[pp.int.general] Consensus and power (before Re: Reflections on the PP GA)

Zbigniew Łukasiak zzbbyy at gmail.com
Fri Apr 18 07:32:55 CEST 2014

That was very thoughtful!

For now I have just one comment about using this mailing list for
anything serious. The problem with this is that not many people read
this mailing list any more - there were too many flamewars and people
got tired of that. This is not unfixable - but for some ideological
reasons it was decided that this mailing list has no rules. Nobody
would propose something like that for an in-person meeting - but
somehow any way of limiting the individual expression on-line is
considered censorship.


On Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:31 PM, seykron <seykron at partidopirata.com.ar> wrote:
> Online consensus practice in easy enough with our existing tools, even
> applying quite adapted versions of classical techniques. For example,
> the Permanent Assembly might be this mailist. Usually no everyone is
> interested in all topics (for example, only you answered to my email
> about consensus). The advantage of the mailist is that no everyone
> MUST to be present physically on the same location to get involved in
> a decision making, so it promotes participation. The mechanism is very
> very simple:
> 1) You propose a topic to the Permanent Assembly. If someone is
> interested in this topic (usually about a specific issue or activity)
> will get involved in the discussion to enrich the whole perspective and
> make an agreement. In the PPAr we consider consensus when three persons
> agree on a topic.
> 2) If there's Relevant Dissent, the decision is blocked until dissent
> is resolved ("Difficulties in Reaching Consensus" section of the
> Starhawk's article is a good reference to identify dissent). For the
> PPAr, Relevant Dissent means that at least 10% of people involved in a
> discussion disagree. This mechanism helps to avoid the "dictatorship of
> the majority" (or the so called 50%+1 factor) and it also avoids
> blockings from a single person.
> 3) If there's Relevant Dissent, it is a warning sign. Usually in a
> group like pirate parties, personal values involved in a decision
> finally can get closer (or some concessions can be easily made from
> all sides). If it does not happen, it may means that something in the
> organization is declining. I also could mean that the topic is very
> controversial -like abortion, to mention an example-, or even simpler:
> there're misunderstandings on what someone is trying to say (sometimes
> it's very hard to express yourself). In any case, if there's Relevant
> Dissent the decision is blocked and the discussion must be taken away
> from keyboard. For example, it could be discussed in a conference room
> with Mumble, or if it is possible in a bar drinking a beer :). If it
> does not work, there're several unlocking techniques, but I will not
> extend myself on this (some good techniques are explained in "Tools for
> Consensus Process" section of Starhawk's article).
> The key point is: we are all human beings, we make mistakes, and we act
> with good faith. Of course, I'm aware of what "power" means in a
> capitalist, post-industrial society. But the key question for PPI to
> answer is:
> What *power* means for pirates?
> In the PPAr it is always under discussion, however we have consensus in
> this point: power means to build a strong human organization which
> distributes its power between all participants. And these "pieces" of
> power is what legitimates any decision. If an organization grows with
> this kind of legitimation, it is very difficult to take it down, it is
> very consistent on its decisions (which is essential to manage outer
> press and public opinion), and it is very strong despite personal
> problems between people within the organization.
> How to take a decision is the answer to the question "who has the
> power". A decision may imply a lot of economic resources, and we all
> know how we behave when there's money in the middle (in the PPAr we
> work very hard to decentralize money, for example). From here to a
> political party is just a little step, but "why a political party
> instead another kind of organization" is out of the scope.
> If you reached the bottom of this message, I encourage you to think
> about power, how people is involved on it in the real world, and how
> conflicts rise and are resolved by people when there's power in the
> middle.
> Regards,
> Matías
> On Thu, 17 Apr 2014 15:37:33 +0200
> Zbigniew Łukasiak <zzbbyy at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi there,
>> seykron - good point about consensus.
>> Any ideas how we could translate
>> http://www.starhawk.org/activism/trainer-resources/consensus.html into
>> on-line circumstances?
>> It is possible that we are already a group too large for a traditional
>> consensus decision making - but who knows? We cannot tell if we have
>> not tried.
>> Z.
>> ____________________________________________________
>> Pirate Parties International - General Talk
>> pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net
>> http://lists.pirateweb.net/mailman/listinfo/pp.international.general
> ____________________________________________________
> Pirate Parties International - General Talk
> pp.international.general at lists.pirateweb.net
> http://lists.pirateweb.net/mailman/listinfo/pp.international.general

Zbigniew Lukasiak

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