-belief in the principles around which the community was based, or he would have called for consensus prior to the inflammatory act itself.  His reference to ritual and the non-participation of the people in the ritual, is just more shock effect.  It may have happened just as he describes, and as other are fond of repeating, but that doesn't speak to the intention of its use in teaching others.  That the people found even a little solace in funeralizing a tree or two makes the whole community laughable only to sell a concept.  That after a while nobody continued in the practice exposes them to further derision and justifies the original rupture.  The wrong lesson is being taught by the example and I think it's sad.  It's not people care, it's people hurt, for the sake of making a point, and the wrong point at that. 

It's one thing to take on Permaculture as a personal belief system and practice its principles privately at home.  Consensus is easy when there's only one person to consult.  But when a person goes a step further and introduces into the mindset that environment means more than just me - that other people find place there as well, and engage themselves in an IC, they must take the me out of it and learn to think in terms of we.  He talked about what he wanted to do to a lot of people he says.  He talked, they listened.  He was teaching all the time.  His ideas where known to the group he insists.  Forgive me, but the whole example seems all about him, not them.  It's obvious that the IC had assigned somebody to manage the land generally, but in common the IC did not have a policy specific to the commodity they held in common that takes the longest time to create and the shortest time to screw up, otherwise they would not have been six months in developing one.  It would have been more to the order of one or two meeting clarifying what the common consent had already decided, not a drawn out debate and reconciliation through compromise. 

That his neighbors are fodder for his ridicule disturbs me.  Does he still live there, and how do they all feel about him using their absolute failure on many levels as an object lesson in Sunday School?  I observe the ICs around me and I think I can easily point out the flaws and rough spots in just about every system.  It's easy because I'm not living with them, supposedly working together, living together, fighting the good fight together.  He was not an individual when this fracture occurred.  He was supposedly a member of a larger family. 

I laughed and I scoffed and I derided, in my head, when I first read the example.  Well, thought I, what a ridiculous bunch of people.  Stupid blockheads.  I mean after all!  And then of course none of them kept up the funerary rituals.  How false!  Pharasees!  O.K., I make my point.  Then I took a minute to read the example again, and really think about it.  Some very basic ethical issues broke down there.  It wasn't the stupidness or the weakness of the people that floats to the surface as the ideas presented decompose in my brain.  No, it's that the whole episode was so unnecessary.

 
 
                              
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What happens to the person whose life, labor, and property is taken by this "consensus" process? Since what you seem to be describing is a form of representative demoncracy, which is as we all know (or should) merely might makes right, specifically the mob rule form of MMR.

Correct me wherever this is mistaken, but we can imagine the following scenario: A member votes for a representative who loses. Now her interests are certainly not going to be heard or recognized. Or the person is lucky enough to vote for the popular candidate for the council, but that "representative" chooses to sacrifice the values of the voter in some given compromise that the representative did not feel to be important to himself. There are other such examples, but you get the idea. So while there may be an appearance of "consensus" the council level, the individual is sacrificed for it.

Imagine a specific example, that of eminenient domain, where a person's or an entire family's life and livelihood could be taken as long as the "representatives" agree to take it for some "communal" good.

Am I missing something?
 
Jonathan 'yukkuri' Kame
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Location: Foothills north of L.A., zone 9ish mediterranean
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Storm V Spooner wrote:
What happens to the person whose life, labor, and property is taken by this "consensus" process? Since what you seem to be describing is a form of representative demoncracy, which is as we all know (or should) merely might makes right, specifically the mob rule form of MMR.


From reading what Chief has written here, I would assume it operates closer to a constitutional republic, what the US is supposed to be (US constitution based on Iriquois law).  Without seeing their constitution, I guess it is fairly specific about the rights of the individual that are protected from mass rule. Chief has expressly stated that members have their own homesteads, and there is not communal ownership. 

Furthermore, the nature of consensus is that it is a very conservative process.  Decisions are not undertaken rashly, partly because it takes so long to reach consensus.  Lastly, it's not so easy to disenfranchise people you interact with face-to-face in a relatively small community.  It also appears that it is not coercive, in that it seems to be a voluntary association. 

Just my guesses.  Chief, please correct me.  Look forward to hearing more about this system. 
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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