Information on Consensus Decision Process in #OccupyDameStreet
What is consensus?
Consensus is a way of reaching decisions. It is a process which brings together the views of all members of a group but it does not mean that all have to agree in everything or abandon their personal values. Consensus decision-making requires that we share a common goal and are willing to work on issues together so that all concerns are addressed and we find a way forward. It is about an environment in which everybody feels welcome and safe to speak, get their views acknowledged and validated. In the consensus process, we share the responsibility for transforming our principles into meaningful change. Through the process, the group proposes amendments to the original proposals until everybody is comfortable with them.
The best answer was perhaps given at the Direct Action Conference during Berlin Climate summit in 1995.
The consensus process replaces competition with cooperation and ensures that all people who find themselves in a minority do not lose control over their lives. As a decision-making method, consensus is slow and has its limits but it never means a lack of action. Quite to the contrary, it makes action precise, sustainable and participatory. Decisions made by consensus are usually of a higher standard and speed action rather than stall it.
Consensus decision-making works best when:
- we realise that it is not only what we do but also how we go about doing things that is part of the world we want to bring about.
- we share common goals.
- we respect the process and other speakers.
- we work to foster mutual trust and are ready to assume that people have good intentions.
- we are committed to work collectively and creatively on the decisions that need to be made.
Consensus decision making does not work when:
- we conclude that our individual worldview is not only correct but also the only way to think about the world.
- we are not willing to take time to unlearn the patterns of behaviour that we have come to accept as ‘normal’.
- we are not open and trustful.
The role of facilitators:
- they do not have any agenda of their own beyond moving the meeting forward and helping to ensure that the process remains egalitarian, participatory and truly democratic at all times.
- they should extremely rarely express their own opinions and restrain themselves from using the hand signals.
- they are not chairpersons; they are not ‘leaders’ of the group.
Consensus map step-by-step:
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Statement#OccupyDameStreet is a people’s movement, which stands in solidarity with and is inspired by over 1,400 (Occupytogether.org 15/10/11) sister occupations in the evolving global movement initiated by the people of Iceland, Greece, Spain, and the Arab Spring. We use tactics of non-violence akin to scenes of peaceful resistance in Tahrir Square and Wall Street. This is a diverse people’s initiative, unaffiliated with any political parties. We are the 99%. We stand together against political and economic corruption. We stand for equality and social justice. This is a "leaderless resistance movement" with people of many nationalities, backgrounds, genders and political persuasions.