Re: Risk Management
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2017 16:18:09 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jul 13, 2017, at 12:04 PM, Philip Dowds <rphilipdowds [at]> wrote:
> Maybe some “like” it, most “can live with it”, and a few are just tired of 
> the process — but whatever the reason, the group has accepted the proposal by 
> unanimity, or in solidarity, or however one wishes to phrase it.

No consent does not mean unanimity or solidarity. Consent means only that you 
are willing to consent to the proposal to go forward and do not have any 
objections that would prevent you from supporting the proposed action. 

Unanimity and solidarity are things in and of themselves. Consensus is not and 
never has been defined as consensus.

It is an error in practice that groups fall into but it’s illogical and not 
part of the tradition of consensus.

The expectation that any group would be unanimous or pledge solidarity on any 
decision worth debating is hopeless. If the decision has any importance it 
would be a rare or very small group with a simple aim that unanimity would be 
possible. Solidarity is important in some situations. In a dangerous situation 
where everyone is depending on each other you want solidarity. Everyone has to 
be fully supportive and committed.

Consent is not a veto and consensus isn’t solidarity.

>  No vote ever occurs … unless, maybe, the group acknowledges that the status 
> quo is not really the best outcome when the proposal is in the tolerance 
> range of all but a few (unreasonable??) members.

I don’t like the thumbs thing either. It’s intimidating — just like majority 
vote.  The focus should be on the content, the quality, the expected results of 
the proposal. One objection may be the best information the group has and 
nothing should be done to intimidate that person into silence. That one person 
may know something others don’t. That’s the reason to resolve objections.

Yes, there are some people who are obstructionist, etc. That’s why consensus 
can only be used when everyone shares the aim of the decision. And 
obstructionist obviously does not.

Sharon Villines
Sociocracy: A Deeper Democracy

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