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Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Consensus

Gatherings operate under a consensus model of decision making.  Som decisions are informal such as when people vote with their feet by going (or not going) somewhere.  Other types of conensus involve informal groups of people talking to each other about what they want, what works, and what hasn't worked in the past.  Then there are more formal conensus making circles, such as Vision Council, where the general area of next year's gathering is decided.

I'm not a frequent visitor to Vision Council, preferring our daily main councils, info councils, local family councils, etc where dealing with our day to day lives is discussed.  Plus, as long as I'm with family, I'm happy.  Don't matter much to me if we go to Tennessee or Montana  --- It's the people who show up who make the gathering.  Together we can create the world the way we want it to exist.

In general, consensus means we find a decision that works for everyone present.  Council involves self-control and respect as we listen (really listen) to each other speak.  Gatherers have working on council processes for years and I'm still not sure it's perfect.

There's a Rainbow Gathering focused Council Mini Manual that was developed some years ago and I find it very helpful. But so as not to get stuck in the past, I find it helpful to read how other communities (temporary or permanent) deal with egleterian decision making processes.

The summer 2012 issue of Communities magazine had a couple of very interesting articles on consensus and some of it's pitfalls. Now I'm not advocating abolishing consensus based decision making, but for those of you who have been chewing my ear off about the disfunctional vision council process, here's some great articles to get the juices flowing.

The first article, "BUSTING THE MYTH THAT CONSENSUS-WITH-UNANIMITY IS GOOD FOR COMMUNITIES: Part 1" is a study of broken consensus making processes within intentional communities.

The two following articles are responses to the first article from differing perspectives.

"Busting the Myth, or Changing the Terms?" and '“BUSTING THE MYTH”: Some Questions.'

I invite you to read these and other articles on consensus before bringing your ideas, thoughts and suggestions to councils on the land in Montana.  The gathering is evolving and as we grow and learn, we hopefully are sharing ideas with each other.

~~ Namaste

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