where consensus goes wrong

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where consensus goes wrong

Post by melittophily on Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:45 am

This was just mentioned on another thread, and while I disagree with the red-scare article posted, I think this needs to be discussed in the wider movement.

http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/8789604.html

You can't really overstate the man that John Lewis is. Forget the office he holds, this is someone who endured getting nearly beaten to death, tear gassed, dogs sicced on him, and arrested dozens of times for the civil rights movement. He helped to lay the foundations we build our movement on today. In the time spent on getting the consensus to silence him, they could have allowed him to speak and been done with it. Instead, they not only denied his voice, but very likely alienated a lot of people of color from being involved - and Atlanta is still a majority black city. It's not really the 99% if it continues to be dominated by white liberals, after all.

I hope there can still be room within the movement to talk about the pitfalls of consensus and to learn from incidents like this. I think a lot of us who have experience with it in the past were wary when we first saw that this movement is so focused on it, and you can see some of that in the comments at the link.

Here is a critical article on consensus process - I do not entirely agree with it, but it's a perspective worth taking in:

http://richmond.indymedia.org/newswire/display/4299/index.php

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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by TheMightyLunchbox on Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:20 am

So, you just brought this up in another thread. It begs the question: Are you some kind of mole? Are you pushing this to try to sabotage us?

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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by melittophily on Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:22 am

Nope, it was posted by polyb1123. The first sentence of my post:

This was just mentioned on another thread, and while I disagree with the red-scare article posted, I think this needs to be discussed in the wider movement


Acknowledging a problem isn't sabotage.

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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by polyb1123 on Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:27 am

TheMightyLunchbox wrote:So, you just brought this up in another thread. It begs the question: Are you some kind of mole? Are you pushing this to try to sabotage us?

lunchbox,

The 'moles', trolls, etc. will reveal themselves in time. Dont worry about that! I've personally seen enough of them on discussion boards and not to mention back in '06-'07 I watched one take down the discussions boards at PBS's Bill Moyers Politics and Economy Board. They are real and can be quite savvy. Not to mention manipulative, cunning, clever, and willing to goad anyone into reacting. In the case of the Bill Moyers board it was a zionist that managed to paint just about every poster as anti-semitic. That's right! After provoking most posters into reacting and criticising Israel/Judaism he/she went straight to WNET and had them pull the board. She/He played dirty but at the same time failed because it ultimately just reinforced the fact that Isreal did have pay trolls to go out and disrupt discussion boards and spread propaganda. If you want a model of how moles n trolls operate, just look towards Israel. BTW, your tax dollars also pay for Americans to do the same. Whether you realize it or not this 'revolution' has been fought for years on line now. As far as I can tell they will be relentless and will pull any stunt to achieve their objectives.

The reason I posted the video was primarily I was disturbed by that video and how the crowd was willing to go along with what I would call 'simple minded dribble'. They want you to be a follower! Sorry but you need to be a more 'rugged individualist' to endure what they are planning. Believe me, no amount of paranoia is enough! KNOW YOUR ENEMY! They have years of practice, almost unlimited resources, and are hell bent retaining power. They have a long history of lying, cheating, stealing, and murdering. Don't believe me on that, go out and prove it to yourself. If this 'revolution' is to truly succeed you must realize what you are facing and believe me it is far from pretty!

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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by melittophily on Tue Oct 11, 2011 11:21 am

I don't know that I agree with that, I'm not much a fan of rugged individualism. What's disturbing about this incident is that a civil rights hero was shut down so that the "block" could feel important and successfully manipulate a large part of the crowd for the hell of it and call it "democracy." There were plenty of individuals in that crowd who recognized it as absurd and vocalized it - someone even tried to apologize to Lewis toward the end.

The point is that we need to be able to admit when our models aren't quite as utopian in practice as they are in theory. I don't know anyone experienced in activism/organizing who has a rosy view of this kind of consensus organizing. Several examples of where it goes wrong are in the second link I posted, but I think the John Lewis incident alone is pretty damning.

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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by polyb1123 on Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:56 pm

Well aside from the 'red scare' component of the article the author brought to light the manipulation happening. I would say the leader bean(read simpsons ref) of that group was more than likely an agent trying to co-opt the demonstration. The fact that they gave Lewis the boot is telling. Their objective probably resided in trying to paint it as a socialist/communist movement complete with groupthink and all sorts of other nonsense. That would be the fodder FOX news wants. Lets face it, Murdock is a major player in the problem we have today and he does not play nice.

As for 'rugged individualism', well we could certainly use more of that. Independence and liberty are too important to neglect. Those qualities of the 'rugged individual' are almost pre-requisite to all of us retaining our independence and liberty. Not to mention if one pursues truth one is going to need those qualities that helps one in that pursuit. Presently most people fall prey to manipulations because they do lack those qualities.

As for organizing, models, etc. First it is important that we throw away our idealisms and get practical. Especially now when idealism is a very clever tool to manipulate people by, not to mention quite often ideals tend throw away pragmatisms. Without first being practical there is no way we can hope to achieve any realization of any ideal.

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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by ZachAddair on Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:18 pm

I posted this in another thread, but because so many people seem to be so confused here is my explanation again:

I think you miss-understand entirely everything in that video then. I'll take it a few steps at a time so as not to be confusing:

1. The people are not "zombies" nor are they "regurgitating everything they are saying".

2. The police in most cities are not allowing any kind of amplified voices. So microphones and megaphones are not allowed. This means, that being a creative people, and using old school forms of amplifying voices have emerged. What you are seeing is people echoing what the speaker just said around him, so that the larger group can hear what the speaker is saying.

If you are still confused about this, please message me.

3. The confusion and discussion shown in the video are as follows:

a. The Occupy group in that area was bringing in someone who works in the local government because he wanted to speak.

b. The person leading the group explained who was speaking and if they were all okay with him speaking.

c. Most people raise their hands to show they agree with this course of action, but one person preforms what is known as a "block". You hold up your hands in the shape of an X so that the group knows you don't agree with what is happening. It's just a way of keeping everyone's voice heard.

d. Because of this block, the group voted again to see if they still wanted to continue. Most people there did not realize this is what they were voting on, so they said "Yes" by raising their hands, thinking this would allow the speaker to speak.

e. The confusion in the after math, was the person leading that night saw the hands go up in support of the "block" and decided not to let the speaker speak at the time.

f. The group was confused and then people stand up to explain that they don't want a "famous" or political figure to come in and take over, so they simply remind everyone that the person who is about to speak may have good ideas and be able to help the group, but he will not take over or be any more important than anyone else in the group.

That is basically where the video peters out. If you still don't understand how a General Assembly is run, I suggest you Google the process or send me a direct message.
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Re: where consensus goes wrong

Post by melittophily on Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:54 pm

I know what a consensus general assembly is and have participated in them before. Can we at least try to pay attention to user names and what people actually say before accusing them of being moles and condescending to us?

I'm the OP of this thread, my user name is melittophily, and polyb1123 and I are not the same person.

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