RE: concerning consensus
From: TR Ruddick (
Date: Sun, 13 Mar 2005 04:20:43 -0800 (PST)
> From: Dameron Midgette <dameron [at]>
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Concerning Consensus and established CoHo
>       communities

>      I've heard there is often a requirement in consensus processes that 
> blocks must be considered valid, ie the group must decide that the 
> concern is truly in the groups interest, and not a personal issue. Is 
> this something you're familiar with?

> >  Greenpeach international was taken over by a socialist group for
> > awhile, the group simply blocked all proposals, stopping the 
> > organization.

OK, one more time.  It is not possible to "block" consensus anymore than it
is possible to "block" sunrise.  You either have it, or you don't.  Calling
the minority who are in disagreement "blockers" is just name-calling; it
does nothing to promote real consensus, which only emerges when all
viewpoints are understood and respected.

If the group is allowed to decide whether someone's objection is "personal"
or "in the group's interest" then how is that decision to be made?  By
consensus?  If the group gets to vote on what motives they think a member
is harboring, then you may as well just let them vote on the proposal and
avoid the messy resentments that arise when you impute another's motives.

Anyway, aren't all motivations personal?  And isn't preserving the
interests of minorities--even individuals--a proper goal for communities?

In the case of Greenpeace (and of other groups) if that account is
accurate, there needs to be some sort of mechanism that prevents saboteurs
from joining in only to scorch the group's earth--but that's not a problem
with consensus decision-making per se, rather it's a problem with the
by-laws of the organization.  Membership criteria and the group's stated
purpose should prevent malicious invaders from destroying the group. 
Cohousing communities, it seems to me, are less likely to have that degree
of permeability.


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